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Authentic Enchilada Sauce (No Tomato)

This authentic enchilada sauce recipe is the real deal.

It’s not at all like what you’ll find in your favorite Mexican restaurant.

This red sauce is made from dried chiles, onion, garlic and a small piece of Mexican chocolate.

It has a complex flavor yet it’s a simple and easy recipe.

This sauce comes together in under 30 minutes.

Give it a try for a truly authentic Mexican food experience.

Use it on these easy queso fresco enchiladas.

dried chilies, onion, garlic and chocolate on a white plate

Is there tomato in authentic enchilada sauce?

No, truly authentic enchilada sauce does not have tomato. Not fresh tomatoes nor canned tomato sauce.

If you want a sauce with tomatoes then you should try entomatadas.

Real deal enchilada sauce is very simplistic and only requires a handful of ingredients and each cook has their own way of making it.

I first learned how to make enchilada sauce from a friend many years ago.

She made hers super spicy using arbol peppers.

The recipe I’m sharing today is mild and made with guajillo peppers but you can easily make it medium heat with the addition of an arbol pepper or two.

Where can I find dried guajillo peppers?

Dried chile peppers can be found in the Mexican aisle at your local grocery store.

If you have a Mexican grocery store in your area I recommend you get your peppers there.

They’ll have a much larger selection.

Here is the brand I usually purchase.

bag of chile guajillo

It is very important to make sure the dried chiles aren’t hard and brittle.

They should be soft and you should be able to bend them without them breaking.

Looking for more delicious recipes? Try these:

How to Make Authentic Enchilada Sauce

The first thing you want to do is clean your peppers.

I do this with a damp paper towel.

After cleaning them take the stems off and remove the seeds.

Now it’s time to rehydrate the chiles.

Put the chiles in a pot with four cups of water and bring to a boil over medium high heat.

Let boil for about 5 minutes. Then remove the pot from heat and cover. Let the chiles soak for 10 minutes.

Then transfer the chilies to a blender with 2 1/2 cups of the water that was used to boil them.

Also add the piece of onion and the peeled garlic cloves.

Then blend for a few minutes.

While the sauce is blending add about two tablespoons of vegetable oil to a pot and heat over medium heat.

Once the oil is hot strain the sauce into the pot and stir.

straining enchilada sauce

Add the chocolate to the sauce and reduce heat to low.

Let simmer for about 10-15 min.

Then stir the sauce and season with salt to taste.

I know that adding chocolate to enchilada sauce sounds so odd but it really compliments the sauce.

It’s the same chocolate I use for champurrado.

It doesn’t overpower the sauce at all.

It just adds to it and gives it a more complex flavor.

You could leave it out but I don’t recommend it.

The enchilada sauce is now done.

It is so good.

It’s really hard to keep myself from dipping my fingers in it and eating it all.

Now if all you’re used to is the enchilada sauce you get at restaurants or canned enchilada sauce then this is going to be a whole new experience for you.

homemade red enchilada sauce

Can I use other types of dried chiles?

Yes, in fact I highly recommend you experiment with different dried chiles when making enchilada sauce.

Not only is it a lot of fun but you will become more familiar with the flavor profile of each different type of chile.

I suggest experimenting with arbol, guajillo, pasilla and ancho chilies.

But be careful with the arbol variety those are extremely spicy.

Some cooks like to toast their dried peppers before rehydrating them.

Toasting the peppers deepens the flavor but it’s really easy to burn them which will result in a bitter flavor and you don’t want that in your sauce.

Can I add other ingredients to this recipe?

You can try adding ground cumin and crushed Mexican oregano to your sauce if you like those flavors.

You can even substitute the water for chicken stock.

Sometimes I add chicken bouillon to it.

I want you to have the confidence to make this sauce your own.

So please, feel free to adjust the recipe to your preferences.

Can I substitute the garlic cloves for garlic powder.

Yes. If you don’t have fresh garlic on hand you can substitute it with 1/2 tsp of garlic powder.

How long does enchilada sauce stay good for?

This red enchilada sauce will stay good in the fridge for a few days but we usually finish it sooner.

What else can I use enchilada sauce for?

Besides enchiladas this flavorful sauce can be used for chilaquiles, enchilada casseroles and you can even try adding it to the masa for tamales to give it some color and flavor!

Tips

  • Make sure the dried chiles aren’t hard and brittle.
  • Always wash your hands after working with dried chilies. You can wear gloves if you wish.
  • Do experiment with different chiles so you can find out what your favorite combination is for your perfect enchilada sauce. (We all have different tastes!)

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Easy enchilada sauce recipe without tomatoes

This sauce is the real deal.

It really is the best red enchilada sauce recipe that will impress friends and family with it’s authentic Mexican flavor..

It taste great with all types of homemade enchiladas!

I hope you have enjoyed today’s recipe. Let me know what you think of it in the comments below.

Thanks for visiting, see you soon!

red enchilada sauce in a glass bowl
 
red enchilada sauce in a clear bowl
3.9 from 131 votes
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Authentic Enchilada Sauce Recipe

Learn how to make this authentic red enchilada sauce. It’s super delicious and so easy to make!

Course Main Course, Mexican
Cuisine Mexican
Keyword authentic enchilada sauce without tomatoes, enchilada sauce, enchilada sauce no tomatoes, red enchilada sauce
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 6
Calories 50 kcal
Author Carissa

Ingredients

  • 8 dried guajillo chilies cleaned with stems and seeds removed
  • 2 cloves garlic peeled
  • 1/4 piece onion white
  • 1/4 Abuelita chocolate tablet
  • 2 tbs vegetable oil
  • salt to taste

Instructions

  1. Bring chiles and about 4 cups of water to a boil over medium high heat and let boil for about 5 minutes. Then remove the pot from heat and cover. Let the chiles soak for 10 minutes.

  2. Transfer the chiles, 2 1/2 cups of the chile water, the garlic, and onion to a blender and blend for a couple of minutes.
  3. Add 2 tablespoons of oil to a pot over medium heat.

  4. When oil is hot strain the sauce into the pot and stir.

  5. Add the chocolate to the pot and reduce heat to low. Let simmer for about 10-15 min.

  6. Stir the sauce and season with salt to taste.

  7. Remove from heat. Once cool store any leftovers in a container in the fridge.

Recipe Notes

  • Make sure the chilies aren’t hard and brittle.
  • Always wash your hands after working with dried chilies. You can wear gloves if you wish.
  • Do experiment with different chiles so you can find out what your favorite combination is for your perfect enchilada sauce. (We all have different tastes!)
Nutrition Facts
Authentic Enchilada Sauce Recipe
Amount Per Serving
Calories 50 Calories from Fat 36
% Daily Value*
Fat 4g6%
Saturated Fat 3g19%
Sodium 1mg0%
Potassium 19mg1%
Carbohydrates 1g0%
Sugar 1g1%
Vitamin A 175IU4%
Vitamin C 0.8mg1%
Calcium 2mg0%
Iron 0.1mg1%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Recipe Rating




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LindaO

Thursday 7th of April 2022

I forgot to post the 2 additional Ancho peppers that I added.

LindaO

Thursday 7th of April 2022

this was Fabulous! There was a sweetness to the peppers ( I added 2 even before adding the chocolate that added to it's depth. 'Straining',... definitely do not skip this step! If you skip this step Those chopped pieces of the pepper skin stick to the top of your mouth..people trying to dislodge it discreetly/ or not...with their tongue while at the dinner table would be rather amusing. This is a very nice , simple , tasty enchilada sauce. I always throw in a veggie or chicken bouillon instead of salting. I am going to try half of the sauce with mexican oregano and cumin , cause I know I'm going to love them both. Thank You!

Carissa

Sunday 22nd of May 2022

I'm so glad you enjoyed the recipe Linda! Thank you for taking the time to comment.

Dan

Sunday 6th of March 2022

Guajillo chilies are the greatest. I pull the seeds, stems and septum ( divider thingys) before boiling. Raise the temperature to your taste.

Brian Clelland

Saturday 5th of February 2022

Would this recipe work with pasilla peppers? Or should I alter it at all. Those are all I can find a our market.

Enmoladas (Chicken Mole Enchiladas) - Thrift and Spice

Friday 3rd of September 2021

[…] Enchilada sauce is much simpler […]

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