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Jar filled with a batch of our homemade Red Enchilada Sauce recipe
4.87 from 15 votes

Easy Red Enchilada Sauce

Smoky, rich, spicy red enchilada sauce made with simple ingredients and ready in 30 minutes. Perfect for taking your enchiladas to the next level.
Author: Minimalist Baker
Prep Time 2 minutes
Cook Time 28 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings: 7 (1/2-cup servings)
Category: Sauce
Cuisine: Gluten-Free, Mexican-Inspired, Vegan
Freezer Friendly 1 month
Does it keep? 5 Days

Ingredients

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)

PEPPERS

  • 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

SPICES

  • 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)

Instructions

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Add tomato paste, cumin, paprika, salt and oregano (optional). Stir, cover, and cook for 5 more minutes or until peppers are tender.
  4. 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).
  5. Use immediately. Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator up to 5 days or in the freezer up to 1 month.

Notes

*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)