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Create your own homemade New Mexican Inspired Red Chile Enchilada Sauce made with toasted dried red chile pods, chicken stock, onions, garlic and spices.

three mason jars filled with homemade enchilada sauce

Homemade sauce is better.

Canned enchilada sauce cannot compare to anything you’d make yourself.

If you buy it from the store, you’re either going to get the cheap stuff that is disgusting and full of things you shouldn’t put in your body, or if you can find some really good sauce its likely to be insanely expensive.

Making your own is not only cheap and easy, but it is insanely delicious.

This flavorful recipe can be used with Beef Enchiladas, Slow Cooker Chicken Enchiladas, or on Chilaquiles. If you love homemade enchilada sauce, you’ll also want to try my Hatch Green Chile Enchilada Sauce.

Here’s how you make it:

  1. First step is to toast the chiles for a couple of minutes to really bring out their flavor and then rehydrate them before blending them up. Starting from whole pods helps to ensure freshness and give the most authentic flavor.
  2. The toasted chile pods are simmered in chicken broth until soft and tender.
  3. Meanwhile, onion and garlic are sauteed in a bit of oil. Some flour is added and cooked to create a roux which will help thicken the sauce.
  4. All of this plus some spices are then blended until smooth in the blender. You can use a counter top blender or an immersion blender. The sauce is then returned to the stove to simmer for another twenty minutes or so. At this point you should tastes and adjust seasonings, as desired.
dried chile pods

What else can you use these chile pods for?

A lot of times I end up with a lot more chiles than I need for a particular recipe.

I use these same chile pods to make the best posole every year.

I also highly recommend doubling or tripling the recipe so that you always have homemade enchilada sauce on hand.

Chile sauce is a staple in New Mexican cooking. You can use the sauce in enchiladas, burritos, tamales, or smothered on top of basically anything. It gives a rich, flavorful spice to any recipe.

This sauce will keep up to 6 days refrigerated and freezes well. I personally love to smother my breakfast burritos with the stuff. YUM!

top view of homemade red chile enchilada sauce

Red Enchilada Sauce

Prep20 minutes
Cook35 minutes
Total55 minutes
Servings 6
Create your own homemade Red Chile Enchilada Sauce made with toasted dried New Mexican red chile pods, chicken stock, onions, garlic and spices.



  • 25 dried whole red New Mexican chile pods mild, medium, hot, or a combination
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil I used avocado oil
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves chopped
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt or more to taste


  • Rinse any dirt off the chile pods. Gently toast dried whole chile pods in a heavy skillet over medium heat until they are warm and release their fragrance, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Be very careful to prevent any burning. Remove the chiles from the skillet immediately. When cool enough to handle, break each chile pod into several pieces and discard stem and seeds. Wearing rubber gloves is highly recommended.
  • Heat the chicken broth in a medium sized saucepan with the chiles submerged. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to low and simmer for about 10 minutes.
  • Warm the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, and sauté several minutes until the onion is limp. Add the flour and spices and continue to cook until the flour becomes fragrant.
  • Combine the chiles, chicken broth, onion, garlic, and spices in the blender and blend until smooth. You may have to do this in several batches.
  • Return blended sauce to the saucepan and heat until it just starts to bubble. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for a total of 20 to 25 minutes.
  • After about 15 minutes, taste the sauce and adjust seasonings. When ready, the sauce will be cooked down enough to coat a spoon thickly but still drop off of it easily. Use warm or refrigerate for later use.


  • Yields 5-6 cups
  • This recipe can be made vegetarian or vegan by replacing the chicken stock with vegetable stock.
  • This sauce can be made with canned or boxed chicken stock, however homemade chicken stock is a thousand times better.
  • Store in an air tight container in the refrigerator for 5-7 days, otherwise freeze until ready to use.


Calories: 188kcal, Carbohydrates: 25g, Protein: 8g, Fat: 7g, Saturated Fat: 4g, Cholesterol: 4mg, Sodium: 634mg, Potassium: 804mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 13g, Vitamin A: 1785IU, Vitamin C: 271.6mg, Calcium: 43mg, Iron: 2.6mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Did you make this? Leave me a comment below

This post was originally published in January 2016 and has since been updated for your reading pleasure.

Hi! I’m Krissy.

I love to create the BEST versions of your favorite recipes. If you love to cook, love to eat, or just have a deep appreciation for good food, you’re in the right place! Stick around… I have hundreds of recipes for you to make.

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    1. I don’t think it would be safe to can this by the water bath method. It can be very dangerous to use that method without a tested recipe. I think you should only can it in a pressure canner using safe procedures or freeze it.

      1. To save my sauce, I usually put 2 cups into a ziplock bag and lay flat to freeze, it keeps for a very long time and takes up little space in the freezer.

  1. 5 stars
    I love this sauce as it’s authentic New Mexican Chile Thanks. I get my sun dried Chile’s from El Portrero Trading Post. But I had lost my recipe card from them. This is exactly what I needed. If you don’t want to go to all the trouble to use dried Chile’s, check out the trading post Chile powder. MAN it’s damn good. THis recipe is right in.

  2. I’m simmering my sauce now and it’s does not taste good. I don’t know what I did wrong 😞 it has a bad bitter taste. I tried adding more salt even some garlic powder….. I’m super bummed. I have no idea what went wrong. Maybe I over cooked my peppers at the beginning

    1. I use tomato sauce to bring down the bitterness of the sauce and a little sugar and a pinch of cinnamon, I know , I know that sounds weird but believe me it helps with the bitterness. But just about a 1/8 of a tsp. Play with it a little.

    2. The bitterness comes from roasting the chiles too long. You’re only supposed to roast them until they’re fragrant, which is usually a few seconds.

  3. 5 stars
    Man dude chill @pedro. Maybe they don’t use cumin in the part of Mexico ur from but countries are big and cooking is different based on what region ur in. This sauce doesn’t call for much cumin and it tastes pretty freaking good to me. Tastes like the sauce I’ve had in Mexican restaurants. Don’t be such an a-hole at ppl u don’t even know.

    1. It’s only fair that Mexicans use Indian cumin. The Indians got hot chile from Mexico centuries ago.

  4. I just can’t explain any other way!! We Mexicans do NOT USE CUMIN!! I can’t tell u people CUMIN is a midle eastern spice!! Is disgusting the amount of CUMIN that Americans use thinking that CUMIN makes it mexican!! We very seldom use CUMIN and when we do is a little pinch!!! PLEASE STOP THAT NONSENSE!!

    1. Perhaps, but based on what I’m reading, today the plant is mostly grown in Pakistan, India, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Iran, Turkey, Morocco, Egypt, Syria, Mexico, Chile, and China. So I guess it’s being adapted.

      1. If the sauce is truly NEW Mexican, no cumin or onion is used.. I don’t mind the flavor of both in a red chile sauce but a real dyed in the wool NM chef will not use cumin or onion… it is just a matter of preference though…

    2. My mothers family (Sisneros) is from NM and we have our share of Mexican food made on the regular in our family. Camino (cumin) is often used in our Mexican food dishes. It’s personal preference.

    3. Ha! Must also be North African. My husband puts it in everything! I do not like the cumin in my Mexican dishes.
      So happy to hear you state this. Thank you!