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Enchilada sauce in two mason jars in the background and a measuring cup in the foreground.
4.91 from 10 votes

Homemade Enchilada Sauce Recipe

Learn How to Make Enchilada Sauce and enjoy with your favorite enchilada recipe, mixed in soups, or simply drizzled over crispy corn tortillas.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Total Time1 hr 15 mins
Course: Sauce
Cuisine: Mexican, Tex-Mex
Keyword: Enchilada Sauce, Enchilada Sauce Recipe, Red Enchilada Sauce
Servings: 6 cups (approx)
Calories: 71kcal

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Roast the chiles - start by roasting your chiles in a dry, heavy-bottomed pan or skillet (I love my cast-iron skillet for this) set over medium heat. Simply add the dried chile peppers and roast for 1-2 minutes on each side. Do not over-toast your dried chilis as it will result in a bitter-tasting sauce. Remove from the skillet.
  • Bring the water or chicken stock to a boil. As you wait for it to boil, move on to the next step.
  • Remove seeds and soak - Using gloves (highly recommended!), gently remove the stems and slice heat chile open lengthwise. Remove the seeds and membranes (the spicy part of the chili) and discard. Transfer the chiles to a medium bowl.
  • Once the water (or broth) reaches a boil, carefully pour the water over the dried chile peppers. Cover the bowl and allow chiles to soak for at least 30 minutes.
  • Roast the vegetables - As the chile peppers soak, return the skillet to medium-high heat. Add the onion, tomatoes, and garlic cloves. Allow the vegetables to cook on each side until lightly browned on each side, approximately 3-4 minutes.
  • Blend it all together. Transfer the onion, tomatoes, garlic cloves, and peppers (once softened) into the bowl of a large blender. Add the soaking liquid, salt, Mexican oregano, and ground cumin. Blend until completely smooth (see note).
  • Cook the Sauce. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil to a medium pot over medium heat. Add the blended chile pepper sauce and bring to a low simmer. Reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for approximately 25 minutes. If the sauce becomes too thick, add a little more water, as needed.
  • Season to taste. The sauce will be quite bitter at this point. While most enchilada sauces are not meant to taste super sweet or super salty (or super delicious on its own), you can easily balance some of the bitterness with salt, sugar and a small piece or two of semi-sweet chocolate (be sure to add the chocolate at the end of cooking).

Notes

  • The dried Arbol chiles are the spiciest of the three dried peppers that were added to this sauce. Although they are the smallest, take care when deciding how many to add to your sauce- especially if you're sensitive to spicy foods.
  • Since I used my Vitamix to blend my enchilada sauce, I ended up with a completely smooth and creamy sauce. If you find that your sauce isn't blended as thoroughly simply pour it through a fine-mesh strainer which will separate any large bits from the sauce.
  • Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to one week or so. However, since there are no preservatives, I wouldn't push it much longer. You can also freeze the leftover sauce for up to 4-6 months.
This post was originally published on April 16, 2019, and updated on May 4, 2020.

Nutrition

Calories: 71kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 0g | Cholesterol: 0mg | Sodium: 396mg | Potassium: 365mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 1100IU | Vitamin C: 20.3mg | Calcium: 29mg | Iron: 0.7mg
Course Sauce
Cuisine Mexican, Tex-Mex
Keyword Enchilada Sauce, Enchilada Sauce Recipe, Red Enchilada Sauce
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