Home » Condiments Dips Gravies and Sauces Recipes

Homemade Enchilada Sauce, a Delicious Ingredient

Homemade Enchilada Sauce
Post may con­tain affil­i­ate links. See my Affil­i­ate Disclosure.

Deep, bold fla­vor with some seri­ous heat! Friends, my Home­made Enchi­la­da Sauce changed my mind about enchi­ladas. Past expe­ri­ence had con­vinced me that I hat­ed enchi­la­da sauce. Every brand of canned sauce I had ever tried tast­ed mud­dy and bit­ter to me. Enchi­la­da sauce was def­i­nite­ly “on the list” of things I did not eat.

After years of see­ing gor­geous pic­tures of enchi­ladas being served and peo­ple seem­ing­ly enjoy­ing them, I knew I had to be miss­ing some­thing. I did a lit­tle research and holy cow! The wide vari­ance in ingre­di­ent lists and in the quan­ti­ties was astound­ing. I found recipes with as lit­tle as a cou­ple tea­spoons of chili pow­der and oth­ers with as much as 4 Table­spoons. Each of those were for recipes that made about 2 cups of sauce. No won­der some taste mud­dy and bitter.

Enchilada Sauce Spices in a pan

Choose the Right Pepper Powder for the Job

Amer­i­can chili pow­der, isn’t just chili pep­pers. It’s usu­al­ly a blend of any num­ber of vari­eties of chili pep­pers, cumin, papri­ka, salt and oregano. Many con­tain onion pow­der and gar­lic pow­der, too. Because you can nev­er be 100% sure what chilis were used, you can’t be 100% sure of the heat lev­el. For me, chili pow­der has more influ­ence on the FLAVOR of a dish than on the spici­ness. And if you go over­board, it can get a lit­tle bitter.

If you want a high­er spice lev­el in your enchi­la­da sauce, with­out mud­dy­ing the fla­vor, choose chipo­tle pow­der (smoked and dried jalapenos) or cayenne (dried cayenne pep­pers). Keep in mind that cayenne has a heat lev­el 8–12 times hot­ter than chipo­tle pow­der. If sub­sti­tut­ing one for the oth­er, you’re going to want sig­nif­i­cant­ly less of the cayenne. Cayenne is all about the heat and not much fla­vor. Chipo­tle pow­der can bring the heat, but also adds some nice, smoky notes. I pre­fer chipo­tle pow­der in my Home­made Enchi­la­da Sauce.

What You Need to Make Enchilada Sauce

  • oil (I use avo­ca­do, but choose your favorite.)
  • all-pur­pose flour
  • chili pow­der
  • chipo­tle powder
  • cumin
  • gar­lic powder
  • oregano — I hap­pen to love Mex­i­can Oregano, but it’s not always easy to find. I have made this recipe suc­cess­ful­ly with plain oregano and it is scrumptious!
  • cin­na­mon
  • Cal­do de Tomate (toma­to bouil­lon) I buy it at Wal­mart, but Ama­zon car­ries it if you can’t find it in the eth­nic sec­tion of your local store.
  • water or veg­etable stock (There’s real­ly not much dif­fer­ence at all in fla­vor, because of the spices. I usu­al­ly opt for the more eco­nom­i­cal water, but if you’re amp­ing up your fam­i­ly’s veg­gie intake, I can high­ly rec­om­mend you use my home­made veg­etable stock recipe.)
  • apple cider vinegar
pan of Homemade Enchilada Sauce

How to Make Homemade Enchilada Sauce

  1. Make a spicy roux by plac­ing the flour and all the spices in a sauce pan.
  2. Add the oil and whisk every­thing togeth­er to combine.
  3. Begin cook­ing the roux over medi­um heat, allow­ing the flour taste to cook out and the spices to toast. Con­tin­ue heat­ing over medi­um heat until the roux bub­bles and thick­ens. (One or two minutes)
  4. In a sep­a­rate bowl, dis­solve the Cal­do de Tomate and vine­gar in the chick­en stock.
  5. Add the chick­en stock and vine­gar to the roux in the pan, whisk­ing to keep the sauce smooth.
  6. Reduce the heat to low and let the sauce cook for an addi­tion­al 5–7 min­utes. It will reduce down and become slight­ly thicker.
Homemade Enchilada Sauce
clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon

Delicious Homemade Enchilada Sauce

  • Author: Glen­da Embree
  • Total Time: 15 min­utes
  • Yield: 6 1/2 cups sauce 1x


The fla­vor of this enchi­la­da sauce is so supe­ri­or to any canned ver­sion I have ever eat­en, that there is real­ly no com­par­i­son.  It is def­i­nite­ly spicy.  The per­fect lev­el of heat for our fam­i­ly.  You could cut the chipo­tle pow­der in half for a milder sauce, however.


Units Scale
  • 1/2 cup + 2 table­spoons oil (I use avo­ca­do. Choose your favorite.)
  • 1/2 cup all-pur­pose flour (or gluten free flour blend)
  • 2 1/2 Table­spoons chili powder
  • 5 tea­spoons ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 tea­spoons chipo­tle powder
  • 1 1/2 tea­spoons gar­lic powder
  • 1 1/2 tea­spoons dried oregano (Mex­i­can oregano if you can find it)
  • pinch of cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup Cal­do de Tomate
  • 6 cups water or veg­etable stock
  • 1 Table­spoon apple cider vinegar


  1. Add the flour and all the spices to a medi­um-size sauce pan.
  2. Whisk in the oil and con­tin­ue stir­ring until every­thing is thor­ough­ly com­bined. You will have start­ed a thin, spicy roux. 
  3. Begin heat­ing your roux over medi­um heat and cook for 1–2 min­utes, to toast the spices and cook out the flour taste. 
  4. In a sep­a­rate bowl, dis­solve the Cal­do de Tomate and vine­gar in the chick­en stock.
  5. As the roux begins to bub­ble and thick­en slight­ly, add the chick­en broth mix­ture to the pan.  Stir con­stant­ly until every­thing is com­bined and the sauce is smooth, with no lumps.
  6. Reduce the heat to low, just to keep the sauce sim­mer­ing, and let it cook down for 5 — 7 min­utes.  Though it is not a super thick sauce, it WILL thick­en slight­ly.  (Don’t think gravy, but some­thing more the con­sis­ten­cy of hot syrup.  It will eas­i­ly coat the back of a spoon, before slow­ly drip­ping off.)
  7. Remove the sauce from heat and use in your favorite recipes, like my Fam­i­ly Favorite Enchi­la­da Casse­role.


This recipe usu­al­ly makes 6 or 6 1/2 cups of sauce for me.  That’s the equiv­a­lent of about 3 (15 oz) cans pur­chased at the store.  You could cut the recipe in half if you need less; but this sauce freezes well, so any left­overs are easy to store.  Hav­ing it pre-made saves time the next time you need some.

  • Prep Time: 5 min
  • Cook Time: 10 min
  • Cat­e­go­ry: sauce
  • Cui­sine: Mex­i­can

How to Use Homemade Enchilada Sauce

enchilada casserole

Use this rich, fla­vor­ful Home­made Enchi­la­da Sauce in recipes like Fam­i­ly Favorite Enchi­la­da Casse­role, Bar­ba­coa, or even a cheesy enchi­la­da dip for game day! It will be per­fect for chick­en or beef enchi­ladas and if you love enchi­la­da-style soups, it will take their fla­vor over the moon!

Give it a try, my friend. I hope you love it!

2 thoughts on “Homemade Enchilada Sauce, a Delicious Ingredient”

Leave a Comment

Recipe rating