glass jar with red enchilada sauce

My Go-to Homemade Red Enchilada Sauce

  • Author: Krista
  • prep_time Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • cook_time Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • total_time Total Time: 45 minutes
  • yield Yield: 4 cups 1x
  • category Category: Homemade Sauces
  • cuisine Cuisine: Mexican


This Homemade Red Enchilada Sauce is smokey, spicy, slightly sweet, and perfectly rich. Its authentic flavor goes great with so many dishes.



  • 2.5 oz. dried ancho chili peppers
  • 2 oz. dried guajillo peppers
  • 1 oz. dried pasilla peppers
  • 1 dried chili de arbol pepper
  • 1 tablespoon avocado oil
  • 1 medium white onion
  • 2 roma tomatoes
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • pinch of cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons of honey (or more if bitter)


  1. To a small saucepan, add 2 cups of water and 2 cups of chicken broth. Bring to a boil.
  2. Heat a large cast iron skillet to medium-high heat. Add dried peppers and heat for 1-2 minutes per side, do NOT burn or char. (this will cause them to be bitter, it’s better to under cook then overcook)
  3. Remove peppers from the pan and place on a cutting board. Using gloves, remove the stem, seeds and membranes of the peppers and place prepared peppers in a medium bowl. 
  4. Pour the boiling water broth combo over the peppers and let sit for 20 minutes, until the peppers are very tender.
  5. In the meantime, to the same large skillet, add avocado oil, tomatoes, onions, and garlic. Saute for 3-4 minutes or until browned or charred. Repeat on the opposite side.
  6. Add peppers, pepper liquid, tomatoes, onions, garlic, cumin, oregano, salt, and a pinch of cinnamon. Blend until pureed and smooth. Note: You may need to strain through a sieve if the sauce is chunkier than you’d like. I use a vitamix blender so it does a good job on the texture. 
  7. Once pureed, heat a medium saucepan to medium heat. Add enchilada sauce to the pan along with apple cider vinegar and honey, stir and simmer for 20 minutes to really enhance the flavors and let them blend together.
  8. Store in an air tight container in the refrigerator or serve right away.

Keywords: enchilada sauce, mexican red sauce, homemade enchilada sauce