Did you know making a killer red enchilada sauce is just about as easy as opening a can? And if you buy the right kind of chili powder it totally tastes better than the store bought kind. PLUS: done in 10 minutes. Yes!

Killer Red Enchilada Sauce That’s Done in 10 Minutes from The Food Charlatan

Right now I’m sitting in a white rocking chair, enjoying the dappled sunlight streaming in through the branches of a tree. There’s a cool glass of water by my side and there’s even a steady rush of people walking by that I can people watch (am I the only creepy people watcher??)

Killer Red Enchilada Sauce That’s Done in 10 Minutes from The Food Charlatan

Guys, I’m in the AIRPORT. Charlotte, North Carolina: you know how to do airports right my friends. I’ve never been so not-irritated to have a layover. This is downright pleasant.

(Side note: Almost every time I take a flight somewhere, I hear people chatting around me. They’ll be like, “yeah Sacramento blah blah blah…” and I’ll think to myself, hey! I live in Sacramento too! What a coincidence! Until I remember that everyone was in Sacramento an hour ago, because that’s where we got on the airplane. I’m an idiot. (This is the same excitement I feel when I send myself an email, and then check my email. Hey! Someone sent me an email! Oh whoops no just me, hi Karen from the past.)

Killer Red Enchilada Sauce That’s Done in 10 Minutes from The Food Charlatan

Eric and I have abandoned our children and are off on an adventure. We’re heading to Richmond, Virginia where my brother Nathan is in the middle of his residency. (Have I complained before about how much of an underachiever you feel like when you have not one, but TWO brothers who are doctors?? Oh yeah. I have.)

My parents are coming too, and we are going to spend some time in DC and Williamsburg. Eric has never been east of Pennsylvania, so this is all a first for him! We’re so excited, but I think the kids are even more excited that they get to stay home and do crafts with Eric’s mom. If you have any food recommendations or cool spots we should see, let me know! We managed to get a tour of the Capitol building, I’m super excited about that!

Killer Red Enchilada Sauce That’s Done in 10 Minutes from The Food Charlatan

Killer Red Enchilada Sauce That’s Done in 10 Minutes from The Food Charlatan

Here’s the “pinch” of cinnamon I used. Maybe a little less than 1/8 teaspoon? (This is my 1/4 teaspoon that has been down the garbage disposal more times than I can count…oops.)

Killer Red Enchilada Sauce That’s Done in 10 Minutes from The Food Charlatan

So do you ever get a hankering for enchiladas but don’t have any canned sauce? I feel like my enchilada cravings come on like lightning sometimes. I’m so excited to have finally nailed a homemade sauce I love that uses pantry staples. This recipe is not a fancy one; we will not be reconstituting dried chili peppers today. Not for a weeknight dinner.

I can hear you saying, “but why not use a can of sauce,” and you are so right, the can wins sometimes. But this sauce is super easy and the flavor is totally worth it! Really. This isn’t one of those times when the food blogger is like, “it’s so easy, all you have to do is whisk nonstop for 45 minutes! Oh and make sure you simultaneously pat your head and rub your tummy clockwise, otherwise it will be a TOTAL FAILURE!”

Killer Red Enchilada Sauce That’s Done in 10 Minutes from The Food Charlatan

I promise, this recipe consists of melting butter, adding powder, then adding chicken broth. Simmer 7-8 minutes. That’s it. It only takes a few minutes and the flavor is unstoppable!

Have you guys heard about New Mexican Hatch chili powder? It is the secret to a killer enchilada sauce. My mother-in-law Kris helped me do a quick taste test of a bunch of different chili powders I had bought (New Mexican, California, regular chili powder, chipotle). She tasted the New Mexican chili and said, “This tastes like it would make a great enchilada sauce!” Bingo. We mixed it with a little bit of the chipotle chili powder and thought it was perfect.

Killer Red Enchilada Sauce That’s Done in 10 Minutes from The Food Charlatan

You can use regular chili powder in this recipe, but it won’t be the same. Did you know that regular ol’ chili powder from the spice aisle has salt in it? And other spices too, including garlic? I’m not complaining, it’s delicious, but it’s not going to give you that pure flavor we want for this recipe. If you decide to use it, omit the salt from the recipe and add to taste.

So. Any guesses what recipe I’m going to post next? Hint: it involves this red sauce + sweet potatoes + black beans. Get excited!!

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One Year Ago: Chinese Beef and Broccoli Soup 
Two years ago: Easy Baked Pesto Chicken
Three years ago: Butterscotch Pumpkin Cake <<make this one, guys.


Killer Red Enchilada Sauce That’s Done in 10 Minutes

4.84 from 6 votes
Prep: 3 minutes
Cook: 7 minutes
Total: 10 minutes
Servings: 12
Did you know making a killer red enchilada sauce is just about as easy as opening a can? And if you buy the right kind of chili powder it totally tastes better than the store bought kind. PLUS: done in 10 minutes. Yes!


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 3 tablespoons New Mexican chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon chipotle chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • pinch cinnamon
  • 1 & 1/2 cups chicken broth*
  • 1 (8-oz) can tomato sauce


  • In a 2 or 3 quart pot, melt the butter with the olive oil over medium heat.
  • In a small bowl, combine flour, New Mexican chili powder, chipotle chili powder, cumin, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, and a pinch of cinnamon.
  • When it is frothy, add the flour mixture. Stir it together into a thick paste. It should get nice and bubbly. Stir constantly for about 1 minute (this is to cook out the raw flour flavor and toast the spices a bit.)
  • Slowly pour in the chicken broth while stirring. The sauce should thicken up immediately. Add the can of tomato sauce.
  • You can thin it out with a few more tablespoons of chicken broth or water, if it is thicker than you like.
  • Simmer over medium or medium-low heat for another 7-8 minutes to give the flavors a chance to marry.
  • You can either use it right away, or store it in the fridge for up to a week. I like to store it in a 1-quart mason jar. You can also freeze it in a ziplock bag to have on hand.
  • Makes about 2 and 3/4 cup enchilada sauce.


 *Use vegetable broth to make this vegetarian!


Serving: 0.25g | Calories: 56kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 5mg | Sodium: 316mg | Potassium: 144mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 934IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 16mg | Iron: 1mg
Course: Sauce
Cuisine: Mexican
Calories: 56
Keyword: enchilada sauce
Did you make this? I'd love to see it!Mention @thefoodcharlatan or tag #thefoodcharlatan!


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Chicken Enchilada Soup: (This is basically one of my all time favorite soups!)

Chicken Enchilada Soup from TheFoodCharlatan.com


Chicken, Tomatillo, and Chipotle Chimichangas <<these are deep fried and so, so good.

Chicken, Tomatillo, and Chipotle Chimichangas from TheFoodCharlatan.com


More homemade enchilada sauce from friends!

5 Minute Blender Enchilada Sauce from Crunchy Creamy Sweet
Homemade Enchilada Sauce from Amanda’s Cookin
Creamy Enchilada Sauce from Rachel Cooks

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  1. 5 stars
    Love this! I made a double batch yesterday and will freeze half. Just finished the sweet potatoe black bean enchiladas. They are amazing!
    Thanks for sharing!

  2. This is the best enchilada sauce that I have ever made!
    Simple and always delicious!  Thank you, Food Charlatan!  (F.Y.I.- Ancho chili Powder is the same as Mexican chili power.) many people don’t realize this. All available at Whole Foods in Organic & Conventionally grown.  

    1. So happy to hear that Cary! Thanks for leaving a review! And I did no know that about the chili powder, thanks for sharing!

  3. This is the best enchilada sauce recipe I have ever tasted. I was so happy to make something this good. I feel like a pro. Thank you for sharing this recipe and inspiring us to make great meals through your recipes.

    1. Hey Valerie! Great question! I meant to talk about this in the post. Depending on where you live, you can find them on the Hispanic foods aisle of your grocery store. They often have a bunch of spices sold in plastic bags. Sometimes it’s by the produce section too. A Latin American market will also definitely have it. If you don’t have any near you, click the links in the recipe to buy it on Amazon!

  4. Hi when you say a can of tomato sauce for the enchilada do you mean a sauce that has lots of added sugars spices etc?Or can I use just tinned tomatoes?
    Looks great especially the colour.

    1. Hey Bridget! I just mean tomato sauce, which has no added sugar. You can even find types that have no salt added if you’re worried about it (I used a salted can though.) I hope you enjoy!

  5. WOW! Our trip back there was one of our BEST EVER!!!! If you want to eat some DIVINE food, I suggest going to the Mount Vernon Inn Restaurant! The Hoe Cake with Ham & Crabmeat under Hollandaise is PERFECTION! We also loved the peanut & chestnut soup, (who knew?!?!) the lamb, and the salad with the little pieces of fried feta. It was all so delicious!!! We loved our time at the Smithsonian, and at Colonial Williamsburg. We went last September, and the weather was perfect except for one day of rain. You will have an incredible time! Here is a link: http://www.mountvernon.org/inn

    1. I will have to check it out Dana, it looks amazing! We had crab cakes at a restaurant here in VA yesterday, it was SO delicious. September is a really good time to visit this part of the country! Thank you so much for the recommendation!! PS Peanut and Chestnut soup???? Sounds so interesting!!

  6. Recipe for red sauce really looks good. We are trying to eat at home more now, because restaurants are just too expensive. Thank you for having a website that offers so many good-looking & simple recipes. We’ll be long-time subscribers.

    1. We’re in the same boat, eating out all the time is just too much! I’m glad you are enjoying the recipes on the blog David. Thanks for letting me know! Keeps a blogger going! :)

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