Home > Homemade Red Enchilada Sauce (Keto and Gluten-Free)

Homemade Red Enchilada Sauce (Keto and Gluten-Free)

This Homemade Red Enchilada Sauce is low carb, keto-friendly, gluten-free, and tastes so authentic you would think you were eating at your favorite Mexican restaurant!

Looking for more low carb and keto sauce recipe ideas? Give this Authentic Tzatziki Sauce Recipe or Cilantro Lime Crema a try!

Photo of Homemade Red Enchilada Sauce in a mason jar with a spoon.
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Copycat Olive Garden Alfredo Sauce | Roasted Strawberry BBQ Sauce

I moved to Southern California when I was 14 and pretty much lived on Mexican food, and I am not talking about American/Mexican food. I am talking about truly authentic, sitting at Abuela’s kitchen table with the heavenly smells of machaca or carnitas cooking away, and tortillas hot off the stove.

That my dear friends is pure heaven.

Actually, when I think about it, my love for Mexican food goes back even further. My babysitter, when I was very young, was a wonderful woman that had been an elementary school teacher in Chihuahua Mexico.

Ohhhh the food this woman would make. I loved her homemade refried beans, and sopapillas.

At 4 years old I loved huevos rancheros for breakfast and lived for her chicken tostadas or bean burritos at lunch. She would have me help in the kitchen every day making homemade flour tortillas or stirring one pot or another.

If I really think about it, she is probably the person that put the love of cooking fresh food in the back of my young mind.

But, as I have mentioned, my Mom wasn’t a big cook from scratch kinda gal. We usually ate something from a box, or a can, or the freezer for dinner. So, after I went off to school, those lovely homemade Mexican delights were just a memory.

Sadly, our enchilada sauce came from a can, and that was that.

Fast forward to now, and my desire to separate myself from as much over-processed food as possible.

I have mastered the art of a low-carb mac and cheese, making a killer spaghetti sauce, making a mean keto cream of mushroom soup, and am quick to the rescue if someone is feeling under the weather with this low carb lemon chicken noodle soup.

I have even ventured into Mexican flavors with homemade chorizo, pico de gallo, and one damn good salsa fresca. But just haven’t been able to nail down my enchilada sauce.

Until now.

You will find that the majority of homemade enchilada sauces call for chili powder, and that works alright. But the issue is that any “chili powder” you buy in a store is a blend of different spices that you have no control over or idea about, what they are, how much is used, or how old the powder is.

Some call for tomato paste or even ketchup, and I am not knocking them. They work in a pinch and are 100% better for you than the stuff from a can.

Butttttttttttttttttttt…..and it is a big ol’ but, they do. not. taste. authentic.

So why was that?
Cue the big giant light bulb over my head

You need to use “real” chiles, not jarred powder.

And the difference?

Ooohhhhh it is huuuuuuuuuuuge….colossal……ginormous!!

And the proof is in this sauce.

Oh ya, baby, it brings all of those flavors that I have been dreaming about. The flavors I have tried to find at every Mexican restaurant around.

I am not going to lie, I cried a little tear when I tasted it #dontjudgeme

However, I cried quite a few more tears when it was all gone

Next time I will make a quadruple batch so I can freeze some for later because I do not want to be without this sauce on hand…….EVER!!

P.S. Even Kevin liked it!!

Overhead photo of the ingredients needed to make Homemade Red Enchilada Sauce.


Detailed measurements and instructions can be found on the printable recipe card at the bottom of the page.


  • Dried New Mexico or California red chiles
  • Chicken bone broth (or water) 
  • Mexican oregano
  • Cumin
  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder
  • Salt 
  • Pepper 

Six photos of the process of making Homemade Red Enchilada Sauce.



Place dried chiles in a large pot of water, and bring to a boil. 

Remove from the heat, and place a plate or bowl on top to make sure the chiles stay submerged in the hot water. Allow the chiles to steep for 30 minutes.

Remove the stems and seeds from the chiles and place them in a food processor with the remaining ingredients. Process until very smooth.

Pass the sauce through a strainer or double layers of cheesecloth to remove the skins of the chile. Use a rubber spatula (or your hand) to press it well.

Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed.

Use immediately or place in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator or freeze it.

Pouring Homemade Red Enchilada Sauce into a mason jar.


Do I have to use dried whole chiles?
I know it seems like a pain in the rear but it really does make a huge difference in the taste. 

Do I have to strain the sauce?
I had a reader let me know that if you have a high-power blender, like a Vitamix, you don’t have to strain the sauce. Also, some have said using cheesecloth is easier.

Can I freeze this Homemade Enchilada Sauce?
Yes! This sauce will keep in the fridge for a week and in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Homemade Red Enchilada Sauce in a mason jar.

Last thoughts about Homemade Red Enchilada Sauce

The older I get the more I really enjoy making my own food homemade vs store-bought. 
Yes, part of that is because I am learning about things being put into our food that I don’t particularly like, so yes it is about controlling what is going into my body and the bodies of my loved ones. 
But, it is more so about recreating flavors, or memories that I want to relive.
This enchilada sauce recipe came about 100% because I wanted to relive those memories, and it totally succeeded. 
It was also partially because my hubby gets wicked heartburn from most storebought enchilada sauces so I wanted to make something he could enjoy too.
Two birds, one stone, yay me!

Closeup of a spoonful of Homemade Red Enchilada Sauce over a mason jar full of it.


Homemade Red Enchilada Sauce (Keto and Gluten-Free) - This Homemade Red Enchilada Sauce is low carb, keto-friendly, gluten-free, and tastes so authentic you would think you were eating at your favorite Mexican restaurant! #keto #lowcarb #glutenfree #sugarfree #red #chile #enchilada #sauce #mexican

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  1. I made this about a year ago, and it was an excellent sauce, but it was SO SPICY I couldn't eat it. I removed the seeds and everything! Any tips on making it less spicy?

  2. Hi, I am sorry the sauce was too spicy for you. I am not sure which chile you used. New Mexico chiles, while considered a mild heat chile, are a bit hotter at 800-1,400 SHU (Scoville Heat Units) and more flavorful than the California Chiles (500-1,000 SHU). If you used New Mexico chiles I would suggest you try the California chiles. I have not made this sauce with any other chiles but the California (which is basically an Anaheim pepper dried) is pretty mild.

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Welcome! It is so nice to meet you. My name is Bobbi. I am the Mom of 2 great kids, and Nana to a beautiful baby girl Kylee, and a handsome little devil named Torin. I share my life and home with my awesome partner Kevin, and 2 furbabies….

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