Go Back
+ servings
Best homemade enchilada sauce in a chile pepper shaped bowl.

Quick Homemade Enchilada Sauce Recipe

Making enchilada sauce from scratch is quick and easy. Deeply flavored, rich homemade red enchilada sauce is wonderful earthy with flavor. Using cocoa powder is my secret ingredient and it's ready in under 30 minutes.
Course Mexican
Cuisine Mexican
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 4 cups
Calories 40kcal


  • 3 tablespoons chile powder good quality. New Mexico or Ancho
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 tablespoon chicken bouillon
  • 1 teaspoon cocoa powder Hershey's is what I use
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt or granulated garlic
  • 1 teaspoon Mexican oregano or regular oregano
  • 3 cups water
  • 8 ounces Canned tomato sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon Vinegar Apple Cider or White vinegar


  • Combine all dry ingredients in a small bowl. Using a whisk, stir to blend.
  • Stirring constantly, slowly add enough of the water to make a thin paste. It should be the consistency of gravy.
  • Pour into a sauce pan and add the rest of water.
  • Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens. About 5 - 10 minutes.
  • Stir in tomato sauce and continue to heat until the tomato sauce has blended and the enchilada sauce is hot. About 2 minutes.


Note about chile powder: The recipe calls for three tablespoons of chile powder. With a broad range of pure ground chile powders available, you can make this as spicy or as tame as you want.
Ancho chile pepper is a milder powder that delivers lots of chile flavor. I like using New Mexico Chile powder.
Chimayo, which can be quite spicy, is my favorite. I'd test the waters if I were you, adding a tablespoon at a time, tasting as you go, until you reach the power you're looking for.
Don't use chili (with an i) powder. It's a blend of spices used to season chili soup. 
Storage: Once the enchilada sauce has cooled to room temperature, pour it into an air-tight container. It will keep in the refrigerator for about 3 weeks.
You can also freeze enchilada sauce and it will keep in the freezer for about 3 months.
Gluten Free: Simply switch out the all purpose flour with gluten free all purpose flour. A high quality like Bob's Red Mill is a good choice. 
This recipe makes about 4 cups with is an ample amount or a big pan of enchiladas.


Serving: 1cup | Calories: 40kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 424mg | Potassium: 140mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 1796IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 35mg | Iron: 2mg