Homemade Enchilada Sauce


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homemade Enchilada Sauce in a saucepan

Make homemade enchilada sauce in 10 minutes using pantry staples that you probably have in your kitchen this very second. Even better than a store-bought version, this homemade sauce is gluten-free, paleo-friendly, and can be totally customized to your spice and flavor preferences. Yum!

When Frank and I were living in Bangkok we learned to make all kinds of foods that we had previously only purchased. Things like bagels, pimento cheese and hamburger buns were hard to find in Thailand and became part of our semi-normal cooking routine.

We were city-dwelling homesteaders, putting our tiny little oven to constant use on the weekends.

meatballs in homemade Enchilada Sauce in a saucepan

As you can imagine, life is much busier these days with two toddlers than six years ago when we were newlyweds with seemingly endless time.

Seriously, what did we DO with all that time?

Come to think of it….we did spend a fair portion of it at the beach.

But these days, back in the U.S. with kids underfoot, I buy my bagels rather than spend 3 hours making them. But there are some homemade foods I still enthusiastically prefer to make myself. Especially those that take 10 minutes and taste much better than store-bought.

Enchilada sauce is one of them. I realized I’d never shared my tried-and-true recipe here when we started offering a version in our meal plans over at Cook Smarts. Like the Cook Smarts version, my recipe is paleo and gluten-free and takes no time at all. It’s super freezer-friendly, so always worth making a big batch ahead of time for fast dinners.

Homemade Enchilada Sauce in a saucepan

No junk, only pantry staples, this is homemade enchilada sauce is a quick DIY kitchen task that you’ve got to try!

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enchilada sauce in a saucepan
4.84 from 6 votes

Homemade Enchilada Sauce

Made with pantry staples and none of the junk that can sneak into store-bought versions, this quick recipe is one we always have on hand. Taco Tuesday - we're ready for you!
Prep: 2 minutes
Cook: 8 minutes
Total: 10 minutes
Servings: 8


  • Saucepan


  • 1 Tbsp Vegetable Oil
  • 1/4 cup Onion, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp Chili Powder (NOT cayenne; if you don't want any spice at all, substitute smoked paprika)
  • 1 1/2 tsp Ground Cumin
  • 1 tsp Dried Ground Coriander
  • 1 tsp Dried Oregano
  • 1/4 tsp Red Pepper Flakes (opt, adjust to your spice preference)
  • 2 6 oz cans Tomato Paste
  • 4 cups Stock, any low-sodium (or use water)


  • In a medium saucepan, heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat. When oil begins to shimmer, add onion and saute until onion softens, about 2 minutes. Add the chili powder, cumin, coriander, oregano, and red pepper flakes. Saute until the onions are evenly coated and the spices are fragrant.
  • Add tomato paste and stir to break up. Add stock and whisk to combine. Reduce heat to maintain a low simmer. Let the mixture simmer until it thickens and reduces to about 3 1/2 cups, about 10 minutes. Add salt to taste.
  • Use immediately, store in the refrigerator for a week or freeze for up to six months.


Calories: 30kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 499mg | Potassium: 51mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 727IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 14mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Author: Jess Smith via Inquiring Chef
Cost: $3.00
Calories: 30
Keyword: homemade sauce, make ahead, taco topping
Like this? Leave a comment below!Jump to Comments


Guess who got their first taste of the swimming pool for the season?

To say they loved it would be….an understatement.

Molly and Clara Swimming Pool


Make homemade enchilada sauce in 10 minutes using pantry staples that you probably have in your kitchen this very second. Even better than a store-bought version, this homemade sauce is gluten-free, paleo-friendly, and can be totally customized to your spice and flavor preferences. Yum!
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About Jess Smith

Jess is the recipe creator and photographer at InquiringChef.com. She spent nearly a decade as the Chief Recipe Developer for the award-winning meal planning app Cook Smarts. Her colorful, healthyish recipes have been featured in popular online publications including Parade, Hallmark, and HuffPost.

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  1. I so enjoy your posts especially because of the photos and your format which is straight forward. I cook regularly since my retirement but still have questions. In this recipe, you include cups of stock. Stock what? Is this soup stock? My wife just made some homemade soup stock for me to make soup with, it is a vegetable stock.

    My compliments to your husband for staying slim despite your wonderful home cooking, it must be the chasing after the toddlers that beats any gym program. 🙂