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From fresh salsa to tender barbacoa to creamy guacamole, there is no shortage of healthy Mexican recipes around here at Wholesome Yum. It’s probably my fave cuisine of all! Since I like to make my own sauces (okay, let’s be real, when I have the time…), a recent less-busy Saturday was the perfect excuse to make a homemade, easy red enchilada sauce recipe from scratch.
What Is Enchilada Sauce?
Why You’ll Love This Homemade Enchilada Sauce Recipe
- Spicy, tangy, and a little sweet, all at the same time
- Simple pantry ingredients
- One pan for easy cleanup
- No roux, thickeners, flour, cornstarch, or cornstarch substitutes needed
- Ready in 10 minutes
- Versatile – you can use this in so many ways!
Ingredients & Substitutions
This section explains how to choose the best easy enchilada sauce ingredients, what each one does in the recipe, and substitution options. For measurements, see the recipe card below.
- Olive Oil – Used for sauteing the garlic. You could also use avocado oil, your favorite neutral cooking oil, or even butter (or ghee).
- Garlic – I used fresh garlic for the best flavor, but you could use 2 teaspoons of jarred garlic or 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder for convenience.
- Chicken Broth – I typically buy reduced-sodium chicken broth, so you may need to adjust the salt depending on how salty yours is. You can also use bone broth for extra nutrition, or vegetable broth to make this vegetarian.
- Tomato Sauce – Tomato sauce adds a classic tang and richness, making it one of the essential ingredients in a recipe for enchilada sauce. If you don’t have any, you can substitute crushed tomatoes pureed in a blender or tomato paste diluted with water.
- Seasoning – For classic flavor, we’re using a combination of chili powder, dried oregano, aromatic cumin, savory onion powder, sea salt, and black pepper (optional). If you like some kick, add 1/4 teaspoon (or more) of cayenne pepper.
How To Make Enchilada Sauce
This section shows how to make easy enchilada sauce, with step-by-step photos and details about the technique, to help you visualize it. For full instructions, including amounts and temperatures, see the recipe card below.
- Saute the garlic. Heat olive oil in medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add garlic and saute until fragrant.
- Combine the sauce ingredients. Add the broth, tomato sauce, chili powder, oregano, cumin, onion powder, salt, and pepper (if using) to the pan. Whisk until smooth.
- Simmer. Bring to the mixture to a gentle boil, then cover and simmer on low until the sauce reaches your desired consistency. If desired, adjust red sauce with sea salt and black pepper to taste.
TIP: For faster results, use a larger saucepan.
The thickening process can take more or less time, depending on the size of your saucepan. The larger the pan, the faster you can make your homemade enchilada sauce!
- Store: Keep homemade enchilada sauce to an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
- Freeze: For longer storage, store the sauce in a zip lock bag or airtight container in the freezer for up to 6 months. Thaw on the counter or in the fridge overnight, and stir before using.
Ways To Use Enchilada Sauce Recipes
This sauce is surprisingly versatile! Use it with these easy recipes to add flavor and spice.
- Enchiladas – Obviously! You can use this sauce on beef enchiladas, gluten-free chicken enchiladas, or even black bean enchiladas.
- Tacos – Replace your taco sauce with this sauce to make the ultimate tacos! You can also drizzle it on other taco-inspired recipes, like zucchini taco boats, healthy taco salad, easy Crock Pot taco casserole, or taco dip.
- Burritos – Add this sauce to your burritos, or a tortilla-free burrito in a bowl.
- Fajitas – Add a more zing to shrimp fajitas, easy chicken fajitas, or Instant Pot steak fajitas.
- Casseroles – Use as a topping over an egg casserole or chicken bacon ranch casserole for a Mexican-inspired flair, or add inside Mexican ground beef casserole.
- Soups – Drizzle enchilada sauce over Mexican chicken soup or black bean soup. Finish with a dollop of sour cream and fresh cilantro.
More Homemade Sauce Recipes
Try some of my other homemade sauce recipes to take your meals from good to gourmet in no time:
- Medium Saucepan – One of my favorite saucepans. It has lasted me for years!
Enchilada Sauce Recipe
Enchilada Sauce Recipe (Homemade & Easy!)
Learn how to make the best homemade enchilada sauce recipe in 10 minutes! It's super easy, naturally gluten-free and uses common ingredients.
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Tap on the times in the instructions below to start a kitchen timer while you cook.
Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and saute for about 1 minute, until fragrant.
Add all remaining ingredients and stir together. Bring to a simmer. Cover and reduce heat to maintain bubbles. Simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until thick enough to your liking.
Adjust sea salt and black pepper to taste if needed (do this only after cooking, which develops the flavors and heat).
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Serving size: 1/4 cup
Nutrition facts are provided as a courtesy. Have questions about calculations or why you got a different result? Please see our nutrition policy.
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