Beef,  Cheese,  Mexican,  Sauce

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.


  • grace

    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. 🙂

  • Kathy

    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.

  • carey

    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.

  • John

    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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