This homemade red enchilada sauce has authentic Mexican flavor! It’s so good and easy, you’ll never go back to store-bought sauce again. You can even make a double batch and freeze half of it for later. Recipe as written below yields about 2 cups (16 ounces) sauce.
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons flour (whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour and gluten-free flour blends all work!)
1 tablespoon ground chili powder (scale back if you’re sensitive to spice or using particularly spicy chili powder)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon dried oregano
¼ teaspoon salt, to taste
Pinch of cinnamon (optional but recommended)
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 cups vegetable broth
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar or distilled white vinegar
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
This sauce comes together quickly once you get started, so measure the dry ingredients (the flour, chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, oregano, salt and optional cinnamon) into a small bowl and place it near the stove. Place the tomato paste and broth near the stove as well.
In a medium-sized pot over medium heat, warm the oil until it’s hot enough that a light sprinkle of the flour/spice mixture sizzles on contact. This might take a couple of minutes, so be patient and don’t step away from the stove!
Once it’s ready, pour in the flour and spice mixture. While whisking constantly, cook until fragrant and slightly deepened in color, about 1 minute. Whisk the tomato paste into the mixture, then slowly pour in the broth while whisking constantly to remove any lumps.
Raise heat to medium-high and bring the mixture to a simmer, then reduce heat as necessary to maintain a gentle simmer. Cook, whisking often, for about 5 to 7 minutes, until the sauce has thickened a bit and a spoon encounters some resistance as you stir it. (The sauce will thicken some more as it cools.)
Remove from heat, then whisk in the vinegar and season to taste with a generous amount of freshly ground black pepper. Add more salt, if necessary (I usually add another pinch or two). Go forth and make enchiladas!
Storage suggestions: Extra enchilada sauce will keep well in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Or, freeze it for up to 3 months. Let it cool to room temperature before transferring to a wide-mouth mason jar, leaving some room at the top for expansion (don’t screw on the lid completely until the mixture is fully frozen), or a freezer bag (remove excess air before sealing).
Make it gluten free: Just use gluten-free all-purpose flour blend. I tried with Bob’s Red Mill brand and it worked great. Make it tomato free: You can omit the tomato paste. You might want to up the spices a bit. The sauce won’t taste quite like the enchilada sauce you might buy at the store, but it will still be good! Change it up: The chili powder, cumin and garlic powder are essential here, but feel free to change up the other spices to suit your preferences. If you love this sauce: Check out more of my Mexican recipes here!
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