Enchiladas are a staple in our house. We make them at least a couple of times a month. It’s a quick-fix meal I know my kids will eat without complaining, and I nearly always have the ingredients on hand.
My love of enchiladas has reached a new level with this homemade enchilada sauce recipe. It’s packed full of flavor, tastes like something you’d eat at a restaurant, and it’s easy to make.
Why go through all the trouble of making a homemade enchilada sauce though? It’s probably an oversimplification to say that homemade is better, but so often it is. So why go for the store-bought stuff when you can make homemade enchilada sauce with minimal effort?
For me, though, it came down to one word: gluten.
The Challenge of Finding Gluten Free Enchilada Sauces
When I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease a few years ago, my love of enchiladas was suddenly threatened. I had to make the switch from flour to corn tortillas, which seemed difficult at the time but has since proven to be the yummier choice. But that was easier compared to the change required with enchilada sauce.
You see, most enchilada sauces contain gluten. Why? According to my husband, it’s because of the First Law of Gluten: if something tastes good, it’s because it has gluten in it.
Thankfully there are still some brands that provide gluten free enchilada sauce, but they can sometimes be difficult to find and even when you do find them they’re usually more expensive. This is the Second Law of Gluten.
My husband, who doesn’t have Celiac, loves to cook and tries to find ways to make gluten free versions of our favorite foods, which has definitely eased the challenge of going gluten free. During the height of the coronavirus panic, he got frustrated he couldn’t find gluten free enchilada sauce on the shelves. So he decided to make his own.
The result is this incredibly flavorful enchilada sauce that I’ll take over the store-bought stuff any day of the week.
What My Kids Think About Homemade Enchilada Sauce
My kids are sometimes skeptical when my husband comes up with new concoctions, but they devoured these enchiladas. My oldest daughter, who is picky with nearly all foods, happily ate her enchilada, and my youngest devoured three!
So is it good? Yes.
Is it easy to make? Also yes.
See how to make this homemade gluten free enchilada sauce recipe below.
- 2-3 Anaheim peppers
- 8-10 small to medium tomatillos
- 1 jalapeño
- 1/4 bunch cilantro
- 2-3 garlic cloves
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 1 1/2 tsp lime juice
- 2 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp cumin
- Salt and black pepper
- Slice peppers in half lengthwise.
- Remove the tomatillo husks and cut them in half.
- Place peppers, tomatillos (cut-side down), and garlic on a sheet pan and bake for 20-25 minutes in a 350 degree oven until roasted.
- Remove the veggies from the oven and allow to cool for about 5 minutes.
- Place everything from the sheet pan in a blender along with the cilantro and blend until combined.
- Add 1 cup of the chicken broth, the lime juice, chili powder, and cumin and blend until smooth.
- Continue to add chicken broth until the sauce reaches the desired consistency. If you prefer a thicker sauce, add less chicken broth.
- Salt and pepper to taste.
Easy! Even if you’re not familiar with all the ingredients, they’re easy to find at most grocery stores and you can’t really mess it up.
If you’ve never cooked with a fresh Anaheim pepper, you may be worried about it’s heat level. Rest assured it’s less spicy than a jalapeño. In fact, if you’ve ever used a can of Hatch green chilis, those are prepared with a variant of Anaheim peppers. So if you can’t find Anaheim peppers, you can always use a can or two of diced green chilis.
This sauce is generally sweet with a little spicy kick. You can adjust the heat level up or down by changing the amount of jalapeño and chili powder you add.
If you opt for a thinner sauce by adding in more chicken broth, you may need to add more sauce to your enchiladas than normal as the tortillas can become thirsty in the oven and absorb the sauce. Or you can save some in reserve to pour a second coating over the enchiladas when they come out of the oven.
If you don’t use all the sauce for your enchiladas, it also works well as a salsa, which is a perfect side dish.
This homemade enchilada sauce really is incredible. In the end, I don’t think it necessarily costs less than the off-the-shelf enchilada sauces, but it definitely tastes better. Give it a try!