Red Enchilada Sauce

  • Yield : About 4 cups
  • Servings : 16
  • Prep Time : 5m
  • Cook Time : 5m
  • Ready In : 10m
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Nutritional Info

This information is per serving.

  • Calories

  • Calories From Fat

  • Total Fat

  • Saturated Fat

  • Trans Fat

  • Cholesterol

  • Sodium

  • Carbohydrates

  • Dietary Fiber

  • Sugar

  • Protein

  • Serving Size:

    1/4 cup (60 ml)

Prepared enchilada sauces are convenient, but can have numerous additives and a lot of sodium per serving. One-quarter cup (60 ml) serving of one national brand has 350 mg of sodium. With that much sodium, a Mexican entree can exceed 1,000 mg of sodium per serving especially when using flour tortillas that have 10 to 20 times the sodium of corn tortillas.

By comparison, this red sauce has no added salt and about 70mg of sodium per 1/4-cup serving. The flavor comes from the chipotle peppers not from salt. As with any recipe, you can add salt if desired.

This red enchilada sauce recipe uses chipotle chiles in adobe for heat. You can adjust the amount to your taste. If you like a thicker sauce, add a little cornstarch dissolved in water until you achieve the desired consistency.

This red enchilada sauce is not just for enchiladas. I’ve added it to bean soup instead of green chiles. You can also use it as a salsa  to dip tortilla chips.

If you can’t find chipotle peppers in adobo at your supermarket, try your local speciality grocer or online. Chipotle peppers are ripe, red jalapeño peppers. Heat intensity can very from brand to brand.

Cook’s Tip

  • Adjust the amount of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce to taste for a mild, medium or hot sauce.
  • A blender works best to produce a smooth sauce. You can process the onion, garlic, and chipotle chilis using a small food processor or substitute the dry ingredients listed below.


  • 1/4 tsp (1.25 ml) garlic powder for fresh garlic.
  • 1 to 2 tsp (5 – 10 ml) onion powder for fresh onion.
  • 1 to 2 tbsp (15 – 30 ml) chili powder for chipotle chili in adobo.
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp (2.5 – 5 ml) cayenne pepper for chipotle chili in adobo.


  • 1 tsp. (5 ml) olive oil
  • 4 (12 g) garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1/2 (56 g) small onion
  • 2 cups (480 ml) reduced sodium vegetable or chicken stock
  • 1 cup (240 ml) water
  • 8 oz. (225 g) can no salt added tomato sauce
  • 4 oz. (113 g) chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
  • 1 tsp (5 ml) ground cumin
  • To Thicken Sauce
  • 2 tbsp. (30 ml) cornstarch
  • 3 tbsp. (45 ml) water

Method of Preparation

Step 1

Place all ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth. Transfer to a 2 to 3 qt/l pan and bring to a simmer on medium to high heat stirring occasionally. Simmer about 5 minutes.

Step 2

To thicken the sauce, combine cornstarch and water, add to sauce and bring sauce to a boil over medium high heat. Cook, stirring, until sauce thickens.

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