You'll love this quick and easy Red Enchilada Sauce! Ready in 10-minutes and the perfect topping to drizzle over your favorite cheese, beef enchiladas or tamales!
Why you'll love it!
This Texan loves her Tex-Mex and this red enchilada sause, or "salsa roja" is just like you get at your favorite Mexican restaurant-only better!
Once you make this, you'll never buy canned enchilada sauce again!
- Quick and easy -takes 10-minutes to make
- Stores well in the fridge or freezer - make a big batch for later
- All-natural ingredients - no additives, preservatives or yucky stuff
I like to make this in big batches and freeze it so I have it on hand anytime I want to put a Mexican or South of The Border spin on my tacos, enchiladas or tamales.
Believe it or not, this sauce contains no tomatoes! No tomato sauce or tomato paste.
It's flavors are derived directly from the chili powder and cumin.
The flavor is similar to national brands like Old El Paso , La Victoria, La Preferida and Las Palmas enchilada sauces-but with no additives, preservatives or fillers.
Ingredients and how to make it:
Simple, all-natural ingredients are the secret to this delicious enchilada sauce!
First, you'll make a roux of oil and flour, then add in the dry seasonings (chili and garlic powder, cumin, oregano and a pinch of salt.)
Finish it off with chicken broth and cook it on low until the sauce sticks to the spoon, like this:
Make it as mild or spicy as you like! If you want to add a little heat to it, start with a little more chili powder and/or ½ teaspoon of cayenne pepper.
The difference between red and green enchilada sauce
Red Mexican sauce is derived from chili powder; green enchilada sauce is derived from green chiles. Each sauce is cooked and has its own unique flavor profile. (As a side note, "salsa verde" is not cooked; it is derived from pureed raw ingredients.)
Red enchilada sauce tastes warm and smoky and generally milder than green. Green enchilada sauce is typically a bit more spicy usually due to the inclusion of jalapenos.
You can make this sauce as thick or thin as you like. I prefer a thin sauce, but if you want to thicken it, add a slurry of flour at the end.
If you're making homemade enchiladas, you can use this sauce to dip the corn tortilla in to soften it!
How to thicken the sauce:
Use a flour-based slurry to thicken enchilada sauce. (Since flour contains gluten, this red enchilada sauce is not gluten-free.)
Pour one cup of warm water into a measuring cup; add 2-3 tablespoons of all-purpose flour; whisk until there are no lumps; add to sauce and allow to cook for a few minutes.
How to thin it:
If you prefer a really thin red enchilada sauce, add more broth and adjust seasonings according to your palate.
If you accidentally make the sauce too spicy, add more broth or add a little cream or half-n-half to it. The dairy will reduce the heat.
Refrigeration and storage:
Store in a secure container in the fridge for up to a week or, freeze it for up to 3-months.
I usually freeze it in a plastic storage bag so when its time to heat it up, all I have to do is place the bag in warm water.
Serve this quick enchilada sauce as a topping for your favorite enchiladas, tamales, or as a warm dip for quesadillas!
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If you make this recipe, please scroll down and leave a rating and comment! I love to hear from you!
Easy Red Enchilada Sauce
- ¼ cup oil , canola or vegetable
- ½ cup flour , all-purpose
- 6 tablespoons chili powder , ground (¼ cup + 2 tablespoons)
- 1 teaspoon cumin , ground
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon oregano
- 4 cups chicken broth
- salt to taste
- In a medium saucepan on medium low heat, add oil; whisk in flour
- Add dry ingredients: chili powder, garlic powder, oregano and cumin; combine well
- Stir in chicken broth; cook for 5-8 minutes until sauce thickens and stick to the spoon
- Serve or refrigerate for later
- No oregano? substitute with marjoram
- Note: this recipe yields 4 cups of red enchilada sauce; nutrition is calculated for one cup. It's unlikely anyone would consume a whole cup of sauce, so for more accurate nutrition info, divide by 4, allowing ¼ cup sauce per person.
- Divide by 2 for ½ cup per person.
- Want it spicier? Add more chili powder and/or cayenne pepper?
- Want it thicker? Add a flour slurry at the end: 1 cup warm water with 2-3 tablespoons of flour; whisk together, pour into sauce; cook a few minutes until thick