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Make this homemade red enchilada sauce from scratch in minutes, with simple ingredients from your pantry. This easy enchilada sauce recipe is made with tomato paste and always gets "Mmmmmms" when we make it for friends or family.
When I was in grad school, my roommate made enchiladas a LOT. We loved them. She would make a big pan of them and we'd have lunches ready for the whole week.
It didn't take long after we went our separate ways for me to miss having homemade enchiladas, so I asked for the recipe. And this is what she said,
"Put some oil in a pan with some garlic. Then add a BUNCH of cumin and some chili powder. Stir it around, add tomato sauce and it's done!"
I never knew it was so easy! Over the years I've used that "recipe" to develop this recipe. This red enchilada sauce recipe is the product of many years of testing. I switched out the tomato sauce for this tomato paste (because that's what I always have on hand).
So, don't pay $10 for an enchilada at the Mexican restaurant because you don't think you can make your own that's just as delicious at home.
Because you can.
You TOTALLY can.
Why I love this Enchilada sauce recipe
I love this enchilada sauce recipe for several reasons:
- It's so quick. It only takes five minutes from start to finish.
- It's completely customizable. Add a little more cumin or chili powder if you'd like. And if you want more spice, add a bit of cayenne.
- It tastes SO good.
Ingredients needed to make enchilada sauce from scratch
- Tomato paste (we use this kind and love it because it only has one ingredient!)
- Avocado oil (or olive oil)
- Garlic powder (or granulated garlic)
- Chili powder
- Ground cumin
- Salt (we use this kind because it still has trace minerals in it - unlike refined table salt)
Tools needed to make this enchilada sauce from scratch
- Sauce pan - this stainless steel sauce pan is probably the next one we'll bring into our kitchen, as we finalize the phasing-out of the non-stick pans.
- Stirring spoon - I love wooden spoons for stirring sauces.
- Mason jar to store the sauce - this size works great for sauces - I love the wide mouth.
How to make this easy enchilada sauce recipe
This sauce really couldn't be easier. Use the pictures below to help you every step of the way.
- Heat the oil and spices
- Add the tomato paste
- Add water & stir to combine
1. Heat oil in a small saucepan and add granulated Garlic, cumin and chili powder.
Stir the spice/oil combination and heat it for about a minute, while stirring. You can use garlic powder or granulated garlic. Don't use garlic salt.
2. Add the tomato paste
Next, turn the heat down to low and add the tomato paste and stir to mix the spices throughout. You can use tomato sauce if you'd rather. Try to get the kind without preservatives if you can.
3. Add water
Add water. Stir until everything is mixed together (try to get the clumps out).
Can you make this Enchilada Sauce ahead and how do you store it?
You can definitely make a double or triple batch and freeze it for when you want it. You can store it in any airtight container (mason jars work great). You can also freeze it in the mason jars (with some room at the top) and pull it out a day or two before you want to use it.
How to use your red enchilada sauce?
You can use this sauce in several different ways.
One obvious option is to use it in your enchiladas.
To make the pan of enchiladas, first drizzle a little sauce on the bottom of your 13x9 pan (love this design...especially the handles). Then take your tortillas and roll them up with the filling inside (veggies, beans, rice, cheese, meat - you decide).
Line the rolled up tortillas in the pan and then cover them with more sauce. Top with cheese. Cook it until the cheese is melted on top. You can always omit the cheese for dairy free enchiladas.
Another way to use this sauce is in a burrito bowl or on a taco salad. You can also mix it in with meat or veggies for a boost of flavor anytime you want it.
So...wasn't that easy?
If you're looking for more tomato paste recipes, I've got you covered:
- 2 Tbsp oil (avocado oil or olive oil)
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- 1 Tbsp chili powder
- 2 Tbsp cumin
- 12 oz tomato paste
- 1.5 cups water
- ½ tsp salt
- Heat the oil in a small saucepan on medium heat.
- Add spices to the oil and cook until fragrant, while stirring (about 1 minute).
- Turn off the heat and add the tomato paste, stir to get spices mixed in tomato paste.
- Add water and stir until clumps are gone and everything is mixed well.
- Use single ingredient tomato paste (should only have tomatoes in it).
Nutrition Information:Yield: 12 Serving Size: ¼ C
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 50Total Fat: 3gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 136mgCarbohydrates: 6gFiber: 2gSugar: 4gProtein: 2g