This Easy Red Enchilada sauce is packed full of flavor and pairs perfectly with your favorite enchilada recipes. A tried and true family recipe, this delicious sauce is one that my Latina Aunt Mary has been making for years.
Somewhere between a casserole and a burrito, enchiladas make everyone in my house a happy camper. When I added Cheese Enchiladas to our meal plan for the week, I decided it was high time to whip up my Aunt Mary’s homemade enchilada sauce recipe.
Jarred and canned enchilada sauces, while fine in a pinch, always tend to lack the rich flavor and thick texture of the sauces at my favorite Mexican restaurants. This simple and tasty enchilada sauce recipe reminded me just how easy it is to make your own sauces at home.
Homemade Enchilada Sauce
There’s so much to love about this easy homemade enchilada sauce recipe.
FIRST, It uses just a few ingredients that you’re already likely to have in your cupboard. There’s no chopping or other prep required.
SECOND, Everything comes together in one pot. Less clean up = more time eating enchiladas!
THIRD, The texture of this red sauce is pitch perfect. When enchilada sauce is too thin it runs off the top of the enchiladas and pools in the bottom of the pan. On the other hand, a sauce that’s too thick becomes hard to pour!
My homemade enchilada sauce is pour-able but with a gravy like texture that’s just thick enough to saturate your enchiladas. I loved the way this sauce enhanced my already delicious cheesy enchiladas.
It only takes a few minutes and one pan to make a flavorful red sauce for enchiladas!
How to Make Enchilada Sauce
This sauce starting by making a simple roux with oil and flour. Whisk them together over heat, adding chili powder and cooking until the mixture begins to brown. The mixture will be thick and dry.
Add water and chicken stock and whisk well until lumps are dissolved. Add in garlic powder and salt, and whisk until combined.
Simmer over medium heat for approximately 10-15 minutes, until sauce begins to thicken and have a bit of a shimmer to it. Immediately pour over enchiladas or store in an airtight container until ready to use.
Enchilada Sauce Made With Chili Powder
To keep this recipe quick and easy, my homemade red enchilada sauce recipe gets its flavor and color from chili powder. You can go all out and start from the chiles themselves (my aunt recommends New Mexico or Colorado chiles), but chili powder is such a great time saver.
Four big tablespoons of chili powder go into this enchilada sauce recipe along with chicken stock or broth to create a spicy, savory flavor that pairs perfectly with any enchilada.
An important note about your choice of chili powder.
Chili powder is really driving the flavor here, and different types of chili powders will give this recipe different flavor, spice and heat. If you don’t know which chili powders you like, it may take trying a few to find your favorite. They can have vastly different flavors. At the grocery store my favorite choice is Gebhardt Chili Powder. If you can’t find it in your local store, Amazon sells it as well.
How can you tell when enchilada sauce is ready?
When the sauce has reached its ideal thickness, it will coat and stick to the spoon when you pull it out of the pot. This can happen anywhere between 10 and 15 minutes, so keep an eye on the sauce as it simmers, checking for thickness every couple of minutes.
Can you make enchilada sauce ahead of time?
Enchilada sauce stores well in the fridge for several days when tightly covered, making it a great option for make ahead meals. Whip up a batch of enchilada sauce on the weekend to have on hand for weeknight homemade enchiladas. Just make sure to give it a good stir before using.
This homemade enchilada sauce tasted just as good as the red sauce from most restaurants and worlds better than the canned stuff from the store. Spread over cheese enchiladas or use this delicious sauce in my Chicken Enchilada Casserole recipe.
I served this with a side of Mexican Rice, Beans and Churro Cupcakes to round out the meal. For the adults in the house, we blended a couple of Homemade Margaritas too. There’s no need to go out to eat when you can have a full fun Mexican inspired meal right from your own kitchen!
Red Enchilada Sauce
- 2 tbsp oil vegetable or canola
- 3 tbsp all-purpose flour
- 4 tbsp red chili powder Gebhardt Brand recommended
- 1 cup chicken stock or broth
- 1 cup water
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp salt
- Heat oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add flour and whisk together, cooking until starting to brown. Add chili powder and whisk together with flour and oil mixture. The mixture will be thick and dry.
- Add water and chicken stock and whisk well until lumps are dissolved. Add in garlic powder and salt, and whisk until combined. Simmer over medium heat for approximately 10-15 minutes, until sauce begins to thicken, and sauce will coat/stick to a spoon when pulled out of sauce. Serve or store in an airtight container.