Red Chile Enchilada Sauce

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The fiesta continues this week, starting with this delicious Red Chile Enchilada Sauce. I have a confession to make, I thought all enchilada sauces were made with dried chiles! It wasn’t until AFTER I made this sauce I read the ingredients on the label of my favorite enchilada sauce…..that I can no longer purchase, and realized that it is made with tomato sauce!! Oh well.Red Chile Enchilada Sauce cookingwithcurls.com

Live and learn! Why am I posting this recipe, because it is really good enchilada sauce!! I was a bit apprehensive at first that it would be too spicy for this chica blanca, but I was really happy with the results. It is quite thick, with tons of flavor. This sauce will not disappear into your enchiladas!! Speaking of enchiladas.

Shredded Beef Enchiladas cookingwithcurls.com

I made these Shredded Beef Enchiladas with this very sauce, and my favorite Guacamole. You will never need to go out to a Mexican Restaurant again! 

How to make Red Chile Enchilada Sauce

Place 10 to 12 New Mexico dried chiles on a baking sheet. Bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for 3 to 4 minutes, until fragrant.

Red Chile Enchilada Sacue bake cookingwithcurls.com

Remove the stems and seeds.

Red Chile Enchilada Sacue seeds cookingwithcurls.com

and place in a large bowl. Pour 3 cups of warm water over the chiles.

Red Chile Enchilada Sauce soak cookingwithcurls.com

and allow them to sit for 1 hour to rehydrate.

Red Chile Enchilada Sauce rehydrate cookingwithcurls.com

Place the chiles in a blender along with some of the soaking liquid, and pulverize them into a paste.

Red Chile Enchilada Sauce pulverize cookingwithcurls.com

Add the remaining soaking liquid, tomato paste, oil, garlic, oregano, salt, and cumin and blend until smooth.

Red Chile Enchilada Sauce blend cookingiwthcurls.com

Pour into a sauce pan, and simmer for ten minutes, uncovered.

Red Chile Enchilada Sauce simmer cookingwithcurls.com

stirring frequently.

Red Chile Enchilada Sauce pan cookingwithcurls.com

Keep warm until ready to use, or allow to cool and store in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to a week. Feel free to add additional liquid if you feel it is too thick for your recipe.

Recipes that use enchilada sauce:


Red Chile Enchilada Sauce in a glass jar

Red Chile Enchilada Sauce

This traditional Red Chile Enchilada Sauce, made with roasted, dried chiles is sure to become your family favorite sauce.
5 from 3 votes
Print Rate
Course: Condiment
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: red chiles, oven-roasted, traditional sauce recipe
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 14 Servings
Calories: 39kcal
Author: Lisa Johnson


  • 10 - 12 dried New Mexico chiles ancho or pasilla chiles will work as well
  • 3 cups warm water
  • ¼ cup tomato paste
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic minced or pressed
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cumin


  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper or silpat.
  • Place dried chiles on prepared baking sheet, and bake for 3 to 4 minutes until fragrant.
  • Remove from oven and allow to cool. Remove the stems and seeds.
  • Place in a large bowl and cover with 3 cups of warm water. Let sit for one hour.
  • Place chiles in a blender with enough of the soaking liquid to blend into a paste.
  • Add the remaining soaking liquid, tomato paste, garlic, salt, oregano, and cumin. Blend until smooth.
  • Pour into a sauce pan and simmer, uncovered for 10 minutes, stirring frequently.
  • Keep warm if using immediately. If not, allow to cool, cover, and refrigerate for up to one week.


This recipe makes 3 1/2 cups of sauce.


Calories: 39kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 123mg | Potassium: 47mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 71IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 6mg | Iron: 1mg

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  1. OH boy! This look Fabulous! Homemade always tastes better. Can’t wait to make this sauce and pour it over anything and everything. THank you, Lisa!

  2. Homemade enchilada sauce tastes so much better than that stuff from a can!! Love this, Lisa!

  3. Lisa, I have to say that I have seriously been on the hunt for a true homemade red enchilada sauce. All the ones I run into say to put a can of red enchilada sauce INTO the recipe… whaddup?! So, thank you from the bottom of my heart for creating this recipe. (I just can’t stand the taste of the canned stuff.) I simply cannot wait to make this. Already pinned and know where to go… besides, you make the best of everything! Big hugs!

    1. Lisa, I wanted to come back and share with you how awesome this sauce is! I am giving this 5 stars! I made this amazing sauce ahead of time for dinner tonight… but couldn’t wait! Had to have some for lunch before any one else came home… it was simply easy to make. And, super delicious! 🙂

  4. I love this recipe…so delicious and fresh…so much better than store bought! What a great idea for giving your recipes a truly authentic flavor. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Thanks for this recipe, it looks great. My husband loves traditional enchiladas, but I’ve been trying to get away from canned sauces. We’ll have to try this. Oh, I found this through the Marvelous Mondays link party!

  6. I’m a late bloomer in using chilies in my recipes and haven’t used dried before. On a scale of 1-10, how hot is this? I have kids that won’t eat things that are too spicy.

    1. I would say it’s probably a 2, possibly 3 at the most if you are using the New Mexico chiles. I do not like spicy food, and I had no problem at all with this sauce. My son would have dumped hot sauce all over it to spice it up! 😉

  7. I love this recipe and have used it the last few years with some minor changes. Instead of water, I use pork stock and we had onion salt as well as some additional herbs and spices. I have used this recipe in canning and have increased the size to 10x so I can have enchilada sauce for the entire year for my home.

    Thanks for the recipe. It’s one of my go tos that I make in large batches 1-2 times a year.


  8. This is almost my recipe for enchilada sauce. I don’t add tomatoes of any kind. I make it with Guajillo peppers (soaked and puréed). The name Enchilada means “in Chile”. Thanks for the recipe though!!!

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