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Homemade Enchilada Sauce Recipe

Our Homemade Enchiladas Sauce Recipe is quick and easy to make and tastes amazing! Take your next pan of enchiladas and bring it right over the top. Your friends and family will love it, and so will you!

Homemade Red Enchilada Sauce

Red Enchilada Sauce Recipe

Red enchilada sauce is a staple in many kitchens, celebrated for its rich flavor and versatility. It’s a key component in traditional Mexican cuisine, often serving as the heart of numerous dishes. This sauce, with its deep red color and robust taste, transforms ordinary meals into something special. It’s not just a condiment; it’s an essential part of the dish, adding depth and character.

Making this sauce from scratch is simpler than you might think. The recipe involves common ingredients like crushed garlic, a blend of herbs, and a mix of chile powders. These components are easily found in most pantries, making it convenient for anyone to whip up a batch. The combination of guajillo chile powder and other spices creates a unique flavor profile that’s both bold and satisfying.

What sets homemade sauce apart is the ability to customize it to your taste. Whether you prefer it spicier or milder, the recipe can be adjusted to suit your preference. Additionally, making your sauce ensures that you know exactly what’s going into it, allowing for a healthier, preservative-free option compared to store-bought varieties.

Lastly, the sauce’s versatility extends beyond enchiladas. It can be used in a variety of dishes, from casseroles to marinades, adding a touch of warmth and complexity. It’s also ideal for meal prepping, as it stores well in the fridge and freezes beautifully for future use.

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Why you’ll love this dish…

  • Simple to make, using mostly pantry staples.
  • Incredible flavor!
  • Easily customizable. Suit your own preferences and tastes.

Use on my Cheesy Chicken Enchiladas!

Homemade Red Enchilada Sauce

Red Enchilada Sauce shopping list

Wondering if you have to hit the store? Here’s the list of items you’ll need to make this recipe. For specific amounts, please refer to the printable recipe card at the bottom of the post.

  • Vegetable oil
  • Garlic
  • Oregano
  • Basil
  • Chile powder
  • Guajillo chile powder (optional)
  • Black pepper
  • Salt
  • Cumin
  • Salsa
  • Crushed tomatoes

Try on our Smoked Shredded Beef Enchiladas!

Homemade Red Enchilada Sauce

How to make Red Enchilada Sauce

This is just the overview so you can see what you’re actually getting into here. When you are cooking, you’ll want to use the full recipe at the bottom of the page.



Heat the oil in a saucepan and sauté the garlic.



Add the rest of the ingredients to the pot and simmer over low to medium-low heat.



Make up your favorite red enchilada recipe.

This is perfect for our Ground Beef Enchiladas!

Homemade Red Enchilada Sauce

Red Enchilada Sauce FAQ

Can this recipe be made in advance?

Yes! This is a great recipe to make ahead of time. It’ll keep in the fridge for 4-5 days, and in the freezer in a freezer baggie for months.

What type of chile powder works best?

I used a combination of regular chile powder and guajillo chile powder. It produces the best flavor, in my experience. You can try other chile powder combinations or even add in some dried chile peppers during the simmer stage to deepen the flavor.

Try our Smoked Salsa Verde too!

Homemade Red Enchilada Sauce
Homemade Red Enchilada Sauce

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Homemade Enchilada Sauce
Yield: 8 servings

Homemade Enchilada Sauce

Homemade Red Enchilada Sauce

This homemade red enchilada sauce is perfect to top a pan of enchiladas! Skip the store-bought canned version and make a batch at home!

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes


  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon basil
  • 3 tablespoons chile powder (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons guajillo chile powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 cup salsa
  • 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes


  1. Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and sauté for 2-3 minutes.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients to the pan and let simmer, stirring frequently, for 20-25 minutes.
  3. Can be refrigerated for several days before use or frozen for long-term storage.

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Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 53Total Fat: 2gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 309mgCarbohydrates: 9gFiber: 2gSugar: 5gProtein: 2g

Nutrition data provided here is only an estimate.

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Nicole Johnson

Nicole Johnson, a self-taught expert in grilling and outdoor cooking, launched Or Whatever You Do in 2010. Her blog, renowned for its comprehensive and creative outdoor cooking recipes, has garnered a vast audience of millions. Nicole's hands-on experience and passion for grilling shine through her work. Her husband, Jeremiah Johnson, also plays a pivotal role in recipe development, adding his culinary flair to the mix. Together, they form a dynamic duo, offering a rich and varied outdoor cooking experience to their followers.


Tuesday 30th of January 2024

Beats any store-bought sauce! And what I love about this recipe is how customizable it is. I experimented with a hint of smoked paprika for a smoky twist and it was really good.


Monday 29th of January 2024

This sauce is amazing! I just adjusted the spice to a level that my husband and I can tolerate and it turned out really delicious! This may sound so cliche, but my enchiladas will never be the same again!


Monday 29th of January 2024

Ever since making this the first time, I've started putting this stuff on EVERYTHING. Mac n cheese, sandwiches, you name it. Even enchiladas, lol! It's getting a little ridiculous at my house, but this sauce is SO good.


Monday 29th of January 2024

The spices and the richness of the sauce really stand out. Love that this recipe uses common pantry ingredients. My partner loved the aroma while simmering.

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