Really, Really Quick & Easy Enchilada Sauce

CHEESE ENCHILADAS is one of my favorite dishes, and I (of course!) like them the way my mother prepared them, by dipping a warm corn tortilla in the hot chile sauce she had made with red chile powder, then briefly dipping it in a pan of hot lard then placing grated cheese and raw onions in the center and rolling the tortilla into a tight tasty burrito (any rolled up tortilla is a burrito in my book). She never smothered the burritos in sauce, or even poured a bit of sauce on them. We ate them with a simple salad of lettuce, tomato and onions. Nothing fancy at all.

Over the years, I’ve made lots of enchiladas and, because I’ve become a food snob, I had this stupid notion that I had to make my enchilada sauce from scratch – using whole dried chile peppers. Some of my sauces have been excellent, some have been disasters. Recently, though, I decided to go back to my mother’s way and I made the sauce using chile powder made by McCormick, with chiles anchos, from a jar I bought some time ago.

I posted a picture on FaceBook and I was surprised by the number of people who wrote that they never make their own sauce, that they instead buy it in cans. There’s nothing wrong with that, especially if you have a busy life and don’t want to spend all your time in the kitchen. But if you want to be able to make your own sauce, here’s a recipe I’ve created. It doesn’t take longer that 10 minutes, and it’s a lot cheaper than what you buy in cans. Try it.


1 tsp    oil

8 oz     hot water or broth

2 tsps  flour

1 tbs    chile powder*

½ tsp   salt**

½ tsp    garlic powder


  1. Heat the oil in a skillet under medium heat
  2. Heat the water or broth
  3. Gradually add the flour and stir rigorously until flour is completely dissolved
  4. Slowly pour the mixture into the pan with the heated oil.
  5. Stir while adding the chili powder.
  6. Continue to stir, adding the garlic powder and salt, until it starts to boil. (If the sauce is too watery, continue to heat until you have the right consistency.)
  7. Turn off heat.
  8. That is all.

This will probably make enough sauce to serve two people (about 8 enchiladas).

* Any brand; I prefer McCormick Gourmet Ancho Chile Pepper, which you can get online if you can’t find it at your grocery story) 

** If you use this sauce with corn chips instead of tortillas, cut the amount of salt by half. 

About juanzqui7

Former Texas reporter, columnist and editorial writer.
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