It’s so easy to make homemade enchilada sauce from scratch, and this chipotle enchilada sauce version is deliciously spicy and smoky! This recipe makes enough for 3-4 batches of enchiladas, so you can stock your freezer with this healthy, vegan recipe. It’s thick and luxurious, from using crushed tomatoes.
Similar to making homemade marinara sauce, this homemade enchilada sauce uses crushed tomatoes as a base. This helps make the texture luxuriously thick, and will work well with almost any enchilada recipe that requires red sauce!
It’s also spicy, but this can be tempered a bit by adding fewer chipotle peppers. But what I love about this recipe is that it uses a WHOLE can of chipotle peppers and adobo, meaning you don’t have to think of a use for the leftover chipotle chiles!
And it’s SO easy to make.
How to make homemade chipotle enchilada sauce
Just sauté some onions and garlic, add some crushed tomatoes, stock, spices, and chipotle chiles, simmer, and blend together!
Here are some tips for success.
- The longer you simmer, the deeper the flavors will be. I found that 20 minutes worked well, but if you want to let it simmer for a whole hour, be my guest.
- I used vegetable broth for this, but you can use chicken broth or even water, if you prefer. The liquid helps thin the sauce out a bit, so it’s more like traditional enchilada sauce and less like a thick marinara.
- I used an immersion blender to puree the whole thing directly in the pot, to make it smooth. If you don’t have one, you can puree the sauce in a standing blender, in batches if necessary. It is important to puree it, so you have a smooth sauce that’s easy to pour.
How to make it less spicy
This recipe packs a punch, because it uses a whole small can (3.5 oz.) of chipotle chiles. I find that the spiciness is balanced out by just a little bit of honey or sugar added to the sauce, and when you add it to enchiladas, it’s also tamed a bit.
But if you don’t like things too spicy, it’s an easy fix- just use fewer chipotle peppers! Try just 1 or 2, with a little bit of the adobo sauce.
How to store/freeze enchilada sauce
I divided this batch into three standard mason jars. Then, I used one for enchiladas, and put the other two in my freezer.
If you use mason jars to freeze the sauce, make sure you leave some room at the top to allow for expansion and if you want to be extra safe, use freezer-safe jars. You can also freeze in any airtight container, or even in small zip-top bags.
It will stay good for about 6 months in the freezer, or about 5 days in the fridge.
Recipes to use chipotle enchilada sauce
You can easily use this chipotle sauce for a variety of uses- as a topping on chicken tacos, stirred into tortilla soup, baked beans, or in Mexican Lasagna! Here are more traditional ways to use the enchilada sauce:
- Easy Chicken Enchiladas
- Turkey Enchiladas with Black Beans and Corn
- Smoky Sweet Potato and Black Bean Enchiladas
- Chicken and Corn Enchilada Casserole
- Beef Enchiladas (from Gimme some Oven)
Other homemade sauces
Here are all my homemade sauces and condiments.
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Homemade Chipotle Enchilada Sauce
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil or canola oil
- 1 onion diced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 2 cups vegetable broth or chicken broth, or water
- 28 oz. canned crushed tomatoes
- 3.5 oz. canned chipotle chilis in adobo or less, if you don't want it spicy
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- kosher salt and black pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon honey or sugar optional
- Sauté onion in olive oil until tender in a medium or large pot.
- Add garlic, sauté for about 30 seconds (or until fragrant).
- Add remaining ingredients and simmer on low, covered, for approximately 20 minutes. No need to chop the chipotle peppers- just add them whole!
- To freeze, store in an airtight container or mason jar for up to 6 months.
Nutrition Information Disclaimer
The provided nutrition information is my best estimate and does not include any added sodium from seasoning to taste, any optional ingredients, and it does not take brands into account. I use an automatic API to calculate this information. Feel free to calculate it yourself using one of these tools:
This post first appeared on Bowl of Delicious in June, 2014. It’s been updated with new photos, more relevant information, and an updated, improved recipe.