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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Homemade Enchilada Sauce {Red}

I’ve had a hankering for enchiladas lately. Normally I go with theย creamy chicken enchilada recipeย that I love so dearly, but this week I felt like a more traditional enchilada. And I wanted to try something I’ve never done before…make the sauce from scratch. I’ve always either bought a sauce packet or enchilada sauce in a can, but I got to thinking yesterday…homemade enchilada sauce would probably be pretty easy to throw together. It was!
homemade enchilada sauce from @janemaynard
After some poking around the Internet, I discovered that most enchilada sauce recipes are pretty much the same, so I just did a variation on what I found. I really really liked how the enchiladas came out! Nate and Anne (my sister who recently moved to town) agreed it was very tasty. No more packets and cans for me…I’ll definitely make the sauce from scratch from now on!
homemade enchilada sauce from @janemaynard
I stuffed last night’s enchiladas with pinto beans, cheese, grilled chicken, and sauteed bell peppers and onions. I just couldn’t stop myself from adding more and more stuff! Of course you could keep them more simple, but, I’ve gotta say, that combo was mighty fine.
Also, if I may, I do believe that I made the best guacamoleย everย last night. How do I do it? ๐Ÿ˜‰
homemade enchilada sauce from @janemaynard


homemade enchilada sauce from @janemaynard
Homemade Enchilada Sauce {Red}
Recipe type: Main Dish
Cuisine: Mexican
  • 1-2 cloves fresh garlic, minced or pushed through a press
  • 2 tablespoons finely diced onion- ¼ cup canola or vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 8-ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1½ cups water
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • salt to taste (about ½ teaspoon)
  • cayenne pepper to taste (if desiredโ€ยฆI left it out last night for the girls, but we agreed this sauce would be SO good all hot and spicy!)
  1. Heat about 1 tablespoon of the oil in a medium sauce pan over medium heat. Sautee onions until translucent. Add the rest of the oil, garlic, flour and chili powder. Stir constantly and cook for 3-5 minutes over medium heat. Add tomato sauce, water, cumin. Simmer over medium-low heat for about 10 minutes. Season with salt and cayenne pepper (if using).


  1. 1

    We have been making our sauce for some time now and boy is it so much better than what comes out of the can. The children love it!

  2. 2
    Emily Wignall

    I love homemade enchilada sauce. i’ve been using the America’s Test Kitchen recipe for ages…basically you cook the chicken in the sauce…super, super yummy. you can never go back to the canned stuff now!

  3. 3
    Christy M

    It looks like this makes about 3 cups or so? Do you use all that for one pan of enchiladas or is this enough to freeze some too?

    • Jane Maynard

      I was going to put that in the recipe and forgot – so glad you asked! so, I had plenty of sauce for a 9×13 pan, with some leftover…you’re right, I think it made about 2 1/2 cups. definitely not enough for 2 9×13 pans…probably enough for a 9×13 pan and an 8×8 pan. I’m rambling. is this even helpful? ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. 4

    I am definitely going to try your recipe – I’m all for homemade! And Jane … how do you do it (make the guac that is)? Please share because it looks creamy and very tasty.

    • Jane Maynard

      here’s my guacamole post, although the batch you see in these photos was a little different…here’s what I did!

      3 avocados, about 2 tablespoons salsa, 1 fresh garlic clove pushed through the garlic press, salt, pepper, chopped mini heirloom tomatoes, few shakes of onion powder – mashed it all together with my pastry blender. I even totally forgot about lime or lemon juice, which I always do…but this batch was seriously so yummy! I think the fresh garlic and the tomatoes were part of it – the tomatoes we had were super flavorful. mm mm mm.

    • Jane…here’s a tip for you. I notice you use a garlic press a lot in your cooking. I have used a garlic lots of times in the past but I tossed my out and opted for a microplane grater instead. it essentially does the same thing a garlic press does but with no wasted garlic. I’m not sure if you know what a microplane is or not but just in case you don’t….it’s a handheld grater that gives you fine shreds of garlic (or you can even use it to zest lemons/oranges, grate hard cheeses, and I even use mine to grate onions into food a lot to add moisture [like with meatloaf]and/or add different depths of flavor). I love my microplane. I use it probably every day. You can buy one at Walmart in the kitchen section by the utensils and other big graters and they are rather inexpensive as well. BTW, I’m going to give you’re enchilada sauce tonight. I use my own version typically but this looks good so I’m in. Happy cooking!

    • 100 times yes to the microplane for garlic! a friend just shared that tip with me a few weeks ago and I’m never going back to the press ๐Ÿ™‚ thank you so much for sharing all this great info – such a good tip!

  5. 5

    I love homemade enchilada class. I did a Mexican cooking class not too long ago, and we made our own sauce and our own carne asada & made Carne Asada Enchiladas…sooooo yummy! Our recipes are very similar except for I add chicken stock instead of water & I add dried oregano. Yay for enchiladas from scratch!

    • Jane Maynard

      carne asada is SOOOOO good.

      I didn’t use chicken stock this time around b/c my sister is vegetarian…but I was wondering about that. AND I was wondering about oregano, saw that in a few recipes…might have to give that a shake next time!

  6. 6
    Nikki CB

    Nicely done! Looks and sounds delicious.

  7. 7

    I usually double or triple the recipe and freeze for convenience. I also have corn crepes in the freezer to which I am going to fill with leftover turkey and top with enchilada sauce & cheese.

  8. 8

    That’s it? It sounds so easy, I’m wondering why I keep using the canned stuff. We make our own pizza sauce for the same reason. Once a tried making it and realized how easy it was, we never looked back!

  9. 9

    I had to laugh because as much as I love cooking most things from scratch, for some reason it never even occurred to me that homemade enchilada sauce was even possible. Duh! So glad you thought of it! Must try ๐Ÿ˜‰

  10. 10
    Vance Douglass

    Im thankful for the blog post.Really thank you! Much obliged.

  11. 11
    Jane Maynard

    carolina and kellyb – I was the same way, thinking…uh, this was just too easy! why didn’t I ever think about this before? ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. 12

    You have one of those crazy, super-powered blenders, right? (I think I remember a review here awhile back …) Anyway, I have a Vitamix and use a very similar recipe. But, in the interest of laziness, I throw everything in the blender, liquefy it, and then simmer it on the stove for 20 to 30 minutes (this replaces the preliminary cooking of the onion). It always turns out awesome, and most of all, fewer dishes!!

    • Jane Maynard

      yes, I do have one of those crazy, super-powered blenders (the blendtec)….good memory! that is a GREAT idea, will totally try that next time! thanks, hillary!

    • That is a FANTASTIC IDEA Hillary! I’m gonna do that when I make my sauce tonight. You know, better yet….I have an emulsifier too (which is basically a handheld blender type device that I can use directly in the pot on the stove top). I bet that would work great?! Just toss ingredients in pot, emulsify until well blended and simmer. Then instead of having to clean my blender I can simply rinse under HOT water and be done. Blender idea still awesome!! Great tip!

  13. 13
    Happy =)

    Oh YUMMY! I have been looking for DAYS for what I’ll be making for Cinco De Mayo… I use to have a recipe for enchiladas that were super easy & tasty, but, that was a looong time ago. I could not find one that sounded anywhere near the old one. This is not like it either… but, this sounds sooo good!

  14. 14
    Heather M

    I made this enchilada sauce for dinner last night! It was easy and delicious. We even had the leftovers today for lunch. Thanks so much for sharing!

  15. 15

    Yay! Thank you for posting this recipe. I am trying to make more things from scratch as my family are budgeting and trying to eat more whole foods at the same time…some weeks are difficult for sure! I think I may try to add some shredded squash or zucchini to the filling for a little extra veggie action. Love your blog & thanks for your post!

    • Jane Maynard

      you’re welcome! and I think the veggies sound yum! ๐Ÿ™‚ and thanks for you nice words!

  16. 16

    OMG Jane!! Thank you SO SO much!! My Husband doesn’t care for enchilada’s as much as myself and the kids, but he LOVED them this time!! (He actually told me I should buy “that brand of enchilada sauce” again!!) I did not have any tomato sauce, so I used tomato paste. Simply amazing and so easy! I shall never buy enchilada sauce in a can again. Thank you again!!!!

    • Gretchen

      Oh yes, I forgot to mention that I used this new sauce recipe with leftover pulled pork (Not barbecued) for a whole new, favorite meal of Pulled Pork Enchilada’s ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Jane Maynard

      yay!! so glad he loved them, that is awesome – and love that you have expanded to use the recipe in a new way – very cool! thank you for commenting ๐Ÿ™‚

  17. 17

    Made this last week and it was great! Thanks.

  18. 18

    Hi Jane,
    kudos for making your own sauce. I have always made my own sauce, I use the same recipe that is widely used in northern Mexico. I will share it with you just in case you ever want to try it. All you do is get a bag of dried red chiles such as Guajillo, California or New Mexico (BTW california, anaheim, new mexico and hatch chiles are all the same thing). Remove stem and seeds, since they are dried the stem easily snaps off then just shake seeds out. Place chiles and water into a stockpot, and bring to a boil. Boil until the chiles soften, about 10 minutes. Place the chiles and some of the liquid into a blender, and puree until smooth. Add more liquid as necessary to form a smooth sauce. Pass sauce through a mesh strainer to remove any seeds and skins. And that is it, you have red chile sauce. You can use this sauce for chile colorado, posole, enchiladas and many other recipes. When I use the sauce for enchiladas I usually heat some oil in a pan with garlic then add the sauce and season with salt. I make my enchiladas with corn tortillas, stuffed with cheese and onions then topped with queso fresco. YUM! I hope you will try making it sometime, hopefully you will like it as much as I like your recipes. If you ever want a recipe for Mexican food please feel free to email me. I will be more than happy to share our family recipes with you.

    • Jane Maynard

      so excited you commented – thank you for the recipe!

    • Karen

      @ Lorena – do you have a family recipe for shredded beef you wouldn’t mind sharing? The type you’d use for tacos, enchiladas, etc.? I’ve experimented with several, but not completely happy with any yet. Much, thanks!

      @ Jane – thank you for this recipe! I’m new to this site and you’ve inspired me to try making this homemade sauce. My husband and I have never liked the canned….

  19. 19
    Sabrina Burke

    I was never able to find any enchilada sauce in a can that appealed to me, so I went on the hunt and found this recipe. It was so easy and so delicious that I will never try anything else again.I did add the cayenne and that really set it off. Thank you!

  20. 20
    Steven Frankeberger

    Perfect for our chicken enchiladas…much better than the canned sauce!

  21. 21
    Becky Spencer

    Thank you for the recipe for enchilada sauce. What kind of chili powder do you use? Also I have hanging red chilies outside, should I use those? Becky

    • Jane Maynard

      I just use whatever chili powder I have on hand – for a while I just had the grocery store brand chili powder (so fancy!), right now I’m using Penzey’s. ๐Ÿ™‚

      you should totally try the red chiles you have! I bet it would be fabulous!

  22. 22

    I am very sorry that misinformation has been spread everywhere about the making of authentic Mexican enchilada gravy. Firstly, sauce is salsa and pico de gallo not gravy one is so used to having in restaurants and Mexican homes on top of their enchiladas. Corn tortillas are used for enchiladas and flour tortillas for burritos. There are no tomato products in authentic Mexican red enchilada gravy. And it is correctly chile not chili powder. Chili is a dish with meat and beans. Chiles are fresh or powdered vegetables (or herbs as some say) some hot and some not. What is on this site is more Tex-Mex made to non-Mexican taste. We are a Mexican family and I have lived in California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas and have never encountered tomato products in enchilada gravies there or in Mexico only in Texas. Water is not usually used but broth is. Oregano is used and much less garlic. I use olive oil and make a roux and double your chile powder.

    • Jane Maynard

      hello there! I have a few really close mexican friends and have had their authentic mexican enchiladas…and they are delish! my recipe here is more trying to create a homemade version of what americans normally buy in the store and, while maybe not authentic, it is still delish! I also used chili powder (not chiles) in this recipe – like chili powder that is easy to find at the store and normally used for chili.

      ANYWAY…yes, this is definitely more tex-mex and not authentic mexican. thanks for clarifying and maybe I’ll have to share make hard core mexican enchiladas one day! thank you for the tips, too! will use them if I try that sometime! ๐Ÿ™‚

  23. 23

    This was so yummmmmy my family loved them and cant wait for me to make them again!

  24. 24

    I am a lap band patient and LOVE Mexican food, but can’t eat too much of it anymore… ๐Ÿ™

    I have to have good sauce with my enchiladas because they must be moist in order for them to go down… have you tried adding milk or cream at the end to make it a bit creamier?

    • Jane Maynard

      I have not added it to this particular sauce, but I have to other enchilada recipes. I think it would be worth a shot with this one – I love creamy tomato sauces in italian food, why not enchiladas? you’ve got my mind churning on this! ๐Ÿ˜‰

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