A deliciously rich and smooth homemade red enchilada sauce made from dried chilies and the perfect blend of spices.
Enchilada sauce is a versatile tomato and chile pepper sauce used in Mexican cooking. It can be made with fresh or dried chilies along with a number of spices. This recipe is an authentic red chile sauce fit for any enchilada recipe from soup to tacos. It’s 1000 times better than the canned stuff and easier than you can imagine. You seriously cannot make enchiladas again without trying this sauce!
Types of Chile Peppers
What type of chiles you use will depend on what is available to you. The most commonly used peppers in chile sauce are guajillo, árbol, poblano, ancho, and chipotle. The type of pepper you choose will affect the taste and heat of the sauce. I suggest trying the recipe as and make adjustments and changes to your taste the next time around. This article from Epicurious might be helpful in deciding which pepper you might like best.
Chiles- I used dried California chiles, also known as Anaheim chiles and árbol for heat. California peppers aren’t very hot but they are smoky. I don’t have easy access to dried ancho peppers which is my preference but the California pepper is similar. Again, whatever you have access to you may use it.
Tomato- Many enchilada recipes will use fresh tomatoes in the base but it just makes sense to me to concentrate the flavor by using tomato sauce. I decided against tomato paste because it’s too deeply concentrated in my onion as the pepper is the star of the show.
The Usual Suspects- Garlic, onion, and spices go without saying. I add a good bit of ancho chile powder in the mix and a little smoked paprika. Of course salt, cumin, and coriander amongst others.
Enchilada sauce is not limited to just enchiladas. There are a number of ways to use this delicious sauce. I asked a few of my blogger friends to share their recipes red enchilada sauce. After making my favorite Cheesy Beef Enchiladas, give one of these a try!
Vegetarian Enchilada Bowl | Crunch and Cream
Enchilada Rojas de Queso | Flavor Mosaic
Chicken Enchilada Chili | Dinner Dishes and Desserts
How to Make Red Enchilada Sauce
Dried peppers have to be rehydrated before adding them to the sauce. To do so, I remove the seeds and stems before submerging them in a bowl of water for an hour.
Then add all of the ingredients with the rehydrates peppers and soaking liquid to a blender. Process on high until completely smooth. Add the contents to a heavy saucepan to simmer on medium heat for 25 minutes, stirring frequently.
The sauce should thicken slightly and darken in color. Allow it to cool to store in a lidded jar or use it immediately.
- 8 oz tomato sauce
- 3 oz california peppers seeds and stem removed
- 1-2 arbol chiles seeds and stem removed, optional
- 2 c water
- 1/4 c yellow onion
- 1/4 c canola oil
- 1 tbsp garlic minced
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- 2 tsp ancho chili powder
- 2 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp coriander
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1 chicken bouillon cube
- Submerge trimmed peppers in a bowl with 2 cups of water to soak for at least an hour. After an hour, add all of the ingredients with the rehydrates peppers and soaking liquid to a blender. Process on high until completely smooth.
- Pour the blended contents into a heavy saucepan to simmer on medium-low heat for 25 minutes; stirring frequently. Allow it to cool to store in a lidded jar or use it immediately.