Red Enchilada Sauce Recipe

Close-Up Of Dry Red Chili Peppers For Sale
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  • Total: 50 mins
  • Prep: 30 mins
  • Cook: 20 mins
  • Yield: 6 cups (12 servings)

Use this delicious red chile sauce for enchiladas or anywhere else you need a red chile sauce. This red enchilada sauce can be mild, medium or spicy, depending on the chiles you use. You can also use a combination of different chiles to perfect your enchilada sauce.


  • 2 pounds chili peppers (fresh red, see below for types)
  • 4 chili peppers (dried red, see above link for types)
  • 1 tablespoon lard (or cooking oil)
  • 1/2 small white onion (peeled and finely chopped)
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 tablespoons ​vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Boil 8 cups of water and let the dried chiles soak in it, for about 15-20 minutes.

  3. Roast the fresh red chiles over high heat (or in the broiler or on a grill) often turning, until the skins are blackened and blistered.

  4. Remove the fresh red chilies from the heat and let them cool to the touch. Peel the blackened skin off as well as removing the stems and scraping out the seeds. Roughly chop the remaining flesh and set aside.

  5. Remove the soaking dried chiles from the water, remove the stems and seeds and cut them into pieces. Set aside.

  6. Add the oil to a large pot and heat over medium heat. Add the onion and cook it for 5-7 minutes or until softened and translucent. Add the garlic, and all of the red chiles to the pot. Continue to stir while you add the water, slowly and carefully. After the water is in, add the vinegar, oregano, cumin and salt.

  7. Cover the pot and simmer the sauce for 20 minutes over low heat.

  8. At this point, if you have a hand-held blender (stick blender) you can put it directly in the sauce and blend until smooth. If you plan on using a standard blender (pitcher style), then you need to let the sauce cool quite a bit, nearly to room temperature, before attempting to blend it.

  9. After the sauce is completely blended (this takes a minute or two) you can use it as-is, or you can pour it through a strainer to make it smoother.