Homemade Red Enchilada Sauce

I was sitting around one early afternoon, doing what I normally do on a weekend, thinking about what to make for dinner. So I opened the refrigerator, and besides noticing all of the condiments on the side door, realized that I had some really great, and tender beef from the previous night’s grill out. I knew that if I did not use the beef that it would probably go to waste, and if there is one thing that ticks me off, it is letting good food go to waste.

Homemade Red Enchilada Sauce

So another quick look and I had lots of cheese (after all I am from Wisconsin), El Rey corn tortillas, and some really nice roasted red bell peppers. Enchiladas it was going to be! But what about the sauce? I said the heck with going with a canned version, granted, I know it is super easy to just open and pour over the top, but what fun is that?

I know the flavors of an enchilada sauce, and figured I would recreate it. I already had a variety of dried peppers, plenty of onions, garlic, and tomatoes, so why not give it a try! The end result was not only a great enchilada, but a sauce worth canning and making my own.


  • 10 chili de arbol peppers, seeded
  • 4 chili Guajillo peppers, seeded
  • 1 medium yellow onion, halved
  • 2 roma tomatoes, halved
  • 4 cloves of garlic, skin removed, smashed
  • 1 tsp dried Mexican oregano
  • pinch of cumin
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 6 cups of water

Begin by heating a large cast iron skillet on medium heat. Once heated through, add the whole chili peppers, onions, tomatoes, and garlic. Roast on medium heat for about 10 minutes, being careful not to burn, and flipping everything along the way. Get a large pot on another burner.

Homemade Red Enchilada Sauce

Once the your chilies, onions, garlic, and tomatoes have roasted, remove from the heat and add them to the pot. Add in your water, oregano, cumin, and salt, and give a good mix. Cook for about 20 minutes on medium heat.

Get a blender ready, and with a slotted spoon, get the onions, garlic, tomatoes, and peppers out and into the blender. Add in about 2 cups of the water. Cover, and place your hand over the top, making sure you have a towel under your hand. Just be mindful when blending hot things that pressure builds up in the blender, and if you are not careful, the top can easily come off, and you will have stuff everywhere!

Pulse the mixture. Pour into a strainer, and mash any of the thicker mixture until you are left with a nice sauce.

It’s just that simple, so scrap the canned sauce, and make your your. Enjoy.

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Dax Phillips

Thank you for visiting my website. Truly, I do appreciate it. My free time and stress reliever is cooking for my family, friends, and everyone in between. The recipes you find on this site are those that I have either created, been part of, or those that I simply enjoy and have made my own in some shape, form, or other. My focus has always been on comfort food, because at the end of a long work day, you want something comforting. I currently am the father of three children, and married to a wonderful wife of thirteen years. There is nothing fancy with these recipes, just simple, and I will admit, not so simple ingredients, and a simple kitchen corner I can call my own. I learned early on that cooking and bringing family together was very important. After all, this notion of being together at dinner time was instilled early on by my parents. There are many memories of being in the kitchen with my parents, watching them cook, or preparing meals, or those home cooked smells while waiting for dinner. My parents who worked full-time, always had home cooked meals during the week, with the exception of Friday nights where we would enjoy a Wisconsin fish fry, and often on late afternoons on Sunday, where we would order Ann's pizza. I tend to cook by making things up. As a home cook, I think you have to take chances, and add or subtract ingredients that make up a dish, and make them your own. Remember to taste, and taste often. If a dish has potential, try it again, and make it your own. You should also note that I do not count calories, or break down recipes into grams of anything. To me, that's a bit boring. My philosophy is that if the food is good, eat it, and eat it in moderation. Life is just too short not to enjoy good food. Commonly Asked Questions: Can I use your photography/content on my website/blog? Please do not redistribute my photography or recipes without my permission. All of the recipes and photography on this website are my own unless noted, and is subjected to copyright  If you’d like to use a photograph or a recipe, please contact me for permission. Will you review my product/book/site? I am available for recipe development, food photography and/or styling, travel/press events, product reviews, brand promotion/ambassador, and sponsored posts. If you are interested in working with me, or if you have a question/comment regarding a recipe or about my blog, please send me an email.

5 thoughts to “Homemade Red Enchilada Sauce”

  1. i don’t know that i’ve ever had those particular types of peppers, but i’ve certainly never had any pepper that i didn’t savor. your sauce looks phenomenal, and kudos to you for preventing a possible wasted-food situation. 🙂

  2. Wow! That’s nice! You created your own sauce and I am envy! 😛 Kidding aside, this recipe is very mexican. I really admire people who recreates another dish out of the left overs instead of it going to waste. Thank you for sharing your recipe.

  3. I made this recipe using a can of chipotle peppers in adobo and a dried pepper, the sign just said “dried pepper”, and a little chicken broth I had left over and it turned out great!! I will for sure be making this recipe again.

  4. I made a great batch with an onion, three cloves of garlic, that I sauteed with two dried seeded ancho cholos, and one dried seeded new Mexico chili,…. Add one fourteen ounce can diced tomatoes , and simmer for fifteen minutes, blend together with a pinch of Mexican oregano,and. Cumin, and thin to loose consistency with chicken broth…best ever….

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