Homemade Enchilada Sauce

When I need enchilada sauce I usually buy the canned stuff. There was one occasion years ago when I decided it was a good idea to grind and mix my own chili powder, make enchilada sauce, and spend hours (and hours) making homemade tamales. I’ve never been to keen on the taste of canned sauce but my one experience has been enough to leave me with PTSD flashbacks every time I consider making it again.

It wasn’t until a few weeks ago that I realized making my own sauce didn’t mean I had to go through all the steps I once did to make chili powder- I could use store-bought chili powder, you know, like normal people do! Ding, ding. I’m a winner.

And let me tell you, I can’t believe it’s taken me so long to have this realization! This enchilada sauce is so incredibly easy to make and it tastes infinitely better than the zippy-tinny sauce you can buy at the store.

You’ll start by heating a couple tablespoons of oil in a skillet and adding some chili powder, cumin, and corn starch to the pan. Give it a stir and let cook for about 1 minute- once you can start to smell it, you’re good.

Homemade Enchilada Sauce | heatherlikesfood.com

Next, you’ll stir in some chicken broth and tomato sauce, mixing until it’s well combined and smooth. Keep stirring until it comes up to a boil and is starting to thicken and let boil for 1 minute. Remove from the heat.

Homemade Enchilada Sauce | heatherlikesfood.com

Stir in a few teaspoons of dried oregano.

Homemade Enchilada Sauce | heatherlikesfood.com

Give it a stir, and you’re done!

Homemade Enchilada Sauce | heatherlikesfood.com

It’s now ready for smothering burritos, baking enchiladas, making soup or straight up dipping chips in (do it).

Homemade Enchilada Sauce | heatherlikesfood.com

Um, yeah. I’m gonna need some chips.

Homemade Enchilada Sauce | heatherlikesfood.com

 Also, if you haven’t yet, would you be so kind to vote for my California Cheesesteak Dip in the Lipton Dip to Win Contest? Vote HERE or see the recipe HERE. Thanks a bunch!

Homemade Enchilada Sauce
Serves: 4 cups sauce
  • 3 tbsp canola oil
  • ⅓ C corn starch
  • ⅓ C chili powder
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 4 C chicken broth
  • 1 C tomato sauce
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • salt to taste
  1. Heat canola oil over medium heat in a large skillet and stir in corn starch, chili powder, and cumin. Let cook, stirring for 1 minute or until fragrant.
  2. Whisk chicken broth and tomato sauce into the spice mixture and mix until smooth. Bring to a simmer and let boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat.
  3. Stir in oregano and season with salt as needed. All chili powders are different- some will need salt, others will not.


  1. says

    I’m all about homemade but even more important than that, I’ve discovered that i don’t love quite a few brands of canned enchilada sauce. They can taste a little gritty and harsh. pinning this!

    • Heather says

      I agree, they can be harsh and gritty! This recipe is smooth and perfectly seasoned -soo good! Thanks for pinning my dear!

  2. Sarah Leslee says

    I just boil the dried chiles with water or stock and then puree them together in the food processor. Really flavorful and a great texture and depending on the type of chile you that you use, it can be very mild to super hot.

  3. Sarah Leslee says

    Ancho and Guajilo usually, as they tend to not be terribly hot and they add smoky and sweet flavor as well. If you like it a little thicker you can reduce it down and if the flavor is where you want it, you can add a bit of masa flour or cornstarch to give it a bit more body, as Heather has done with her recipe.

    Heather’s recipe looks like a top notch TexMex/Southwest style sauce. Traditional and Southwest style can give a dish new life and variety.

  4. Virgie Vanegas says

    I’m going to try this to make a milder sauce for my grand kids, thank you for the idea. If you like a hot version, frozen Baca is the best. Since I like my chilie on the darker side. I brown 1-2t of New Mexico chilie powder before I add the Baca. A little garlic pepper, salt to taste, flour as needed to thicken, and broth (beef, chicken or vegetable) for flavor. Sabroso!

  5. Tara says

    I made this for dinner tonight & added some sour cream to the sauce. Ah-mazing! Everyone loved it & I made it with ingredients I always keep on hand!

  6. Sam says

    I’m mexican and this is not Enchilada sauce especially not for use of chile colorado burritos….looks tasty but a bit misleading…

    • Becky says

      I’m Mexican too and this is the first time I have ever heard of using tomato sauce in enchilada sauce.
      Recipes have been handed down and we just learn how to make it. I would have to sit down and write out a recipe.

  7. Elaine says

    THANK YOU SO MUCH – I have been looking for an enchilada sauce recipe for years. I have even asked Mexican cooks for a recipe – no one had one. Again, thank you…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Rate this recipe: