The best enchilada sauce and you can make it at home with these easy step by step photo instructions. Blow them away with great taste. Never buy canned enchilada sauce again.
Editor's Note: Originally published February 1, 2010, Updated with expanded instructions and refreshed photos. The recipe is great and will not be changing.
We all hate canned enchilada sauce. The powder mix is horrible. I have never met anybody who thought they were even adequate. You must make it yourself.
Again, I'm using my tiny Mexican paperback cookbook I found in California. But it was a little bland, so I upped the spicing some to make it just right. I also simplified the method.
This recipe is dear to my heart and will the best enchilada sauce you will ever use.
Pro Tips: Recipe Notes for Homemade Chicken Enchilada Sauce
The Quality of The Ingredients
The tomato sauce is the major ingredient, and cheap tomato sauce will make poor tasting enchilada sauce. Use a brand you know and trust and not generic el-cheapo. I use Hunts.
A note about the onion: resist the temptation to use too much just to use it up. It will dominate the taste.
The other ingredients are basic things.
I usually don't talk about the cookware, but we are simmering tomato products that are acidic. You must use a non-reactive pan, usually meaning a non-stick pan. Otherwise, some of the metal comes into the sauce.
How Long to Simmer?
This only takes 10 minutes to put together. A 30-minute simmer is good.
But if you are going to use it where it is cooked more (like my Chicken Enchilada Casserole), then 10 minutes is enough.
Also, you could add 1/2 cup of shredded cheese. I usually don't, and I almost always use it in my casserole.
Add 2 tablespoons oil to the medium-size saucepan over medium-high heat. Add 1/2 cup minced onion ( about 1 small to medium) and saute until transparent — about 5 minutes.
Add tomato sauce and spices. Mix well and simmer over medium-low heat. It is best to put a lid on the saucepan since it will tend to splatter.
Simmer for at least 10 minutes if being used in a casserole or 30 minutes otherwise.
Homemade Enchilada Sauce
- 32 oz tomato sauce
- 1/2 cup onion - minced about 1 small to medium
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon oregano
- 2 cloves garlic
- Add oil to medium-size saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and saute until transparent. About 5 minutes.
- Add tomato sauce and spices. Mix well and simmer over medium-low heat. Cover with lid since it will splatter.
- Simmer for at least 10 minutes if being used in a casserole or 30 minutes otherwise
- Use a good brand name tomato sauce. I like Hunts.
- Do not use more onion.
- Use a non-reactive pan with a lid. Usually, that means non-stick.
- Good refrigerated for 3-4 days and maybe frozen for 3-4 months.
Originally Published February 1, 2010