Enchilada Sauce Recipe

Yields: About 2 ½ cups
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 15-20 minutes



  • 3 tablespoons olive oil (or neutral oil)
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2-3 tablespoons chili powder (adjust for desired heat level)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • Pinch of ground cinnamon (optional, but adds depth)

Thickening & Flavor:

  • 2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar or white vinegar


  • Spice lovers: Add a pinch of cayenne pepper, chipotle powder, or hot sauce to taste.
  • Smoky flavor: Substitute half the chili powder with smoked paprika.
  • Creamier texture: Stir in a tablespoon or two of heavy cream or sour cream at the very end.


  • Make the roux: Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Once the oil shimmers, add the flour and whisk continuously for about a minute, until the mixture is smooth and lightly browned.
  • Toast the spices: Add the chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, oregano, salt, and optional cinnamon. Whisk constantly for 30-60 seconds, letting the spices bloom in the heat.
  • Create the sauce base: Gradually whisk in the tomato paste until incorporated. Slowly pour in the broth, whisking continuously to prevent lumps.
  • Simmer and thicken: Bring the sauce to a simmer, then reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer gently for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens to a consistency that coats the back of a spoon.
  • Finishing touches: Stir in the vinegar and season to taste with salt and pepper. If you added any extra spices for heat, taste and adjust if necessary.
  • Use or store: Use the sauce immediately for enchiladas, or let cool and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.


  • Quality chili powder: Use a good-quality chili powder for the best flavor in your sauce.
  • Gluten-free: Substitute the all-purpose flour with a gluten-free flour blend.
  • Controlling thickness: For a thinner sauce, use a little less flour or simmer for a shorter time. For a thicker sauce, add a bit more flour or simmer slightly longer.
  • Blending for smoothness: If you have any lumps, use an immersion blender or transfer carefully to a regular blender to puree until smooth.


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