Homemade Enchilada Sauce – Life Above the Cafe

Homemade Enchilada Sauce

A tasty and easy homemade enchilada sauce!
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Homemade Enchilada Sauce

Enchilada Sauce
Jun 05, 2020




5 mins.

10 mins.

4 plus

I used to buy canned enchilada sauce and then I realized it’s made with items that I always have hanging out in my pantry and spice cabinet, so I gave it a try and I haven’t looked back.

There are some really good canned enchilada sauces in grocery stores, but since I love Mexican food and developing recipes based on restaurant flavors, I like making my own enchilada sauce.

This Enchilada Sauce is less about the chili powder and more about the cumin. I kept trying recipes online and never really loved the taste profiles. I finally realized it was because the finished sauces were all too thick and reminded me too much of a bowl of chili whereas my local Mexican restaurant’s enchilada sauce was thinner and has a milder flavor. I decided to tone down the chili powder and bump up the cumin powder and the result has become my favorite enchilada sauce to date.

If you prefer a spicy Enchilada Sauce add more cayenne pepper and likewise omit this ingredient if you prefer an extremely mild enchilada sauce.

Obviously, I love using this Enchilada Sauce over enchiladas, but it’s also great with Burritos, Mexican pizzas, Tamale Pie, and as pictured with my Stuffed Poblano Peppers. I usually make a large batch of the sauce and freeze half for quick weeknight meals.

I hope that you’ll try this recipe today and when you do, please leave a comment below. Also, follow @lifeabovethecafe on Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest for daily updates!


  • 2 cups of tomato sauce
  • 1 cup of chicken broth
  • 1 & 1/2 tsps. garlic powder
  • 2 tsps. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. of cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 – 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • 1 Tbsp. cumin powder
  • optional – 1 tsp. dried cilantro


In a non stick sauce pot add all of the ingredients and stir everything together.

Bring the sauce up to a boil and then turn it down to a low simmer.

Cover and continue simmering for 10 minutes, stirring often with a whisk.

I prefer a thinner enchilada sauce and will adjust it with extra chicken broth or water if it begins to thicken up too much, but if you like a thicker sauce cook it for 15 minutes.

Use this enchilada sauce for enchiladas, burritos, or Mexican pizzas.  Store leftovers in the refrigerator or freeze in a freezer safe container.

Note* I prefer a sauce with less chili powder but if you prefer more then add 1 – 2 Tbsp. of chili powder.  Taste the sauce after it has cooked for 10 minutes and adjust the spices and salt as needed.  I sometimes add 1 more tsp. of cumin powder and a little more salt if needed since I start with 1/2 tsp. of salt.  Fresh cilantro is a nice addition, but can brown, so I add it to my food when plating.

Additional Photos:

Chicken Stuffed Poblano Peppers
Chicken Stuffed Poblano Peppers
Enchilada Sauce
Enchilada Sauce

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