Vegan Enchilada Sauce

Mexican enchilada sauce

The Spruce

Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 25 mins
Total: 30 mins
Servings: 8 to 12 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
46 Calories
3g Fat
6g Carbs
1g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8 to 12
Amount per serving
Calories 46
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 3g 3%
Saturated Fat 0g 1%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 140mg 6%
Total Carbohydrate 6g 2%
Dietary Fiber 1g 5%
Total Sugars 2g
Protein 1g
Vitamin C 4mg 21%
Calcium 14mg 1%
Iron 1mg 5%
Potassium 226mg 5%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

The basic ingredients in homemade enchilada sauce recipe are tomatoes and lots of seasonings. This quick and easy Mexican recipe uses tomato paste to keep it simple. You will also be able to adjust the spice level by varying the amount of cayenne pepper used.

Try this homemade vegetarian and vegan enchilada sauce instead of using the canned stuff, which is usually full of added sugar, sodium, and sometimes MSG. Vegans and vegetarians need to check store-bought enchilada sauce for chicken fat or other animal products.

This recipe makes an enchilada sauce with a consistency which is perfect for just about any homemade enchilada recipe. However, if you're using it for something else or you'd like a slightly thinner or thicker sauce, you can adjust the amount of water you add. 

Use your this enchilada sauce to make vegetarian portabello mushroom enchiladas or try vegetarian black bean and vegetable enchiladas. You can also use this sauce in just about any recipe that calls for enchilada sauce, such as vegetarian Mexican casserole recipe. 

This Mexican food recipe is both vegetarian and vegan. Use a gluten-free flour or cornstarch as a thickener if you need it to be gluten-free as well. 


  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

  • 2 tablespoons chili powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste

  • 2 cups water

  • 1 (8-ounce) can tomato paste

  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for Mexican enchiladas
    The Spruce 
  2. Over medium-low heat, heat the oil, flour, and chili powder together in a large pot. Allow to cook for a minute or two, stirring to form a paste and making sure that the flour doesn't burn.

    Heat powder
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  3. Add the remaining ingredients (cumin, cayenne pepper, water, tomato paste, garlic powder, onion powder, and salt) and bring to a slow simmer. Stir well to combine and dissolve tomato paste in water.

    Add the remaining ingredients
    The Spruce
  4. Allow to cook for at least 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Taste, and add more spices as desired.

    Allow to cook for 20 minutes
    The Spruce
  5. Your enchilada sauce is ready to use in your favorite enchilada recipe.

If you are not using the sauce immediately, store it in a covered container in the refrigerator. Use it within four to five days. It can grow mold if kept longer and should be tossed if you see any mold or detect any off-odors. You can freeze it to keep it for longer. It will keep in the freezer for four to six months at the best quality. If freezing it, be sure to label it with the contents and date.


  • Use vegetable broth or vegetable stock instead of water to add even more depth of flavor. Your own homemade vegetable broth would be best if you want to avoid additives and have control over the level of sodium.
  • For the best flavor, start with cumin seeds and give them a quick toast in a nonstick frying pan, then grind them in a spice grinder or use a mortar and pestle. The flavor will be enormously more intense and complex than buying ground cumin.

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