This quick and easy enchilada sauce packs a powerful punch with lots of chili powder, cumin, and garlic, and it's ready in 20 minutes!
We first created this recipe for quick enchilada sauce when Joe was making me BBQ chicken enchiladas - now one of my all-time favorite foods - but at the time, just a dream of something good. Halfway through the recipe, we realized that we had no enchilada sauce.
The Walmart by our house hadn't opened yet, and the nearest grocery store was a solid 30 minute drive away, so it was either abandon the promise of BBQ chicken enchiladas or figure out how to make enchilada sauce. Obviously, we opted for the latter.
Fortunately for us, enchilada sauce is really simple to make: it's basically just the blending of oil, flour, a few spices, and chicken broth. Easy peasy.
While it sounds (and is) easy, you can't take your eyes off of this sauce while it's cooking. It will burn and set off your smoke alarms, and then you will have to start all over.
This enchilada sauce is spicy.
Over the years, I've had readers comment that this enchilada sauce was too spicy for them, and I will admit that it does have a lot of flavor. If your family doesn't like strong flavors and a little heat, you should definitely cut back on the chili powder and possibly on the garlic.
The finished enchilada sauce is not blazing hot like eating jalapeños, but it is very flavorful. I just wanted to warn you up front.
We love this sauce, and I hope you love it too.
How to make quick & easy enchilada sauce
- Heat ½ cup of vegetable oil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. When it's hot, reduce the heat to medium and stir in ¼ cup of flour and 3 tablespoons of chili powder. (Use less chili powder if you prefer a milder enchilada sauce.) Cook the sauce until it's lightly browned, but don't stop stirring or it will burn.
- Gradually add 16 ounces of tomato sauce, a teaspoon of cumin, 4 cloves of garlic (less if you prefer a milder sauce), and one teaspoon of onion powder. Continue to stir to prevent the sauce from sticking and burning.
- Cook the sauce for 10 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent burning, until it is your desired thickness.