Red Enchilada Sauce From Scratch

DIY Homemade Enchilada Sauce from Scratch

To celebrate Cinco de Mayo, I thought I would share one of my favorite red enchilada sauce recipes.  Once you taste real sauce, you might not ever buy that yucky canned kind again.  There are so many nasty things in the canned sauce…there is no need for something so simple to have an inch worth of ingredients.  YUCK  (okay, I will get off my soap box now).

I hope you will take some extra time and try this recipe.  You can make a big batch and freeze it, so it is more worth your time.

Red Enchilada Sauce

8 oz dried mild red chiles (note: the smaller the chile the spicier it is)

1/2 onion, chopped

4 garlic cloves

1/4 cup vegetable (or chicken) broth

1 tsp sea salt

Cut the stem off of each chile and de-seed if desired (yes, you probably desire the seeds removed).  Soak the chiles in HOT water for 30-40 minutes or until they are soft and pliable.

In 2 batches, place half of each of the chiles, onion, garlic, broth, and salt in a blender.  Blend adding additional soaking water as needed to get to proper consistency.  Combine both pureed batches into a sauce pot and bring to boil.  Remove from the heat immediately, otherwise you risk it turning bitter.  If you want a smoother texture, feel free to strain the sauce (note: I like it the way it is).

Can make it up to one day ahead and store in the fridge.  Otherwise freeze the sauce until you need it.


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  1. By the way, yes these are the authentic ingredients in our family, 5 generations… and a grandma that owned and ran her own restaurant…:):)

  2. Never have I used oregano ,,neither has my family ,we make a rue ,then either add fresh or powdered Chile ,onion, garlic, cumin, salt ,water,,,but the chicken broth sounds good ill give it a try… no oregano,,, just don’t do it…:)

  3. I made this sauce last night and then prepared the enchiladas today. I used dried guajillo chile peppers from our local Mexican grocery store and I just didn’t care for this much. There was too much of a smokey flavor from the peppers, and it was much too spicy for my household. I did strain the sauce to remove the pulp/skins as the texture was odd without straining it. The color was an unreal, vibrant bright red. We were fascinated. My chicken filling was bearable when I only used a little of the sauce and added tomato sauce, broth, and seasoning. We ended up just eating the filling with my rice. Not sure I’ll make this again…bummer…on to the next one.

  4. This looks easier than a lot of recipes I have seen. I have not had luck finding GF enchilada sauce in the stores, so it has been years since we have had them. My husband is going to love that I found your blog!!

  5. THANK YOU I_Fortuna ! I was hoping someone who knows would speak out about tomato products being NOT Mexican food authentic! it is a long search to find a good recipe!

  6. Sorry, this is far from authentic Mexican gravy that you would find in Mexican homes and restaurants topping your enchiladas. Firstly, there is no cumin or oregano and way too much garlic as in authentic red enchilada gravy. Also, if you are going to use dried chiles they need to be softened enough to scrape out the insides and the skins thrown away or used to flavor stews or soups and then tossed. At least there are no tomato products in it (Tex-Mex), they are not an authentic ingredient either even though the canned ones include them. Some of the best enchilada gravy is made with chile powder and a roux made with it and flour. Onions are fine and so is broth they add flavor. New Mexican enchilada gravy is very different, hotter and delicious but generally made the same way, just the chile is different.

  7. Question: Where do you find the chiles/what kind did you use?

    YAY for GF enchilada sauce! This will save me a LOT of money.


  8. yay! you know I’d MUCH rather make something from scratch….can’t wait to try this! thanks.


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