Have you ever had a craving for enchiladas hit, and there’s no enchilada sauce sitting in your pantry? Then you are going to L-O-V-E this Quick & Easy Enchilada Sauce recipe! You can whip it up in 15 minutes and be on your way to dinner on the table! No running to the grocery store just for a can of enchilada sauce. I’m willing to bet you have all the ingredients you are going to need sitting in your pantry already!
Here’s what you’ll need to make Quick & Easy Enchilada Sauce
- Tomato Sauce
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil (really avocado or vegetable oil work, too!)
- a Lime
- Sea Salt
- Brown Sugar
- Ancho & Chipotle Powder
- Smoked Paprika (My favorite spice!)
- Onion Powder
- Dash of Oregano
- Dash of Cayenne Pepper
- Light Brown Sugar
- Dutch Process Cocoa (you can use natural cocoa such as Hershey’s regular baking cocoa. The flavor won’t be quite as rich though. If it’s all you have, no worries, use it! The sauce will still be delish!)
The ingredient list may seem long, but it’s worth it. Trust me this enchilada sauce is so much better than anything you can buy in the store!
After you have gathered your ingredients, you are going to use a medium saucepan and pour in the Olive Oil or oil of your choice and add the minced garlic cloves. Place the pan over on the stove and turn the heat to medium. I always start my garlic cooking in a cold pan. I don’t like the taste of browned garlic, so I place it in the cold oil, turn the heat on, and when the garlic just starts to sizzle I cook it for one minute. Then you are going to throw the dried spices, oregano, cocoa, and brown sugar into the hot oil and garlic. Toasting the spices brings out so much more flavor than if you just threw them into the sauce without this step. Serious Eats does a great job of explaining this method if you want more information about this technique!
We’re almost there!
After toasting the spices, dump the can of tomato sauce and water into the pan and whisk until the enchilada sauce is smooth and no lumps of spices remain. Bring the mixture to a simmer and stir for 10 minutes until the sauce is thickened. Pull the enchilada sauce from the heat and add 1 Tablespoon of fresh lime juice. Ta-Dah! You’re done!
Stir, Stir, Stir!
I always stir the enchilada sauce the entire time it’s cooking on the stovetop. Stirring the sauce is my personal preference because in all honesty I am a little lazy and if the sauce comes to even the slightest boil it spits the sauce all over the stove and the kitchen floor and I H-A-T-E cleaning it up. If your cool with having to possibly clean a bit of sauce splatter up then feel free to accomplish something else while the sauce simmers! Like perhaps, making a batch of Sangria or dreaming up all of the enchilada combinations you are going to create!
- grilled corn, roasted red pepper, and pepper jack cheese
- roasted sweet potatoes and red onions with aged cheddar cheese
- cheddar cheese and onion (so simple, so good!)
- roasted zucchini, onions, yellow peppers & chicken with cheddar cheese
- roasted mushrooms, brussels sprouts, bacon, and muenster cheese
- cooked ground beef, mushrooms, bell peppers and pepper jack cheese
What are your favorite enchilada combinations?
Leave a comment below telling me what your favorite flavor combo is! Jeff & I have enchiladas at least once a week and I’m always switching the ingredients I fill them with. I’d love to know what your favorite is!
You just made Quick & Easy Enchilada Sauce
I told ya it was quick AND easy!
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Quick & Easy Enchilada Sauce that you can whip up in 15 minutes! Save yourself a trip to the grocery store by making this delicious sauce next time the craving for enchiladas hit!
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil (or oil of choice)
2 medium cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp sea salt
2 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp chipotle chile powder
2 tsp ancho chile powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp onion powder
1 Tbsp dutch-process cocoa powder (or natural cocoa)
1 Tbsp light brown sugar
dash cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp dried oregano
15 ounce can tomato sauce
1 and 1/2 cups water
1 Tbsp fresh lime juice
Pour oil into a medium saucepan and add minced garlic. Place the pan over medium heat. When the garlic begins to sizzle, cook for one minute. Add the salt, spices, cocoa, brown sugar, and oregano. Toast the spices by stirring in the oil for 30 seconds (don’t toast the spices for longer than 30 seconds. The smoked paprika may become bitter if exposed to direct heat too long). The spice mixture should be moist but clumpy. Add the tomato sauce and water. Whisk the sauce until there are no clumps of spices and the sauce is smooth. Bring the sauce to a simmer and stir for 10 minutes until thickened. Remove the sauce from the heat and stir in the lime juice. Let cool and transfer to a jar for storage.
If the tomato sauce you are using is a thin consistency, you may need to cook the enchilada sauce for a few extra minutes to cook the excess moisture off and thicken the sauce.
The addition of light brown sugar helps temper some of the spicy heat from the chile powders. If you don’t like much spice, feel free to decrease the amount of the chipotle chile powder. I would leave the ancho chile powder measurement as is. The ancho chile provides less heat to the dish and more of a sweet, smoky and fruity note with a mild heat depending on the brand chosen
The enchilada sauce can be kept in the fridge for 4 days or frozen for several months. If freezing the sauce, be sure the jar you transferred it to is freezer-safe.
- Category: Sauces
- Method: Simmer
- Cuisine: Mexican
Keywords: quick and easy enchilada sauce, enchilada sauce, quick enchilada sauce, red enchilada sauce, easy enchilada sauce, mexican, mexican sauce, enchiladas