How To: Make Your Own Homemade Red Enchilada Sauce

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Making homemade enchilada sauce couldn’t be easier, and I promise that you won’t want to grab that canned stuff again. It’s done in a matter of minutes, right on your stovetop, made with the perfect blend of spices that you can easily adjust the heat to your liking. This from-scratch, red enchilada sauce recipe is a total game changer!

Homemade Red Enchilada Sauce

Anytime we make a visit to Okoboji, Iowa, we have to pay a visit to the Taco House. We absolutely LOVE their enchiladas. Heck — all of their food is fantastic, but the enchiladas are top-notch!  They make them with corn tortillas filled with beef, topped with red enchilada sauce and baked with an ooey-gooey cheese topping.

I set out to find a sauce that could come close.  I did a little Pinterest search and started reading.  We tried many recipes and this was the one that we decided was the best homemade enchilada sauce recipe and the one that was the closest to what we get to enjoy once a year. 


It is perfect in my Shredded Beef Enchilada Recipe, and always takes my Slow Cooker Smothered Burritos to the next level.  

Serve either recipe with a side of Cilantro Lime Rice and some Restaurant Style Refried Beans, and dinner is DONE!


Homemade Red Enchilada Sauce Ingredients

What it comes down to are spices. The right mixture of herbs and spices will get you well on your way to making the best red sauce you can. 

Here are the spices for this enchilada sauce recipe:

  • chili powder
  • garlic powder
  • salt
  • cumin
  • oregano

How to make enchilada sauce less spicy? Well, adjust the spice blend to your liking. This recipe isn’t spicy at all. But if you want to kick it up a notch, add in some cayenne pepper!

In addition to the herbs and spices, you will need chicken stock (or vegetable stock to make it vegetarian/vegan,) vegetable oil and all-purpose flour. (or gluten-free flour to make it GF) 


How to Make Homemade Enchilada Sauce

All you will need is a saucepan, a whisk, and some jars to store it. 

Begin by heating oil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Add flour and stir together over the heat for one minute. You have made a roux. That is what will thicken your enchilada sauce.

Next, whisk in the spice blend. Continue to whisk, gradually adding in the stock, whisking constantly to remove lumps.

Lastly, reduce heat and simmer 10-15 minutes or until thick.

Use immediately or refrigerate in an air-tight container for up to two weeks.


Love it? Pin it!

If you can’t wait to make this easy homemade enchilada sauce recipe, don’t forget where you found the recipe! Pin it before you go to save it for safekeeping!


Authentic Enchilada Sauce Recipe


There is a bit of a debate on whether or not tomatoes are added to enchilada sauce. This recipe doesn’t use tomatoes, and we liked it the best out of all of them. The spices give it the perfect flavor, it has that nice reddish-brown color and is just the right thickness. You don’t want the sauce to run off of your enchiladas!


Slow Cooker Smothered Burritos

Recipes that use Red Enchilada Sauce

So now you have the BEST enchilada sauce recipe, now what? Time to get to switching up that bland menu! 😉 Here are some great recipes to spice things up with your homemade enchilada sauce! 

LOVE MEXICAN??  I do, too!  Click HERE for all of my Mexican Recipes


I hope you love this recipe for Homemade Enchilada Sauce as much as we do!! I’d love to hear what you think!    M.



Red Enchilada sauce in a jar
4.91 from 11 votes
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How To: Make Your Own Homemade Red Enchilada Sauce

Make your own homemade red enchilada sauce, you will never buy the stuff in the can again!
Prep Time2 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
Total Time17 minutes
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: authentic, best homemade enchilada sauce recipe, easy, enchilada sauce without tomatoes, from scratch, gluten free option, homemade enchilada sauce, how to thicken enchilada sauce, How To: Make Your Own Homemade Red Enchilada Sauce, ingredients in enchilada sauce
Servings: 2.5 cups
Calories: 49kcal
Author: Michaela Kenkel


  • 2 Tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 Tablespoon all-purpose or gluten-free flour
  • 4 Tablespoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 tespoon oregano
  • 2 cups chicken or vegetable stock


  • Heat oil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Add flour and stir together over the heat for one minute.
  • Stir in the remaining seasonings (chili powder through oregano).
  • Gradually add in the stock, whisking constantly to remove lumps.
  • Reduce heat and simmer 10-15 minutes or until thick.
  • Use immediately or refrigerate in an air-tight container for up to two weeks.


Serving: 2ounces | Calories: 49kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 13mg | Sodium: 142mg | Fiber: 1g

This recipe was originally posted on July 28, 2014. It was updated to improve user experience and reshared on January 21, 2021


homemade red enchilada sauce


recipe source: Gimme Some Oven

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  1. Wow!! I didn’t realise that it’d be that easy to make enchilada sauce at home. So glad you created this recipe Michaela! I know what I will be using from now on 🙂

    1. Hi, Ally!! My husband is originally from Iowa! We live in Omaha now, but vacation in Okoboji every year! Where are you located in Iowa?

  2. Thanks for the recipe. I can’t wait to make it. I will put in a pinch of cinnamon (ceylon if you have it or fine ) and cocoa powder. PS. BEST TOPPER TO ENCHILADA IS AN OVER EASY EGG! YUM! EVEN BETTER THAN SOUR CREAM… try it you’ll like it.

  3. I love enchiladas but it’s difficult to get the sauce in the UK. This recipe is great for making your own in easy steps – thanks!

  4. Thanks so much for the recipe. Being in Canada enchilada sauce is surprisingly not sold in grocery stores so I always stock up on visits to the states. It was nice to be able to make it at home.

  5. This recipe sounds so simple! Definitely no more store bought sauce for me, will be using your recipe when I am making enchiladas again.

  6. I love this enchilada sauce! The canned stuff just tastes so nasty – I’ll be using this amazing recipe from now on!

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