This gluten-free enchilada sauce is so quick and easy to make and tastes even better than the store-bought sauces. It's a basic recipe with common ingredients that you most likely have right at home.
It also has a much cleaner ingredient list than what you'll find on store-bought enchilada sauces. With minimal time and effort, you'll have your very own homemade gluten-free enchilada sauce.
It makes plenty enough sauce to use the next time you're craving some gluten-free enchiladas. Try it on instant pot chicken enchiladas, healthy chicken enchiladas, and southwest ground turkey enchiladas.
We tested this recipe a few times when we were testing shredded beef enchiladas to get the spice mixture and texture just right.
This sauce is the perfect balance of spices and is thick enough to cover your enchiladas without it running off the sides.
This authentic enchilada sauce can also be added to other types of Mexican dishes like this gluten-free Mexican lasagna.
For other homemade suaces to your favorite Mexican dishes, try this creamy jalapeño ranch or vegan cashew queso.
This Gluten-Free Enchilada Sauce Is
- Made with real ingredients.
- Done in 10 minutes or less.
- Customizable to your spice level (give it a little kick or a whole lot of spice).
- Perfect for a variety of Tex-Mex dishes.
- Authentic and delicious.
Ingredients You Need
Here are the simple ingredients for this gluten-free enchilada sauce recipe. Most are pantry staples and easy (and affordable) to find in your local grocery store. Jump down to the recipe card for exact measurements.
- Olive oil: Enchilada sauce is a roux, which uses equal parts fat to flour. Olive oil or avocado oil can be used as the fat in this recipe.
- Certified gluten-free all-purpose flour: This is the key to making this enchilada sauce gluten-free. Bob's Red Mill 1:1 Gluten-Free flour is our favorite gluten-free brand. You can also use cornstarch as the thickening ingredient, however, the texture will be slightly stretchier. Tapioca starch is a great option for a grain-free and gluten-free enchilada sauce.
- Southwestern seasonings: Chili powder, onion powder, garlic powder, kosher salt, cumin, and oregano all combine to help make a really flavorful sauce.
- Vegetable broth or chicken broth: Either one will thin the sauce and add a little flavor. Use vegetable broth to make this a vegan enchilada sauce. It's great to make before your chicken broth goes bad.
- Tomato paste: You can also use tomato puree or tomato sauce. If substituting with tomato sauce, just be sure to add less broth, as tomato sauce is thinner than tomato paste.
How to Make Gluten-Free Enchilada Sauce
The full printable recipe is below, but let’s walk through the steps with some photos so you have a clear idea of what to expect. This gluten-free enchilada sauce is really easy and these step-by-step instructions will make sure it turns out every time.
Video: How to Make It
Add the olive oil to a medium saute pan over medium heat. When the pan and oil are nice and hot, sprinkle in the gluten-free flour and the spices. Whisk the flour and spices together for 1 minute. The mixture should become thick and somewhat crumbly.
Then stir in the tomato paste, combining it the best you can. The mixture will then become thick and clumpy.
Slowly pour in 2 ½ cups of broth, whisking constantly, until the mixture is nice and smooth. Bring it to a gentle boil over medium-high heat. Then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 3-4 minutes.
Continue stirring the mixture frequently, until it becomes nice and thick. Add up to ½ cup more of the broth as needed to reach your desired consistency. It will continue to thicken as it cools.
You can taste the sauce and add more salt to your liking. You can also add up to 1 tablespoon more of chili powder, depending on how spicy you like your sauce to be.
Then use the sauce in your favorite Mexican-inspired dishes or store it in the fridge or freezer for future use.
Ways to Use Gluten-Free Enchilada Sauce
Layer it in Gluten-Free Mexican Lasagna for an authentic flavor.
Smother your favorite enchiladas, of course, like ground turkey enchiladas, shredded beef enchiladas, Instant Pot chicken enchiladas, and healthy chicken enchiladas.
Mix it into casseroles like this Slow Cooker Mexican Quinoa casserole.
Toss it with shredded chicken for simple chicken tacos, similar to Instant Pot salsa chicken.
Stir it into soup or chili to thicken it and add spices.
What are Enchiladas?
Enchilada translates in English to, "to season with chili." They are a traditional Mexican food (dating back to the Mayans), consisting of tortillas (usually corn) filled, rolled up, and topped with a chili sauce.
Enchiladas are one of those recipes that can be a blank canvas. You can use so many ingredients in an enchilada recipe like chicken enchiladas, beef, refried beans, corn, rice, sweet potatoes, and more.
Serve enchiladas as the main course with a side of rice and beans.
Store-bought enchilada sauce often contains gluten because they are made with flour. Look for ingredient lists that don't include flour.
Old El Paso is enchilada sauce is naturally gluten-free and available in most grocery stores. Our favorite brand is Siete's red enchilada sauce because it's gluten-free and made with real ingredients (no added sugar). You can also try La Victoria and Hatch.
If not used right away, let the sauce cool to room temperature then store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week. Or store it in a freezer-safe container for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge before using in your recipes.
If you make this recipe, I’d love for you to give it a star rating ★ below. You can also tag me on Instagram so I can see it!
More Mexican Dishes You'll Love
- Mexican Beef and Rice (One Pot)
- Slow Cooker Mexican Chicken Quinoa Casserole
- Fiesta Lime Shrimp Bowls
- Carne Asada Tacos
- One Pot Taco Pasta
Gluten-Free Enchilada Sauce
- 3 tablespoons olive oil or avocado oil
- 3 tablespoons gluten-free all purpose flour or cornstarch (Note 1)
- 1 tablespoon chili powder (Note 2)
- 1 teaspoon EACH: onion powder and garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon EACH: kosher salt and cumin
- ¼ teaspoon oregano
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 ½ - 3 cups vegetable broth or chicken broth
- Medium Saucepan
- Add the olive oil to a medium saute pan over medium heat. When it’s hot, sprinkle in the flour and spices and whisk for 1 minute to create a roux. It will become thick and somewhat crumbly.
- Add the tomato paste and stir to combine the best you can. The mixture will be thick and clumpy. This is okay.
- Slowly pour in 2 ½ cups of broth, whisking constantly, until the mixture is smooth. Bring the mixture to a gentle boil over medium-high heat then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently, until thickened. Add up to ½ cup more broth as needed to reach your desired consistency.
- Taste the sauce and add more salt as needed. It will continue to thicken as it cools.
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