10-Minute Homemade Enchilada Sauce

This easy 10-Minute Homemade Enchilada Sauce is the best! Made with fresh tomatoes, spices, and olive oil, this gluten-free, flavorful sauce makes every enchilada dish perfect.

Overhead view of a blender with the blended homemade enchilada sauce, ready to be used in an enchiladas. recipe

It’s very important to me that I enjoy my favorite foods while sticking to a healthy lifestyle. One of the first steps towards eating clean is staying away from over-processed foods whenever possible. And, the easiest way to do so is by preparing your meals at home. Then, you can always choose the ingredients that are best for you.

I’m not saying that eating in a restaurant is bad for you. Everything is good in moderation. It’s just that when you eat at home more often than you dine out, you have more control over what you put in your body. That’s because you know what goes into every part of the dish.

The next time someone tells you that cooking at home takes a lot of time and effort, invite them to dinner and make them enchiladas with this delicious 10-Minute Homemade Enchilada Sauce.

They’ll say your enchiladas are amazing and ask, “it took you just 10 minutes to whip this sauce up?” And, you can answer, yes it did. Isn’t that great?

So, enchiladas anyone?

Side angle of pouring the homemade enchilada sauce over the chicken into the skillet to make the shredded chicken for the shredded chicken enchiladas.

WHAT ARE ENCHILADAS?

Enchiladas are fantastic! Take a tortilla of your choice, such as my homemade corn tortillas, and roll it around shredded chicken or beef to form the enchilada. Then, pour the tasty enchilada sauce over the dish and bake it. 

I think enchilada sauce can make or break the recipe and that’s one of the reasons I decided to come up with a flavorful red sauce that I can make at home in minutes!

How To Make Homemade Enchilada Sauce

You’ve gotta make your own enchilada sauce. You won’t regret taking the time, and will seriously wonder why you waited so long. It’s oh-so-good and makes SUCH a difference in the flavor and texture of your enchiladas.

Plus, the sauce will take you just 10 minutes to make and doesn’t require a ton of ingredients.  I used to use the canned stuff and, now, I’m a total homemade enchilada sauce convert.

Here’s how to make homemade enchilada sauce:

  1. In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat.
  2. Add in the fresh tomatoes and garlic, and stir to combine and reduce heat to medium.
  3. Stir frequently and cook for 4-6 minutes, until the tomatoes become softened.
  4. Stir in the tomato paste, low sodium chicken broth, chili powder, onion powder, cumin, oregano, sea salt, pepper into the skillet, and continue to cook over medium-high heat for 5 minutes until slightly thickened.
  5. Transfer to a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.

Done!

Overhead view of a skillet with seasoned chicken that is topped with the homemade enchilada sauce for making the shredded chicken for the shredded chicken enchiladas.

WHAT IS IN ENCHILADA SAUCE?

You mean other than pure deliciousness?

If you’ve ever been to a Mexican restaurant, you’ve probably enjoyed the thick, flavorful red sauce. When it comes to making this luscious, rich sauce at home, you can easily customize it to your own taste.

Traditionally, enchilada sauce is made of chilies, tomatoes, and a whole variety of seasonings. It can be red, like this homemade enchilada sauce, or it can be green, like my yummy salsa verde.  But really, the choice is all yours!

Enchilada sauce is a red chili sauce very similar to taco sauce, just thicker.  A restaurant recipe uses red chilis as a base, and then you add seasoning to make your sauce. Basically, enchilada sauce is blended red chilis or red tomatoes and seasoning.

WHAT INGREDIENTS ARE IN HOMEMADE ENCHILADA SAUCE?

Want to know exactly what ingredients are in homemade enchilada sauce?  To make 10-Minute Homemade Enchilada Sauce you will need the following:

  • Tomatoes
  • Tomato paste
  • Minced garlic
  • Olive oil
  • Low sodium chicken broth (or vegetable broth to make it vegan)
  • Chili powder
  • Ground cumin
  • Dried oregano
  • Onion powder
  • Sea salt
  • Black pepper

Making Homemade Enchilada Sauce is very simple, and requires no fancy ingredients!

Overhead view of a casserole dish which is filled with shredded chicken enchiladas that have been topped with jack cheese, cheddar cheese, cilantro and homemade red enchilada sauce, ready to bake.

IS RED OR GREEN ENCHILADA SAUCE MORE SPICY?

The key difference between red and green enchilada sauce is that one is made from red chilies and the other from green chilies. With some exceptions, the red enchilada sauce is usually hotter than the green one, but it all depends on the chilies. Depending on the chilies and spices used, both green and red enchilada sauce can range from mild to really hot.

This homemade red enchilada sauce is not spicy at all, but it can be made spicier if you add in hot red chilies or cayenne pepper.

CANNED VERSUS HOMEMADE ENCHILADA SAUCE

Store-bought sauces tend to be full of refined sugar and unnecessary preservatives. That’s why I love making my own homemade enchilada sauce.  It’s easy and quick, and so much better for you.

If you’re interested in how many carbs are in enchilada sauce, one serving (1 cup) of my Homemade Enchilada Sauce has only 9 grams of carbs, of which 4.8 grams is natural sugar.

Other reasons why this will become your favorite enchilada sauce recipe:

  • It’s great to be able to control what goes in the recipe (no preservatives and artificial ingredients!)
  • You can adjust the spiciness to your tastes ← Yay!
  • It takes only 10 minutes to make
  • The sauce stores and freezes well
  • I love the combo of chili, garlic, and cumin and you can try other spices. too

Horizontal image of the spicy quinoa and black bean vegan enchiladas, ready to eat, topped with fresh cilantro, diced tomatoes, lime wedges, and jalapeños.

HOW TO THICKEN HOMEMADE ENCHILADA SAUCE

If your homemade enchilada sauce ends up too runny, it comes in handy to know some quick methods that will help you save the sauce (and the day!). If I want to thicken my enchilada sauce, I’ll use one of the following methods:

  • Masa harina paste (this is basically a mixture of corn masa flour and water)
  • Arrowroot starch
  • Cornstarch

Start with 1-2 tbsp of thickener and mix with a little water or chicken broth before adding to the sauce.  You could also add it to the blender and mix it together that way.  The idea is to avoid making the sauce lumpy from the added starch.  Also, keep in mind the sauce will thicken when baked in the oven. So don’t worry too much if it seems a little runny when you’re adding it to your enchiladas.

Close up of casserole dish and several green chile chicken enchiladas, baked and ready to eat.

HOW TO STORE, FREEZE, AND REHEAT ENCHILADA SAUCE

  • Storage: Properly stored in an airtight container or mason jar, this delicious sauce will last up to 4-5 days in the fridge. Not only does that make Homemade Enchilada Sauce (and enchiladas!) great for meal prep, but it also means that when you make a batch, you can make extra enchilada sauce to keep in the fridge.
  • Freezing: You can also freeze this sauce in a freezer-safe sealable plastic container and store it in the fridge for up to 3 months.  You can also freeze it in a mason jar, but remember to leave room at the top for expansion when it freezes.
  • Reheating: When you’re ready to use, just thaw overnight in the fridge, reheat in the microwave or in a saucepan on the stove and you’re good to go!

Close up horizontal shot of the shredded chicken enchiladas which have been baked so you can see the crispy edges of the corn tortillas and the melted cheese, covered in homemade enchilada sauce

HEALTHY ENCHILADA RECIPES

Nothing makes me happier than when I find a way to make healthier versions of my favorite restaurant meals. These enchilada dishes are flavorful with a nice kick of spice!

5 from 3 votes
This easy 10-Minute Homemade Enchilada Sauce is the best! Made with fresh tomatoes, spices, and olive oil, this gluten-free, flavorful sauce makes every enchilada dish perfect.
10-Minute Homemade Enchilada Sauce
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
5 mins
Total Time
10 mins
 

This easy 10-Minute Homemade Enchilada Sauce is the best! Made with fresh tomatoes, spices, and olive oil, this gluten-free, flavorful sauce makes every enchilada dish perfect.

Categories: Clean Eating, gluten free, Sauce
Difficulty: Easy
Keyword: enchilada sauce, enchilada sauce recipe, homemade enchilada sauce
Servings: 5 cups
Calories: 117 kcal
Author: Lacey Baier
Ingredients
  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 large tomatoes on the vine, diced
  • 1 tbsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 2 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth (use vegetable broth if vegan)
Instructions
  1. In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add in the fresh tomatoes and garlic, and stir to combine. Cook for 4-6 minutes, until the tomatoes become softened.

  2. Stir in the remaining ingredients (tomato paste, low sodium chicken broth, chili powder, onion powder, cumin, oregano, sea salt, and black pepper) into the skillet, and continue to cook over medium-high heat for 5 minutes until slightly thickened.

  3. Transfer to a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. 

Recipe Video

Nutrition Facts
10-Minute Homemade Enchilada Sauce
Amount Per Serving (1 cup)
Calories 117 Calories from Fat 77
% Daily Value*
Fat 8.5g13%
Saturated Fat 1.2g6%
Cholesterol 1.5mg1%
Sodium 218mg9%
Carbohydrates 9g3%
Fiber 2.9g12%
Sugar 4.8g5%
Protein 2.8g6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

This post contains affiliate links for products I use regularly and highly recommend.

Lacey Baier

Hey y’all, I’m Lacey Baier and I’m so glad you’re here! I’m a healthy lifestyle influencer and the creator of this clean-eating blog and YouTube channel, A Sweet Pea Chef. My recipes have been published on Food Network, Good Morning America, FoxNews, Tastemade, Fitness Magazine, and much more. I live in Dallas, Texas with my husband and four kiddos. Let’s get started!

10 thoughts on “10-Minute Homemade Enchilada Sauce

  1. Hi Lacey,
    How would you incorporate the red chiles into the sauce? Dried red chili peppers? Like anaheim peppers maybe?
    Thanks,
    Lisa

    1. I’d definitely add them to the pan along with the tomatoes once they’ve been soaked, assuming they’re whole chili peppers. That way, they get blended right along with everything else and add a great level of depth! 🙂

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