Homemade enchilada sauce is just minutes away with my simple recipe. Not only does it taste better than store-bought, but it’s also quick & easy, too!

Homemade enchilada sauce in a bowl.


The other night for dinner I was strapped for time and had a hankering for Mexican food. I had leftover shredded chicken and flour tortillas but no enchilada sauce to make my favorite enchiladas. So, what is a girl to do? Make homemade enchilada sauce, of course!

I highly recommend making homemade enchilada sauce. Not only is it cost effective, but it’s also super quick & easy to make. And the best part? It’s SO much better than store bought! This recipe will make you about 2 cups worth which is plenty for making your favorite enchilada recipe with.

Make your own sauce at home. Not only does it taste better than store-bought, but it's quick & easy, too!

We can all agree that everything is better homemade, right!? Ok good, glad we are on the same page! This is definitely the case when it comes to enchilada sauce. It is so much better than the can of sauce you buy at a store. I promise you will not want to buy it at the store after you make this recipe. There is simply no comparison.


What I love about this enchilada sauce recipe is that you can easily double it and save the extra sauce for a rainy day when you are short on time or have a craving for some real Mexican food. This enchilada sauce is great to pair with overnight breakfast enchiladas, chicken avocado enchiladas, and enchilada stuffed shells

Red sauce with beef enchiladas.

Red Enchilada Sauce Questions Answered:

How to make enchilada sauce?

First, preheat some oil in a saucepan. Then sauté the onion for a few minutes after which you will add the seasonings and cook for just about 30 seconds. Next, stir in the tomato sauce and chicken broth and let it simmer for 10 minutes. Finally, remove the sauce from the heat and blend it using an immersion blender or regular blender with the lid on tight!

Finished enchilada sauce in a saucepan.

Can you freeze enchilada sauce?

You can freeze homemade enchilada sauce if you have any that is! Or, you can double the recipe and freeze the extras for next time. If you are storing it in a plastic container go ahead and secure the lid and stick it in the freezer. If you are storing it in a glass container it is best to leave a couple of inches of space at the top of the jar to leave room for expansion. Before putting it in the freezer first cool overnight in the fridge. Next, place it in the freezer on a flat surface with the lid off. Lastly, put the lid on when the sauce has become solid.

What is the difference between enchilada sauce and salsa?

Salsa is a tomato-based sauce full of chunky items such as tomatoes, onions, peppers, and lemon juice or vinegar. Enchilada sauce is a chili-based sauce that is smooth and may or may not include tomatoes.

Make your own enchilada sauce at home. Not only does it taste better than store-bought, but it's quick & easy, too!

Disclosure: This post includes affiliate links. 

Cook’s Note:

  • I got my cute, little canning jar at Home Goods. The brand is Fido and they come in a variety of sizes. You can also find these jars on Amazon.
  • At the end of this recipe, you’ll need to puree the homemade enchilada sauce with either an immersion blender or standard blender. If using a standard blender, make sure you hold the lid on VERY tight {read I totally know from experience}.
  • This recipe will keep for up to a week in an air-tight container in the refrigerator.

Cook’s Tools:

  • medium saucepan 
  • wooden spoon
  • immersion blender
  • glass storage jars

Finished sauce in a pot and all of the ingredients needed to make it.

Pin this recipe.


Check out some of my personal favorite recipes:

Finished enchilada sauce in a saucepan.
4.07 from 16 votes

Homemade Enchilada Sauce Recipe

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
24 people
Homemade enchilada sauce is just minutes away with my simple recipe. Not only does it taste better than store-bought, but it's also quick & easy, too!


  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 medium white onion diced
  • 3 large garlic cloves minced
  • 3 Tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon table salt
  • ¼ teaspoon oregano
  • 15 ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1 cup chicken broth


  • In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat preheat the oil. Add the onion and cook until the edges of the onion start to brown, about 3-5 minutes. 
    Sauté the onions and garlic.
  • Add the garlic, chili powder, cumin, salt, and oregano and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
    Add the chile powder, cumin, and other spices.
  • Stir in the tomato sauce and chicken broth. Bring the mixture to a simmer and keep at a simmer and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
    Pour in the chicken stock.
  • Remove the sauce from the heat. Using an immersion blender, blend until smooth, about 2 minutes. If you don't have an immersion/stick blender, you can use a blender. Just make sure you hold the lid on *VERY* tight, trust me I know from experience!
    Finished enchilada sauce in a saucepan.
  • Keep in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.


This recipe makes about 3 cups of homemade Enchilada Sauce. 


Serving: 2Tablespoons | Calories: 15kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Sodium: 242mg | Potassium: 98mg | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 375IU | Vitamin C: 2.4mg | Calcium: 10mg | Iron: 0.6mg

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Recipe Rating


  1. katrina c. says:

    This sounds awesome! How thick is the sauce? I’ve tried making my own sauce before and it ended up being really watery, well compared to canned version.

    1. Katrina,
      I thought the sauce came out just as thick as the canned variety. If you like yours a little thicker just simmer it for longer. Enjoy!

  2. katrina c. says:

    Perfect! Thanks! I wonder if simmering the sauce in my previous version was all I needed to do… I told my husband I found a new “clean” recipe for enchilada sauce. We’re having cheese and onion enchiladas for dinner! I’m so excited, I can’t wait for them! Thanks again!

  3. This sounds amazing and would be easy to make vegetarian too. Thank you for sharing. Pinning for later!

  4. MARIA simon says:

    how wonderful looking..thanks so much for posting and sharing 🙂

  5. mrsbubsmith says:

    wowee this looks so tasty i think i might head to chipotle for lunch lol

  6. I had some enchiladas that family brought over after I had my baby last week. Went to pop them in the oven and realized they wouldn’t be as saucy as I like. So I remembered I had pinned this recipe just the other day. So super glad I did. I had all the ingredients on hand and was able to make my saucy enchiladas. Thanks for the rescue!

    1. Tonya, I’m so glad you were able to use the recipe!

  7. I was wondering if anyone has tried freezing the enchilada sauce? I just thought maybe if I was to make a double recipe on one of those rare “free” days I have to get ahead on cooking and things, it would be super easy to do (as long as it keeps okay in the freezer).

    1. I have never tried freezing it but I bet it would be ok since it’s mostly tomato-based.

  8. what kind of chili powder.

    1. I used Target’s house brand, Market Pantry.

  9. Could I make a batch of this and can it?

  10. Valentina says:

    I love making my own sauces and having them at the ready. This one looks and sounds delicious — I’d probably use it on even more things than enchiladas! 🙂

    1. I love putting enchilada sauce over my mashed potatoes, SO good!

  11. What an amazingly delicious enchilada sauce. And vegetarian at that. I am totally loving it.

    1. Yes! So glad you love this enchilada sauce recipe!

  12. Love homemade sauce! Way better than store bought!!!

    1. I agree, SO much better than store bought!

  13. You and me both Jillian, re Mexican Food, YUMMO!! I haven’t tried to make my own Enchilada Sauce, but I will give this a go now as your recipe looks nice and easy. Cheers

    1. I hope you enjoy! 🙂

  14. I love making enchiladas at home and this sauce looks amazing!

  15. YUM! I love this sauce!

  16. I love enchiladas and never tried making it at home. This sauce looks and sounds so delicious!

  17. homemade is best! although I haven’t applied that to enchilada sauce yet, thanks for the inspiration!

  18. I love making my own sauces and condiments so I always know exactly what’s in them. This is a handy recipe for sure. Thanks so much!

  19. SO much better than store bought. I can’t wait to use it in my enchilada casserole too.

  20. I never thought to make my own enchilada sauce until I saw your recipe. It is absolutely delicious.