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Homemade Enchilada Sauce in a glass mason jar on a wooden table with lime segments and sprigs of fresh cilantro

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 tomato powder or 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. Taste and add more salt if you feel it’s needed.
  8. Remove the sauce from heat and use in your favorite recipes, like my Family Favorite Enchilada Casserole.
  9. I have successfully kept enchilada sauce in the fridge for up to 7 days and in the freezer up to 4 months.


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.

Reduce the Spiciness

Cut back on the amount of chipotle powder to reduce the spiciness of your enchilada sauce.

Increase the Spiciness

Add more chipotle powder or add very small amounts of cayenne pepper to make your enchilada sauce more spicy.  Begin with 1/8th teaspoon and cook it in.  Taste.  Add another 1/8th teaspoon if you want more heat.  Cook it in .  Taste.  Repeat until the desired heat level is achieved.

  • Prep Time: 5 min
  • Cook Time: 10 min
  • Category: sauce
  • Method: stove top
  • Cuisine: Mexican-American