Enchilada Sauce

I’ve shared a few recipes on the site that show my love of Mexican inspired flavors. From my Spicy Chicken Stew to my Taco Pizza with Mexi-Sauce, it is pretty clear my family loves dishes that use ingredients from Mexican and Tex-Mex cooking. Enchiladas are no different. Whether I stuff them with chicken or beef, my people go crazy for a good tortilla oozing with cheese, meat and sauce.

Over the years I’ve tweaked and fiddled with different recipes for enchilada sauce. I’ve read that some folks swear a true sauce cannot have any tomato in it, while others fully embrace tomato as a faster way to get the flavor they crave. I have made the sauce both ways and it is quite satisfying to achieve the enchilada flavor by layering spices, simmering, tasting and adjusting until you get it just right. This method is great for those times when you have nowhere to be but the kitchen, but for the rest of the nights, I find a small can of tomato sauce gets me that flavor I want without the long trial and error process.

Give this one a try and feel free to adjust the seasonings to your preference. You can double this recipe and make a batch for dinner tonight and freeze the rest to have at the ready on a night when the drive through could win. But it won’t since you are prepared;)

Enchilada Sauce

Prep Time: 5 minutes | Total Time: 35 minutes | Makes: approx. 2 cups


  • 8 ounces (small can) tomato sauce
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste


  1. Combine chili powder, cumin, oregano, garlic powder and onion powder in one small bowl and set aside
  2. In a medium sized pot, add the extra virgin olive oil and warm over medium low heat
  3. Once a drop of water sizzles when added to the oil, add the dried spice mixture and flour and using a whisk or spoon, mix quickly for 1-2 minutes
  4. Slowly add tomato sauce, mixing well as you add to the spice mixture
  5. Next slowly add the chicken broth, mixing well as you add the broth
  6. Then, add the water, again mixing well to combine
  7. Allow the mixture to come to a gentle boil and lower heat. Add salt and pepper to taste and apple cider vinegar and allow sauce to simmer for 10-15 minutes or until slightly thickened
  8. Remove from heat, taste and adjust salt and pepper per preference
  9. Allow sauce to stand for 10-15 minutes before using. Sauce will thicken up a bit more after standing and can be used in any recipe that calls for enchilada sauce.


  • I like a little heat but am by no means a spicy food connoisseur. If you like your food a bit on the hot side, I would recommend adjusting the chili powder to at least 1 tablespoon in the recipe.
  • You should plan to have all your ingredients at the ready when making this. The spices boil and thicken fast once they go in the oil so make sure all your liquids are at hand and ready to go so you don’t run the risk of scorching your sauce.