Are you ready for a delicious homemade Red Enchilada Sauce?
If you’ve been obsessing over these Double Bean and Corn Enchiladas like I have since I first published the recipe, then you already know this classic enchilada sauce recipe.
Yes, technically it’s already on the blog, but it’s so good it deserved its own page. Like, SO good. I want to say it’s authentic enchilada sauce, but honestly, there’s nothing that would qualify me to make that statement, so you should definitely try it out and let me know what you think. It’s right up there in my book.
Have you made homemade enchilada sauce before? It’s fairly easy to make, and packed with so much more flavor than those little cans you buy in the store. Really: between enchilada sauce and salad dressing, homemade is definitely the way to go.
What do you need to make Red Enchilada Sauce?
For starters, dried chiles. They bring the flavor and a kick of heat that’s a requirement in red enchilada sauce. I love guajillo chiles but I can’t always find them in my store, so I’ll substitute with New Mexico chiles. And then more flavor packing ingredients…
- yellow onion
- chili powder
- tomato paste
Most of which I am sure you already have in your pantry. And once you make enchilada sauce once, you’ll keep dried chiles on hand for when the need strikes. Not to mention the jars of sauce you’ll keep in your freezer for emergency enchilada nights. A prime move, especially with winter on the way.
Key steps for how to make Red Enchilada Sauce:
- toasting the chiles – to bring out their flavor
- cut chiles in half, removing seeds, and then into pieces
- reconstitute in the microwave
- saute all the spices together with the onion and chiles
- puree it all together!
- strain the sauce (unless you want it more textured)
- simmer for a few more minutes because FLAVOR!
Bam – that’s all there is to it! Proceed to use in your favorite enchilada recipe (ahem, obviously this Double Bean and Corn Enchilada recipe) or a freezer safe container – my new favorite is a STASHER BAG! <– not sponsored, just loving this new sustainable option because then I can throw the entire thing in the microwave or boiling water to thaw out quickly!
There you have it: rich, deep, spicy, flavorful Red Enchilada Sauce that’s lightyears better than anything you can buy at the store.
So much winning. Enjoy, lovelies!
Red Enchilada Sauce
- 4 ounces dried guajillo or New Mexico chiles
- 1 1/2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 cup finely chopped yellow onion
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 1/2 Tablespoons chili powder not cayenne!
- 3/4 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon oregano
- Dash of black pepper
- 3 Tablespoons tomato paste
- Remove stem and seeds from the dried chiles. Using a skillet over medium-high heat (or the fire from your gas stove) toast the chiles for 1-2 minutes, flipping to toast evenly. Cut the chiles in about 2-inch pieces and place in a microwave-safe bowl with 3 cups of water. Microwave for 5-6 minutes, stopping to stir and check every couple of minutes. The chiles will reconstitute and become soft. Set aside (reserving liquid!).
- In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion, cook for 2 minutes, and add garlic. Stir in kosher salt, chili powder, cumin, oregano, black pepper, and tomato paste. Remove chiles from the liquid (still reserving the liquid) and add them to the skillet. Add 1 1/2 cups of chili liquid and stir to combine.
- Remove from heat and either cool slightly to add to blender, or use an immersion blender to blend together until smooth. Pour sauce through a fine mesh strainer (you may need to use a spoon to “squeeze” the liquid out. Return the sauce to skillet and simmer for 3-4 minutes to continue to enhance the flavor. Remove from heat and set aside to use as desired.
By the Way…
This recipe is part of our collection of savory homemade sauce recipes. Check it out!