Perfect for adding a bold and spicy kick to your favorite enchilada recipes this delicious homemade red enchilada sauce is made with just a handful of ingredients that you most likely already have in your pantry. Comes together in just 20 minutes!
Forgetting to stock your pantry with red enchilada sauce is like going camping without a lighter—you've got all of the ingredients but missing the crucial spark that ignites the flavor in your enchiladas. Not ideal.
That's when homemade red enchilada sauce steps in to save the day! With a handful of basic ingredients that you most likely already have on hand, a quick red enchilada sauce that's rich in flavor can be made in minutes adding some much welcomed tasty and spicy flair to your meal.
🌟 Why you'll love this recipe
Enchilada sauce is the secret ingredient for turning a mundane meal into a fiesta for the taste buds. If you've never considered making homemade enchilada sauce here's a few reasons to give it a go:
- Flavor: The rich, spicy flavor of this red enchilada sauce is unbeatable compared to store-bought canned enchilada sauce. Plus, in making our own sauce we can control the amount of added salt and sugar.
- Versatility: It can be used in a variety of dishes, from classic enchiladas to soups, stews, casseroles, and rice and beans.
- Easy to Make: With a few basic ingredients, making homemade red enchilada sauce is shockingly simple. Just 20 minutes needed.
- Adaptable: Once you've mastered this basic recipe, experiment with different spices and ingredients to create your own signature sauce. Have fun with it!
Let's dive in on how to make this easy enchilada sauce!
🛒 Ingredients & suggestions
- Chili powder: Not to be confused with chile powder. Yes, there is a big difference! Scroll down to the Frequently Asked Questions for an explanation.
- Sugar: Just a little bit balances the acidity of the tomato sauce.
- Vegetable broth: I recommend using low sodium broth and then adjusting the flavor of the enchilada sauce by adding in your own preferred amount of salt. Chicken broth can be substituted for vegetable broth if a vegan sauce is not needed.
- Apple cider vinegar: Just a little bit of vinegar brightens the flavor of the sauce. It's a completely worthwhile ingredient so make sure not to skip it.
- Gluten-free all-purpose flour: I used Bob's Red Mill Gluten-Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour. I have not tested this recipe using other all-purpose gluten-free flours.
For a full list of ingredients and quantities see the recipe card at the end of this post.
🔪 Step-by-step instructions
Step 1: In a medium saucepan over medium heat, heat the oil.
Step 2: Add the flour and chili powder to the oil, stirring until fragrant. Just 1 minute is good.
Step 3: Whisk in the tomato sauce.
Step 4: Then add the vegetable broth and continue whisking.
Step 5: Season the sauce with salt, black pepper, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, and sugar. Whisk to combine.
Step 6: Bring the enchilada sauce to a boil, then reduce the heat and let it simmer until thickened (about 10 minutes).
Step 7: Use immediately in your favorite recipe!
Step 8: Or allow the sauce to cool to room temperature and store in a mason jar or food storage container in the refrigerator until ready to use.
👩🍳 Recipe tips!
- Make it spicier: This enchilada sauce would be considered mild so if you are interested in kicking up the heat consider adding some chipotle chile powder or cayenne to the sauce. I suggest adding just a little bit at a time, taste testing after each addition, and continuing to add more until the desired level of spiciness is acquired.
- Make it creamy: Just prior to adding the enchilada sauce to your dish, whisk in ½ cup sour cream or ½ cup heavy cream for a tasty creamy enchilada sauce.
- If the sauce becomes too thick from either allowing it to simmer too long on the stove or from refrigeration, simply thin it out to the desired consistency with water or additional vegetable broth.
💭 Frequently asked questions
Chili powder is a spice blend that typically contains ground chili peppers (such as ancho, cayenne, or chipotle), along with other spices like cumin, garlic powder, oregano, and paprika. Chile powder specifically refers to ground chili peppers, often made from a single variety such as ancho, guajillo, pasilla, or New Mexico chiles. Both powders are used to enhance flavor and add heat to various dishes, but their specific compositions and flavor profiles differ.
The general consensus to this question seems to be 7 days. However, if stored in an airtight container or mason jar in the refrigerator, I've had my enchilada sauce last considerably longer. As with most foods however, if it looks funky, smells funky, and/or a taste test confirms that it's in fact funky, don't use it.
If by 'authentic' we mean reconstituting whole, dried chiles and then blending and straining them, then no, this sauce is not authentic. But is it enchilada sauce? Yes! It's just a quicker version that takes advantage of ingredients that you most likely already have on hand.
A tasty sauce can make or break a meal. As for this red enchilada sauce...it will have you dancing. Olé! ♡
✨ More homemade sauce ideas!
💕 Follow along!
DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE? If so, I’d love to hear about it! Leave a comment and a star rating below! I greatly appreciate your feedback and it is also so helpful for other PMST readers who are thinking about making the recipe. Remember to snap a photo and tag @passmesometasty on Instagram so I can see!Print
Disclaimer: All brand recommendations are purely my own opinion. I am in no way sponsored or compensated by the brands mentioned in this post for my recommendations. This post may also contain affiliate links from which I may receive a small commission (without any additional costs to you). The money earned from these commissions helps me to maintain this website. Thank you for your support!