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Homemade Enchilada Sauce

Homemade enchilada sauce is one of my favorite make at home recipes. It is so easy to make, tastes great, and you control the ingredients!

Homemade Enchilada Sauce

I used to buy my enchilada sauce. Yes, I knew I should be making it, but I had never found a recipe that I was really happy with. I had tried several and they just weren’t very good. So, I stuck to the canned stuff that you can get at the grocery store.

Homemade Enchilada Sauce

I stated talking to a friend of mine though about enchilada sauce and she convinced me to give homemade a try. She lived in Mexico for a few years, so she knows some about Mexican cooking.

I asked her how she made her enchilada sauce. She told me the basics and then gave me an exact recipe.

I decided to give it a try. It was so good. It was the best enchilada sauce. It has great flavor. My family thinks it is way better than the canned sauce.

My husband thinks it could be spicier, but he likes his enchiladas spicy. You can always add more chili powder or chilies if you like it really spicy. My kids and I love it just the way it is below though.

Homemade Enchilada Sauce

I did change two things from the original recipe. It called for green onions. I don’t usually have those, so I use regular onions. I think they work  great. I also pureed everything in the blender. I wanted a very smooth sauce. If you want it more chunky just mix the ingredients together and do not blend it.

Enchiladas and enchilada casseroles are a pretty frugal meal and homemade enchilada sauce is a great way to make enchiladas even less expensive.

If you like my homemade enchilada sauce you might also enjoy my other make at home recipes.

 Homemade Enchilada Sauce

Homemade Enchilada Sauce

Homemade Enchilada Sauce

Enchilada sauce is easy to make at home with just a few basic ingredients.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes


  • 2 – 8 ounce cans tomato sauce
  • 1- 4 ounce can chopped green chilies, undrained
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 clove garlic, minced


  1. In a blender combine all sauce ingredients. Blend until sauce is smooth.
  2. Place sauce in a saucepan and cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes.
  3. Use as desired for enchiladas.

Nutrition Information:


10 servings

Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 24Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 249mgCarbohydrates: 5gFiber: 1gSugar: 3gProtein: 1g

Homemade Enchilada Sauce

Lynn's Kitchen Adventures


  1. Wow, I never knew how easy it was to make it homemade!! The ingredients are so few! Why have I been buying canned sauce for so long? Thank you for sharing another great recipe!

  2. Snow White says

    I’ve been looking for a homemade sauce recipe! This looks mighty tasty!

  3. Amy @ Finer Things says

    Definitely giving this one a try. The ones I’ve tried before have included cinnamon and/or cocoa. Weird!

    • @Amy @ Finer Things,

      Amy –

      That’s what’s known as mole (mo-lay…I can’t get the tilde to work on my laptop) or Oaxacan enchiladas. It’s really a very tasty way to eat enchiladas, and you don’t taste CHOCOLATE chocolate, it’s more subtle…kind of like adding chile powder to your hot cocoa or chocolate cookies. Gives it that, “hmm…what IS that!?” flavor. πŸ™‚

  4. This enchiladas surely sounds yummy!

  5. The sauce is getting so expensive in the stores. I’m looking forward to trying this cheaper and healthier version.

  6. Great, thanks for posting this recipe. It seems like I am always one can short when I want to make enchiladas. I have also noticed that it is getting more expensive to buy the canned stuff. So thanks!

  7. Lisa @ JoyousFrugalFamily says

    I, like you, have been looking for a recipe to make this homemade, but I have never been happy w/ it. I can’t wait to try yours!!

  8. Hoosier Homemade says

    Cool, thanks for the recipe!

  9. Thanks, I have been buying sauce to and know I should be making it. Can’t wait to try this!

  10. could you please repost the mexican rice recipe

  11. Enchilada Recipes says

    What a great, simple enchilada sauce recipe. I tweaked it out a little for my own prefferences, such as making it a little on the spicy side, but found it a great base to work from.

  12. This sounds good, Lynn. I like the idea of putting it in the blender, too, especially when picky eaters look askance at any lumps in the sauce and ask suspiciously, “What IS this?” I’ll bet blending it would solve that problem πŸ˜‰ Thanks for sharing this.


    I was searching for some homemade enchilada sauce and stumbled across this blog post. My husband and I just made a batch and a half of this sauce. It is ABSOLUTELY DIVINE!!! My husband is totally RAVING about it as he’s prepping the rest of the stuff for enchiladas. He’s excited about the possibilities of canning this in the fall when the garden comes ready. (He’s like a little kid at Christmas … lol!)

    Thank you so much! Off to check out your other recipes!

    Inky Smiles!

    • @Erin G, I am so glad that you liked my enchilada sauce. It is one of my favorite things to make at home. It is so much cheaper and better for you than the store version. Not only that I think it tastes much better. Thank you so much for letting me know how much you enjoy the recipe.

    • @Erin G, You would need to “pressure can” this recipe as it doesn’t have enough acid to prevent bacteria from growing. Water bath canning would not be safe.

  14. Serenity says

    Can you make the sauce ahead and freeze it? I’m having surgery at the end of the week, and want to have some easy meals for my husband to make.

    • @Serenity, Yes, I do freeze this. It gets a little thinner after being frozen, but it still works great. I make a big batch of it all the time and freeze it. I hope that helps and that your surgery goes well.

  15. Thank you for the recipe!! Would you be willing to share your Enchilada recipe as well?

  16. Thanks! I have all these ingredients! We will be having this tonight!

  17. Lynn, your sauce is the bomb! I made it last night and my whole family loved it. Thanks so much for sharing it. πŸ™‚

  18. I made the mistake of buying a different brand enchilada sauce then I usually do because it was cheaper. When I opened the can I did not like the smell of it AT ALL. It also tasted like it smelled.
    I really didn’t want to get all the kids ready to run to the store just to get a can of enchilada sauce so I did a google serach for homemade sauce…and ended up here! We LOVED this recipe!! Thank you so much!

  19. I made your enchilada sauce and LOVED it. I even wrote about it πŸ™‚

  20. do you have a homemade tomato sauce as well? or did i over look it browsing your recipes

    i made your spaghetti sauce and it smelled and turned out wonderful ,

  21. I’m enjoying the links to backposts in today’s post. I love your fajita seasoning recipe so I’m sure we’ll love this one too! Thanks! I really appreciate all the work you do for your recipes and sharing them on this blog!

    • @Leigh Ann, I am glad you are enjoying the recipes, even from my old posts. πŸ™‚ I love homemade versions of things and the enchilada sauce and my fajita seasoning are some of my favorites. Thanks for reading.

  22. THANKS so much for posting this! I found you from Life as Mom. I knew there had to be a way to make my own Enchilada sauce but I’ve been looking for a recipe for quite some time now. Can’t wait to try this! πŸ™‚


  23. Margarita says

    My homemade enchilada sauce is made with Chili pods also known as chile ancho. Never tried enchilada sauce with tomato sauce. I’ll try your recipe and I’ll tell you if it is as good as mine. Your recipe is a lot easier and does not require a lot of preparation.

  24. Making this again to store ahead for dinner tomorrow. This is such a quick and tasty sauce! I’ve tried various canned sauces, and various recipe searches, and this is by far the best.

  25. Thank you for the quick and easy recipe! It’s delicious πŸ™‚

  26. I am going to try this recipe only I will change one thing. I wont be using canned sauce, I just don’t see making “homemade” Enchilada Sauce using pre-canned genetically modified canned products it defeats the purpose of being organic and making things from scratch. its not that hard to take fresh tomatoes puree them and boil them and add a bit of sugar. other than that this recipe sounds great and I’ll be making it tonight to go with my squash and cream cheese enchiladas.

    • Even fresh tomatoes can be genetically modified…

    • What is most important about your post Rick, is the mention of squash and cream cheese enchiladas.
      I make them with fish most of the time, Trader Joe’s Wild Alaskan Cod… bits and pieces, lightly steamed, using a variety of cheese and olives, salsas, sometimes beans, etc.
      But this is new and sounds so good. Will you share how you make this filling?
      It will be a better USA when all foods must be labeled as to genetic modification.

  27. Made this sauce as well as your three cheese beef enchiladas for dinner last night. Everyone loved it! I’ll definitely be making these again! Thanks for sharing such a great recipe!

  28. Lynn,

    I only have 15 oz cans of tomato sauce. Should I double the rest of the ingredients?

    • Yes that should work fine. You could have enough for 2 pans or you could freeze the extra. It works fine to freeze it, although it is a little thinner after being frozen.

    • Eileen, If I were you, I’d use just one 15-oz can and NOT double the other ingredients. Two 8-oz cans make 16 oz, and that’s close enough to 15 oz that you won’t notice a difference. If you use TWO 15-oz cans (which you wouldn’t have to do), then you would double the ingredients. I can’t wait to try this recipe myself! My other sauce recipe was very long and drawn out πŸ™‚

  29. I make my enchilada sauce with dehydrated California chile. I’ve never tried it with tomato sauce. Will have to try your recipe.

  30. Enchilada sauce is not made with tomato sauce…I’m just sayin.

  31. love that i can save my recipes to zip list- thanks!

  32. My husband has been wanting me to find a good enchilada sauce and now I have thanks so much for an easy recipe, do you think I could freeze this or can it my self for future uses? New to canning so I’m unsure about canning certain things.

  33. I agree @tisha, enchilada sauce traditionally does not contain tomatoes. Here’s my “authentic” new mexican style enchilada sauce recipe. It’s soooo easy.
    Red sauce: lots of red chiles
    Roast the chiles and deseed and peel
    Blend with beef stock (store brand is fine)
    Simmer for 20 mins
    For green chile sauce use green chiles and chicken stock

  34. I’m able to buy enchilada sauce in a brand I like for $1.21 at my local market. That makes the cost savings not a whole lot, if anything all, even if I stock up on tomato sauce at $0.33/can. However, I love not having to make sure I have a special sauce in my pantry just to make enchiladas because I usually always have the rest of the ingredients. Plus, any chance to reduce preservatives and extra sodium is a bonus, right. Can’t wait to try your chipotle chili version. Thanks for sharing!

  35. Charlene Beck says

    YUM! I went to my local Mexican restaurant, and bought some homemade corn tortillas. I wanted to find a great sauce for enchiladas tonight, and WOW! This is really good. I used some roasted hatch chiles I had in the freezer to make this sauce, and boy is it good. I can’t wait to see how the enchiladas will turn out. I just upped the ingredients to make a big batch of this sauce to freeze for the next enchilada night….thanks so much for shaaring!!!!

  36. Marianne C. says

    I’m in a bit of a pinch. I had planned on making a chicken enchilada casserole and thought I had everything I needed. I didn’t want to buy canned enchilada sauce so I googled and came up with this. Problem is, I don’t have any chopped green chiles. I DO have 2 cans of Ro-tel tomatoes (10 oz. each) so I was thinking of pureeing those with a tablespoon or two of tomato paste. Do you think that’ll work? Thanks.

    • I think you could easily adjust this and come up with a sauce that will work. Just puree it really well. And I am sorry I did not get back to you before now. I took some time off the last few days to spend with family.

      • Marianne C. says

        Thanks, I went ahead and made the sauce and it looks pretty good. I have not used it yet; decided to make the casserole later in the week.

  37. OK, so I have made this sauce several times, but have never tried freezing just the sauce before. I did freeze a batch the last time I made it. I went to use it tonight (after thawing in the fridge for a couple days) and it is almost unrecognizable! It is not only watery but it’s like everything else dried out and it is almost gritty looking. Did I do something wrong? I tried warming it up and it didn’t seem to make any difference. This is very disappointing :(. Any pointers for next time?

    • OK, so I went ahead and put it on the stove and boiled it for a few minutes. It did finally come together more, but still wasn’t very smooth like it was when I first made it. Do I need to simmer it longer?

  38. Judy Carter says

    Is there a reason why you use evaporated milk? Would half and half be a decent substitute? I just can’t stand evaporated milk. Thanks.

  39. Mom of six says

    Here’s mine: 1-16 oz. can tomato sauce, 1 T. chili powder, 1/2 tsp. cumin, 1 tsp. onion powder, 1 tsp. garlic powder. Mix together. Use anywhere you would enchilada sauce. Quick, easy, good, and inexpensive.

  40. Teresa Rouzer says

    Made your enchilada sauce yesterday and it is delcious and easy to make! The only change I made was to use 1 15 oz. can of tomato sauce instead of the two smaller cans. The sauce seemed a little thick to me so I thinned it with a little water. The flavor is wonderful and this doesn’t have the grease slick that comes with some commercially canned enchilada sauce. I almost always have tomato sauce or canned tomatoes on hand…..but how did I end up with 5 cans of chopped green chiles in the pantry? Thanks for this recipe, Lynn!

  41. Teresa Rouzer says

    Lynn, made this recipe tonight with just a few tweeks: I subbed onion powder for the chopped onion and garlic powder for the clove of garlic – ONLY because I wanted a very quick sauce to make enchiladas for dinner that much faster. I used 1/2 teaspoon of each of the powders, plus 1/2 teaspoon of chipotle powder for a liitle more heat. Best enchilada sauce I’ve ever made! This has the best flavor and consistency (not too thick, not too thin) of any other enchilada sauce recipe I have tried. Thanks so much for a recipe I know I will use often!

    • I am so glad that you enjoyed it! Thanks for letting me know. And I love chipotle powder too for things like this. It is a great way to add flavor to it. So thanks for sharing what you did.

  42. First printed my copy of this out on 7/15/2011, as it says so conveniently on the copy. It is almost illegible from being well loved and covered in water spots and sauce spatters, so I came to get a new copy. I’m happy to see that people are still finding and loving this recipe like we do. So yummy, so simple, and no taste of can!

    • Your comment was a great start to my day! Thank you so much for letting me know how much you love this recipe. I really appreciate it. And thanks for being a long time reader!

  43. I really appreciate recipes like this. Many canned sauces contain soy protein which I’m allergic to. Thank you for sharing it. πŸ™‚

  44. I am so trying this!! The only brand that I can find in a can where I live isn’t fit to eat!! I can’t wait to make some!!


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