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Easy Enchilada Sauce – Vegan and Oil Free

4.60 from 5 votes

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This Easy Enchilada Sauce is vegan, oil free, gluten free and can be made in minutes! Once you make this homemade version you’ll never buy store bought sauce again!

Jar of enchilada sauce with spoon of sauce restingon top of jar.

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I absolutely love Mexican food! I also love sauces! So, of course, I had to have a good enchilada sauce on my site.

My family eat Mexican meals at least once a week. It’s a great way to enjoy healthy plant based food, and to include healthy ingredients like beans, tomatoes, onion, and lettuce. And a good Mexican red sauce is a wonderful spicy addition to those meals. Since this is made in just a few minutes with mostly pantry ingredients, you can make some any time you want that extra flavor.

What is enchilada sauce?

Authentic red enchilada sauce is made with dried whole peppers such as guajillo, ancho, passilla, and arbol. They are combined with some kind of broth, onion, and garlic, and make a rich, spicy sauce.

However, to make enchilada sauce in minutes, I used chili powder in this recipe instead of the dried chilis.

Jar of red sauce next to striped napkin and corn tortillas with cilantro in background.

Why make your own enchilada sauce?

  • You can make it without oil. While it’s easy to purchase canned enchilada sauce, almost all of them contain oil.
  • It can be made low sodium by using a salt free tomato sauce and low sodium broth or water.
  • You can control the spice level by increasing or decreasing the chili powder and choosing the type of chili powder you prefer.
  • It’s gluten free – most enchilada sauce recipes contain a roux made with flour. I thickened mine with cornstarch, making it 100% gluten free! You can substitute arrowroot powder for the cornstarch, if you’re sensitive to corn.
  • It’s easy and delicious!


Labeled ingredients for enchilada sauce

You only need 9 ingredients to make this simple recipe!

  • Yellow onion
  • Garlic
  • Canned tomato sauce – if you are watching your sodium level, use salt free tomato sauce
  • Canned tomato paste
  • Vegetable broth – I usually use the Better Than Bouillon Vegetable Base, but you can use whatever vegetable broth you like. If you’re watching sodium levels, use a low sodium or salt free broth.
  • Chili powder – I use an American chili powder blend. If you use an international chili powder, it will be much spicier, so start with a half to one teaspoon and add more to taste. There are many chili powders out there, so choose the one you like best.
  • Cornstarch – if you are sensitive to corn, you can use arrowroot powder
  • Maple syrup – use 100% pure maple syrup, or your preferred sweetener. This is to round out the flavor from the acidic tomato products.
  • Ground cumin

How to make homemade enchilada sauce

This recipe is so easy you’ll wonder why you haven’t always made your own enchilada sauce!

Place the onion, garlic, tomato sauce, and all the remaining ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.

Then pour the sauce into a medium saucepan and heat over medium heat, whisking constantly.

The sauce is ready when it comes to a boil and is slightly thickened.

Uses for this vegan enchilada sauce

Glass pan of enchiladas with drizzle of sour cream and chopped cilantro garnish


This sauce will keep in the refrigerator for 5 to 7 days. For longer storage, pour the cooled sauce into a mason jar and freeze for up to 3 months. It freezes so well, why not make a double batch and freeze it in small containers to have on hand for weeknight meals?

If you make this recipe, please be sure to leave a rating and feedback below. It only takes a few seconds, but helps other visitors to my site. Thank you for taking the time to leave your comment!

And come join my Oil Free Vegan Recipes and Support Facebook group, where you can share your favorite oil free vegan recipes, and give and receive support on your plant based journey.

Jar of enchilada sauce next to corn toraillas and cilantro.

Easy Enchilada Sauce – Vegan and Oil Free

Teresa Sklenicka
This Easy Enchilada Sauce is vegan, oil free, gluten free and can be made in minutes! Once you make this homemade version you'll never buy store bought sauce again!
4.60 from 5 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Course Condiment
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 7
Calories 58.7 kcal


  • ½ medium yellow onion chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 15 ounce can of tomato sauce
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 ½ cups vegetable broth
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon cumin


  • Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.
  • Transfer contents of the blender to a saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the sauce comes to a boil.


For lower sodium enchilada sauce, use salt free tomato sauce and tomato paste, and a salt free or low sodium vegetable broth.
Choose a chili powder with a good flavor. I used an American chili powder blend. If you use an international chili powder, start with a very small amount and add more to taste.
You can make this sauce as mild or spicy as you want by using more or less chili powder.
Nutrition calculations are approximate and will vary with your choice of ingredients.


Serving: 0.5cupCalories: 58.7kcalCarbohydrates: 12.9gProtein: 1.8gFat: 0.8gSodium: 542.7mgFiber: 2.5gSugar: 7gVitamin A: 1356IUVitamin C: 5.8mgCalcium: 33.48mgIron: 1.54mg
Keyword Dairy Free, Freezer Friendly, Gluten Free, Make Ahead, Oil Free, Quick & Easy, Sauce, Vegan
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

By on April 25th, 2022

About Teresa Sklenicka

I love creating tasty, oil-free, vegan recipes that everyone will love (even non-vegans)! Here you'll find vegan versions of your favorite comfort foods, as well as some new tastes! Join me on a path to improving your health, helping the planet, and saving animals.

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