Enchilada Sauce and Enchiladas

After trying a number of different recipes for enchilada sauce, I have settled on this one for now. It has what I would call an “earthy” flavor compared to say a more tomato-like one. One of the primary uses of enchilada sauce is arguably, and in my view, as a sauce to use when making enchiladas. However, since what I put in my enchiladas are based on my mood and what I have around, I will not outline a specific enchilada recipe, but just the way I put them together.

Enchilada Sauce


Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Total: 25 minutes


  • 3T olive oil
  • 3T all-purpose flour
  • 1T chili powder
  • 1t ground cumin
  • 1/2t garlic powder
  • 1/4t dried oregano
  • 1/4t salt
  • Pinch of cinnamon
  • 2T tomato paste
  • 2C vegetable broth
  • 1t apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2t freshly ground black pepper


  1. In a medium sauce pan over medium heat, heat the oil until it sizzles when you flick some water on it.
  2. Add the flour, chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, oregano, and salt. Whisk constantly for about one minute until the spices darken and the mixture smells good.
  3. Whisk in the tomato paste then whisk occasionally for a minute or two until the tomato paste starts to caramelize slightly.
  4. Pour in the broth about 1/2C at a time and whisking well until mixed well and smooth, then repeat.
  5. Raise the heat to high until the mixture just starts to simmer then reduce heat to low and whisk every minute or two for about 10 minutes or until the sauce is slightly runnier than you want it.
  6. Remove from heat and whisk in the vinegar and pepper. Taste for seasoning and adjust as desired.


The one item you must have are tortillas. While I like to make things from scratch, I have found a brand of uncooked tortillas at the grocery store that just use basic ingredients. So for now that is what I use.

What you use to fill and top your tortillas is really up to you. One day I might sauté 1lb of ground bison with onions, garlic, oregano, corn, chilies, and black beans. Another day I might just use a couple cans of pinto beans with cheese, sour cream, and cilantro. You could even cook some eggs until they just start to firm up, then add mushrooms, spinach, and parmesan cheese.

Whichever filling you decide to use, putting the enchiladas together gets messy quickly. I usually have a high-rimmed plate and a baking dish in front of me and next them a large cutting board where all my ingredients are laid out. The tortillas are in a plate on the other side of me. That way I can reach to one side for a tortilla, dip it into sauce in front of me, use the cutting board on the other side to assemble the enchilada, then place in the baking dish.


  1. Grease the bottom of a 9in x 13in baking disk then cover the bottom with a thin layer of the enchilada sauce.
  2. Pour a layer of sauce onto a high-rimmed plate or other item that can fit a tortilla and keep the sauce from spilling off the sides.
  3. Place a tortilla into the sauce and dredge in the sauce until both sides are coated well.
  4. Place a line of the filling toward one side of the tortilla. You will have to figure out the right amount of filling to use.
  5. Roll the tortilla around the filling and place seam-side down in the baking dish. Repeat until the baking dish is full, or you run out of tortillas or filling.
  6. Pour any remaining sauce over the enchiladas.
  7. Top with items of your choice such as cheese, tomatoes, cooked bacon bits, and sour cream. Items such as cilantro or lettuce you may want to apply after baking.
  8. Bake in a 350°F (335°F convection) oven for 20 minutes. Broil briefly if you want to say lightly char the cheese on top.

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