A Classic Homemade Red Enchilada Sauce

by | Jan 30, 2023 | articles

One of the more popular Mexican dishes ordered in restaurants and made at home. The grocery aisle will have multiple options for enchilada sauce for rojo and verde. You can’t go wrong with a tortilla slathered in sauce, stuffed with cheese and covered in sauce and more cheese, then baked to perfection. If this is not full flavor comfort then we don’t know what is. Well maybe we do! Maybe we do know what’s more comforting. A classic homemade enchilada sauce that is sure to make your taste buds have higher standards and comfort with authenticity. 

Enchilada sauce isn’t traditionally made with chili powders, spices and water thickened up with flour to leave a tin flavor residue in your mouth. You’ve become so accustomed to what you know enchilada sauce to be. The reality is that enchilada sauce is so rich in flavor from the multiple chilis (guajillos, ancho and new mexico) combined with cumin and mexican oregano. Garlic, onion and some tomato paste bring it all together. Making homemade enchilada sauce is quite simple with high rewards. It also has many uses so making a batch is well worth the effort. Homemade enchiladas sauce can be used on burritos to make a wet burrito, chilaquila’s, add some to a warm tortilla with a fried egg and some cotija cheese for a breakfast sure to please. Use it in a main meal dish as a sauce. Season some chicken, grill, top with some homemade enchilada sauce, serve with a side of rice and beans. Enchilada sauce is so versatile that you will soon find it a must pantry item to jazz up any dish. 

Ready to prepare a homemade enchilada sauce? 

The preparation time for this homemade enchilada sauce is about twenty five minutes.  Making about 4 cups at a time is ideal for multiple uses and can last from 7 – 10 days in your refrigerator. Having all the key ingredients handy will make it a smooth process. Most of the ingredients are basic like onion, garlic, tomato paste, salt and water. Ingredients that are specific to homemade enchilada sauce are cumin, mexican oregano and a variety of chilis. Having all the specific ingredients in a kit can make it easier and cost effective. Buying chilis individually can be costly. This enchilada sauce kit has everything you need measured out with the exact amount you need. 

Here is a homemade enchilada sauce recipe:


  • Enchilada Sauce kit
  • 1 Yellow Onion
  • 6 cloves of garlic or more or less depending on taste
  • 1 Tbsp of tomato paste
  • 4 cups of water or chicken stock or vegetable broth
  • Salt to taste


How to make Enchilada Sauce.

  1. Prep – with scissors cut chilis below the stem and deseed through the opening. Leave seeds in for a spicier sauce. Chop 1 yellow onion, deskin 6 cloves of garlic, measure out 1 Tbsp of tomato paste, measure 4 cups or of your choice of liquid. Have salt handy.
  2. Cook – Toast whole chilis in a dry skillet over medium high heat. Keep tossing until chilis become really fragrant. About 2-3 mins. Be Careful not to burn the chilis.
  3. In a sauce pot simmer on medium low heat toasted chilis, 6 cloves of garlic, 1 diced yellow onion, 1 Tbsp tomato paste, and 4 cups of water or chicken broth or vegetable broth for 15-20 minutes. Chilis and onion will be tender and soft.
  4. In a blender add everything from the pot and the spice packet. Blend until smooth.
  5. Now you are ready to make enchiladas! Also great for chilaquiles or wet burritos.
  6. Sauce will last in the fridge for 5-7 days and freeze for up to 3 months.

Leftover homemade enchilada sauce? Make this! 

Cheesy Enchilada Rice Skillet


  • 2 tablespoon of oil 
  • 1 onion, chopped up
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped or minced
  • 1 cup of white rice
  • 1.5 cups of chicken broth or water
  • 1 cup of the homemade enchilada sauce
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 cup of black beans from a can, drained and rinsed before using
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese


  • In a big skillet, bring the oil to a temperature of medium heat. 
  • After adding the onion and garlic, continue cooking until they have become more tender.
  • After stirring it in, cook the rice for another minute or two, or until it has a light brown color.
  • Add the chicken broth, or water, homemade enchilada sauce, salt, and pepper should be added at this time. 
  • Bring to a boil, then immediately cover the skillet and reduce the heat to a low setting. 
  • Rice should take about 20 – 25 mins to cook. 
  • Mix in the shredded cheese, corn, and black beans. Cook until the cheese is melted.

Serve it hot!  Enjoy!