Pantry Ingredient Enchilada Sauce

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A quick and easy Pantry Ingredient Enchilada Sauce recipe. Perfect for when you run out of enchilada sauce, or if you’re looking for a low-carb option.

Have you ever gone to the pantry, only to realize, you don’t have enchilada sauce you need for dinner? Then, everyone draws straws to see who goes back to the store? Or worse, you decide to scrap everything and make something else?

Well, I’m here to help you out. No more cutting your loses! This quick and easy pantry ingredient enchilada sauce recipe can be made in about 15 minutes. Plus, you may find you like it better than the canned varieties. Especially since you can control the ingredients, and you know what goes into it.

Now, I am not claiming this is an authentic enchilada sauce recipe (made from soaking, blending, and cooking dried chilis). Those recipes are delicious too! And, they definitely have their place in the kitchen. Instead, this enchilada sauce is made with ground chili powder for an even faster preparation.

Pantry Ingredient Enchilada Sauce Ingredients

When I was developing this recipe, I researched spice combinations for about a week. I wanted the perfect ratio of spices in the sauce that were flavorful but not overwhelming. Over the course of a month, I tried several versions of sauce. But this one below is, hands down, my favorite.

If I can give you one piece of advice, make sure you are using fresh ingredients. When it comes to the garlic, using fresh garlic will make a huge difference. Even though it’s tempting, try to mince it yourself instead of using the stuff in a jar (or even garlic powder).

New Mexico Chili Powder

From my experience, you also need a good chili powder. I highly recommend using New Mexican Chili Powder. You can often find it with the other spices in the Mexican aisle. Sometimes, it may even be less expensive than the chili powder found in the baking aisle.

FUN FACT: New Mexico Chili Powder is made by grinding dried New Mexico Chiles. Whereas, generic chili powder is often made by blending several varieties of ground chiles and other spices.

At the very least, if you can’t find New Mexico Chili Powder, make sure you are using fresh chili powder (not the stuff that’s been sitting in your cupboard for 3 years)!

Finally, I prefer to use chicken stock in this recipe. It has more flavor than water. Yet, it doesn’t have as much flavor as chicken base that could overwhelm the sauce.

Other Ingredient Substitutions


If you want to make the enchilada sauce dairy-free, substitute the butter for another kind of fat, like ghee or your cooking oil of choice.


To make the enchilada sauce vegetarian, you can also substitute the butter above. Additionally, use vegetable stock instead of chicken stock.

Pantry Ingredient Enchilada Sauce Prep Tips

To get the most flavorful sauce, you’ll want to bloom the spices. This means, you’ll cook them in fat for about 30 seconds to one minute. This allows the flavors to “bloom” and become more fragrant. Much of our taste actually comes from our sense of smell. So, this step really helps create a flavorful sauce.

Before starting to cook the enchilada sauce, I suggest measuring your spices into a small bowl. In preparation, I also recommend measuring your tomato sauce and chicken broth. Once you start to bloom the spices, they can burn very quickly. So, by having everything ready, you prevent the spices from burning.

Pantry Ingredient Enchilada Sauce Spices

Depending on what you’ll be using the sauce for depends on how long you need to simmer the sauce. For a thinner sauce, cook it less. Or for a thicker sauce, you may need to cook it longer. Sometimes, it takes me 10 minutes, and other times, it can take 15-20 minutes for the perfect consistency. On average, it takes me about 12-13 minutes for the thickness I like.

Pantry Ingredient Enchilada Sauce Serving Suggestions

Pantry Ingredient Enchilada Sauce In Mason Jar With Spoon

Last year around this time, I was eating a low-carb diet with my husband. While we still like to incorporate low-carb meals into our meal plans, we don’t strictly eat low-carb any more. I developed this recipe while eating low-carb, and I used it in many simple recipes.

We love using this enchilada sauce in Low-Carb Chicken Enchilada Casserole. We did not miss the tortillas. Although, you could make delicious traditional enchiladas with this sauce.

Another way we like to use this sauce is in Slow Cooker Lazy Chile Colorado Burritos. While I’ve never tried it, I bet you could even add all the sauce ingredients to the slow cooker and let it cook with the meat.

If you like this recipe, be sure to check out all my other Mexican Recipes too!

Love what you are seeing, and want more? I typically publish a new recipe once or twice per week. If you want to be the first to know what’s new at Clean Fingers Laynie, SUBSCRIBE here, and never miss another recipe!

Pantry Ingredient Enchilada Sauce

A quick and easy Enchilada Sauce made with pantry ingredients. Perfect for when you run out of enchilada sauce, or if you're looking for a low-carb option
Course Seasoning
Cuisine Mexican
Keyword Dairy-Free, Dressing, Gluten-Free, Low Carb, Meal Prep
Prep Time 2 minutes
Cook Time 13 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 8
Calories 37kcal
Author Clean Fingers Laynie


  • 1 tsp Butter*
  • 4 cloves Garlic Minced
  • 2 tbsp Chili Powder New Mexican
  • 2 tsp Dried Oregano
  • 1 tsp Onion Powder
  • 2 tsp Cumin
  • 1 1/2 cup Chicken Broth**
  • 5 oz Tomato Paste
  • 1/2 tsp Salt Plus more to taste
  • 1/4 tsp Black Pepper


  • In a small saucepan, heat butter* over medium heat until butter is melted. Add the garlic and spices (chili powder, oregano, onion powder, cumin, salt, and pepper), and cook for 30 seconds to 1 minute until you can smell the garlic and spices.
  • To the pan, add the chicken broth and tomato paste. Whisk everything together, and bring the sauce to a simmer.
  • Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and let simmer for 10-15 minutes until sauce has thickened to desired consistency. Be sure to stir the sauce occasionally to prevent from burning.
  • Remove from heat and add additional salt and pepper to taste.


Estimated Nutrition, Per Serving (1/4 cup): Calories 37, Fat 1 g, Carbohydrate 6 g, Dietary Fiberg, Protein 1 g, Sodium 324 mg
* For dairy-free preparation, substitute Ghee or other cooking oil of choice.
** For vegetarian preparation, substitute vegetable stock.

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