Forget about canned enchilada sauce- this is the Best Easy Enchilada Sauce Recipe that you will ever have! You don’t need any dried chiles, just spices and a few other pantry staples and you will have the best enchilada sauce in no time.
Why This Recipe Works
Bold Flavors: Despite this enchilada sauce recipe being simple and easy to make, it results in a sauce with big, bold flavors that are perfect for your next enchiladas or Mexican casseroles. Usually, this is made with dried chiles, but that process is a lot longer and it can be hard to find dried chiles in certain areas. So this is the next best thing!! It is still an authentic enchilada sauce, because this is the short cut way to make it for many people!
Versatile: This best easy enchilada sauce isn’t just for enchiladas. It is delicious to drizzle on other Mexican-inspired dishes like nachos, tacos, burritos, and chilaquiles. Or, use it as a marinade for meat to make some flavorful shredded chicken in the crockpot! This red enchilada sauce can be a used as a mild taco sauce or hot sauce that is also yummy on eggs or as a simple dip.
- Onion: Onion is needed for extra flavor and aroma!
- Salt: To taste.
- Spices: You will need cumin, chili powder, oregano, garlic powder and cinnamon to spice up the enchilada sauce!
- Flour: To thicken the sauce!
- Water: Water is best for this sauce, as opposed to broth.
- Brown Sugar: To balance the flavors of the chili pepper and tomatoes!
- Canned Tomatoes: I used regular canned tomatoes but you can use fire-roasted tomatoes for even more flavor!
- Chipotle Pepper: You will want to use one chipotle pepper from a can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. This adds a lot of smoky, deep flavor to the enchilada sauce!
- Apple Cider Vinegar: To add a bit of tang!
Here’s How to Make It
Step by Step Instructions
- Cook the Onions: Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions and the salt and cook, stirring regularly for 5-10 minutes until they’re soft and just starting to color.
- Add Cumin & Chili Powder: Stir in the cumin and chili powder, cooking for a further minute until the spices are aromatic.
- Add Flour: Stir in the flour and cook for a further minute before gradually pouring in the water, stirring all the time, to create a thickened sauce.
- Combine Ingredients & Cook: Stir in the brown sugar, oregano, garlic powder, cinnamon, tomatoes, and the chipotle pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil then reduce the heat to medium low, allowing it to simmer uncovered for 15 minutes.
- Blend: Remove from the heat and allow the sauce to cool before transferring to a blender and blitzing until smooth. This can also be done with a stick blender.
- Add Vinegar and Adjust to Taste: Stir in 1/2 tsp of apple cider vinegar. Taste, and add the remaining 1/2 tsp if you don’t think it will make the sauce too acidic. How much you add will depend on the brand of your tomatoes.
- For a spicier sauce, add a dash of cayenne pepper to the mix!
- If the sauce is too thick, add a splash more of water. If it is too thin, let it simmer a little longer with the lid off and it will cook down!
- To safely blend the sauce, make sure that you let it cool down. Once you transfer it to the blender, place the top on and hold the lid down with a kitchen towel while blitzing the mixture. If the mixture is too warm, it will create pressure that can cause the lid to pop off while blending, so this is the best way to do it!
- Or, use an immersion blender for ease.
Frequently Asked Questions
This enchilada sauce is pretty mild. The spiciest ingredient is the chili pepper in adobo sauce which is just slightly spicy with a smoky flavor. For a spicier sauce, add some cayenne pepper!
You can store leftover sauce in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks!
Absolutely! To freeze, store in a freezer safe container for up to 3 months.
More Easy Recipes to Try
- Best Canning Salsa
- Baked Salsa Verde Chicken
- Cheesy Spinach Enchiladas
- Southwest Stuffed Poblano Peppers
- Creamy White Chicken Enchiladas
Did you make this recipe? EXCELLENT. Please rate the recipe below and be sure to tag me on social when you share a photo of your CDLC creation!
Best Easy Enchilada Sauce
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 white or brown onion
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1 tbsp flour
- 1 cup water
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- ⅛ tsp cinnamon
- 1 28 oz canned tomatoes
- 1 chipotle pepper - in adobo sauce
- ½-1 tsp apple cider vinegar
- Heat the oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add the onions and the salt and cook, sitting regularly for 5-10 minutes until they’re soft and just starting to color.
- Stir in the cumin and chili powder, cooking for a further minute until the spices are aromatic.
- Stir in the flour and cook for a further minute before gradually pouring in the water, stirring all the time, to create a slightly thickened sauce.
- Stir in the brown sugar, oregano, garlic powder, cinnamon, tomatoes and the chipotle pepper. Bring the mixture to the boil then reduce the heat to medium low, allowing it to simmer, uncovered for 15 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and allow the sauce to cool before transferring to a blender and blitzing until smooth. This can also be done with a stick blender.
- Stir in 1/2 tsp of apple cider vinegar. Taste, and add the remaining 1/2 tsp if you don’t think it will make the sauce too acidic. How much you use will depend on the brand of your tomatoes.
- Use fire roasted tomatoes if you can find them to add extra flavor.
- Stored in an air tight container in the fridge this sauce will keep in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. It also freezes well.