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homemade enchilada sauce

Enchilada Sauce

Make your own homemade Enchilada Sauce from Dried Chiles for the best enchiladas ever. No need to buy canned sauce when you can make your own. This sauce is easy to make, freezable, and keto-friendly!
5 from 16 votes
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Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 5 cups
Calories: 29kcal
Author: EmilyFabulous


Enchilada Sauce

  • 2 medium tomatoes, cut into quarters
  • 1 small onion, cut into quarters
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons ground dried chile powder (can sub chili powder)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
  • teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 cups vegetable broth (you can sub chicken or beef broth if not making vegetarian)
  • 4 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce or Worcestershire sauce (use soy sauce for vegetarian)

Optional ingredients to add heat/spice to the sauce (choose 1)

  • 1-2 whole canned chipotle peppers
  • 1 jalapeno or habanero pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper


Ground Dried Chiles

  • Take each dried pepper and cut off the stem. Take out as many seeds as you would like. I usually take out most of them for a milder sauce. Cut the pepper into small pieces that will fit in your coffee/nut grinder or small food processor. Pulse and grind until you get a powder. The longer you grind, the finer the powder will be. To get 4 tbsp powder, you will need to grind 7-10 dried peppers. Store any unused powder in a sealable container.
    dried Mexican chiles ground in a grinder

Enchilada Sauce

  • In a food processor or blender add the tomatoes, onion, and garlic and blend until smooth. Set aside. *This is the step where you would add canned chipotle peppers or some jalapeno or habanero pepper to add some heat to the sauce (see notes).
    tomato, onion and garlic pulsed in food processor
  • In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil. Add the flour and whisk for 45-60 seconds to make a roux. Slowly pour in the broth, whisking the entire time. The mixture will quickly thicken so keep whisking!
    olive oil and flour in a pan for enchilada sauce
  • Add the chile powder, salt, cumin, and cinnamon and continue to whisk to combine (if you are adding cayenne pepper for heat, this is where you will add it). Add the blended tomato mixture, tomato paste, and soy sauce (or Worcestershire sauce for non-vegetarian) and fully combine. Bring to a boil and then lower the heat to simmer. Stir the sauce occasionally as it simmers for 15-20 minutes. Taste and add salt and/or pepper if needed.
    homemade enchilada sauce on stove
  • Carefully pour the mixture into a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. You can serve immediately or allow the mixture to cool before storing. Once cool, store in the refrigerator in a sealed container for 2-3 days, or you can freeze for up to 6 months.


*Here are a few options on how to add heat to the enchilada sauce:

  1. Add some canned chipotle peppers to the tomato and onion mixture before blending. These are just dried jalapeños that have been smoked then canned in an adobo hot sauce. These can definitely add some heat, so be mindful of how much you are adding. I would say 1-2 whole peppers would be perfect.
  2. Add some cayenne pepper. Start with 1 teaspoon and go from there. You can always add but you can't take it away!
  3. Add a jalapeno or habanero pepper to the tomato and onion mixture before blending and adding it to the sauce.
If you don't have a grinder to grind your own chile powder, you can reconstitute the chiles in hot water or use store-bought chili powder. 
To reconstitute the dried chiles, place 6-8 dried chiles into a saucepan with water. Bring to a boil over high heat and then remove the pan from the heat. Allow the peppers to sit in the hot water for 25-30 minutes. Drain the chiles, remove the stems and as many seeds as you would like, and add them to the blender with the tomatoes, onions, and garlic.
Enchilada sauce can be frozen. Cool the sauce has completely before storing and freezing. Use a sealable, freezer-safe container or plastic bag. Make sure you leave room for the sauce to expand when frozen. Enchilada sauce will last for 6 months in the freezer.


Serving: 4tbsp | Calories: 29kcal | Carbohydrates: 2.9g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1.8g | Saturated Fat: 0.3g | Sodium: 211mg | Potassium: 111mg | Fiber: 0.8g | Sugar: 1.1g | Calcium: 8mg

Any nutrition calculations are only estimates using online calculators. Please verify using your own data.