Make It or Buy It: Enchilada Sauce

I could eat Mexican food every single day. And, growing up in Southern California, I always had plenty of opportunities to fulfill that craving. One of my simple pleasures is a good, hearty enchilada. I’ve had some success making them from home, but canned sauces have always seemed to ruin my efforts, as they are either too bland, too spicy, too smoky, or just plain gross. The only brand I have found to taste somewhat like what I can find at the local taco shop is $6 for 20 ounces…not exactly a bargain!

So, I set out on a mission to find the best homemade enchilada sauce using only ingredients that I usually have in the pantry anyway. A family member who once owned a Mexican Food restaurant used chocolate syrup in his sauces, so I knew to not be afraid of using that as an ingredient. Finally, after testing several batches, I think I’ve created a delicious, easy, inexpensive recipe that beats the flavor of store bought sauce any day of the week.

“Holy Mole” Enchilada Sauce
-1.5 TBS chili powder (This amount creates a mild to mild-medium sauce. Add more chili powder if you prefer more heat…just add more water to dry mixture to make a paste.)
-3 TBS flour
-1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
-1 teaspoon garlic powder
-1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
-1 teaspoon chocolate syrup
-2 C water plus 3 TBS water
-15 oz can tomato sauce
-Salt to taste

Combine all dry ingredients, and add 3 TBS water. Stir to combine. Pour mixture into medium pan, and add 2 C water. Add chocolate syrup. Heat until mixture thickens, stir in tomato sauce. Continue to cook until sauce is thoroughly combined and warmed through. Add salt if needed. Pour over enchiladas. Makes about 28 oz of sauce. (Enough for 2 pans of enchiladas).

Make It or Buy It….

Canned Enchilada Sauce: $0.20 per ounce
Homemade Enchilada Sauce: $0.04 per ounce

Bottom Line: MAKE IT!

Note: To make this recipe gluten free and/or dairy free, use cornstarch instead of flour, and omit chocolate syrup.

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3 thoughts on “Make It or Buy It: Enchilada Sauce

  1. Wow! That’s awesome! I usually buy the Lawry’s packet of enchilada sauce mix for less than $1 and you just add a small can of tomato paste and 3 cups water, which keeps my cost down and doesn’t taste disgusting like the canned stuff. I really like this recipe though. I will have to try it. It looks delicious!
    On a side note, there is one canned variety that I think is good. Rosarita (like the refried beans) is only sold at Stater Bros., and it is good (but not cheap).

  2. I made this tonight with everything but the chocolate sauce since our son doesn’t consume dairy or gluten and we substituted the flour with corn starch…success, everyone liked it! It wasn’t too sweet, and reminds me of my favorite restaurant enchilada sauce! I was able to jar the leftover for next time!

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