Enchilada sauce is one that is very much loved. Come to think of it, when the sauce hits it, it soaks into the tortillas while baking and makes everything fragrant, spicy, and delicious.

This Easy Red Enchilada Sauce is a total change, as it has ten times more flavor than any store bought variety. Trust Apronese, because this is one of the most delicious and easy to make sauces ever.

red enchilada sauce dripping from a wooden spoon into a glass jar.

Quick Method, Big Flavor

A quick and easy version of enchilada sauce that you can whip up from basic pantry staples is the most easily available version that is not an authentic enchilada sauce you can find in Texas or Mexico, but is still bursting with flavor, and will have you wanting to pour it over everything every day.

I promise, once you taste this, you won’t regret the shortcuts. It will still scream with flavor and you’ll want to pour it all over everything you eat. Check out this recipe for Authentic Enchilada Sauce from Isabel Eats for a recipe that is made-from-scratch with dried chiles to preserve the authentic taste of your enchiladas.

Red Enchilada Sauce: How Spicy Is It?

As stated in the recipe below, chili powder is a store-bought mix of spices that are commonly used to season chili. This is not straight chili powder, nor pure ground chile peppers, which are extremely hot.

The brand of chili powder I use is completely mild, but other brands of chili powder can sometimes be rather hot. In order to compensate for the heat from the spicy chili powder, reduce or eliminate the cayenne powder in the recipe.

In terms of its heat level, the recipe below, which uses McCormick’s chili powder, is considered medium spicy, similar to that of a medium salsa.

Enchilada Sauce: How to Use It

There is a lot more you can do with Red Enchilada Sauce than just making Enchiladas! Here are some other ways in which you can use it:

  • as a simmer sauce for meat (in a slow cooker or skillet)
  • as a rich sauce to smother burritos
  • combined with eggs and fried tortillas for Migas
  • combined with sour cream to make a creamy and spicy dip
  • as a replacement for taco sauce
  • a soup base (30 Minute Posole)
  • to sauce up casseroles like Mexican lasagna, enchilada casserole, or Taco Stuffed Shells

It is certainly not a necessity to use it for enchiladas, but if you want to use it for enchiladas, then here are some excellent enchilada recipes you should check out: Chorizo and Sweet Potato Enchiladas, Black Bean and Avocado Enchiladas, and Weeknight Enchiladas.

enchilada sauce being poured from a glass jar over a casserole dish full of enchiladas.

Easy Red Enchilada Sauce

It takes only 10 minutes to make this super simple and bursting with flavor red enchilada sauce, which can be served with anything you like.

Cook Time: 10 mins/ Total Time: 10 mins

Servings: 8 (¼ cup each)


  • 2 Tbsp cooking 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 ground 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)


  • Using a sauce pot, combine the oil, flour, and chili powder. As the heat on the sauce pot is turned on to medium, whisk the ingredients together, stirring continuously until the mixture begins to bubble. Once the mixture starts boiling, continue to whisk it for one minute, mixing the ingredients every so often.
  • A minute later, whisk in the water, tomato paste, cumin, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper until a smooth sauce forms. Allow the sauce to come to a simmer. Once the sauce reaches a simmer, it will begin to thicken slightly. Make sure that you stir it constantly as you cook it.
  • You can start with 1/2 teaspoon, taste it and adjust the salt as you go. I used about 3/4 teaspoon in total. The sauce is now ready to use!

In order to add more depth to the soup, either vegetable broth or chicken broth can be added instead of the water; just make sure that the salt added at the end is reduced to compensate for the flavor loss.


Serving: 0.25 Cup ・ Calories: 53 kcal ・ Carbohydrates: 5 g ・ Protein: 1 g ・ Fat: 4 g ・ Sodium: 338 mg ・ Fiber: 1 g

The nutritional values shown here are only estimates. Please see our nutrition disclaimer.

Enchilada sauce in a sauce pot with a wooden spoon.

Enchilada Sauce: How to Make It – Step By Step Photos

chili powder, flour, and oil in a sauce pot.The recipe begins with two tablespoons flour, two tablespoons curry powder, and two tablespoons oil in a pot.

I use McCormick’s curry powder, which is not spicy, just flavorful, so don’t be scared by the amount of it. Cayenne pepper gives it all its heat.

boiling chili powder and roux in a sauce pot with a whisk.Using a whisk combine these ingredients and bring them to a bubble over medium heat, whisking the whole time.

Cook this over medium heat for one minute. This will toast the flour and chili powder, adding to the flavor and making sure that the flour does not taste like paste at the end of the process.

water being poured into the pot with tomato paste and spices.Then, add 3 ounces of tomato paste, 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, and whisk in 2 cups of water (or broth) after a minute.

Simmered enchilada sauce in the sauce pot.

As soon as the sauce comes to a simmer, it will thicken as you cook it. Taste it and add salt if you think it will need more salt than it does.

If you are using broth rather than water, you may not need to add any salt at all. Start with about half a teaspoon and add more if needed. It is really important to add salt if you are using broth in place of water.

close up of enchilada sauce dripping off a wooden spoon into a jar.

This thick and flavorful enchilada sauce can now be drizzled over all of your favorite foods and be enjoyed with just a few drops of extra lime juice.

side view of a jar of enchilada sauce with a spoon.

Apronese thinks this is a great sauce for you, because it can be used in many dishes such as eggs, fried cakes, sour cream and some casseroles. Share this post with your friends so that they too can make their own red Enchiladas.