Made from ancho chilis and roasted tomatoes and onions, this homemade enchilada sauce has an authentic flavour and it's so easy to make!
Making a great enchilada sauce at home was an elusive task for me until I finally tracked down ancho chilis in one of our specialty grocery stores. For true authentic flavour you definitely want to make your homemade enchilada sauce with dried chilis.
If you're not familiar with ancho chilis, they are dried poblano peppers. Their flavour is rich and earthy and a bit sweet and there really is no substitute out there for them. They have many uses, like chilis and marinades, and of course, enchilada sauce.
This recipe uses ancho chilis, roasted tomatoes, onions and garlic, stock and a pinch of spices and blends them into an easy to make yet complex tasting homemade enchilada sauce.
You're going to love this!
- Quick & easy - most of the time in this recipe is inactive - roasting and soaking. All you really have to do is blend everything up!
- Authentic flavour - you can make enchilada sauce without ancho chilis, but there is nothing that compares to the authentic flavour of a sauce made with them.
- Freezer friendly - make a double batch and save some in the freezer for a later meal.
- Ancho chilis - these are dried poblano peppers. There isn't really a substitute, and if they are not available at your local grocer, you might be able to find them at a specialty store.
- Chicken stock - this is versatile. Use veggie stock if you want to make it vegan, or try beef stock if you'd like a beefier flavour to your sauce.
- Garlic & onion - fresh garlic is a must, but you can use any kind of onion you like.
- Tomatoes - I used vine ripened tomatoes, but you could use romas here too if you like.
- Cinnamon & cloves - warming spices that help bring depth and warmth to the flavour of the ancho chilis.
How to make it
Roast. Quarter the onion and tomato and place them on a parchment lined baking sheet along with the garlic cloves and roast them in the oven at 450ºF for 25 minutes.
Toast. Heat a skillet to medium high heat and toast each side of the ancho chilis for about 30 seconds to help waken up their flavour. Be careful not to let them burn or you will have a bitter taste to your sauce.
Soak. While the veggies are roasting, place the toasted ancho chilis in a large bowl and cover them with hot boiling water. Let them sit and plump in the water for 20 minutes or so while the veggies roast.
Blend. Remove the tough stems from the soaked ancho chilis and slice them. Place the chilis and the roasted veggies in a high speed blender. Remember to remove the skin from the garlic. Blend until the sauce is smooth. If you don't have a high speed blender, you may have to pass the sauce through a sieve to make sure the sauce is not gritty.
Finish the sauce. Add the chicken stock to the blender and mix through. You may need to add more or less to get the right consistency. When you have the consistency you like, add the cinnamon, cloves and salt and season with fresh ground pepper then cook the sauce in a pot on the stove for 15 minutes or so to blend in the spices.
How to use it
Of course the most common was to use enchilada sauce is when making enchiladas like these chicken enchiladas, but you can use it in many other ways!
- Enjoy some Mexican Italian fusion with this vegetarian Mexican lasagna.
- Serve it party food style with this baked chicken enchilada dip .
- For a healthy meatless (and lower carb) meal try this vegan enchilada casserole.
How to store it
This red enchilada sauce will stay fresh for up to 5 days when stored properly in an air tight container. For longer storage, you can pop it into your freezer where it will stay good for up to 3 months. Simply thaw it out in your fridge a day ahead of time from when you plan to use it.
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Homemade Enchilada Sauce
- 3 ancho chiles
- 2 tomatoes - quartered
- 1 onion - quartered
- 1 ¼ cups Chicken stock - or more depending on the consistency you want
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1⁄8 teaspoon cloves
- 1⁄4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1⁄2 teaspoon sea salt
- black pepper - to taste
- Heat the oven to 450ºF and roast the quarteded tomatoes and onions and garlic for about 25 minutes.
- While they roast, toast the dried chilis in a hot skillet for about 30 seconds per side then put them in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Let sit for while the veggies roast.
- Add the plumped chilies, tomatoes, onion, garlic and stock to a blender then blend until completely smooth. You may need to use more or less of the stock to get the right consistency.
- Add sauce to a skillet, add the cloves, cinnamon and salt and season it with pepper. Let it cook for 15 minutes to let the flavours blend.
* nutritional information is calculated by online tools and may not be 100% accurate.
So many delicious uses for this sauce!
This is a great recipe - easy to follow and full of flavour.
Carrie Robinson says
I have never tried making my own enchilada sauce! Definitely trying this recipe soon. 🙂
Sandhya Ramakrishnan says
I make enchiladas so often and have been using store bought sauce for years. Love this recipe and it is so simple to make. And the best part is I have ancho chilies in my pantry! Going to give this a try this week!
it's so simple! Enjoy!
You can't beat homemade enchilada sauce. We love ours extra spicy.
You definitely can't beat it!
Krissy Allori says
I'll never buy store bought sauce again. Super easy to make and incredible flavor!
That's great to hear!
Ooh I love the flavor ancho chiles add to recipes; this sauce sounds awesome! I'll definitely keep this in mind the next time I make enchiladas. I'm sure it's so much better than anything that comes pre-packaged in a can!
Yes, they have such a great flavour, don't they?!