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Authentic Red Enchilada Sauce


While many authentic Mexican red enchilada sauce recipes exist, we especially enjoy this one. Simpler than some, it does require a bit of advance preparation. Follow the recipe for a special flavor combination that will not disappoint!

Keep in mind that while many restaurants serve enchiladas, most use a tomato-flavored type sauce. Authentic red enchilada sauce uses the tomato as merely a base for seasonings. The other ingredients, seasonings, and preparation provide the spark for the true enchilada sauce flavor to burst forth.



Try our Authentic Green Enchilada Sauce recipe, too!





  • 1tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium white onion, minced
  • 1/2 jalapeno, seeded and minced
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1.5 tsp date sugar
  • 1 can (14 oz) tomato sauce
  • 2 small cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 tsp lime zest
  • 1 T fresh basil, chopped (or 1 tsp dried)
  • 2 T fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 T fresh basil, chopped (or 1 tsp dried)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup salsa


  • Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Add onion, jalapeno, cinnamon, oregano, and garlic. Sauté 3 minutes, stirring often, until vegetables are softened.
  • Add remaining ingredients to the pan and bring to a boil.
  • Boil for about 3 minutes, then reduce heat to low and simmer for about 15 minutes.
  • You may use this as is, or blend until very smooth.
  • Makes about 2 cups.
  • Recipe can be doubled or tripled. Store in the refrigerator for up to a week or in the freezer for longer storage.
red enchilada sauce


Why not use

a prepared enchilada sauce?

Do you really need to spend 20-30 minutes preparing a homemade red enchilada sauce? We think so. With homemade, you adjust the seasonings to your preference. However, maybe the best argument for homemade red enchilada sauce comes from a popular name brand’s label:



Ingredients of

a popular store-bought sauce:

sourced from:

Water, Tomatoes Puree ( Water, Tomatoes Paste ), Corn Starch Modified, Peppers Chiles Red Dried, soybean oil, Sugar, Salt, Monosodium Glutamate, Citric Acid, Corn Gluten Hydrolyzed, Soy Protein, Wheat Gluten, Onions Powder, Yeast Extract Autolyzed, Spices, Garlic Powder, Peppers Red

Compare those ingredients

to the ingredients in this recipe!

Use this recipe with our other recipes such as:

Authentic Mexican Enchiladas Recipe

Authentic Green Enchilada Sauce Recipe

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