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Simple Red Enchilada Sauce

A great tasting and versatile homestyle sauce that’s the perfect accompaniment for Mexican meals.

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Easy Enchilada Sauce Horizontal 1
Image: Jono Elderton for 12 Tomatoes

As my experience cooking Mexican and Tex-Mex recipes has skyrocketed, so has my love for making great-tasting sauces that can be used across a variety of dishes. Where once upon a time I would opt for a store-bought sauce, or even a quick heat-and-eat dish, these days I like to make my own from scratch. They are fridge-friendly, taste better, and I know exactly what’s in them. The latest recipe is a vibrant and delicious Simple Red Enchilada Sauce that adds class to everything you combine it with.

Easy Enchilada Sauce Vertical 1
Image: Jono Elderton for 12 Tomatoes

Simple red enchilada sauce is quick, easy, and delightfully versatile. All you need is access to a blender, and then 10-15 minutes of simmer time on the stovetop, and you’re good to go! The sauce is chock full of authentic Mexican flavors, that classic combination of herbs and spices made to perfectly augment a simple base of pureed tomatoes and red chillies. The ingredient list allows you to craft a warm, rich red sauce that you can spice up and add extra heat to whenever (and however) you like.

Easy Enchilada Sauce Vertical 2
Image: Jono Elderton for 12 Tomatoes

Unlike store bought sauces, this homemade red enchilada sauce is free of unnecessary processed ingredients or MSG. Instead, a vibrant splash of apple cider vinegar and a couple of teaspoons of chipotle hot sauce amps up the flavor, lending a smoky flavor to the enchilada sauce. If hot sauce isn’t your thing, a more temperate, but no less smoky flavor can be achieved using BBQ sauce.

Easy Enchilada Sauce Vertical 3
Image: Jono Elderton for 12 Tomatoes

I love the smoothness and adaptability of this red enchilada sauce. The chillies are warm but not hot (if necessary, a red bell pepper can achieve a sweeter taste) and the tomatoes can be switched for other varieties according to personal taste. At no point are there any constraints on where to take the sauce, which applies to its construction and use. – I love it with enchiladas, taquitos, and even breakfast scrambled eggs. While they can be stored for at least a couple of weeks in the fridge, you’ll find yourself taking every opportunity you can to use this yummy red sauce!

Easy Enchilada Sauce Vertical 4
Image: Jono Elderton for 12 Tomatoes

Yield(s): Fills 16 oz Mason Jar

5m prep time

10m cook time

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you're making mealtime meaningful.
100% of the Share to Care sponsor fees fund meals for families in need. Learn More
  • 1 x 14 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 3 red chillies, deseeded and chopped roughly
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1-2 teaspoons chipotle hot sauce (or smoky barbecue sauce)
  • Optional: 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  1. Combine all of the ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth.
  2. Place the enchilada sauce in a frying pan and bring to the boil, then lower the temperature and simmer for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Remove the enchilada sauce from the heat, and allow to cool. Pour the contents into a mason jar or resealable container for serving or storage. You can refrigerate the contents for at least two weeks in the fridge if airtight.

Recipe adapted from Budget Bytes