Homemade Substitute for Enchilada Sauce

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4.77 from 63 votes
This easy Red Enchilada Sauce recipe is ready in about 10 minutes.  It's perfect for all of your favorite Mexican inspired recipes. 
Prep: 2 minutes
Cook: 8 minutes
Total: 10 minutes
Homemade Substitute for Enchilada Sauce in a glass jar.

Homemade Substitute for Enchilada Sauce is incredibly easy to make and full of flavor.   And, it only takes 10 minutes to make! The deep, smoky flavor of this easy enchilada sauce recipe and the slightly thickened consistency make it perfect.

Homemade Substitute for Enchilada Sauce in a glass jar.

This Homemade Substitute for Enchilada Sauce is a scratch recipe that takes only about 10 minutes to make from start to finish. 

If you love easy Mexican recipes, check for more inspiration.


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What We Love About This Enchilada Red Sauce Recipe

This easy recipe for authentic Enchilada Sauce takes about 10 minutes to make and uses some basic pantry items.  The flavor is a blend of chili powder, cumin, oregano, garlic, salt and pepper.  It’s blended with some tomato paste and vinegar to punch up the flavor and it’s thickened with a little purpose flour and stock.

  • 10 Minute Sauce: Am amazing sauce that you can use on so many things.
  • Easy Ingredients: All found in pantry or fridge.
  • Family Friendly: This sauce is great for all your mexican dishes.
  • Adaptable: Can use it to make low-carb, meat free, dairy free, meals etc…
A spoonful of sauce.

Ingredient Notes for Red Sauce Enchilada Sauce

  • Chili Powder: Provides that heat to the sauce.
  •  House Seasoning Blend: The special blend will add a lot of flavor with black pepper.
  • Tomato Paste
  • Chicken Broth: Make your own broth or buy your favorite brand.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar: It makes a tangy flavor.

Equipment Needed to make the Tomato Sauce

How to Make Best Enchilada Sauce

These are the basic steps for making enchilada sauce from scratch. Please refer to the recipe card below for more detailed instructions and nutrition information.

STEP 1: Mix

In a small bowl, add the flour, chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano and House Seasoning blend. Then in a medium pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat.

STEP 2: Cook

Then add the spice mixture to the hot oil and stir constantly for 1 minute. The color should get darker and then stir in the tomato paste.Slowly add the stock and whisk until there are no lumps.

STEP 3: Boil

Bring to a slight boil, reduce heat and simmer for 5-7 minutes or until the sauce has thickened slightly. The sauce will continue to thicken as it cools. Finally, remove from heat and stir in vinegar.

Prep and Storage Tips for the Best Enchilada Sauce

HOW TO MAKE THIS RECIPE AHEAD OF TIME

It is always good to prep your meals when you can. Homemade Substitute for Enchilada Sauce should be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container. When properly stored, it is good for up to 7 days. It will thicken in the refrigerator so just thin it out with some water or chicken broth or tomato sauce.

HOW TO STORE THIS RECIPE

Always store in an airtight container. A mason jar is what we usually use.

HOW TO FREEZE THIS RECIPE

You can freeze this homemade Enchilada Sauce recipe.Freeze mine in a jar or a zip top bag.

HOW TO REHEAT THIS RECIPE

After you thaw it, you may need to heat it up for a few minutes to get the right consistency.

Frequently Asked Questions

HOW TO MAKE THIS RECIPE HEALTHIER?

Truly it is easy to make healthier by using a gluten-free flour blend for a good texture. Try a low sodium chicken broth too. Vegetable broth can be used for a vegetarian version.

CAN I SUBSTITUTE THIS SAUCE IN OTHER DISHES?

Really, this is a great dish for any of your mexican inspired dishes, uses on tacos as a taco sauce, in burritos or on eggs as a ranchero sauce.

CAN THIS RECIPE BE DOUBLED OR HALVED?

Of course, I suggest making more to layer on tortilla chips for loaded nachos or for any dish that you want authentic mexican flavor.

HOW CAN I CUT BITTERNESS IN THIS ENCHILADA SAUCE?

A little baking soda, sugar or even agave syrup can cut the bitterness in the sauce. Only use as necessary and in moderation.

A dish of enchiladas with the Homemade Substitute for Enchilada Sauce.

Expert Tips for Making This Recipe

  • Use good ingredients. Splurge for a good quality chili powder or cayenne pepper since that is the flavor base of this easy Enchilada Sauce.
  • Mix it Up.  You can always cut back on the chili powder to suit your family’s tastes.  Remember you can always add more, but you can’t take it out or use things like adobo seasoning.
  • Vinegar Substitute: If you don’t have apple cider vinegar, you can substitute distilled white vinegar in its place.
  • Add Chipotle Pepper: For a little kick and warmth add these or chiles.
  • Warmth: A pinch of cinnamon or paprika give great warmth to the sauce and flavor for your casseroles.
  • Cheese: Always add your favorite cheese.
  • Green Enchilada Sauce: Check out the green salsa sauce instant pot recipe featuring a green sauce salsa verde.

What to Serve with Enchilada Sauce Substitute.

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Homemade Substitute for Enchilada Sauce in a glass jar.
4.77 from 63 votes

Red Enchilada Sauce Recipe

Yield: 6 servings
Prep: 2 minutes
Cook: 8 minutes
Total: 10 minutes
This easy Red Enchilada Sauce recipe is ready in about 10 minutes.  It’s perfect for all of your favorite Mexican inspired recipes. 
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Ingredients

Instructions

  • In a small bowl, add the flour, chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano and House Seasoning blend.
  • In a medium pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat.
  • Add the spice mixture to the hot oil and stir constantly for 1 minute. The color should get darker.
  • Stir in the tomato paste.
  • Slowly add the stock and whisk until there are no lumps.
  • Bring to a slight boil, reduce heat and simmer for 5-7 minutes or until the sauce has thickened slightly. The sauce will continue to thicken as it cools.
  • Remove from heat and stir in vinegar.

Video

Expert Tips

 
  • Use good ingredients. Splurge for a good quality chili powder or cayenne pepper since that is the flavor base of this easy Enchilada Sauce.
  • Mix it Up.  You can always cut back on the chili powder to suit your family’s tastes.  Remember you can always add more, but you can’t take it out or use things like adobo seasoning.
  • Vinegar Substitute: If you don’t have apple cider vinegar, you can substitute distilled white vinegar in its place.
  • Add Chipotle Pepper: For a little kick and warmth add these.
  • Warmth: A pinch of cinnamon or paprika give great warmth to the sauce and flavor for your casseroles.

Estimated Nutritional Information

Calories: 89kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Sodium: 545mg | Potassium: 148mg | Vitamin A: 475IU | Vitamin C: 6.7mg | Calcium: 14mg | Iron: 1mg
The nutritional information provided are estimates. To learn more about how I calculate this information go to www.itisakeeper.com/about-its-a-keeper/privacy-disclosure-policies/
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Course: Sauces, Seasonings, Dressings
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: enchilada, mexican

This recipe is my personal adaption of an ethnic inspired recipe. It is not intended to be an authentic recipe.  I’ve recreated this recipe because I enjoy the flavors and I want to encourage my readers to expand their tastes and try new flavor combinations. The recipe, ingredients and processes may have been adapted to make the recipe accessible for the average American. I have provided links to authentic versions of the recipe in the post above. I encourage you to visit these pages and learn more about the traditional version(s) of this recipe.

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17 thoughts on “Homemade Substitute for Enchilada Sauce”

  1. 5 stars
    I love that I can whip this up a few days ahead of time and then just throw my dish together! It makes it so simple and the flavor of homemade sauce is so much better! Love the cumin added in.

    Reply
  2. 5 stars
    There’s smply no comparison! I actually believed I hated enchiladas until I stared making homemade enchilada sauce. Absolutely scrumptious!

    Reply
  3. 5 stars
    So easy to make with everyday pantry ingredients and oh so good. I made a double batch and had some extra, so glad I did because I had previously made chicken chicken noodle that turned out pretty bland.
    I added some of the enchilada sauce and turned that bland chicken soup into a delicious flavorful meal

    Reply
  4. 5 stars
    Substituted the tomato paste and chicken broth with tomato sauce and 2 Tbs chicken broth granules and 1 cup of water. Not too spicy. Loved it

    Reply
  5. Thanks for the recipe. You should probably clarify if it’s chicken broth or stock. Ingredients say broth but picture has stock and instructions say use stock

    Reply
    • Honestly, I use the 2 interchangeably – whatever I have on hand. but I will fix the recipe so it’s more clear.

      Reply

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