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Texas Red Enchilada Sauce


  • 2tablespoons butter or 2 tablespoons margarine
  • 2tablespoons flour
  • 5teaspoons red chili powder
  • 1 1⁄2teaspoons cumin
  • 2teaspoons garlic powder
  • 6ounces tomato paste
  • 2 1⁄4cups water
  • salt and pepper


  • Melt butter/margarine in a sauce pan.
  • Make a roux by browning flour in melted butter/margarine.
  • Add spices and tomato paste; stir until well blended into roux.
  • Add water gradually, stirring constantly.
  • Heat until boiling.
  • Continue simmering and stirring until desired thickness is achieved.
  • Taste every so often and adjust spices as needed.
  • Once desired consistency and taste is reached, coat the bottom of a pan with the sauce, add freshly rolled enchiladas, then pour the remainder of the red sauce over enchiladas.
  • Place pan in oven and cook until enchiladas are done.


  • ~SwoR~

    This is great! I made it with clarified butter and used almost 3 cups of water so I could let it simmer/warm for a couple of hours, but I tried it as soon as it was done (before the extra water) and it was more flavorful than what you get from, say Taco Bell or something. It does need more salt than you would think, but I do tend to use more salt than most people. It took less than 10 minutes to make. We used it as a sauce for bean burritos, enchiladas and pintos and cheese. Can’t wait to share this recipe with my sister.

  • Ladybug II

    This was delicious.. I added some extra chili powder and added a bit of chicken stock for the water.. I also added some cayenne pepper to spice it up a bit more .. but excellent..

  • Miss Annie in Indy

    I was definately concerned about using 5 teaspoons of chili powder but I followed the recipe and I’m glad I did. Very tasty and just the right amount for my 9X13 dish of enchiladas. I may never buy enchilada sauce again. The next time I make it though I will add some cayenne pepper as we like a little more heat. Also I think steps 3 & 4 should be switched because when I added the spices and tomato paste to the browned flour it formed a big tomato paste ball. I believe it would be easier to stir in the water first to make a smooth roux then add in the spices and tomato paste. This is only a suggestion but one that would be useful especially to novice cook, be sure and have all your ingredients measured out and ready to put into the roux. You have to work quickly with this recipe once the flour has browned. Thanks for posting this wonderfully tasty recipe Mark.

  • Junebug

    Great enchilada sauce, Mark! It’s easy, quick, uses ingredients right out of my pantry and best of all it tastes wonderful! Thanks for sharing!

  • RebelQueen

    We have enchiladas about once a month, I made the mistake of making this sauce once as I had extra time. I then used a canned version the following month and my hubby “spit it out” and said What is this? I told him enchilada sauce, Why…He said it’s crap. Where is the stuff you made last time?

    He will eat no other enchilada sauce EVER!! So now, I keep all the ingredients for this wonderful sauce on hand as he also like it as a “dip” for chips. He just can’t get enough of this wonderful sauce. BUT, that means I have to make it and when I’m short on time and It’s a hassle. But…he loves it and I love him so I will make it for him. Fresh every time…I may try to can it if I ever get the time. Serioulsly, we all love this sauce and I usually make it and keep it in the freezer and thaw in the fridge the day we need it. Thanks for a great recipe.

  • Connie K

    I was very easy to bring together, but the flavor is not what we expected. I don’t want to put a star rating, as I don’t want to mar an otherwise popular recipe, just because it is not our tastes (darn yankees!)

  • MissMia

    The sauce tastes bitter but I think it could be from bulk chili powder. To balance out the bitter flavor I added 1 tsp. cocoa powder, 1 tsp. sugar, 1 chicken bouillion cube, and replaced 1/3 of the water with chicken stock ( I only added a little water at a time to make sure it wasn’t too runny but I ended up adding all the liquid, I just used chicken broth at the end.) I realized at the end that I used tomato sauce instead of tomato paste but I loved it so I wouldn’t change it.


    Good stuff! I was lucky enough to find Texas Red Chile Powder at my local “speciality” shop up here in Yankee Land. Started out with 3 tsps. of the chile powder until I could determine what the heat level would be for my kid’s delicate palate, but ended it up using all 5. I used it for cheese enchiladas w/ Muenster,diced chilies,and chopped green onion. Absolutely delicious and easy. I’ll be using this often in the future. Thanks!

  • zaneeme

    This is excellent. For some reason, I had no tomato paste in my cupboards, so I used a can of condensed tomato soup and only used 2 cups of water. I also added extra chili powder as well as a bit more cumin. This recipe doubles easily, and everyone who ate it couldn’t stop talking about how good the enchilada sauce was!

  • Arabannie