Make your own homemade red enchilada sauce with no fancy ingredients! This is an easy recipe that includes a few simple pantry ingredients, and it comes together in about 10 minutes!

Homemade red enchilada sauce in a jar

**This recipe was originally published in September 2016. The text has been updated to include additional information and step by step photos have been added.

One of my family’s favorite meals is enchiladas. They love them so much that I had to create my own Homemade Enchilada Sauce! I tried so many store bought varieties that claimed to be mild but left us sweating it out at the dinner table.

Now when I make chicken enchiladas or vegetarian sweet potato enchiladas, I know that they’ll be perfect for my spice intolerant family.  

And why stop there? My green enchilada sauce is also a wonderful option if you want to change things up!

It’s nice to have options. ๐Ÿ™‚

Red enchilada sauce dripping off a spoon into a jar

Why you’ll love this recipe:

  • This easy homemade enchilada sauce is rich and flavorful, with mild spiciness so it appeals to everyone in the family.
  • It takes just a few pantry staples and about 10 minutes to make.
  • The recipe is easily doubled to feed a crowd and may be made in advance. It’s also freezer-friendly!
  • If you like it hot, you can easily customize it to suit your tastes.
Homemade red enchilada sauce ingredients

Recipe ingredients

This easy red enchilada sauce is in no way authentic. It’s a simple homemade version that gets the job done with pantry staples, most of which you probably already have on hand.

Ingredient notes

  • Tomato sauce. Use low sodium tomato sauce in order to control the amount of sodium.
  • Onion and garlic. I highly recommend using fresh onion and garlic instead of onion powder or garlic powder as they add a lot more flavor. The onion will make the enchilada sauce slightly chunky, so if you’d like a smoother sauce, it may be purรฉed it in a food processor. It’s truly personal preference.
  • Herbs and spices. To flavor the easy red enchilada sauce, I used a blend of chili powder, ground cumin, and smoked paprika.
How to make red enchilada sauce photo collage

How to make red enchilada sauce

You will love how easy this enchilada sauce recipe is. It’s a great back pocket recipe that can be made on the fly for enchilada emergencies.

Just grab what you need from the pantry, and it’s done in about 10 minutes! Here’s an overview of how to make enchilada sauce from scratch:

  1. Heat the canola oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Add the onion and saute until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and the spices and saute for 30 seconds.
  3. Add the tomato sauce and water, and stir well to combine.
  4. Bring the sauce to a boil, then remove from heat. There is no need to cook the sauce any further as it will continue cooking with your enchiladas. If you’d like a smoother sauce, process in a food processor until smooth.

FAQs

What color is enchilada sauce?

Enchilada sauce is either red or green. Red enchilada sauce includes red chilies or chili powder and sometimes tomatoes, while green enchilada sauce includes green chilies and sometimes tomatillos.

What does enchilada sauce taste like?

Authentic red enchilada sauce is made with onions, garlic and dried chilies and sometimes tomatoes. The sauce has a deep, chili flavor and depending on the type of chilies used, it’s mild to hot in spice.

Can the enchilada sauce be prepared in advance?

Absolutely! You can make this homemade red enchilada sauce up to five days before you plan on using it in a recipe.

Can you freeze enchilada sauce?

Yes, let it cool completely, then seal in a freezer bag or freezer-safe container. It can be frozen for up to three months. When ready to use, thaw overnight in the fridge.

Spoon nestled in a jar of homemade enchilada sauce

How to serve this recipe

This easy red enchilada sauce can be used in so many dishes. Here are some recipes that use enchilada sauce:

Recipe notes

  • Use the sauce immediately or store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days or freeze for future use. 
  • If you love spicy enchilada sauce, add cayenne pepper or hot sauce if desired.
  • To keep this recipe super simple, I used water. However, veggie or chicken broth may be substituted for an even more flavorful homemade red enchilada sauce.

More easy Mexican recipes you’ll love:

Be sure to look through all of my Mexican recipes for more inspo. Here are just some of my favorites:

If you make this recipe I’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment and rating below, or tag me @flavorthemoments on Instagram!

Homemade enchilada sauce in a jar

Easy Homemade Enchilada Sauce

Homemade Enchilada Sauce is rich, flavorful and made with a few simple pantry staples! It's so easy to make and it's ready in about 10 minutes!
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Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 small yellow onion peeled and chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 15 ounces tomato sauce
  • 3/4 cup water use chicken or vegetable stock for added flavor
  • salt to taste

Instructions 

  • Heat the canola oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and saute until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and the spices and saute for 30 seconds.
  • Add the tomato sauce and water, and stir well to combine.
  • Bring the sauce to a boil, then remove from heat. There is no need to cook the sauce any further as it will continue cooking with your enchiladas. If you'd like a smoother sauce, process in a food processor until smooth.
    How to make enchilada sauce collage

Notes

  • Use the sauce immediately or store in an air tight container in the fridge for up to 5 days or freeze for future use.ย 
  • If you love spicy enchilada sauce, add cayenne pepper or hot sauce if desired.

Nutrition

Serving: 0.25cup, Calories: 58kcal, Carbohydrates: 8g, Protein: 2g, Fat: 3g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g, Sodium: 559mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 4g

Nutrition is estimated using a food database and is only intended to be used as a guideline for informational purposes.

Tried this recipe?Mention @flavorthemoments or tag #flavorthemoments!

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