Easy Red Enchilada Sauce


Looking to elevate your Tex-Mex dishes with a burst of flavor? Look no further than our Easy Red Enchilada Sauce recipe! In just 15 minutes, you can whip up a batch of this delicious sauce that will take your enchiladas, tacos, and burritos to the next level. With simple ingredients and easy-to-follow steps, you’ll be amazed at how effortless it is to create a homemade sauce that rivals the flavors of your favorite Mexican restaurant.

Why Make Your Own Enchilada Sauce?

Sure, you can always reach for a store-bought enchilada sauce, but there’s something special about making it from scratch. Not only does homemade enchilada sauce taste fresher and more vibrant, but you also have full control over the ingredients, allowing you to customize the flavor to suit your preferences. Plus, making your own sauce is incredibly satisfying and rewarding – trust us, once you try it, you’ll never go back to the canned stuff!


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, or to taste
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar or white vinegar


  1. Heat the Oil: In a saucepan over medium heat, warm the olive oil until shimmering.
  2. Add the Flour and Spices: Sprinkle the flour over the oil and whisk to combine, forming a roux. Cook for about 1 minute, stirring constantly, until the mixture turns golden brown.
  3. Incorporate the Seasonings: Add the chili powder, ground cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, dried oregano, and smoked paprika to the roux. Stir well to combine, allowing the spices to toast for about 30 seconds to release their flavors.
  4. Pour in the Broth: Slowly pour in the vegetable or chicken broth while whisking continuously to prevent lumps from forming. Continue whisking until the mixture is smooth and well combined.
  5. Season and Simmer: Season the sauce with salt and black pepper, to taste. Stir in the tomato paste and apple cider vinegar, then bring the sauce to a simmer.
  6. Simmer and Serve: Reduce the heat to low and let the sauce simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it thickens to your desired consistency. Adjust the seasoning if needed.
  7. Enjoy Your Enchilada Sauce: Once the sauce is ready, it’s time to use it in your favorite enchilada recipe or any other Tex-Mex dish of your choice. Simply spoon the sauce over filled enchiladas, bake, and prepare to be amazed by the flavor explosion!

Serving and Storage Tips:


  1. Freshly Made is Best: Enchilada sauce is best served fresh, so aim to use it as soon as it’s ready to enjoy its full flavor and aroma.
  2. Drizzle or Smother: Use your homemade enchilada sauce to drizzle over enchiladas, tacos, burritos, or any other Tex-Mex dish you desire. Alternatively, you can smother enchiladas with the sauce before baking for maximum flavor infusion.
  3. Garnish with Fresh Ingredients: Sprinkle chopped cilantro, diced onions, or crumbled cheese over your dish before serving to add extra flavor and visual appeal.
  4. Adjust Consistency: If your enchilada sauce thickens too much upon cooling, you can easily adjust the consistency by stirring in a little extra broth or water until it reaches your desired thickness.


  1. Refrigeration: Allow any leftover enchilada sauce to cool completely before transferring it to an airtight container. Store the sauce in the refrigerator for up to 4-5 days.
  2. Freezing: Enchilada sauce can also be frozen for longer-term storage. Pour the cooled sauce into freezer-safe containers or ice cube trays for portioning. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before reheating.
  3. Reheating: When ready to use refrigerated or frozen enchilada sauce, gently reheat it in a saucepan over low heat, stirring occasionally until warmed through. Add a splash of broth or water if needed to adjust the consistency.

By following these serving and storage tips, you can ensure that your Easy Red Enchilada Sauce remains fresh, flavorful, and ready to enhance your favorite Tex-Mex dishes whenever the craving strikes. Enjoy the convenience of homemade sauce with the deliciousness of restaurant-quality flavor!

Variations of Easy Red Enchilada Sauce:

  1. Green Enchilada Sauce: Replace the chili powder with blended tomatillos, green chilies, cilantro, and garlic for a tangy and vibrant green enchilada sauce.
  2. Spicy Chipotle Sauce: Add chopped chipotle peppers in adobo sauce to the recipe for a smoky and spicy twist on traditional enchilada sauce.
  3. Creamy Enchilada Sauce: Stir in a dollop of sour cream or Greek yogurt at the end of cooking for a creamy and indulgent enchilada sauce.
  4. Roasted Tomato Sauce: Roast fresh tomatoes, onions, and garlic until caramelized, then blend with spices to create a rich and flavorful roasted tomato enchilada sauce.
  5. Mole Enchilada Sauce: Incorporate cocoa powder, ground cinnamon, and a touch of sugar into the sauce for a complex and savory-sweet mole-inspired enchilada sauce.
  6. Smoky Chipotle Pineapple Sauce: Add diced pineapple and adobo sauce from canned chipotle peppers for a sweet and smoky enchilada sauce with a tropical twist.
  7. Tequila Lime Sauce: Deglaze the pan with a splash of tequila and lime juice before adding the broth for a bright and zesty enchilada sauce with a hint of citrus.
  8. Vegetarian Enchilada Sauce: Use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth for a vegetarian-friendly version of the sauce that’s equally delicious and flavorful.
  9. Fire-Roasted Red Pepper Sauce: Blend fire-roasted red bell peppers with onions, garlic, and spices for a vibrant and smoky red pepper enchilada sauce.
  10. Hatch Chile Sauce: Use roasted and peeled Hatch chilies in place of regular chili powder for a mild yet flavorful enchilada sauce with a distinct southwestern flair.

Experiment with these variations to create your own signature enchilada sauce that perfectly complements your favorite Tex-Mex dishes. Whether you prefer bold and spicy flavors or a more subtle and tangy profile, there’s a variation for every palate and preference.


1. What is enchilada sauce made of? Enchilada sauce typically consists of a base of tomatoes or chili peppers, along with various spices such as chili powder, cumin, garlic, and onion powder. It may also contain broth or stock to thin the sauce and enhance its flavor.

2. Is enchilada sauce spicy? The level of spiciness in enchilada sauce can vary depending on the recipe and personal preference. Some recipes use mild chili powder for a milder sauce, while others incorporate hotter chili peppers or spices for a spicier kick.

3. Can I make enchilada sauce ahead of time? Yes, enchilada sauce can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator for several days or frozen for longer-term storage. Simply reheat before using in your favorite recipes.

4. Is enchilada sauce gluten-free? Enchilada sauce can be gluten-free if made with gluten-free ingredients such as cornstarch or arrowroot powder as a thickener instead of flour. Be sure to check labels or use certified gluten-free ingredients if you have dietary restrictions.

5. Can I use canned enchilada sauce? While canned enchilada sauce is convenient, making homemade enchilada sauce allows for customization of flavors and eliminates preservatives and additives found in some canned varieties. Plus, homemade sauce often tastes fresher and more vibrant.

6. How do I store leftover enchilada sauce? Leftover enchilada sauce can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4-5 days or frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw frozen sauce in the refrigerator overnight before reheating.

7. Can I use enchilada sauce for other dishes besides enchiladas? Yes, enchilada sauce is versatile and can be used as a sauce for tacos, burritos, nachos, or as a marinade for meats or vegetables. Get creative and use it wherever you want to add a burst of flavor!

8. Can I adjust the spiciness of enchilada sauce? Yes, you can adjust the spiciness of enchilada sauce by adding more or less chili powder, or by using different types of chili peppers according to your heat preference. You can also balance the heat with other ingredients like sugar or lime juice.

9. Can I make enchilada sauce without tomatoes? Yes, you can make enchilada sauce without tomatoes by using roasted red peppers, tomatillos, or dried chili peppers as the base. These alternatives offer unique flavors and textures while still creating a delicious sauce for your enchiladas.

10. Is enchilada sauce vegan? Enchilada sauce can be vegan if made with vegetable broth and without any animal products or by-products. Be sure to check ingredients and choose vegan-friendly options if needed.


With our Easy Red Enchilada Sauce recipe, you can unlock the vibrant flavors of Tex-Mex cuisine in just 15 minutes. Whether you’re a seasoned chef or a beginner in the kitchen, this recipe is sure to impress with its simplicity and delicious results. So why settle for store-bought when you can easily create homemade enchilada sauce that’s bursting with flavor? Give it a try and take your Tex-Mex dishes to new heights of deliciousness!

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