Easy Red Enchilada Sauce

Enchilada sauce is one of my very favorite things, ever. I love when it soaks into a flour tortilla while baking and makes everything tangy and spicy and good. Mmmmm. Unfortunately, I was less than impressed with the last can of enchilada sauce that I bought and my local grocery store doesn’t have much of a selection. So, I thought it was high time that I made some Red Enchilada Sauce myself.

I’m kicking myself for not doing this sooner.

It literally takes about 10 minutes, uses ingredients that I always have on hand, and tastes about a million times better than that sad can that I used the other day. Plus, I made twice the volume for half the price. I’ll never go back to the can. Never.

I made a vegetarian version out of sheer laziness, but if you’re a carnivore try using chicken broth in place of the water for more flavor oomph (I’ve had a cold and apparently, mixing chicken base into hot water to make broth just takes too much energy).

You can adjust the heat by adjusting the amount of cayenne pepper. The brand of chili powder I use is completely mild, so all the heat comes from the cayenne. So, if you want the sauce mild, either leave out the cayenne or use less. I used 1/4 tsp and it only had a slight kick – kind of like medium salsa.

Now on to the good stuff!

Easy Red Enchilada Sauce

It only takes 10 minutes to make this super easy red enchilada sauce that is bursting with flavor. Never buy the canned stuff again! BudgetBytes.com

4.7 from 55 votes
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Easy Red Enchilada Sauce

It only takes 10 minutes to make this super easy red enchilada sauce that is bursting with flavor. Never buy the canned stuff again! 

Total Cost $0.80 recipe
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 2 cups

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil $0.10
  • 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour $0.02
  • 2 Tbsp chili powder $0.30
  • 2 cups water $0.00
  • 3 oz. tomato paste $0.27
  • 1/2 tsp cumin $0.03
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder $0.03
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper $0.02
  • 3/4 tsp salt or to taste $0.03

Instructions

  1. Add the vegetable oil, flour, and chili powder to a medium pot. Turn the heat on to medium and whisk the ingredients together. Continue to whisk as the mixture begins to bubble. Whisk and cook the mixture for one minute once it begins bubbling.
  2. After one minute, whisk in the water, tomato paste, cumin, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper until smooth. Allow the sauce to come up to a simmer. Once it reaches a simmer it will begin to thicken slightly.
  3. Starting with a 1/2 teaspoon, add salt to taste. I used about 3/4 teaspoon total. The sauce is now ready to use!

Recipe Notes

Enchilada sauce can be poured over enchiladas, burritos, stuffed poblanos, or used in casseroles for extra flavor.

See This Recipe in Action:

 

It only takes 10 minutes to make this super easy red enchilada sauce that is bursting with flavor. Never buy the canned stuff again! BudgetBytes.com

Shown here with my Weeknight Enchiladas.

Step By Step Photos

Flour Chili Powder Oil
Start by adding 2 Tbsp flour, 2 Tbsp chili powder, and 2 Tbsp oil to a pot. I use McCormick’s chili powder, which is not spicy, just flavorful, so don’t be frightened by the large quantity in the recipe. All of the heat comes from the cayenne pepper.

Simmer Flour chili Powder Oil
Whisk these ingredients together and allow them to come up to a bubble over medium heat, whisking the whole time. Whisk and cook for one minute. This will toast the flour and chili powder, adding to the flavor depth and making sure that the flour doesn’t taste like paste.

Whisk in Water
After one minute, whisk in the 2 cups water.

Tomato Paste and Spices
Also whisk in 3oz. tomato paste (half of one of those small 6oz. cans), 1/2 tsp cumin, 1/2 tsp garlic powder, and 1/4 tsp cayenne.

Simmer until Thick
Let the sauce come up to a simmer and it will begin to thicken.

Thick Enchilada Sauce

See how it coats my spoon? Perfect. Now taste it and add salt to your liking. Start with about 1/2 teaspoon and add more if needed. The salt will really help bring out the flavors. If you’re using chicken broth, you might not need to add any at all.

It only takes 10 minutes to make this super easy red enchilada sauce that is bursting with flavor. Never buy the canned stuff again! BudgetBytes.com

And now you’re good to go! Enjoy!