The best easy enchilada sauce recipe! Find out how to make red enchilada sauce at home with this simple recipe and you’ll never use store bought again.

A glass jar of homemade enchilada sauce.

“I am really into enchiladas right now. Could you make them for dinner?” Those were the first words my eldest daughter said after school the other day. It’s so funny how we, especially kids it seems, go through food phases. I always love when the kid request specific things for dinner because it gives me a break from always thinking up things to make, and I know they will eat and enjoy those dinners the most. I’ve made many,  many pans of enchiladas over the years, but always took a shortcut. Can you guess what it was? Yep, store bought enchilada sauce. I finally took a look at the ingredients on that can of sauce and found that enchilada sauce is really just a few simple ingredients, but the store bought versions I was using had additives like soybean oil and processed corn products. So I set that can back down on the store shelf and went to work making my own homemade enchilada sauce.

If you like making homemade sauces, be sure to also check out my  Fresh Tomato Marinara Sauce and How to Make Salsa with Fresh Tomatoes posts! While researching red enchilada sauce recipes I came across a range of recipes. Most English recipes started by making a roux, which is flour and oil or butter. I suspected this is not the traditional method, so I headed to recipes that were written in Spanish. I typed in “receta de salsa de enchilada” and watched several videos, in Spanish, of authentic enchilada sauce recipes. This recipe was adapted to this one I saw on YouTube.

The ingredients for homemade enchilada sauce include vegetable broth, tomato sauce, garlic, ancho chili pepper, cumin, and oregano.

How to Make Enchilada Sauce:

Homemade enchilada sauce requires just a few simple ingredients. I had all the ingredients except one in my kitchen already. The only new to me ingredient, and it is a main ingredient in authentic enchilada sauce, is ancho chilies. Many traditional Mexican enchilada sauce recipes use dried whole ancho chilies. The chilies are first hydrated in boiling water, and then blended into the sauce. I wanted this recipe to be on the authentic side, while using ingredients that are easy to find in North American grocery stores. My local Sprouts carried ancho chili powder, but not the whole dried chilies themselves, so that’s what I used here. Using ancho chili powder also means there’s one less step in the creation of our enchilada sauce, and that’s a plus in my book. You want to make sure to use ancho chili powder rather than regular chili powder that you might use in when making a pot of chili. While chili powder is a blend, ancho chili powder is simply ground ancho chilies.

This homemade enchilada sauce recipe is so easy to make in the blender!

I saute an onion and a few cloves of garlic before blending them with tomato paste, vegetable broth, and spices. Unlike the recipes I found that began with a roux and used onion and garlic powder, this recipe gets it thickness from the whole onion and tomato sauce. You can always add a little more vegetable broth to thin if you like.

A large sauce pan filled with homemade red enchilada sauce. This easy enchilada sauce recipe gets blended in the blender and then simmered on the stove.

Then the puree goes back into the pan to simmer away while the flavors develop into rich deliciousness.

This simple recipe makes the best easy homemade mild red enchilada sauce!

Homemade enchilada sauce can be used straight away for your favorite enchiladas or enchilada bakes, or kept in the refrigerator for a few days until you’re ready to use it. Have you ever made enchilada sauce? Did you use the whole chilies? Should I try that next?

I found ancho chili powder at Sprouts, but if you can’t find it, it is available on Amazon too.

Recipes That Use Enchilada Sauce:

Use this homemade enchilada sauce for any of your favorite enchilada recipes. It would be delicious on my Roasted Butternut Squash and Black Bean Enchiladas.You can also think beyond traditional enchiladas and make a Quinoa Enchilada Bake! Or try an enchilada soup.

Yield: about 1.5 cups

Easy Enchilada Sauce

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes

An easy homemade red enchilada sauce. This mild enchilada sauce is easy to spice up and perfect for your favorite enchilada or enchilada bake recipes!

Easy Enchilada Sauce


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup diced white onion
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons ancho chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 teaspoon coconut sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


  1. Heat olive oil over medium heat in a medium saucepan. Add the onion and saute until golden and tender, about 7 minutes. Add the garlic and saute another minute longer. Stir in the spices just to heat up, about a minute, taking care not to burn the garlic.
  2. Place the onion and garlic mixture and spices in a blender with the vegetable broth, tomato sauce, and coconut sugar. Blend until smooth.
  3. Pour the sauce back into the saucepan and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes. Add the salt to taste. Use the enchilada sauce right away for enchiladas or store in the refrigerator until ready to use, up to 3 days.


* If you like your enchilada sauce spicy, try adding a pinch of cayenne pepper or hot sauce. 
* Nutrition information is approximate and calculated by a third party app.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 15 Serving Size: Entire Recipe
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 301Saturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 0mgCarbohydrates: 0gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 0g
Find out how to make the best easy enchilada sauce ever! This red enchilada sauce recipe uses a few simple ingredients that get puréed in the blender for delicious traditional Mexican flavor. This easy recipe is vegan and gluten-free.