Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Ten-Minute Enchilada Sauce for Chicken Enchiladas

Are you:
  • out of enchilada sauce but want to make enchiladas?  
  • too lazy to go to the store?  
  • an overachiever who is trying prove that you're a bad-ass kitchen ninja by making your own enchilada sauce? (I think this is the one most applicable to me, but also #2.)

Well, if any of those things above applies to you, here's the enchilada sauce I made from scratch on Sunday.  I wish I had a nicer chili powder for a deeper flavor, but I used regular McCormick chili powder that we use for chili.  Our grocery store didn't seem to have anything fancier and I couldn't use anything spicy for fear of Sonny D not eating it.  

Sonny D was my helper for this recipe, he did a great job being careful when stirring and didn't have any mistakes or injuries.  He also reminded me to "be careful!" when shredding the hot chicken, chopping the spinach, etc.

My enchilada filling was two chicken breasts grilled on the George Foreman grill and then shredded with two forks, a can of chopped green chiles, most of a can of petite diced tomatoes, some chopped spinach, a splash of enchilada sauce to keep it moist, and some shredded sharp cheddar cheese.  I like using strong-tasting sharp cheddar for cooking because it has more flavor than a milder cheese so I can use less of it.  You could fill your enchiladas with seasoned ground meat or roasted veggies.  Oh, I also like roasted veggies with scrambled eggs in enchiladas, an excellent breakfast dish.

Oh, and we prefer corn tortillas for enchiladas, not flour.

This sauce recipe made enough for 13 enchiladas, which filled an 8x8 and 9x13 pan.


All Recipes ten minute enchilada sauce

My Modifications

I used half as much oil because I didn't see a reason to use that much and you could probably make it without any oil at all.  And instead of self-rising flour I used white whole-wheat flour because that's what I had and I didn't think it needed the extra salt and baking powder in self-rising (pretty sure we're just looking for the thickening power of flour).  And when I looked in the pantry I realized I didn't have tomato sauce, so instead I used a 6 oz can of tomato paste and added more water until it looked right.  I added 1/4 tsp of salt to start, but added more later after tasting. 


  • 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 Tablespoons flour
  • 1/4 cup New Mexico or California chili powder
  • 1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce (or 6 oz can tomato paste with at least 1 additional cup of water)
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion salt
  • salt to taste (at least 1/4 teaspoon)


Heat the oil in a medium-large skillet on medium heat and add the flour and chili powder and stir it with a whisk. 

Pulling out our ingredients.
The flavor is even better if you use Sonny D's favorite egg-shaped whisk. 
Whisking the flour and chili powder.
Add in the rest of the ingredients and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes.  Taste and probably add more salt. 
Whisking up the sauce.
Sonny D carefully stirred.  I'm actually in too much of a hurry when I'm cooking so I tend to make a mess when I stir, so I would say he actually did a better job than me. 
 He's wearing a carpenter's apron around
his little waist and I was wearing my cooking apron.
Use a little sauce in your enchilada filling.  
One 8x8 pan of four enchiladas. 
Later I added shredded cheese and put it in the freezer to save for another day.
Fill and roll your enchiladas and place them seam side down.  Pour the rest of the sauce over your filled enchiladas. 
And one 9x13 pan of nine enchiladas. 

The baked enchiladas after we've ravaged them. I purposely left my burned oven mitt in the picture. 


It wasn't much work to make it since it was generally hands-off (aside from Sonny D's love of whisking) but I wouldn't say that it's better than canned.  I bet it's a lot better if you use a good chili powder though. Even if it didn't rock our socks off, it's nice to know you can make red enchilada sauce without going to the store.

I wish I had added even more salt, to me it seemed a little bland.   I have this problem about not adding enough salt, I'm afraid to add too much since I like saltier foods than my family.  Plus it might seem fine when you taste it plain since it's the only flavor in your mouth, but later I find that a little more salt when cooking would have added so much more.  I'm still trying to figure out the right amount. 

After all of this though, I have to say I actually prefer green enchilada sauce instead, so I'm off to bookmark some green enchilada sauce recipes. 

Wanna Chat?

I turned off the 'leave a comment' feature, so if you want to share what you're thinking about this or anything else, drop me an email at jhk1013 (at) It's so much more cozy than a comment, plus we can have a real conversation!