Homemade Enchilada Sauce

Yet another recipe from CarlsbadCRAVINGS! I haven't made it yet, but it's on the agenda.


Enchilada Sauce
Homemade Enchilada Sauce

  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder NOT cayenne pepper-see notes
  • 1 tsp EACH ground cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp EACH smoked paprika, salt, dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper optional for spicier
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil or other neutral oil
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 3 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • a pinch of cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar


  1. Whisk the flour and all seasoning together in a small bowl (through oregano or optional cayenne pepper); set aside.
  2. Melt the butter in the vegetable oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium heat. Whisk in the flour mixture and cook while whisking for 2 minutes. Whisk in the tomato paste until completely combined and continue to cook for 1 minute.
  3. Reduce the heat to low, then gradually whisk in the chicken broth. Continue to whisk until smooth and the lumps are dissolved. Whisk in cocoa powder, sugar and cinnamon.
  4. Bring the sauce to a simmer and continue to simmer, whisking often, until it thickens to your desired consistency, about 5-7 minutes. Keep in mind the sauce will thicken a little as it cools.
  5. Remove from heat and stir in apple cider vinegar. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired with additional salt, cayenne, sugar or vinegar. If the sauce thickens too much, simply whisk in additional chicken broth, a little at a time until it reaches desired consistency.


How Spicy is this Enchilada Sauce?

This Enchilada Sauce recipe is not spicy, just flavorful IF you don’t add the cayenne pepper.  With the cayenne pepper it has a medium kick. Of course, there are some variances in heat between different chili powder brands, so I recommend tasting the enchilada sauce before deciding if you want to add the cayenne pepper.  And of course, if you would like it spicier, add more cayenne pepper to taste.  Be aware that the heat is also mellowed out when combined with other ingredients such as in enchiladas.

Do I have to add sugar?

The sugar, cocoa powder and the cinnamon are an easy substitute for Mexican chocolate and really enhance the authentic enchilada sauce recipe so please don’t skip them!


Enchilada Sauce should be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container. When properly stored, it is good for 5-7 days.  It will thicken in the refrigerator so just thin it out with some water or chicken broth.

How to Freeze

  • Let Enchilada Sauce cool to room temperature.
  • Transfer to freezer safe glass jars (it will stain plastic) or freezer safe bags.
  • Label and freeze for up to 3 months.
  • When ready to use, let sauce thaw completely in the refrigerator.
  • Stir in water or chicken broth to reach desired consistency.