Home-made Enchilada Sauce, quick & from the pantry. Chili powder, tomato sauce

Enchilada Sauce (from the pantry)

There’s nothing like a little Mexican food when you’re just absolutely over Christmas & Christmas leftovers & New Years and New Years leftovers. And then there were the leftovers from the leftovers. So change it up and make enchiladas!

Home-made Enchilada Sauce, quick & from the pantry. Chili powder, tomato sauce

Home-made Enchilada Sauce, quick & from the pantry.

We’re always in the mood for a little Mexican food at our house (or at my daughter’s!) Enchiladas, with this easy pantry sauce was just the thing. It was like a bit of festive during this latest cold snap!

We had everything for Enchiladas, but the sauce. We didn’t even have any chiles to make the sauce. And we didn’t want to go out – the logistics of bundling up all those kids and the baby? And going out in the cccccoooold? How cold did it get where you are?

My darling little helpers!! They’re never still enough to get a good pic, lol! And never quiet, either…

But we did have everything for this quick Tex Mex sauce, right in the pantry. And we rocked this Enchilada sauce, and it’s delish and only took a few short minutes. There’s a few ingredients, but probably nothing you don’t have just lying around.

Then I raided the fridge and made a quick filling for some Enchiladas: 3 chicken breasts that I poached till done (if you did have a little leftover turkey in the freezer, it would work great – just sayin’!) a little cream cheese & some grated cheddar, some green onion and about 1/2 pack of taco seasoning I dug out of the pantry. (Only 1/2, because of the littles.) We shredded the chicken and mixed everything up.

Home-made Enchilada Sauce, quick & from the pantry. Chili powder, tomato sauce

Home-made Enchilada Sauce, quick & from the pantry.

We rolled that filling in tortillas, tossed a little of the Enchilada Sauce in the bottom of a 9 x 13 pan, layed in the enchiladas, topped with more sauce and more cheese and baked for about 25 minutes. Easy peasy! This sauce will compliment just about any kind of enchiladas, though, so don’t feel the need to stick with chicken or poultry.

I used a pretty basic Chili Powder for making this Pantry Enchilada Sauce (yeah, Jess would NOT let me add a little of the habanero powder I came across, lol) but you can make this same sauce from any Chili Powder or a combination of them, if you’d like. As it was, it was perfect for the family, from young to old.

Home-made Enchilada Sauce, quick & from the pantry. Chili powder, tomato sauce

Home-made Enchilada Sauce, quick & from the pantry.

Pantry Enchilada Sauce

  • Servings: abt 2 cups
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 cup broth (any will work)
  • 1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 – 2 teaspoons white or cider vinegar

In a small bowl, measure out the cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, oregano and sugar. Set aside. Have broth and tomato sauce ready to use.

Heat oil in a medium-sized sauce pan. Add the flour and chili powder and whisk for a minute or so – watch the color and smell. As soon as it starts to darken, add in the stock, whisking, then the tomato sauce.

Whisk in the remaining spices. Bring to a boil, lower to a simmer and simmer for two to three minutes until slightly thickened. It should still be pourable, about the consistency of heavy cream. (See notes.)

Remove from heat and add vinegar. Taste and adjust seasonings, sugar and vinegar to your liking.


  • This sauce will thicken a bit as it cools, and thicken more if it’s stored in the fridge. Just add more broth or water tole thin a bit.)
  • This is a great recipe to double. Add half (when cooled) to a Ziploc bag, label and freeze for later.


I’m cohosting this week at Fiesta Friday #205, along with Petra @ Food Eat Love. Stop by and see all the links! And try to figure out which we’ll pick to be featured! I’ll be bringing this recipe.


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Put Your own Spin on It:
  • Tomato Sauce: If you don’t have tomato sauce, whiz diced or whole tomatoes in the blender with a little of the juice to the consistency of tomato sauce.
  • Chili Powder: This recipe uses a commericial chili powder but you can toast your own chilis in a hot pan, grind them and use them instead. You might want to adjust the salt and spices a bit.
  • Garlic Powder & Onion Powder: If you’d like, rather than using the garlic and onion powder, start the recipe with 1/2 cup finely chopped onion and two cloves garlic.

28 thoughts on “Enchilada Sauce (from the pantry)

  1. You are making wonderful memories for those grandkids, they will be raving about how good a cook their grandmother is…and ditto to the other comments, you look way too young. But, how wonderful to be able to enjoy them while you are still a spring chicken.

  2. petra08

    What a great sauce, quick, full of flavor and with the ingredients pulled from the pantry! What a great way to transform leftovers!
    Happy 2018 Co host! 🙂

  3. Happy New Year Mollie This sauce is great! We tend to make most things anyway but I’ve never made enchilada sauce (we had burritos and tacos this week). Thanks so much for sharing at Fiesta Friday and thanks for co-hosting too! 🙂

    • I have only made enchilada sauce when I”ve bought dried chilis and toasted them – well what is it they say? Inspiration is 99 percent desperation? Or maybe I just made that up, lol!!

  4. I’ll try this one! Yesterday there were Burritos on my plan and served them with yoghurt sauce and tomato salsa (both homemade of course 😉 ). The next time I’ve planned to make enchiladas, so I think I catch up your inspiration! Delicious!

  5. The little darlings!! So, were you 12 when you started having kids? That’s the only way you can be a grandma now. I asked Jas the same thing. You two look way too young to be grandmas! And an easy pantry staple recipe is always appreciated, especially a Tex Mex one. Thanks for cohosting, Mollie! Kiss, kiss …

  6. Happy New Year Mollie! Did you say grandkids??? You’re too young… Life is funny like that! I adore this post because I have found myself in similar situations, in which I had to figure out how to make things with ingredients on hand to avoid going to the store (20-minutes away). The sauce looks amazing!

  7. TurksWhoEat

    I love this pantry sauce! I’ve been avoiding going to the grocery store all week because it’s just too cold so I can totally understand making something from the pantry instead!

    • Thanks! I’m guessing a lot of ppl don’t want to go out in the cold! I think I picked a good couple of weeks to stay with the kids in Georgia, and we STILL don’t want to go out, lol!!

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