5 from 6 votes
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Homemade Red Enchilada Sauce (Easy Make from Scratch)

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I was shocked to see how easy it was to make this easy enchilada sauce recipe the first time I made it. Now, I use this homemade red enchilada sauce recipe for any Mexican cuisine I whip up. It makes it elevated in flavor and takes no time to whip it up. You may never want to buy canned sauce again.

Enchilada Sauce in a jar without a lid.

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Red sauce is made with flour, Mexican seasonings, and chicken broth, and oil. It is literally THAT simple!

The sauce pairs wonderfully with this beef enchilada recipe. Or you can consider trying this enchilada pie for another dinner inspiration. This slow cooker chicken and cheese enchilada casserole is a hit as well.

Want to make more homemade sauce recipes? Then, for another Mexican-inspired one, check out this creamy cilantro lime sauce.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • It’s incredibly easy to make: With just a few simple pantry ingredients and steps, anyone can prepare this flavorful enchilada sauce and bring authentic Mexican flavor into their kitchen.
  • Versatility at its finest: Whether you’re making homemade enchiladas or casseroles or just need a tasty dipping sauce, this easy homemade enchilada sauce fits perfectly with a variety of dishes.
  • Ditch the additives: By making your own sauce, you control the quality of the ingredients, avoiding unnecessary preservatives and additives found in canned versions.
  • Customizable to your taste: Easily adjust the heat and seasoning levels to suit your personal taste preference, making your Mexican dishes uniquely yours.

What’s in This Homemade Red Enchilada Sauce Recipe?

Ingredients for enchilada sauce including olive oil, chicken broth, flour, and Mexican seasoning.
  • Oil (Olive oil or Avocado oil): The choice of oil is crucial as it forms the base of the sauce, providing richness and depth. Olive oil adds a traditional flavor, while avocado oil offers a milder taste and a higher smoke point, ideal for cooking at higher temperatures.
  • All-purpose Flour: This common kitchen staple is used as a thickening agent, giving the enchilada sauce its signature texture and body. Its neutral flavor ensures that it doesn’t overpower the other ingredients, allowing the spices to shine.
  • Mexican Seasoning: A blend of traditional Mexican spices brings the sauce to life, infusing it with the authentic flavors of Mexico. You can adjust the amount according to your taste preference, making it as mild or as spicy as you like.
  • Chicken Broth: The addition of chicken broth not only provides the liquid base for the sauce but also enriches it with a savory depth of flavor. It complements the spices beautifully and contributes to the sauce’s overall smooth and pourable consistency.

The complete list of ingredients, quantities, and instructions can be found in the printable recipe card below.

Substitutions and Variations

  • If you are gluten free you can use a gluten free flour blend.
  • Instead of olive oil, reach for avocado oil for a great swap.
  • Feel free to add less or more of the spice blend to enhance the flavor of the sauce.
  • If you want spicy sauce, consider adding a few drops of hot sauce to enhance the heat.
  • You can substitute vegetable broth for the chicken broth if you want.

How to Make Authentic Red Enchilada Sauce Step by Step

Collage of making enchilada sauce in a metal bowl.
  1. Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Gradually add flour, whisking continuously until the mixture turns slightly golden or chocolate-brown if preferred. (Photos 1 & 2)
  3. Stir in Mexican seasoning until well combined. (Photo 3)
  4. Slowly add chicken broth while whisking continuously to ensure smooth integration into the roux. (Photo 4)
Collage of enchilada sauce in saucepan.
  1. Increase heat to medium-high, bringing the sauce to a boil.
  2. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until sauce thickens to desired consistency. (Photo 5)
  3. Turn off the heat and remove the saucepan from the stove. Allow the sauce to cool and thicken further. (Photo 6)
Over-full jar of enchilada sauce.

Recipe Tips

  • Whisk Constantly: Continuously whisking the flour and oil mixture as it cooks prevents lumps from forming. This ensures a smooth, uniform texture in your enchilada sauce.
  • Adjust Spice Levels: The beauty of homemade sauce is the ability to customize the flavor. Feel free to adjust the amount of Mexican seasoning to suit your desired spice level. Start with less and add more as needed.
  • Simmer Slowly: Simmer the sauce on medium-low heat once all ingredients are combined. This slow simmer allows flavors to meld together beautifully, resulting in a richer taste.
  • Use Quality Broth: For a rich flavor, opt for high-quality chicken broth. The broth significantly influences the sauce’s taste, so choose a brand with a flavor profile you like.
  • Cool Before Storing: If you have leftovers, allow the sauce to cool completely before transferring it to an airtight container for refrigeration. This helps to maintain its freshness and flavor.
  • Fresh vs. Dried Spices: If you have access to fresh spices, they can add an incredible depth of flavor to your sauce. However, dried spices work wonderfully and offer convenience.

Storing Tips 

You can store the homemade enchilada sauce recipe in the fridge for up to one week for later use. Just give it a stir before you use it for your recipes. This sauce is so delicious, and it stores well in the fridge.

You can also freeze the red sauce if you want to make a big batch. Feel free to freeze this easy red enchilada sauce for 1-2 months in freezer bags or containers. Then, you can thaw in the fridge the night before you plan to use it.

Spoon full of enchilada sauce.

Serving Suggestions

This sauce is great mixed into casseroles, making chicken enchiladas, soups, etc. So feel free to use it as you wish. You could also dip the quesadilla in the sauce.

Recipe FAQs

What can I substitute for enchilada sauce?

You will find that tomato sauce and salsa are both great alternatives to an enchilada sauce. Feel free to swap it out if you need in a recipe. Just know it will alter the flavor.

What makes enchilada sauce different?

The main difference is the spices used in making the sauce to create the standout flavor of the enchilada sauce. More delicious sauce deepens the recipe, and less creates a more mild red sauce.

Is enchilada sauce hot or spicy?

Adding spicy chilies will raise the spice factor to a whole new level. But if you don’t want your own enchilada sauce spicy, use mild chilies instead.

Need More Easy Recipes? Try These:

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Mason jar of enchilada sauce.
5 from 6 votes

Homemade Red Enchilada Sauce (Easy Make from Scratch)


Author: Kim Schob
Course: Dressings & Sauces
Cuisine: Mexican
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
This Homemade Red Enchilada Sauce that is made from simple pantry ingredients. Elevate your Mexican cuisine to a whole new level with this red sauce.

Ingredients 

  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • ¼ cup (31 ¼ g) Flour
  • 2-3 Tablespoons (2 Tablespoons) Mexican Seasoning to personal taste
  • 2 cups (473 ⅙ ml) Chicken Broth

Instructions

  • Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
    2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • Gradually add flour, whisking continuously until the mixture turns slightly golden or chocolate-brown if preferred.
    ¼ cup Flour
  • Stir in Mexican seasoning until well combined.
    2-3 Tablespoons Mexican Seasoning
  • Slowly add chicken broth while whisking continuously to ensure smooth integration into the roux.
    2 cups Chicken Broth
  • Increase heat to medium-high, bringing the sauce to a boil.
  • Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until sauce thickens to desired consistency.
  • Turn off the heat and remove the saucepan from the stove. Allow the sauce to cool and thicken further.

Notes

  • Whisk Constantly: Continuously whisking the flour and oil mixture as it cooks prevents lumps from forming. This ensures a smooth, uniform texture in your enchilada sauce.
  • Adjust Spice Levels: The beauty of homemade sauce is the ability to customize the flavor. Feel free to adjust the amount of Mexican seasoning to suit your desired spice level. Start with less and add more as needed.
  • Simmer Slowly: Simmer the sauce on medium-low heat once all ingredients are combined. This slow simmer allows flavors to meld together beautifully, resulting in a richer taste.
  • Use Quality Broth: For a rich flavor, opt for high-quality chicken broth. The broth significantly influences the sauce’s taste, so choose a brand with a flavor profile you like.
  • Cool Before Storing: If you have leftovers, allow the sauce to cool completely before transferring it to an airtight container for refrigeration. This helps to maintain its freshness and flavor.
  • Fresh vs. Dried Spices: If you have access to fresh spices, they can add an incredible depth of flavor to your sauce. However, dried spices work wonderfully and offer convenience.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 199kcal (10%) Carbohydrates: 14g (5%) Protein: 3g (6%) Fat: 15g (23%) Saturated Fat: 2g (13%) Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g Monounsaturated Fat: 10g Cholesterol: 5mg (2%) Sodium: 1074mg (47%) Potassium: 59mg (2%) Fiber: 1g (4%) Sugar: 2g (2%) Vitamin A: 239IU (5%) Vitamin C: 1mg (1%) Calcium: 12mg (1%) Iron: 1mg (6%)

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6 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I’ve been searching for a simple and straight forward enchilada sauce recipe and I think I found it! Cannot wait to try it

  2. 5 stars
    This is the perfect red enchilada sauce! Next time I’m making double so I can stock up the freezer.

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