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enchilada sauce

Homemade Enchilada Sauce

  • Author: Andrea Sprague
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 3 cups 1x


Homemade enchilada sauce for extra delicious enchiladas, or huevos rancheros. Feel free to customize as you like to get the taste you want – that’s the beauty of homemade sauces!


  • 3 dried ancho chilies, about 2 oz.
  • 1 dried guajillo chili, ½ oz.
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 tsp. brown rice flour
  • 2 tsp. tapioca starch
  • 1 Tbsp. ancho chili powder
  • 1 Tbsp. cumin
  • 1 ¼ tsp. garlic powder (I especially love this one from Penzey’s)
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • 1 tsp. oregano
  • ¼ tsp. smoked paprika
  • Couple turns freshly ground black pepper
  • 10 oz. tomato paste
  • 2 cups vegetable or chicken stock
  • 1 ¾ tsp. salt
  • Juice of 1 lime, about 2 Tbsp.


  1. In a medium pot, bring 3 cups of water to a boil. Turn off the heat.
  2. While waiting for the water to boil, wipe dried chilies with a wet paper towel. Carefully rip out the stems. Using a scissor or your hands, open the chilies and scrape out the seeds and any membranes. Place chilies in the pot of hot water and let sit, submerged, for 15 minutes. Drain chilies and reserve soaking liquid.
  3. In a medium pot or high-sided pan, heat oil over medium heat. Add flour and starch, and stir with a rubber spatula until toasted, about 2 minutes.
  4. Reduce heat to low and add all the spices (up to black pepper) and the tomato paste. Stir for 30 seconds. It will be thick, so stir well.
  5. Add the stock and salt, and whisk until smooth. Increase the heat slightly and bring the mixture to a simmer, stirring frequently for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the lime juice.
  6. Place tomato mixture, soaked chilies and a ¼ cup of soaking liquid into a food processor. Blend until smooth, scraping down the sides if needed. If the sauce is too thick, add a little more stock or water until the desired consistency is reached. (Enchilada sauce is typically a little thin when used for enchiladas. The uncovered baking causes a lot of moisture to evaporate. When using this for other dishes like Huevos Rancheros, it can be a little thicker.)
  7. Let cool and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer.


  • Measure all the spices ahead of time and store them in a small container. Do the same for the flour and starch in a separate container. This will reduce the cooking time when you’re ready to make the sauce.