Monday, June 8, 2015

Red Enchilada Sauce

Simple homemade enchilada sauce is rich and delicious, perfectly smooth, spicy and delicious. In just 20 minutes you can kick the can and create your own red enchilada sauce. Great recipe to use tonight or freeze for a quick grab and go weeknight dinner whenever you want.


I have really been struggling with picky eater #3, my 5 year old. Lately she doesn't seem to like anything I cook and I have been really getting frustrated and feeling defeated. I mean, I create recipes, that's what I do. And a lot of people cook them and are loving them and I can not seem to find that connection for my own daughter.

It is such a struggle.  So, I decided to sit down with her and interview her about food. I asked her what her favorite dishes were and what she loved about each of her favorites. Then we branched out from there. What I found was that she is not enjoying Italian food {{{GASP}}} but truly loves the flavors that she finds in the Mexican dishes I create.

Call me stunned. I know we eat a lot of Mexican and Southwestern food. We live in Arizona after all. But, it never occurred to me that those flavors are incorporated into so much of my cooking that she finds a lot of other food boring.  WOW!  

Well after that epiphany, I decided to run with it instead of fight it. She loves Mexican flavors so we are starting there. We are more likely to conquer the texture issues and try more new foods if we incorporate those flavors. So I dusted off an old recipe I have been working on.

A rich and flavorful enchilada sauce is the base for so many of our favorite dishes and I knew that once I had this one in my pocket (and in my freezer) I would have so many easy dinners at my disposal.

This simple enchilada sauce starts butter, because that is where all rich and fabulous sauces begin. A handful of my favorite Mexican spices are whisked in, including New Mexico Chili Powder. Now, don't skip on this. Go for the real New Mexico Chili Powder (check in your international aisle in the bulk bags) if you are afraid the heat will be too much you can use half New Mexico Chili Powder and 1/2 regular chili powder.

Why New Mexico Chile Powder? It has a deep dark reddish brown color and features an earthy, sweet flavor and subtle, spicy heat. It is mildly hot and absolutely perfect in this sauce. It creates a truly authentic flavor!


With love from our simple kitchen to yours. 


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Check out some of our favorite dishes with enchilada sauce:  Click on the image or the bold recipe title and it will open each one in a new tab.

7 Layer Mexican Bean Dip is a go to meal in our house - served with tortilla chips or flour tortillas.  It is served at every party we host and there is never a drop left! It is also an excellent make ahead recipe that I love to freeze and pop in the oven when we have company or a party. - See more at:
7 Layer Mexican Bean Dip is a go to meal in our house - served with tortilla chips or flour tortillas.  It is served at every party we host and there is never a drop left! It is also an excellent make ahead recipe that I love to freeze and pop in the oven for easy dinners or parties.
30 Minute Mexican Lasagna is made with layer upon layer of spectacular south-of-the-border flavors.  A drool worthy dish with just enough heat to wake up your taste buds, you will surely beat the picky palates in your house with this fabulous casserole that takes 15 minutes of prep and 15 minutes to bake.  A favorite of adults and kids alike, it is sure to be a member of the clean plate club at your house too!

30-minute Cheesy Beef & Bean Enchiladas, perfect weeknight dinner, captures all my favorite flavors of the southwest on the table in no time - See more at:

Cheesy Beef and Bean Enchiladas made with red and green chile sauces that capture all your favorite flavors of the southwest are enough to rock your taste buds. Enchiladas that can be on your table in 30 minutes will rock your night!


Red Enchilada Sauce 
MAKES 32 Ounces  |  ACTIVE TIME 10 Min  |  TOTAL TIME 20 Min

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 (8 tablespoons) cup New Mexico chili powder
2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1 (14 ounce) can fire roasted diced tomatoes, pureed
3 cups chicken stock

Heat butter in a skillet over medium-high heat add flour and spices. Cook 2-3 minutes, whisking constantly to prevent burning. This will cook out the floury taste.

Gradually stir in pureed tomatoes and chicken stock. Whisk until smooth. Reduce to simmer 10 minutes while sauce thickens, whisking occasionally.

Serve and enjoy!

COOK'S NOTES: If sauce gets too thick, add a splash of water to thin it out a little.

You can substitute tomato sauce for the diced tomatoes if necessary.

Recipe can be halved, simply use 1/2 of the ingredients and follow the recipe.

One recipe replaces 2 (16 ounce) cans of enchilada sauce in recipes.

Sauce can be frozen up to 4 months, in a sealed container. To use, simply defrost and reheat.

Recipe developed by Donna Elick - The Slow Roasted Italian
Copyright ©2015 The Slow Roasted Italian – All rights reserved.


  1. This sounds wonderful, but does it really need that much butter?

  2. I'm making this tomorrow, right after grocery shopping. Do you have one for green enchilada sauce??

  3. Not yet Anna, but I will soon. Enjoy and let us know how it goes.

  4. This may sound like a lot of butter, but remember, it's spread out over the equivalent of two (2) x 16 oz cans of enchilada sauce. When you think about it this perspective- it doesn't seem as bad!

  5. Hi Donna! I have made this before and Love it with your Mexican Lasagna! My question is, to make it gluten free for a friend, do you substitute the flour with almond or some other flour that is gluten free? She would love this and as I am making this tonight, I was going to make her one with corn tortillas but I had put flour in the enchilada sauce so I knew I couldn't make it for her. Thanks and LOVE YOUR RECIPES!!!

  6. I couldn't find the New Mexico Chili Powder but I did find the pods. How do I make the Powder out of the pads? There are several of your recipes I want to try that use the powde. Thanks, Wendy


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