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Enchilada Sauce

It can be fun to go to a garage sale because you never know what you’re going to find.

When you host your own garage sale, you know what you’re going to sell, so there’s no surprises there. But in hosting our own garage sale a few years ago, we ended up with a real treasure.

Among some of the household items we had for sale were canning jars. About mid-morning along came a woman who quickly picked up the canning jars in delight. She announced that she likes to use canning jars for storing her homemade enchilada sauce.

Homemade enchilada sauce?!  My ears pricked up! There are few things I like better than a good enchilada sauce. Why, sometimes I think I could drink it! But finding a good recipe was the hard part. My early experiences with cookbook recipes called for tomato sauces and spices. While they were okay, they didn’t give me the deep rich chili flavor I was after.

I had a recipe using chilies, but it was labor intensive, peeling the chili from its skins. This took a LONG time, so long that I never made quite enough sauce. Not to mention the stain left on my hands.

I asked the woman if she would share her recipe, and she agreed. With pen and paper, I took notes. Vicky even gave me her phone number, in case I needed any help, which I didn’t because the recipe is very easy. And it’s super delicious!

Having an easy recipe for enchilada sauce means our family enjoys enchiladas at home a whole lot more often. Once I had the basics, I added a couple optional ingredients. You won’t have to go searching at a garage sale or host one of your own to find a good recipe because I’m sharing it with you here.

Step by step Overview:

Remove the stems, seeds and veins from the chilies… except the Arbol chilies!
Give them a quick rinse. Then drain off the water and add enough water to cover the chilies.
Bring chilies to a boil. Then turn off the heat and place a heavy plate on top of the chilies to keep them submerged in the hot water.
Let the chilies steam for at least 15 min until they are very soft. Transfer chilies to a blender and add everything else, except the oil.
Then blend on high speed for 5 min. I recommend using ear plugs because this is LOUD!
Add the oil to a saucepan, then transfer your sauce into the hot pan and simmer a few minutes to remove the bitterness of the chilies. Use the sauce right away or store in the fridge for up to 7 days.

Enchilada Sauce

Michele McFie
This recipe for enchilada sauce is so good sometimes I think I could drink it! After years of searching, I've finally found this perfect recipe for GOOD enchilada sauce. And now I'm sharing it with you.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 2 cups


  • blender
  • stove top or hot plate


  • 4 whole Guajillo chilies dried
  • 6 whole California chilies dried
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup onion coarsely chopped
  • 1-3 whole Arbol chilies dried, for heat
  • 1.5 cups chicken broth or water
  • 1 tsp salt more to taste
  • 1/4 tsp Mexican oregano optional
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin optional
  • 2 tsp olive or avocado oil


  • Clean, seed and devein chilies. Cover with water and bring to a boil in a large saucepan.
  • Turn off heat and place a heavy plate on top of the chilies to keep them submerged in the hot water. Let steam for at least 15 min until the chilies are very soft.
  • Remove chilies from water and place in a blender. Add garlic, onion, arbol chilies, chicken broth or water and spices. Blend on high for 5 min.
  • In saucepan, heat oil. Add in enchilada sauce and simmer for a few minutes to remove the bitterness of the chilies (sometimes I omit this step, also with good results).
  • Taste for salt and add more as necessary. Use the sauce right away or transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 7 days.


Keyword enchilada sauce

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