Recipe: Enchilada Sauce

A couple of years ago I posted a recipe for Cheesy Chicken Enchiladas … it used canned Enchilada Sauce… a reader emailed me advising how I should make it from scratch… I knew she was right… so I put it on my “To Do” list…. and that’s where it’s been all this time… oh I didn’t skip it.. I made several attempts at making the sauce… but I thought I could do better… so there it stayed… I never post a recipe that I wouldn’t make for my family again.

I came across a recipe recently at that said the original source was a friend from Mexico City and this was “authentic”. Well … let me tell you about that word “authentic”…. while I’m sure the recipe was from someone from Mexico City… what exactly makes her authentic sauce any more authentic than many many others?… my theory on that is … everyone has their own little touches.. much like authentic marinara sauce… they’re all Italian.. but many are just slightly different… and it’s that slight difference that produces the volume of recipes out there to match individual tastes.

So does it really matter what is authentic or not?… I’m of the school of thought… if you like it… it’s all that matters. Look at celebrity chefs… they put their own spin on traditional recipes all the time.. so why can’t you?... the short answer is you can. Bobby Flay built an entire tv series around challenging local restaurants … they make their traditional recipes and he makes the same thing …often with a new twist… sometimes he wins … sometimes he doesn’t… are the losing recipes failures?... not necessarily… depends if you like it or not… so with that… I’m going to give you my recipe for Enchilada Sauce. I hope you like it.

That Mexico City recipe did have one interesting ingredient that was the “secret ingredient”.. I’m not sure that it is so secret.. but I kept it in… it’s cocoa… other than that..the recipe was fairly similar to many others… the recipe had the right consistency but … in my opinion.. lacked flavor… so the recipe you see here.. is mine.. I played mad scientist in the kitchen… adding spices until I liked the flavor… nothing super unique.. just what I like in my Mexican food.


I like cumin… for me.. most Mexican dishes need cumin… just as onion and garlic are important… so is the chili powder…. For this recipe I used Hot Mexican-Style Chili Powder… it’s not tremendously hot but gave the sauce a little zing… it’s by McCormick and you should be able to find it at your supermarket.

You certainly can use whatever chili powder you prefer.. there are some terrific ones out there.. but I used a brand that my readers should be able to find where they live or from the McCormick website…. different chili powders will slightly change the flavor of the sauce… definitely experiment to see what you like best.

Mix the spices in a bowl…I use a wire whisk to mix spice blends… it works extremely well getting the spices to blend evenly.

I used a plain tomato sauce by Hunts… they have a Fire Roasted Garlic Tomato Sauce that might give this recipe a little more umpf… so you may want to try that… be adventuresome.. try different things until you get what you want.

So let’s get to it… here is my Enchilada Sauce…

Recipe: Enchilada Sauce

All you need:

3 tablespoons flour
3 tablespoon Hot Mexican-Style Chili Powder (by McCormick)
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon cocoa
¼ teaspoon salt or to taste
1 ½ teaspoons garlic powder
1 ½ teaspoons onion powder
1 teaspoon oregano
1 can (8 oz.) Hunts Tomato Sauce (plain)
3 cups water

All you need to do:

In a small bowl combine flour and all spice ingredients.

Add about ½ cup water and whisk until smooth.

Pour the mixture into a small non-stick pot.

Over medium heat, stir using a coated wire whisk (one of my favorite kitchen tools).

Add the remaining water and continue stirring until mixture is smooth and thickens.

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