Easy Restaurant Style Enchilada Sauce (Gluten free, Vegan)

 Restaurant style enchiladas – on your home menu!

enchilada sauce

Easy enchilada sauce packed with restaurant worthy flavor.

This falls into the “Why Didn’t I Think of This Before?” category. Every year, our garden is overflowing with tomatoes this time of year. And every year I try to think of ways to preserve the bounty.

I have made my own tomato paste, and my own roasted tomato sauce for the freezer. But until now I have never made enchilada sauce for preserving. This is coming from a person who has as one of my go-to easy meals – huevos rancheros – which was one of my first posts on this blog (apologies for the very bad photo!) -So, you see, I use enchilada sauce all the time in my kitchen.

Enchilada sauce is a cinch to make – and I like to make the kind you eat and love in restaurants – thick and flavorful. And in my version, the chiles peppers thicken the sauce and so you don’t use flour. More flavor, no gluten.

You will have to use dried chile peppers for this recipe, which can be found at some grocery stores, but if you can find a Mexican market near you, they are very abundant and much cheaper there. I got a huge bag for just a few dollars.

You won’t regret the effort to make this flavorful sauce with just a small kick of heat – especially in February, when you can remember warm days in the garden in every bite!

— posted by Donna

RESTAURANT STYLE  ENCHILADA SAUCE – for freezing or canning

Makes 24 half pints

12 dried chile peppers – ancho or guajillo
12 pounds tomatoes
1 large onion, chopped
3 tablespoons cumin
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 cup vinegar
3 tablespoons salt
8 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup lemon juice

Remove the stems and seeds from the peppers. Chop and cover with boiling water and let soak for 20 minutes.

Blend or process the tomatoes and onions in a food processor or blender until pureed. Drain the peppers and blend or process the peppers in their water in a food processor or blender until very smooth. Add tomato mixture and pepper mixture to a large stockpot and stir in remaining ingredients.

Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 2 hours, until reduced in half, stirring frequently. NOTE: Occasionally you will need to skim foam off top.

Add 1 teaspoon lemon juice to 24 half-pint jars. Pour in the sauce, leaving about 1/2 inch space at the top of the jars, and screw lids on tightly.

If you are freezing, let cool to room temperature and then freeze. If you are canning, process in a hot water bath for one hour.

Check out other foodies’ sauces:

Homemade Enchilada Sauce, Recipe Girl
Spicy Enchilada Sauce, Katie’s Cucina
Red Enchilada Sauce, Mexico in my Kitchen
Enchilada Sauce, A Family Feast
Homemade Enchilada Sauce, Amanda’s Cookin’


  1. Sarah says

    I am thinking of making a batch of this sauce this weekend and was wondering if the tomatoes should be peeled before blending?

    • says

      You certainly could do this if you like. I don’t remove the skins from the tomatoes – just because I don’t think it makes a big difference in the texture, given the fact that the dried chile peppers have their skins on.

    • says

      Thanks for the tip Jacki – will have to try that brand. Too many of the canned sauces have a metal taste to me, so I am happy to get a recommendation!

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