Red Enchilada Sauce

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Red Enchilada Sauce is rich, perfectly smooth, spicy and delicious. In just 20 minutes you can kick the can and create this simple red enchilada sauce recipe! Great to use for dinner tonight, or freeze to make a quick grab and go weeknight dinner whenever you want.



Red Enchilada Sauce

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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Recipes Using Enchilada Sauce

jar of red enchilada sauce

Red Enchilada Sauce

Donna Elick
Red Enchilada Sauce is rich and perfectly smooth, spicy and delicious. Kick the canned stuff and make this easy red enchilada sauce recipe!
5 stars from 3 reviews
Tried this recipe?Please comment and review!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Sauce
Cuisine Mexican
Method Stovetop
Servings 16 makes 32 ounces



  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, 1 stick
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup New Mexico chili powder, 8 tablespoons
  • 2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 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!

Donna’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.


Serving: 1 | Calories: 87cal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 15mg | Sodium: 307mg | Sugar: 1g | Fiber: 3g | Calcium: 37mg | Iron: 2mg

All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe’s nutritional value will vary depending on the ingredients used, measuring methods, and portion sizes.

Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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

  2. 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!

  3. 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!!!

  4. 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

    1. 5 stars
      Hi Wendy. Do you have a Mexican Market in your town? They would have this type of Chili Powder.
      It’s where I get the bigger bag.

  5. This is the only enchilada sauce recipe you will EVER NEED, trust me! My family loves it so much we use it all the time.

  6. 5 stars
    I have been making this Enchilada Sauce recipe for years now, I share with all my friends, we all love it.
    Thank You so much.
    All your recipes are Amazing.

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