Entree | Grocer to Table | Sauces / Dips / Dressings

Homemade Enchilada Sauce + Canning Instructions

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This homemade Enchilada Sauce recipe is far superior to the stuff you buy in a can. Made with just a few ingredients, it’s a pepper sauce not tomato based. Like some of the recipes which aren’t authentic.

Venison enchiladas with sauce.Pin

This recipe only contains six ingredients. It really couldn’t be easier.

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Do you use canned enchilada sauce? If you do, you need to try this recipe! It is really easy and the taste is unbelievable! Of course, the other added bonus is that you control ingredients in your meals!! No artificial anything!

What you need

  • dried peppers – Ancho, Pasilla and Guajillo chili peppers are the best. You can substitute others but be aware that the hotter the pepper you pick, the hotter the sauce. The japones pictured are hotter and make a hotter sauce.
  • garlic – peeled
  • onion – cut into wedges
  • tomatoes – you need both fresh tomatoes and crushed tomatoes.
  • oregano – if you have Mexican oregano, use that.
  • marjoram
Step by step photographs of the process for making homemade enchilada sauce. See details in recipe below.Pin

How to make it

  1. Buy a mixture of peppers, I use what I can find. Today I found Chile Arbol and Guajillo. I also use serrano and ancho when I can find them. To prepare the enchilada sauce, all you need to do is char the peppers in a dry cast iron pan..
  2. Let peppers cool and char the vegetables in same pan, or on the grill. Once peppers cool, remove seeds. Turn and brown vegetables on all sides.
  3. Add onions, tomatoes and peppers to a pan.
  4. Add crushed tomatoes and herbs.
  5. Cook for about 30 minutes.
  6. Make sure the vegetables are soft and the peppers are reconstituted.
  7. Transfer to blender container. Break up into batches if you multiply this recipe. Process in your blender until smooth.
  8. I clean the pan that I browned the peppers and vegetables in between. Then add a few teaspoons of olive oil to the pan
  9. Then, strain the sauce through a fine sieve.
  10. Discard the solids.
  11. Cook it down for another 30-minutes, or so, until it gets nice and thick. That’s all there is to it!
Step by step photographs of the process for making enchilada sauce. See details in recipe below.Pin

*** See recipe notes for important substitutions!!

How to Store leftovers

You can place the enchilada sauce in a sterilized jar and store it in the refrigerator for a couple weeks. It also freezes beautifully! Freeze it in a canning jar (leave at least 1″ headspace), or place it in plastic bags. Freeze sauce at least 1 year.

Thawing Sauce

When you want to use frozen sauce, thaw completely in the refrigerator and then reheat.

You can also add a few tablespoons of water to a saucepan. Cover pan with lid and slowly thaw sauce, over medium low heat. If sauce needs to thicken a bit, because of the added water, remove lid and cook on medium low, stirring occasionally, until desired consistency.

How pressure can sauce

This Enchilada sauce can also be pressure canned.

Ladle hot sauce into hot jars, leaving 1″ headspace (space between the sauce and the rim of the jar). Wipe rim of jars clean with damp towel. Center lids on jars. Tighten band fingertip tight.

Place jars in pressure canner on rack with 2″ of water in the bottom. Place lid on canner and lock. Allow steam to vent for 10 minutes. Place the dial or weighted gauge on pot. Allow pot to come up to 10 psi (pounds per square inch) for weighted gauge and 11 psi for dial gauge, over medium high heat.

Process pint jars for 50 minutes. Turn off heat. Allow pressure to vent naturally. Leave for 5 minutes. Then remove lid. Let jars sit in pot for another 10 minutes to cool.

Carefully remove from canner and place on counter. Do not disturb for 12-24 hours. Then check seal. Lid should not flex up or down. If any do then jar is not sealed and should be stored in the refrigerator for about a week or frozen for longer storage.

jars of enchilada sauce with refried beansPin

For step by instructions, via video, head over to my YouTube video! There is also a video for assembling and cooking the enchiladas.

How to use it

Use this enchilada for any type of enchiladas you like, such as chicken, beef, pork, cheese, bean. You can also use it for taco dips, make an enchilada pasta dish, an enchilada or tamale casserole, and lots of other recipes.

Chicken enchiladas with sauce.Pin

Subscribe to my YouTube channel for more instructional videos! Recipe for pork enchiladas is here.

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If you have any questions or comments, please ask in the comment section below. We’d love to hear from you!

I hope you enjoyed the recipe today!

Enjoy. And have fun cooking!

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REd enchilada sauce in glass jars with tray of enchiladas in background.Pin

Homemade Enchilada Sauce recipe

Home made Red Enchilada Sauce is much easier than you imagine! Far more flavorful than canned!
See Step by Step Photos Above!Most of our recipes have step by step photos and videos! Also helpful tips so that you can make it perfectly the first time and every time! Scroll up to see them!
4.71 from 24 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Condiment
Cuisine: Mexican
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 75kcal
Author: Beth Neels
Cost: $3

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Toast peppers in a dry cast iron pan on both sides, remove and let cool.
    3 dried ancho clillies, 3 dried guajillo or pasilla chillies
  • Quarter onion. Peel garlic. Halve tomatoes. Toast the onions, garlic and tomatoes in the same pan.
    2 fresh tomatoes, 1 medium onion, 4 cloves garlic
  • Remove to a medium saucepan.
  • Once peppers are cool enough to handle. Remove seeds and stem end and place in the saucepan with the onions and tomatoes.
  • Add crushed tomatoes , marjoram and oregano. Almost cover the vegetables with water and bring to boil.
    1 c crushed tomatoes, 1/2 tsp dried marjoram, 1/2 tsp oregano, dried
  • Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes or so until the peppers have reconstituted.
  • Place the contents in a blender and cover the blender with a kitchen towel, in case it splatters so you won’t get burned. Blend on high at least a minute.
  • Strain the mixture through a fine mesh sieve to remove the solids. Discard the solids. The sauce will look thin at this stage.
  • Add a few teaspoons of oil to a frying pan and heat over medium high heat. Add the strained sauce and fry for a few minutes.
  • Reduce heat and simmer at least 30 minutes until sauce has thickened and coats the back of spoon.
  • Let the sauce sit at least 2 hours for the flavors to mingle.

How to Pressure Can Sauce

  • Ladle hot sauce into hot jars, leaving 1″ headspace (space between the sauce and the rim of the jar). Wipe rim of jars clean with damp towel. Center lids on jars. Tighten band fingertip tight.
  • Place jars in pressure canner on rack with 2″ of water in the bottom. Place lid on canner and lock. Allow steam to vent for 10 minutes.
  • Place the dial or weighted gauge on pot. Allow pot to come up to 10 psi (pounds per square inch) for weighted gauge and 11 psi for dial gauge, over medium high heat. See altitude adjustment in recipe notes below.
  • Process pint jars for 50 minutes. Turn off heat. Allow pressure to vent naturally. Leave for 5 minutes. Then remove lid. Let jars sit in pot for another 10 minutes to cool.
  • Carefully remove from canner and place on counter. Do not disturb for 12-24 hours. Then check seal. Lid should not flex up or down. If any do then jar is not sealed and should be stored in the refrigerator for about a week or frozen for longer storage.
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Video

Notes

Yields about 4 cups or 2 pints.
Any peppers will work in the recipe. Keep in the mind though, the hotter the pepper, the hotter your sauce will be.
If you don’t have fresh tomatoes, use canned tomatoes, or frozen tomatoes. I always freeze tomatoes from the garden, in the summer. It’s a fast, easy way to preserve them.
Make a large batch! Sauce freezes well!
Leftovers can be refrigerated for 3-4 days.
Reheat in saucepans.
For longer storage, freeze up to 6 months or pressure can it.
Thaw in refrigerator. Reheat per above instructions.
Altitude adjustment for dial gauge pressure canning
0-1000 feet above sea level                     11 psi       
1000-3000 feet above sea level              12 psi       
3000-6000 feet above sea level              13 psi
6000+ feet above sea level                       15 psi
Altitude adjustment for weighted gauge pressure canning
0-1000 feet above sea level                     10 psi   
1000+ feet above sea level                       15 psi

Nutrition

Serving: 0.5cups | Calories: 75kcal | Carbohydrates: 16g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 57mg | Potassium: 493mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 4739IU | Vitamin C: 13mg | Calcium: 30mg | Iron: 2mg
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68 Comments

  1. I’ve always made it with just salt and garlic and then freeze, sometimes I add tomatillo. Question can I can it with just garlic, and salt?

    1. It will not be stable if you water bath can it. You could water bath can and then store it in the fridge for about 6 months, if the jars are not opened. It’s probably a better idea to freeze it. It will freeze for at least a year.

  2. Other than the taste of the sauce, do you need to add the tomatoes? I want to make sure they are not needed for acidity.

  3. 5 stars
    I tried to recipe before canning and will now, definitely be making in bulk and canning as it is a lot of work. Mine was bitter so I added coconut sugar, and it was excellent. I also made your enchiladas. everything was a hit! Thank you for sharing!

    1. The bitterness of the sauce will depend on the type of dried peppers that you use. Adding sugar was a good fix to mitigate that. We’re glad that you like it!

  4. 2 stars
    Hello I am trying to do 20 times the recipe with all fresh tomatoes can someone help on how many pounds of tomatoes I should use I am using all Romas thank you.

    1. In the blue area above the recipe, there is a box that you change the servings that you want to make. It will multiply all of the numbers for you to increase the batch. The original recipe is for 8 servings. If you’d like to do 20 times that, you will change that number to 160 servings. 1 pound of tomatoes yields about 2 cups of crushed tomatoes, therefore, you will need about 10 pounds of fresh tomatoes. That should yield about 40 pints.

      Can we ask why you rated the recipe 2 stars?

  5. This recipe looks so good. I have the necessary ingredients but wanted to clarify the number of chili peppers I need for making 10 times this recipe. With 6 total peppers per recipe my humble math comes to 60 peppers. My confusion came after watching another youtuber do a video on canning your recipe. She was making 20 times the recipe to make to last her small family a year. She stated she used 60 total peppers. If it were 20 times the recipe amount wouldn’t that be 120 peppers? Thats a Wowser amount. I thought the recipe sounded so straight forward but now It gives me a headache to think about chili peppers at all. Can you clarify the total number of peppers I need for 10 times the recipe.

  6. Do you knowing the canning time for quart jars? We cook large batches and I would love to can larger quantities. Thank you!!

  7. 1 star
    This recipe is absolutely horrible. I’m sorry and don’t mean to be cruel, but this was a disaster. No salt?!!! And straining the sauce made it liquid. So so bad.

    1. If you’d like to add salt, you certainly can. I assume you didn’t taste it though, since you said it was liquid. If you look at the process photos from the article, you can see that after straining, the sauce is very thin. That is why you cook it down for another 30 minutes to thicken it up. This is an authentic Mexican recipe from my godmother and a favorite of everyone who tries it. I’m sorry that you had problems with it.

    1. Any chance this canning recipe has been tested by a university or something for long term shelf life? I really like to use tested recipes when canning. I’m also curious how this compares in taste to something store bought which is what I am used to.

      1. It is similar to Ball/ Kerr canning recipe. It is pressure canned as well. We find that it is hands down superior to any store bought enchilada sauce that we have found. Thanks for your question Jenelle.

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