Considering how much we love enchiladas, it’s insane that we didn’t have a go-to enchilada sauce recipe on the blog. Obviously, that had to change.
Meet your new best friend: saucy, spicy, red enchilada sauce ready in 30 minutes. Swoon! It’s so easy. Let us show you how.
The base for this hearty sauce is sautéed onion and garlic and a mixture dried chilies. We went for New Mexico chilies, which are milder in spice, as well as chilies de arbol for a little more heat. This combination can be tweaked to increase or reduce heat as needed (see the recipe below + notes!).
The peppers are cooked down and softened in some vegetable broth, and tomato paste, and a handful of spices bring it all together.
We hope you LOVE this sauce! It’s:
Bold in flavor
Easy to make
& Perfect for enchilada night
This sauce is perfect for adding not only to your favorite enchilada recipe – like our Butternut Squash & Black Bean Enchiladas – but also to things like Quinoa Taco Meat or Tortilla Soup to bring more depth of flavor. Be sure to make a double batch so you can store leftovers in the freezer! For more Mexican-inspired recipes, check out these 14 Vegan Mexican-Inspired Recipes!
If you try this sauce, let us know how it goes by writing a comment, leaving a rating, and tagging a photo #minimalistbaker on Instagram. Cheers, friends!
Easy Red Enchilada Sauce
ONIONS + GARLIC
- 3 Tbsp vegetable broth (or sub water or neutral oil, such as avocado)
- 1 cup white or yellow onion (chopped)
- 4 cloves garlic (peeled and smashed)
- 7 mild dried chilies (such as New Mexico (our preferred), Ancho, or Guajillo)
- 1-2 dried arbol chilies* (stems removed (for heat // add more or less to adjust spice level)
- 2 cups vegetable broth (or store-bought - we like Imagine brand // or sub water)
- 1 cup water
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp ground smoked paprika
- 1/2 tsp sea salt (plus more to taste)
- 1 tsp dried oregano (Mexican oregano if possible // optional)
Heat a large rimmed skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add vegetable broth (or water or oil), onion, and garlic. Sauté for 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tender and slightly browned.
Add dried chilies and cook for 2 minutes on each side. Then add vegetable broth and water (see photo). Bring to a boil. Then reduce heat and cover. Simmer for 15 minutes.
Add tomato paste, cumin, paprika, salt and oregano (optional). Stir, cover, and cook for 5 more minutes or until peppers are tender.
Transfer to a high-speed blender and blend until creamy and smooth. Taste and adjust flavor as needed, adding more paprika or cumin for smokiness, salt for saltiness, or a pinch of cayenne pepper for spiciness (although it should be plenty spicy).
Use immediately. Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator up to 5 days or in the freezer up to 1 month.
*In place of the arbol chilies, you can also sub 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce or 1/4 - 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (per 2 arbol chilies) when blending for added spice. Omit if you don’t like spicy sauces.
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate.
Nutrition Per Serving (1 of 7)
- Calories: 50.1
- Fat: 0.7g
- Sodium: 287.7mg
- Carbohydrates: 9.7g
- Fiber: 2.9g
- Sugar: 4.5g
- Protein: 1.6g