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This Homemade Red Enchilada Sauce Recipe is super easy to make. It will become a must have when making your favorite homemade enchiladas.

Close up image of Red Enchilada Sauce in a Mason Jar.
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Homemade Red Enchilada Sauce Recipe:

We love making any kind of Mexican food at our house, including authentic Mexican food. Rather it be tacos, enchiladas, or a Mexican soup, these options are on a weekly rotation.

I am always trying to find ways to make ingredients at home and this Red Enchilada Sauce is no exception. I love that these ingredients are simple and I always seem to have them in my pantry.

This Red Enchilada Sauce is so flavorful and delicious. Plus it is super easy to make. Some recipes call for you to make a roux out of all purpose flour and olive oil. But I like to make things simple and I skip that step.

Close up image of a red enchilada sauce in a mason jar on a spoon.

The Best Enchilada Sauce:

This enchilada sauce is great for your favorite enchilada recipe or in a casserole. It is a restaurant style sauce but with simple ingredients. The best part is you know exactly what is in it because you are making it at home.

Of course you can easily buy a can at the store but this homemade recipe tastes much better. The combination of the tomato sauce and the easy spices make this THE BEST Red Enchilada Sauce that you can make at home.

Is Red Enchilada Sauce Spicy?

It all depends on the ingredients you use and how much of it. The chili powder that is listed below is a mixture of seasoning. It isn’t the chile powder that you might see at the store which is just ground chile peppers which causes it be spicy.

I use a mild brand of chili powder and just add cayenne pepper if I am wanting it to be spicier which helps this Enchilada sauce not be too spicy.

What is the difference between Salsa and Enchilada Sauce?

Both Salsa and enchilada sauce can both be made from scratch. The difference between the two is that salsa tends to be more chunkier and have a thicker texture. It is made up of more tomatoes, onions and chilies.

Enchilada Sauce can either be made without tomato or you can use tomato sauce. Generally, it has a thinner consistency.

Ingredients for Red Enchilada Sauce - Tomato Sauce, Green Chilies, Chili Powder, Cumin, Dried Oregano, Minced Garlic


  • Tomato Sauce
  • Green Chilies
  • Chili Powder
  • Cumin
  • Dried Oregano
  • Minced Garlic – You can also use ⅛ tspPowdered Garlic instead.
  • Water – If you prefer you can Chicken Broth or Vegetable Broth

How to make Red Enchilada Sauce:

  • Place all the ingredients including the cumin and garlic powder or minced garlic, except for the water into a food processor or blender and blend until smooth.
  • Once ingredients are well blended then pour the mixture into a sauce pan and then heat over medium high heat.
  • Once the sauce is warm, gradually add in the water and stir until the sauce is the consistency that you prefer and then enjoy!
  • Bring your sauce to room temperature before putting in jars or ziplock bags for storing.

Possible Variations:

As you know, we love to make recipes that have variations. This way it can fit your family needs or what you have on hand. This Red Enchilada Sauce is no exception.

  • Creamy Sauce – Do you like your sauce to be a bit more creamier? Add in about ½ cup heavy whipping cream as you are cooking the sauce.
  • Spicier Sauce – Occasionally we like have a bit of a spicier sauce. We simply just add in some cayenne pepper. It gives it the perfect kick to the sauce. A little goes a long way. I start by adding ¼ tsp. Then test taste it and add more if needed.
  • Milder Sauce – If you need the sauce to be milder, just add a little bit less of the chili powder. Then while it is cooking, you can taste it to make sure it is just what you wanted.

Taco Sauce vs Enchilada Sauce:

The biggest difference between taco sauce and enchilada sauce is the ingredients. Enchilada sauce main ingredients is the chilies where the taco sauce depends on the cayenne pepper.

When preparing the enchilada sauce we use chili powder but the taco sauce uses smoked paprika.

If you are in a pinch, you can use taco sauce for your Mexican dishes, but I tried to always have a jar of my Homemade Enchilada Sauce ready to use.

What to make with Red Enchilada Sauce:

So many ways to use this Red Enchilada Sauce. These are some of our favorites:

You can also use them for your cheese enchiladas, tamales or your favorite casseroles. It is even great in soups, nachos or your favorite Mexican skillet recipe.

Ways to use Red Enchilada Sauce:

Even though we use this recipe for our favorite enchiladas, there are other ways we use this red enchilada sauce recipe.

  • Try using it to simmer your meat rather in a skillet or a crock pot. Makes the best Mexican taco meat.
  • We love smothering our burritos in this sauce.
  • Have you used it for a dip? Mix in some sour cream for a dip that will be a hit at your next party.
  • When we are making homemade beef enchiladas we love dipping our leftover tortillas in this homemade sauce for a little pre-dinner snack. It is something my husband looks forward to.

Do you like making Homemade Seasoning or Sauces?

We love making our own seasonings and sauces. It really saves me money and I know exactly I am putting in my food.

Store bought seasonings are usually loaded with ingredients that I can’t pronounce so when I can make something at home, I do it.

Here are some of my favorites:

Try these Homemade Sauces:

Close up image of red enchilada sauce in a mason jar on spoon.

Can you make this ahead of time?

Yes. This recipe is great to make ahead of time. Not only do we meal plan, but I like to go through my cabinet and see if we are out of our homemade seasoning or sauces.

This red enchilada sauce can be store in the refrigerator or freezer. It will stay in the refrigerator in an airtight container for about 5 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

How to store Red Enchilada Sauce:

This recipe is great to double or triple your batch. While I am making a batch and have all the ingredients out, I like to go ahead and make extra so I can always have some on hand.

As long as your use the proper storing options your Red Enchilada Sauce will still taste great even if it’s in the freezer.

You can use a gallon ziplock back and freeze laying flat so that it doesn’t take up much space. A freezer safe airtight container is a great option as well.

Close up image of red enchilada sauce in a mason jar with a serving on a spoon.

Print Recipe here for Homemade Red Enchilada Sauce:

Homemade Enchilada Sauce

5 from 11 votes
This Homemade Red Enchilada Sauce Recipe is so easy to make. This Red Enchilada Sauce is perfect for your homemade enchiladas or casseroles.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 1
Cuisine Mexican
Course Sauces
Calories 278


  • 1 can Tomato Sauce 15 oz
  • 1 can Green Chilies 4 oz, do not drain
  • 1 Tbsp Chili Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Cumin
  • 1/2 tsp Dried Oregano
  • 1 tsp Minced Garlic
  • 2/3 cup Water
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  • Place all the ingredients except for the water into a food processor or blender and blend until smooth. Then pour the mixture into a sauce pan and then heat over medium high heat.
  • Once the sauce is warm, gradually add in the water and stir until the sauce is the consistency that you prefer and then enjoy!

Recipe Notes

This sauce is easy to make ahead of time. If you make it ahead of time, refrigerator in an air tight container for up to 5 days or you can freeze it for up to 3 months.

Nutrition Facts

Calories 278kcal, Carbohydrates 63g, Protein 11g, Fat 3g, Saturated Fat 1g, Polyunsaturated Fat 1g, Monounsaturated Fat 1g, Sodium 4704mg, Potassium 2449mg, Fiber 23g, Sugar 40g, Vitamin A 5346IU, Vitamin C 85mg, Calcium 150mg, Iron 9mg

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Easy enchilada sauce uses simple ingredients and is ready in under 15 minutes! This homemade enchilada sauce recipe is perfect for all your enchilada recipes.  You’l love this authentic red enchilada sauce recipe from scratch.  It’s easy to make and better than store bought too!  #eatingonadime #mexicanrecipes #homemadesauces #easyrecipes

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About the Author

Hi, I’m Carrie. Welcome to Eating on a Dime!

I’m on a mission to help you cook delicious meals without busting your budget. Together we are going to cook real food… for real families!

5 from 11 votes (10 ratings without comment)

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  1. Cynthia says:

    5 stars
    Sounds so good

  2. April says:

    I made this sauce tonight – it is FANTASTIC and just as easy as stated. I didn’t even do the stove/add water bit. I plan to make more and can it so I can always have some on hand. No more store-bought sauce for me!

  3. Carrie Barnard says:

    No make it taste like red enchilada sauce you would need tomatoes in some form. If you make it without tomato sauce, then I would use fresh tomatoes, stewed tomatoes or diced tomatoes instead. Sorry, I have made this without tomatoes.

  4. Candy M. says:

    You said you don’t have to use tomato sauce. I need a sauce without tomatoes. What would you use instead?