This zesty homemade red enchilada sauce is the perfect balance of spice, rich flavors, and acidity from fresh limes. Plus, it’s so easy to make and taste 100x better than store-bought sauce.Jump to Recipe
Why Homemade is Better Than Store-Bought
I know what you’re thinking… making homemade enchilada sauce sounds like a lot of work when you can just buy it in a can, ready to go, from the store.
I totally understand because this is what I used to do. The idea of making homemade enchilada sauce was never even a question when I could just go to the store and grab a can. But let me tell you…
- Making homemade enchilada sauce is so much easier than you think
- Being able to control the flavor and heat of the sauce is reason enough to make it at home
- Knowing exactly what ingredients are used in the sauce can provide peace of mind
I found myself making enchiladas at home and looking at the can wondering, “Why am I using this?”. So, I started working on creating my own enchilada sauce. And let me tell you, it’s 100x better than any canned or restaurant sauce I’ve ever tried.
It Doesn’t Have to Be Intimidating
For some reason, homemade can sometimes have a negative connotation to it. It can be associated with more difficult or intimidating, when it reality it’s actually much easier than people think.
This red enchilada sauce uses primarily pantry staples, and the few ingredients that you may not have don’t require a trip to the specialty store. Red enchilada sauce is mostly tomato paste, vegetable broth and seasoning. Add some onions, garlic, and diced chipotle chilis and you’re good to go!
Let’s Get Cooking!
First thing’s first, add three tablespoons of olive oil to a large pot with half a diced yellow onion. Sweat the onion for about five to seven minutes over medium heat until translucent. Remember to stir occasionally to prevent the onion from burning. Next, add three cloves of minced garlic. Cook down for two to three minutes until fragrant, then add 6 oz. of tomato paste, one diced chipotle chili, and one to two teaspoons of adobo sauce. Chipotle chilis come in a can with adobo sauce, so you just need to look for canned chilis.
Reduce the heat to medium-low and stir to combine. Next, add the following:
- 1 1/2 cups of vegetable broth
- 1 tbsp. lime juice
- 1 tbsp. cumin
- 2 tsps. chili powder
- 1 1/2 tsps. garlic powder
- 1 tsp. smoked paprika
- 1/2 tsp. oregano
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
Stir in the seasonings, then reduce the heat to low and cover with a lid. Allow the sauce to simmer for 10 minutes. This will give the sauce time to really absorb the seasoning and deepen the flavors. Then, remove from heat and pour the sauce into a food processor or blender. Before you put the lid on, allow to cool for about five minutes because it’ll be pretty hot. Once slightly cool, pulse for two to three minutes, scraping the sides down with a spatula if needed. Repeat until the sauce is smooth.
And Just Like That…
Would you believe me if I said that’s it? Well, believe it because YES- it really is that simple.
This sauce is great with my Black Bean & Butternut Squash Enchiladas but also can be used to make enchilada soup or as a condiment for tacos. Just make sure to refrigerate in an airtight container for roughly five minutes.
Homemade Red Enchilada SauceCourse: Sides, Sauce, ToppingDifficulty: Easy
It really is all about that sauce.
3 tablespoons of olive oil
1/2 yellow onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
6 oz. of tomato paste
1 chipotle chili, minced
1 teaspoon of adobo sauce
1 1/2 cups of vegetable broth
1 tablespoon of lime juice
1 tablespoon of cumin
2 teaspoons of chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoons of garlic powder
1 teaspoon of smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon of oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Add the olive oil and onion to a large pot and heat over medium heat
- Sweat for five minutes until translucent, then add the minced garlic
- Cook down for three minutes before adding the tomato paste, diced chili, and adobo sauce
- Stir to combine, then add the vegetable broth
- Season with lime juice, cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, smoked paprika, oregano, salt and cayenne pepper
- Stir to combine, then cover with a lid and reduce the heat to low
- Allow to simmer for 10 minutes
- Remove from heat and cool for five minutes before adding to a food processor or blender
- Pulse on high, scraping the sides down with a spatula as needed
- Repeat until smooth
- Store in an air tight container for up to five days