Enchilada Sauce makes a staple ingredient to keep on hand for quick meals. This easy red enchilada sauce comes together quickly and keeps in the refrigerator for up to two weeks! 

Enchilada Sauce makes a staple ingredient to keep on hand for quick meals. This easy red enchilada sauce comes together quickly and keeps in the refrigerator for up to two weeks! // addapinch.com

My family absolutely adores enchiladas – whether it be my chicken enchiladas or my super simple enchilada casserole – it is something that I can always depend on them devouring. And don’t get me started on how quickly my beef enchilada dip disappears. Mercy! I think one of the secrets to why they love it so much is this incredibly easy homemade enchilada sauce that I make.

This enchilada sauce is so simple to make and uses ingredients that I always have on hand in my pantry. Since it comes together quickly, it is a recipe you can easily make as you need it, storing any remainder in the refrigerator for a later use. And since we use it so often around my house, I’ve learned to just make sure I keep a supply!

My recipe listed below makes 4 cups of enchilada sauce, but it can easily be divided if you need less or multiplied if you need more!

How to Make the BEST Enchilada Sauce

To make it, I simply add my vegetable oil and all-purpose flour to a medium sauce pan over medium heat. I use my whisk to make sure that it is well combined as it is cooking.

If you need a gluten-free option for making your enchilada sauce, you can substitute gluten-free flour in place of the flour listed or see my Blender Enchilada Sauce Recipe that is gluten-free and ready in minutes. It is a marvel!

Once the oil and flour are bubbly, I whisk in the chili powder and chicken stock, making sure that they are combined really well.

Then, I continue on adding in the crushed tomatoes, oregano, and other dried spices, brown sugar, salt and pepper.

Once you have added all of the ingredients, you can adjust to your preferences. For instance, you might want to increase the amount of chili powder if you are looking for a spicier enchilada sauce, etc.

Homemade Enchilada Sauce Options

  • Gluten-free – Use a gluten-free all-purpose flour.
  • Vegan – Use vegetable stock in place of the chicken stock or broth called for in the recipe.
  • Sugar-free – Use 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar in place of the brown sugar in the recipe.
Enchilada Sauce makes a staple ingredient to keep on hand for quick meals. This easy red enchilada sauce comes together quickly and keeps in the refrigerator for up to two weeks! // addapinch.com

Can I Use Fresh Garlic and Onions?

In the past I’ve had questions about using fresh garlic and minced onion in place of garlic powder and onion powder in the recipe. You absolutely can do that! It is fabulous, but does not have the same storage ability as using dried spices in this recipe. 

I recommend only using fresh garlic and onion if you are making the sauce to use immediately and eaten within three days.

The recipe as listed will keep well in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

So, here’s my super easy homemade enchilada sauce recipe. I think you guys are going to absolutely love it!

Enchilada Sauce makes a staple ingredient to keep on hand for quick meals. Get this family-favorite easy homemade enchilada sauce recipe. // addapinch.com

Homemade Enchilada Sauce Recipe

Enchilada Sauce Recipe – Enchilada Sauce makes a staple ingredient to keep on hand for quick meals. This easy red enchilada sauce comes together quickly and keeps in the refrigerator for up to two weeks!
4.87 from 22 votes

Review Recipe

Print Recipe

Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time20 mins
Servings: 4 cups
Course Sauce
Cuisine American
Author: Robyn Stone | Add a Pinch


  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 cup chicken stock homemade or store-bought
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon packed brown sugar optional, but recommended
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper


  • Add oil and flour to a medium saucepan over medium heat. Whisk together to combine. Once the flour and oil mixture begin to bubble, whisk in the remaining ingredients and whisk until smooth. Taste and adjust spices based on your preferences.
  • Use immediately or pour enchilada sauce into an airtight container and refrigerate for up to two weeks.


To make gluten-free, use gluten-free flour.
To make vegan, replace chicken stock with vegetable stock.
To make sugar-free, replace brown sugar with 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar.
Have you made this recipe?Tag @addapinch on Instagram or hashtag it #addapinch

Robyn xo

Enchilada Sauce Recipe - Enchilada Sauce makes a staple ingredient to keep on hand for quick meals. Get this family-favorite easy homemade enchilada sauce recipe. // addapinch.com

From the Add a Pinch recipe archives, originally posted in 2013.

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Robyn Stone

..where I share sweet, savory and southern recipes, as well as home and garden tips and tidbits of travel.

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84 Comments Leave a comment or review

  1. Growing up eating enchiladas, I can give you an authentic, very ambitious directions to make authentic Mexican enchilada sauce. This sauce you can make chile colorado, as well. The main ingredient is New Mexico and California chile pods, garlic and salt! It’s very easy and freezes.

    1. Tess, your chile colorado sounds perfect for me too; I prefer the green enchilada sauce over red! Of course, in New Mexico and Santa Fe especially, you can easily get either or both! on your enchiladas!
      Please share your recipe here.

    2. I agree. Authentic red enchilada sauce is made from dried red chile pods and seasoning. There’s no tomato in it. Tomato is garnish. People see red and think tomato, but it’s the chile pepper that gives it the color.

  2. Tess, share that here please!
    Thank you so much, Robyn for a homemade sauce! I cannot tolerate the store bought canned sauces. Too spicy even if they say mild. 🙁

  3. Going to give your enchilada casserole a try to today to take to a potluck dinner. From your gorgeous pics, it looks like you puree the tomatoes for the sauce?

  4. This is absolutely delicious! I made it last night in preparation for my enchilada casserole recipe, and let my husband taste it. He was almost dancing in his seat he was so excited waiting for dinner to be over!

  5. My husband has high blood pressure. We don’t use a lot of salt when we cook. Can the kosher salt be omitted? or is there something we can substitute?

  6. This was amazing! Taste/balance of spices was spot on.
    Mine came out very dark; might have been the chili pwdr. I used.
    My husband loved it and he is very picky so thank you!

  7. I made this with vegetable stock instead of chicken since I’m vegetarian. I use it all the time with my cheese and/or bean enchiladas!

  8. This sauce is amazing. My husband in a sodium restricted diet and I have made this several times without adding salt and it still is great. This allows us to have the Tex-Mex food we adore and have missed so much. Thank you for sharing.

  9. This looks delicious! I was actually going to search for a recipe. I also was wondering if I can freeze it.

  10. I see a couple people have asked, but I don’t see a response, can this be frozen? I have so many tomatoes from the garden, another way to save them for winter would be great. Thanks!

  11. I’m from the southwest, not the south, but this was darned good. Made it half hour ago to go with chicken leg quarters. I was skeptical about that much sugar, but I used pretty hot chile powder. It balanced out nicely without being too sweet. I didn’t have 28 oz of crushed toms, so used a small can of tomato sauce and added more home-made broth. Everybody does this recipe different where I am from, but l liked the proportions of spices you recommended. I followed them exactly and this was a fantastic sauce. Thank you for the recipe—-B. in AZ

  12. This was so yum-o just as written, the spice blend was perfect for me. Because it makes 4 cups I will try it with the dip recipe and do it as written but will change the cheese to velvette on the other 2 cups. Thanks for a great sauce!!!!

  13. I just whipped up a batch of this sauce for dinner tonight….yum! Super easy, I had all the ingredients on hand. I almost left out the sugar, but I’m glad I didn’t, it creates a wonderful balance without a sugary sweet taste. I’m wondering if this sauce freezes well? I want to make a huge batch a freeze it up for winter dinners to come. Thank you for the great recipe!!!

  14. Just used this recipe tonight to make enchiladas for the first time ever. They turned out great, and the whole family enjoyed them. I made it as directed, and it was so easy. Next time I think I’ll only use 2T. chili powder as it was slightly hot for us. Thank you for an excellent recipe!

  15. I made the Beef Enchilada Dip on this site today and took it to my cousins as where were invited for supper. (Added some sausage meat to the ground beef). WOW what a hit. Made this homemade Enchilada sauce for it too. The sauce recipe is perfect, no tweaking required-delicious. Also whipped up some homemade tortillas. Everyone LOVED LOVED LOVED it. Thank you so much for sharing. Darlene in Nova Scotia.

  16. OMG, I am blown away by this enchilada sauce!! I didn’t have any crushed tomatoes, so I threw two cans of regular Rotel and a small can of tomato sauce in my lil Ninja food mixer and puréed them and added to the recipe in place of the crushed tomatoes. This was by far the best enchilada sauce EVER!! Just printed this out for my family keepsake cookbook. Thank you!!!

  17. I’m so happy to find this! So many times I didn’t make enchiladas simply because I had no sauce in the house! I am going to make this tonight along with your enchilada casserole recipe!!!

  18. Hi…if i wanna replace the garlic and onion powder with fresh one’s how much and how do i use it? Do i need to sautee it in oil first and then blend it with tomato snd other spices? Or can i jus blend them raw? I need to make them in an hour…so if you could reply asap I’ll be really greatful ?

  19. After reading the reviews and looking at the ingredients I had my doubts. After making the sauce step by step adhering closely to the directions I confirmed that this is just not a very good recipe in my opinion. First, the taste is far too sweet even without the sugar. In addition, using crushed tomatoes adds to the overpowering sweetness and produces a chunky, weird texture like spaghetti sauce. I also found that the consistency was much too thick. Basically, this is not even close to an authentic Mexican enchilada sauce, but American palates will probably love it. My family will disown me if I served this.

  20. Only have almond flour in this GF home today, but would like to make this using some of the leftover pork shoulder
    (Your recipe!) Do you think corn starch would work as a thickener in this recipe?
    That pork recipe is Just amazing!
    Thanks for sharing!

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