Easy Homemade Enchilada Sauce

We love Tex-mex, and I especially love enchiladas.  They’re a great way to stretch meat and nobody will even think of complaining.  If your family enjoys beans, you can even skip the meat altogether.  Some call those Wet Burritos, but I think Bean & Cheese Enchiladas sounds much more appetizing.

To make a good enchilada, you need a good sauce and it’s not hard at all to make it from scratch.  You can even make it a day or two ahead of time to make enchiladas a fairly quick & easy dinner.

The stuff that comes from a can will do the job, but once your family tastes your homemade sauce you’ll never get away with the canned variety again.  Don’t try this recipe unless you’re willing to give up the canned option.  Don’t say I didn’t warn you.  By the way, does anyone want a dozen cans of store-bought enchilada sauce?

ingredients for enchilada sauce

Easy Enchilada Sauce

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 4 cups broth or bouillon
  • 1 tsp. salt (omit if using bouillon or well-salted broth)
  • 8 oz. tomato sauce

In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat.  Stir in flour to make a smooth paste.  Add spices and continue to stir until bubbly.

Whisk in broth and bring to a boil.  Cook and stir 1 minute, until thickened.  Stir in tomato sauce.

Makes 5-6 cups, enough for (2) 9×13 pans of enchiladas.

Super-flavor tips:

For extra flavor, skim and save fat when making chicken broth and use a little [fat] in place of part of the butter.

Try sauteing 1/2 diced fresh onion and 4 cloves minced garlic in the butter instead of using the onion and garlic powder.


  1. I’m curious if anyone has tried to can this sauce and how it worked out…? Also, instead of regular flour I use white bean flour. Gluten-free individuals might like that idea. I love this sauce and just used it again tonight and would LOVE to know how to safely can it!

    • I think you could safely can it in a pressure canner. Since it’s thickened it would be comparable to soup, so if I were canning it myself I would use instructions for something like that.

  2. This sounds simple and delicious , do you have a Verde sauce to post as well?? I would love to make both for Christmas!

  3. I just made this because I looked at my shelf and didn’t have any enchilada sauce. Some of the recipes I found called for tomato paste, and I tried yours because I had tomato sauce on my shelf. Thank You! This is fantastic! I loved it and I’m sure my family will too. I did make one change…and I thought I’d share it with you. We eat gluten free, so I left out the butter and flour. My homemade beef stock had some fat at the top of it and I knew that would take the place of the butter. I thickened the sauce with cornstarch. Worked great.

  4. I made this yesterday. All I can say is YUM.

  5. thanks! i’m trying this tonight i was going through my cupboards trying to find something for dinner and realized i have plenty of ground beef, enchiladas and cheese but no fixings for tacos and no sauce so i googled homemade enchilada sauce and your blog was in the top 5 that popped up. yours won b/c i have the ingredients on hand and it was the most simple! hopefully its as great as all the reviews say!

  6. Thank you, I’m going to try this. I have been looking for an Enchilada sauce that I can make at home.

  7. Cindy in GA says:

    I made this sauce yesterday for chicken enchiladas (I mix the chicken w/ cheese, green onions, cilantro, and a little lime juice), and it was DELICIOUS!!! This is definitely our go-to sauce for enchiladas from now on. Thanks for sharing the recipe! 🙂

  8. Janelle says:

    My children don’t like enchiladas (I don’t know what’s wrong with them), but tonight when I made this and had my daughter taste it, she asked me for a bowl of it it eat straight! 🙂

  9. Thank you so much for sharing this amazing recipe! I made it last night and received rave reviews from my menfolk. It was so delicious I believe I will can a few batches for pantry storage and ease of use later. Your blog is such a blessing in a myriad of ways. 🙂 Thank you again!

  10. That sounds yummy! I am printing it off! I have been making it using a jar of enchalada seasoning, but it would be great if I could just whip it together from my season rack when I run out instead of replaning dinner when I realize I’m out.

  11. This sure will be good with a homemade margarita.

  12. Congrats kim… so excited for you 😉 xoxo

  13. I have been using a recipe out of the cookbook Food Nanny Saves Dinner, but yours is so much simpler!! Thanks!! I hate the canned stuff because you never know how spicy it is going to be.
    My girls can even make this!!

  14. Well, that was a delicious lunch. Thank you, Kim. I made the sauce per your directions and then cut tortillas in the bottom of a 9×13 pan. Looking through the scantily stocked cupboard yielded one can of red kidney beans. In the pan it went. One green bell pepper, half an onion, and garlic, sauteed all together, went over the beans. Grated cheese went on top. The SAUCE covered everything (I kept some for a baked egg omelet for Thursday night’s dinner so my husband could enjoy the SAUCE) . And per your suggestion, paprika decorated the top. I should have put our left over rice under the tortillas because it would have used it up and been delicious and a tad more filling.
    Delicious!~Thanks again.

  15. Thank you for the great recipe, Kim. I have been feeling guilty about “lurking” without letting you know how much I appreciate your posts–I mostly refrain from commenting because I have been reading the archives and feel awkward commenting on a piece you wrote years ago.
    Anyway, back to the recipe: I have been wanting a good recipe for enchilada sauce for a while. The canned kind never tastes right and it always seems to spoil quickly once opened. We’ll be having enchiladas for supper tonight!

    • I just finished making this sauce. It is delicious! Thanks again for a great recipe. I made it with the fresh onion and garlic. 🙂

      • Thank you, Alice. It takes a little longer if you choose to use fresh onion and garlic, but you can’t beat the flavor!

        • I just made this recipe again today, and have another flavor boost for your list. I was making “farmer’s breakfast” (a dish of hashbrowns with eggs, tomatoes, and cheese baked on top) and thought I would make the sauce as an extra topping in addition to salsa. I started the recipe and got to the part where you put the broth in before I realized that I didn’t have any tomato sauce.
          Since we don’t like commercial salsas, we make our own from seasoned diced tomatoes, cilantro, and El Pato “Jalapeno Salsa”. I had already mixed this up, except for the lemon juice, so I took 3/4 cup of this plus 1/2 diced tomato and blended it till smooth. I used this for the tomato sauce.
          We just finished our breakfast, and the sauce was perfect. The fresher tomatoes and the little bit of cilantro added a great flavor. It might not be as good after being baked on enchiladas for a while, unless you let the sauce simmer with just the broth until the enchiladas are ready to go in, then add the tomato and pour over.
          Thanks again! This is my new favorite sauce.

          • Yum! I love cilantro and fresh tomatoes! So glad you’re enjoying our sauce, and I would love to hear more ideas on how to use it!

  16. Lois Groat says:

    Around here, it is called an enchilada if it has a corn tortilla, and a burrito if it has a flour tortilla. It is a wet burrito if it has sauce. Your recipe sounds easy and delicious. 🙂

  17. Yummo! My family will love this, and I won’t miss the canned stuff! I’m going to pin this and then freeze a bunch so we can have enchiladas without having to run to the store for sauce! Thanks!

  18. Thank you! I have all the ingredients necessary and it’s lunch time here in the Pacific Northwest. We will be feasting thanks to you! The children thought they’d be served bologna sandwiches again….

  19. What type of broth? Chicken or beef?

  20. Sounds good. Have you tried freezing this?

    • Meghan,
      The texture may not be quite as smooth when you defrost it, but it would be fine since you’ll be baking it onto enchiladas anyway.

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