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Red Enchilada Sauce Salsa Roja
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3.94 from 30 votes

Authentic Mexican Red Enchilada Sauce

Taste the incredible deep chile flavor—the enchilada difference. Make ahead and freeze and you’ll be a happy red enchilada sauce camper. Soaking time, 30 minutes; actual working time, less than 15. All you need is a skillet, a blender and a strainer.
Prep Time30 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Component, Condiment
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: homemade, enchilada sauce, authentic
Servings: 2 cups.
Calories: 233kcal


  • 2 dried ancho chiles
  • 5 or 6 dried guajillo chiles
  • 2 ½ cups boiling water
  • ¾ cup chopped white or yellow onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
  • ¾ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano , optional
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin , optional
  • 1 tablespoon olive, avocado, or grapeseed oil


  • Warm the chiles on a comal or griddle, or in a dry cast iron skillet. You want the chiles to soften—do not allow them to burn.
  • Cut off the stems. (Scissors work well.) Cut a slit in the chiles and tap them over a bowl so the majority of the seeds fall out.  Discard the seeds.
  • Place the chiles in a bowl and cover with the boiling water. Place a small plate on top to keep them submerged. Set aside for 30 minutes, or longer. (see note)
  • Drain the chiles, reserving the soaking water.
  • Place the chiles in the blender. Add the onion, garlic, salt, and if using, oregano and cumin. Pour in 1 1/4 cups of the soaking liquid. Blend until you have a smooth puree.
  • Strain through a wire sieve, pushing through as much of the smooth puree you can. You should have only about 2 tablespoons of skin/seeds left in the strainer.
  • Heat the oil in a medium skillet. Add the strained puree and cook 3 to 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. The sauce should be the thickness of heavy cream. If it seems too thick, stir in a little more of the soaking liquid.


I soaked the chiles overnight with dandy—no problema—results.


Calories: 233kcal | Carbohydrates: 37g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 915mg | Potassium: 905mg | Fiber: 13g | Sugar: 20g | Vitamin A: 11590IU | Vitamin C: 19.1mg | Calcium: 35mg | Iron: 2.9mg