5 from 1 vote
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Darlene's Red Enchilada Sauce

Darlene makes great enchiladas, but wasn't happy with the sauce. She and I tweaked and tweaked, borrowing ideas from many chefs. Finally, she was happy with what we came up with here. Hope your are too. - Jughandle
Course Sauce
Cuisine Mexican
Keywords Darlene, Red Enchilada Sauce
Cooking Method Boiled, Pan Fried
Hot/Cold Dish Hot
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 24 Ounces
Author Darlene Myer

What You Will Need:

  • 3 cups water - for reconstituting the dried chiles
  • 2 ounces dried guajillo chiles - stemmed and seeded
  • 1 ounce dried New Mexico chiles - stemmed and seeded
  • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil divided in half
  • 1/4 cup yellow onion - chopped
  • 1 medium size Roma tomato - seeded and chopped
  • 1 Clove Garlic - pressed or minced
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
After Cooking To Adjust Flavors:
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar - to take any bitter edge off. Optional
  • .5 tsp Kosher salt - if needed


  • Stem and seed your dried chilies by cutting off the stem, rolling the pod between your hands, then pouring out the seeds.
  • In a heavy saucepan, add 3 c of cold water the prepped dried chiles and bring to a boil.
  • When you achieve a rolling boil reduce the heat to simmer, cover and cook for 30 minutes. Or longer to make the chilies tender.
  • Drain the cooked chiles and reserve the cooking liquid in a measuring cup to use later.
  • Heat 1 tablespoon of the vegetable oil in a frying pan over medium heat.
  • Saute the onion until softened stirring occasionally which should take about 5 minutes.
  • Introduce the tomato, garlic, salt, oregano, smoked paprika, and cumin to the pan and cook for about 5 minutes more.
  • Transfer the mixture to a blender adding the chiles plus all of the reserved cooking liquid. Puree until smooth.
  • Strain the sauce and discard the pulp.
  • After straining you should have 2 cups of sauce.
  • Use water to thin the sauce to 3 cups.
  • Heat the remaining oil in the same pan over high heat.
  • Slowly add the sauce being careful to avoid splattering yourself and the kitchen. If your pan is not large enough to hold the whole thing, do it in batches
  • Cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly, don't answer the phone or drink a beer.
  • Reduce the heat to simmer and cook for another 4-5 minutes.
  • Taste and adjust flavor with the additional salt and vinegar if needed
  • Allow to cool and store in the refrigerator until ready to use or freeze flat in gallon freezer bags for up to 3 months.


You can freeze it flat in large freezer bags for up to 3 months.


Nutrition Facts
Darlene's Red Enchilada Sauce
Amount Per Serving
Calories 23 Calories from Fat 9
% Daily Value*
Fat 1g2%
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Sodium 102mg4%
Potassium 75mg2%
Carbohydrates 3g1%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 2g2%
Protein 1g2%
Vitamin A 980IU20%
Vitamin C 1.7mg2%
Calcium 3mg0%
Iron 0.3mg2%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.