Homemade Enchilada Sauce Recipe

How to make homemade enchilada sauce recipe from HousewifeHowTos.com

Poor planning led to me to try a homemade enchilada sauce recipe the first time. I’d had one thing on our dinner menu, but at the last minute got a craving for Mexican food and we were out of enchilada sauce. Now, I’d never tried the freshly made stuff before, so I was surprised at how easy it was to make.

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I have to admit: this isn’t one of those homemade recipes that costs a fraction of the commercial stuff. Last I checked, a can of enchilada sauce was $0.89, and a can of tomato sauce went for about the same. This homemade enchilada sauce recipe makes the equivalent of two cans, and will basically cost as much as the commercial stuff but the taste difference is astounding!

Ingredients for homemade enchilada sauce recipe

Unlike the commercial stuff, you can adjust the seasonings to suit your family’s preferences. It’s very forgiving. If you have kids who don’t like spice, reduce the amount of chili powder. Want more spice? Add a pinch of cayenne. Two ingredients are absolutely essential, though: cumin and cocoa. Together they provide the authentic depth of flavor in quality Mexican food.

Once you measure out your ingredients, you’ll be making them into a paste using water. It’s very important that you mix this paste thoroughly so the flour doesn’t clump together when you transfer it into the sauce pan.

Cooking the enchilada sauce recipe

At this point, it will smell like enchilada sauce, but it doesn’t quite taste like it yet. As you heat the sauce, constant whisking will ensure it thickens without clumping. Then you add the tomato sauce.

Finished enchilada sauce recipe

Now’s the time to start adjusting your seasonings, bumping up the spice or adding salt if you want. I find that the older my spices get the more chili powder and cumin I need — for some reason their flavors seem to fade faster than others in my spice drawer.

Don’t be surprised if you find yourself tempted, as I was, to grab a tortilla chip and give that stuff another taste. It’s okay. Really. No one will blame you. How else are you to know when it’s ready, right?

Enchilada Sauce
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Homemade enchilada sauce has the depth of flavor and fresh taste you've been missing!
Recipe type: Condiment
Cuisine: Mexican
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce
  1. Combine the dry ingredients in a small bowl.
  2. Add water to dry mix 1 tablespoon at a time, stirring constantly until a paste is formed
  3. Scoop the paste into a sauce pot and, using a whisk, add remaining water.
  4. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until slightly thickened.
  5. Add tomato sauce, reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. Makes 4 cups

Of course, this is fantastic on homemade enchiladas, but why limit yourself? Try these uses, too:

Tostadas: Bake a corn tortilla until crisp, smear some refried beans on it and drizzle on some of the sauce, then top with shredded lettuce and chopped tomatoes.

Tex-Mex Shredded Chicken: Pour it over boneless, skinless chicken breasts in a crockpot and let it cook on low 6-8 hours then shred with two forks for excellent chicken to use in taco salads, burritos and quesadilla.

Frijole Dip: Pour some sauce over a bowl of refried beans, top with diced white onion, sliced black olives, chopped green onions, and shredded cheese. Scoop with chips or your favorite veggies. Yum!

Equipment I Used For This:


  1. Sue says

    I wonder if a homemade tomato sauce would work as well as the canned or would be too acidic (thinking to myself..LOL). I can a lot of sauce at this time of the year which I then flavor accordingly for recipes throughout the winter.

    There’s only one way to find out if this recipe works this way and that’s by trying, which I will.

    Thanks for sharing what looks like a delicious sauce!

    • Katie Berry says

      Sue, it should probably work even better, I imagine! I only got 4 tomatoes last year due to some mean raccoons that used my garden as their personal buffet, and this year’s tomatoes are only now starting to turn red, or I’d give that a try myself. Please let me know how it turns out!

      • Sue says


        Made this today with fresh homemade sauce and it is scrumptious. Tweaked it a bit to taste, otherwise this is a very easy, loaded with flavor recipe.

        My grandkids were here for the day and they love burritos and the leftover chicken in the fridge fit the fill. All plates were clean!

        Thanks so much for sharing. Here’s hoping the outside creatures allow you to harvest more juicy tomatoes this season!

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