Homemade Enchilada Sauce

by Merissa on December 18, 2013

in Recipes

Homemade Enchilada Sauce - Little House Living

Homemade Enchilada Sauce

In New Mexico, whenever you eat at a Mexican restaurant, you will most likely be asked "red or green?" when ordering enchiladas.  Red enchilada sauce is traditionally made with red chile pods or chili powder, and green sauce is made with green chilies.  You can also order them "Christmas style" which is topped with half green sauce and half red sauce.

When you think of Enchilada Sauce, you may automatically think of warm, spicy, and cheesy enchiladas.  Don't get me wrong, I love enchiladas! They're a staple in my household, and we make them frequently.  However, enchilada sauce can do so much more than just make enchiladas.  A good homemade enchilada sauce can be the base for any spicy soup, such as posole, tortilla or enchilada soup.  It can lend rich, spicy flavor to taco meat, chili, or Spanish rice.   You can even create a make ahead chicken casserole dish for a busy weeknight.

This homemade enchilada sauce has better flavor than the canned version, and is incredibly simple and quick to whip up.

Homemade Enchilada Sauce

What You Need:

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 1/8 cup chili powder
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 6 oz tomato paste
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Warm olive oil in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Add garlic and saute for 30 seconds, until fragrant.  Sprinkle in flour and chili powder, and whisk quickly to avoid clumping.  Slowly add chicken stock, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring after each addition, until smooth.   Add remaining ingredients and mix until fully incorporated, then simmer on medium-low for 15 minutes.


If making enchiladas, try making these Homemade Tortillas, stuff them with ground beef and cheese, roll, and top with enchilada sauce and more cheese. Bake at 350 for 30-45 minutes.

Homemade Enchilada Sauce

If you want to try posole, brown 1 pound of cubed pork in olive oil, then pour in 2 cups of enchilada sauce, two cups of chicken broth, and 2 cups of hominy.  Simmer for 30 minutes, until pork is cooked through and the stew is starting to thicken.

*This recipe can be canned...just leave out the flour and pressure can at 10 lbs. for 50 minutes for pints and 60 minutes for quarts.

Does your family love to eat Mexican dishes? Have you ever made your own homemade Enchilada Sauce?


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6:00 am

{ 38 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Tammy R December 18, 2013 at 7:24 am

Sounds easy!! Do you also have a green enchilada sauce recipe you can share?


2 Martha December 18, 2013 at 8:04 am

Double the recipe and can the rest in pint jars using a water bath – so easy! Been doing this for years!


3 Marianne December 18, 2013 at 11:30 am

Since you’re using chicken broth, it should be pressure canned.


4 Merissa December 18, 2013 at 11:32 am

Yes I agree, I’ve included the recipe for pressure canning at the bottom of the post above.


5 Lori December 18, 2013 at 8:17 am

I am so excited about this! I begrudgingly buy enchilada sauce because there are so many things I can’t pronounce on the ingredients list. As a native Texas, Mexican food is a staple. I can’t wait to try this!


6 Julie December 18, 2013 at 6:50 pm

The way Green enchilada sauce is made in Mexico is to boil Green tomatoes, chiles jalapeños, and garlic until they are cooked and then blend, add salt to taste and if it is too acidic, a bit of sugar can be added too. This one would work best for enchiladas.

To make enchiladas pass a tortilla through hot oil so it won´t be soggy, drain the oil and repeat with the rest of the tortillas.

To assemble, submerge the tortilla in the hot sauce, fill (chicken, cheese or beef) and put on the plate, add some sour cream and shredded cheese. Can be served like this or melted in the oven.

My favorite récipe for this sauce would be chilaquiles, to make them cut tortillas in triangles, fry in the oil until crispy. Put the fried tortillas on a plate, add the hot sauce, sour cream, cheese and chopped onion. Can also add chopped cilantro or shredded chicken. These are best with a side of refried beans and a bolillo.


7 Helen Enns December 22, 2013 at 8:32 pm

Well you just officially made me very hungry lol. That all sounds so very good!!


8 Tammy January 1, 2014 at 11:17 am

Oh, my word, but that sounds DELICIOUS! Yummy! Adding to my recipe file along with the red sauce. Yippee!


9 Roman Garrett December 18, 2013 at 9:46 pm

If you typically purchase canned enchilada sauce rather than making homemade, you’re going to want to stop that right now. This Chile Gravy Enchilada Sauce is what makes the dish. So rich with flavor! You could easily make a double or triple batch of the sauce, it’s not hard at all, and freeze it in individual recipe sized portions.


10 Peg December 21, 2013 at 6:35 pm

Thank you for posting this! The canned sauce you buy always tastes like the inside of the can! I’ve been looking for this for a long time, just couldn’t find one that didn’t take forever to make!


11 Rosie Contreras December 21, 2013 at 8:02 pm

I love this post! Your recipe is very similar to mine. Sometimes I replace the chili powder (when time allows, so not often) with chili paste I make myself. I simmer seeded and unstemmed dried ancho chili pods in just enough chicken or beef broth (or water) until they are tender. I let them cool for a bit and then puree. I use about a half cup in a recipe like the one you posted in place of the chili powder. We tend to use ancho chiles here in San Antonio, Texas. I have never made enchiladas with flour tortillas as corn tortillas (red, yellow, or white) are the norm. The ancho chili paste is excellent in anything for which you’d normally use chili powder. It’s easy to freeze in containers for defrosting and using later.

I love your blog!


12 Rosie Contreras December 21, 2013 at 8:06 pm

Ooops, I forgot to add that your tortilla recipe is just about spot on with the tortillas handmade by my grandma and her generation of Mexican ladies (they used simmering hot water to make their tortilla dough – but I must try them with milk!) As a child, I woke up every morning to homemade, hand rolled tortillas fresh off the comal (griddle in Spanish). I loved them slathered with butter. Until I went to school, I thought everyone woke up to fresh and hot tortillas every morning.


13 Merissa December 21, 2013 at 8:09 pm

Wow, I’m jealous, YUM!


14 tara pittman December 21, 2013 at 10:01 pm

Thankyou for the recipe, I live in albuquerque Nm and now I can make my own red sauce. I am also very frugal so I love your blog.


15 Karen Wood December 27, 2013 at 6:59 pm

Thank you for the recipes. I can’t wait to try the flour tortillas and I’m going to try and make the enchilada sauce without the garlic because I developed an allergy to it and onion and I don’t eat meat anymore so will try something other than the chicken broth. I used to make enchiladas all the time. I do miss them a lot. I don’t think I can make them as good as these without the standard ingredients but maybe I can make a good enough substitute. I have had enchiladas stuffed with potato instead of meat so I will try that.


16 KimH December 31, 2013 at 1:23 pm

Mexican Green sauce is traditionally made from tomatillos.. not green tomatoes.. though in Mexico they do call tomatillos tomates too.
I do make a mock green sauce with all my leftover green tomatoes from the year but its not as good as tomatillos.


17 Marla E December 31, 2013 at 8:53 pm

How would you can this without a pressure canner? It sounds wonderful to make and have ready for a quick mid week meal or for guests that pop in at the last minute. Also sounds like a good gift to give new parents with all the fixings for a quick meal.


18 Merissa January 1, 2014 at 7:15 am

This recipe will need to be pressure canned for safety since it includes chicken broth.


19 Cheryl W. January 1, 2014 at 9:19 pm

I have a question, please. I am dying to make this recipe, but I eat low carb. Everything looks fine except for the flour. I was wondering. You said in your post that if you’re canning it, not to add the flour. Can you explain why? Also if you can leave it out for canning, can you just leave it out period? I could try maybe coconut flour or almond flour, but I really would rather not. I would love to try this sauce in my enchilada stuffed bell peppers. Thanks in advance for any info you could provide.


20 Merissa January 2, 2014 at 7:18 am

You shouldn’t can flour, it’s just a thickener and can be added later. You could add any kind of thickener later or just leave it the way it is without the flour/starch.


21 loyda January 12, 2014 at 2:51 pm

You don’t have to use chicken broth. I never have ! IF you can buy New Mexico red chile. It is by far the best out there ! And I usually don’t use tomatillos. they definitely give it a different flavor. Both my Parents are from NM… but my Father only liked green chile and my Mother only the red….. LOL


22 Lindsay January 19, 2014 at 9:26 am

To can it says to leave flour out. Do you add the flour than when ready to use?


23 stephanie January 21, 2014 at 7:04 am

I am not into canning. I am wondering if I could freeze the sauce and still leave out the flour. Any thoughts?


24 Merissa January 21, 2014 at 7:49 am

That should work just fine 🙂


25 Rebecca March 16, 2014 at 2:15 pm

I wanted to make this tonight to have it ready for supper later this week and just realized it calls for tomato paste. I don’t have tomato paste on hand, but I do have home canned and frozen tomato sauce. Would either my canned or frozen sauce work for this? Thanks!


26 Merissa March 16, 2014 at 4:10 pm

That should work, the sauce just may be a little thinner.


27 Tracee July 23, 2014 at 5:50 am

This is considered a red sauce. The chili gravy that Roman speaks of is more of a brown sauce. It is more of a cross between flour based gravy and your typical enchilada sauce. It is a smoky flavor using cumin, smoky chilies and garlic. It doesn’t pack as much of a punch as some red sauces do. I prefer it over red sauce anyday. Robb Walsh has an excellent recipe.

I view recipes as mere suggestions. I use them to get the ratios right and then make changes to make it my own. Drives my hubs mad! I don’t write them down because I rarely prepare savory dishes the same way. Taste taste TASTE!

As a misplaced Texan (I met a boy in a bar and married him six months later. I have been living above the Mason-Dixon Line for 16 years.) We do return to my beloved Texas (Austin) several times a year to visit family and gorge on mexican food and BBQ.


28 Lindsey September 22, 2014 at 12:33 pm

How long will this last in the fridge?


29 Laura October 16, 2014 at 1:35 pm

Thank you for including the pressure canning instructions. It’s starting to alarm me as I look for recipes to can that there are so many comments talking about water bath canning recipes that have many in low acid ingredients.
It’s not just the chicken broth or meat that has to be pressure canned. Even vegetables are considered low acid and must either be pressure canned or have a lot of acid (lemon, lime, vinegar, citric acid) added to make them safe to WBC. Onions, garlic, even many sweet heirloom tomatoes are considered low acid now. Safe canning Ph is 4.6. Anything higher than that is unsafe and risks you eating spoiled food or even botulism. I hope pressure canning gets more popular. It is wonderful to be able to can soups, stews, sauces and vegetables and I use my pressure canner to WBC also just leave the lid off. Good luck everybody and please be careful with low acid foods in WBC.


30 loyda January 22, 2015 at 8:03 am

Yummm ! using New Mexico green or red will make it taste SO much better 🙂 Glad to see someone using flour tortillas instead of corn ! That is the only way we make them !! Don’t forget that red chile sauce is great with eggs for breakfast 🙂


31 Danielle January 23, 2015 at 11:55 am

Thank you for this! It’s a super simple recipe for a huge staple in my house. I have been cutting back on enchiladas because of the looooong list of unrecognizable ingredients in the canned stuff. Will this recipe freeze?


32 Merissa January 23, 2015 at 12:56 pm

You should be able to freeze this recipe, yes.


33 Heather Grow January 28, 2015 at 10:44 pm

I made the mistake of reading a can of green enchilada sauce in the store last week. Yuck! Thanks so much for your recipe/s.


34 Alicia Greene January 8, 2016 at 9:45 pm

Hi. I just had to chime in with this enchilada sauce. Being 1st generation Mexican our enchilada sauce consist of chilacate. Chilacate is made from dried chile California, garlic, salt, and some Mexican oregano. You boil it, blend it and run it through a strainer. It is used both in pozole and enchilades. For a pot you use. 8 dried chile California stems and seeds removed, 3 to 4 garlic pieces, salt to taste, and a pinch or 2 of mexican oregano. It will be the best chilacate you have tried!


35 Peta March 4, 2016 at 10:55 pm

This sauce was amazing!!!! I added some roasted capsicum into mine as well and purred the sauce when cool. I also made your homemade tortillas as well and our enchiladas were the best I’ve ever made. I made 1/2 with mince and 1/2 with chicken. Even our 3 year old loved his chicken one. Thanks for the recipe!


36 Julie March 19, 2016 at 4:12 pm

Can this recipe be tripled, etc for bigger batches to pressure can?


37 Merissa March 19, 2016 at 4:15 pm

Yes it can, however you will need to leave out the flour when you can it. You can always add a thickener back in later if needed 🙂


38 Susie January 19, 2017 at 10:15 am

I would love to pressure can this but didn’t find canning instructions at bottom of post. Please help!


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