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Homemade Ancho Chili Enchilada Sauce

Nothing beats rich and flavorful homemade enchilada sauce.

Ancho Enchilada Sauce on Cheese Enchiladas on plate

Have you ever seen packages of dried chili peppers in the grocery store and wondered what to make with them?

It wasn’t until I realized that they’re used for making enchilada sauce that I started looking closer at them in the store.

And reading the labels about what type of chili pepper they were and what kind of taste they had.

Now I buy them all the time so that I can have them on hand to make a quick batch of enchilada sauce.

They last nicely in the pantry and are fairly inexpensive.

Homemade enchilada sauce is one of those recipes where you put all of the ingredients in the “pool” or in this case, the blender.

Then blend them together and that’s really it.

When making this sauce, the items in the blender will be warm so it’s important to use caution when blending because steam can build up and blow the lid off of the blender. 

Tips on using a blender to blend hot/warm ingredients are below in the step-by-step instructions and also in the recipe at the bottom of this post.

Some recipes call for straining the sauce after blending it but I generally don’t take the time to do that.

Ladle enchilada sauce from bowl

Mostly because my mouth is watering and my stomach is growling too loud so I need to hurry up and make enchiladas with lots of homemade sauce on them.

In this recipe I use a combination of chiles.

One is the Pasilla Ancho chili which has a brownish red color when soaked.  It’s mild and has a rich and slightly smoky flavor.

I also use Chili California peppers.  They’re more on the spicy side, and are a beautiful red color when soaked.

A batch of sauce can be made ahead of time and makes a wonderful gift when put in mason jars.

Enchilada sauce is so flavorful and can be used to make, what else but…cheese or meat enchiladas.

It’s also wonderful poured over a burrito for a “wet burrito“.

And it’s great for drizzling over pulled pork.  Here’s a “3-Ingredient Slow Cooker Pulled Pork recipe” that it would taste heavenly on.

And check out this one-skillet “Enchilada Sauce Taco Meat” recipe.

The best of both worlds, enchilada sauce and tacos.

Let’s check out the ingredients.

Homemade Ancho Enchilada Sauce ingredients

For Preparing (Soaking) the Dried Chili Peppers – Pasilla Ancho dried chili peppers, Chili California dried peppers and water

For the Sauce – prepared (soaked) dried chili peppers, water from the soaking liquid, salt, ground cumin, beef bouillon granules, dried Mexican oregano, sugar, cinnamon, masa flour, onion, garlic, lime juice, pepper and water

printable recipe with the measurements and instructions is located at the bottom of this post.

Here’s how to make it.

For Preparing (Soaking) the Dried Chili Peppers:

Dried peppers in skillet

Toasting the Dried Chili Peppers – Rinse and dry off the dried chili peppers.

Heat a large skillet to medium heat.

Heat dried peppers in skillet

Add the chiles to the pan and lightly brown each side of the peppers.

Remove from the skillet and let cool.

Dried peppers in bowl with seeds stems removed

Carefully snap off the stems and shake out the seeds in a bowl.

If needed, break the peppers in half to shake out the seeds.

Discard the stems and the seeds.

Add dried peppers to pot of water

Boiling (Soaking) the Dried Chili Peppers – Fill a large pot about half full with water…

Dried peppers in pot of water

…and add the chiles.

Pot of water on burner on stove top

Bring the water to a boil for 30 minutes

Cover pot with lid

…then cover the pan and remove from the heat.

Let sit for another 45 minutes to an hour.

Soaked peppers added to blender pitcher

Using tongs, transfer the chiles to a blender.

Ladle juice from boiling peppers in blender pitcher

To the blender, add 3 cups of the soaking liquid…

Add beef broth granules to blender pitcher

…beef bouillon granules…

Add dried oregano to chilis in blender pitcher

…Mexican oregano…

Add salt to chiles in blender pitcher

Add sugar to chiles in blender pitcher

…salt…

Add ground cumin to chiles in blender pitcher

…ground cumin…

Add pepper to chiles in blender pitcher

…pepper…

Add sliced onions to blender pitcher

…onion…

Add garlic cloves to blender pitcher

…garlic…

Squeeze lime juice in blender pitcher

…lime juice…

Add masa flour to chiles in blender pitcher

Add masa flour to chiles in blender pitcher

…masa flour…

Add water to chiles in blender pitcher

…water, and cinnamon.

Blending the Warm Ingredients – The next step is to blend the warm ingredients.

When using a blender for hot liquids it’s very important to use caution; since the ingredients are hot, steam can build up and blow the lid off of the blender.

Here are some tips when using a blender for hot liquids:

– add the soup to the blender jar in batches that are no larger than 1/3 full

– remove the center piece from the blender lid

– place the lid (minus the center piece) on the blender jar

– cover the lid with a clean towel folded to a size slightly larger than the lid

– hold the towel over the lid while blending on the lowest speed

Enchilada sauce ingredients in blender pitcher

Next…

Blend enchilada sauce in blender

…blend on the sauce setting.

Ancho Enchilada Sauce in bowl with ladle

Taste the sauce and if needed, add more salt.

Ladle enchilada sauce over enchiladas in dish

Then,

Top enchiladas with shredded cheese in baking dish

Serve over cheese or meat enchiladas…

Cheesy enchiladas on plate

…or…

Ladle enchilada sauce on top of cheesy enchiladas on plate

…burritos (for a wet burrito).

Ladle enchilada sauce over cheesy enchiladas on plate

or over pulled pork.

Ancho Enchilada Sauce on Cheese Enchiladas on plate

Then enjoy each…

Ancho Enchilada Sauce on Cheese Enchiladas on plate

…spicy flavorful bite.

Ancho Enchilada Sauce on Cheese Enchiladas on plate

Thank you so much for stopping by CCC!

More Mexican Food Recipes You May Like:

Corned Beef Taquitos with Homemade Avocado Sauce

Jalapeno and Cheese Taquitos

Chicken Fajita Quesadillas

Mexican Fideo Pasta with Vegetables

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Ancho Enchilada Sauce Enchiladas

Homemade Ancho Enchilada Sauce

Nothing beats rich and flavorful homemade enchilada sauce.
Print Pin
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
(Plus inactive time to soak chiles in boiling water): 1 hour
Total Time: 2 hours 10 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: Enchilada Sauce, Enchiladas
Servings: 4 (Makes about 10 enchiladas)

Ingredients

For Preparing (Soaking) the Dried Chili Peppers:

  • 1 package (1.5 ounces) Pasilla Ancho dried chili peppers
  • 1 package (3 ounces) package dried Chili California peppers
  • Water for boiling (soaking) chili peppers

For the Sauce:

  • Prepared dried Pasilla Ancho and California Chili Peppers
  • 3 cups of the soaking liquid from boiling the chiles
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 onion coarsely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 lime juiced
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons dried Mexican oregano leaves
  • 2 pinches ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons masa flour
  • 2 tablespoons beef bouillon granules

Instructions

For Preparing (Soaking) the Dried Chili Peppers:

  • Rinse and dry off the dried chili peppers. 
  • Toasting the Dried Chili Peppers - Heat a large skillet on medium heat. Add the chiles to the pan and lightly brown each side of the peppers. Remove from the skillet and let cool. 
  • Carefully snap off the stems and shake out the seeds in a bowl. If needed, break the peppers in half to shake out the seeds. Discard the stems and the seeds.
  • Boiling/Soaking the Dried Chili Peppers - Fill a large pot about half full with water and add the chiles.  Bring the water to a boil for 30 minutes then cover the pan and remove from the heat. Let sit for another 45 minutes to an hour.

For the Sauce:

  • Using tongs, transfer the chiles to a blender. Add 3 cups of the soaking liquid to the blender. 
  • To the blender add the onion, garlic, salt, pepper, cumin, lime juice, oregano, cinnamon, sugar, masa flour, and beef bouillon granules. 
  • Blending the Warm Ingredients - The next step is to blend the warm ingredients.
  • When using a blender for hot liquids it’s very important to use caution; since the ingredients are hot, steam can build up and blow the lid off of the blender.
    Here are some tips when using a blender for hot liquids:
    - add the soup to the blender jar in batches that are no larger than 1/3 full
    - remove the center piece from the blender lid
    - place the lid (minus the center piece) on the blender jar
    - cover the lid with a clean towel folded to a size slightly larger than the lid
    - hold the towel over the lid while blending on the lowest speed
  • Blend on the sauce setting. Taste the sauce and if needed, add more salt. 
  • Serve while warm over cheese or meat enchiladas, burritos (for a wet burrito), or over pulled pork.

Notes

TIPS:

When using a blender for hot liquids it’s very important to use caution; since the ingredients are hot, steam can build up and blow the lid off of the blender.
Here are some tips when using a blender for hot liquids:
- add the soup to the blender jar in batches that are no larger than 1/3 full
- remove the center piece from the blender lid
- place the lid (minus the center piece) on the blender jar
- cover the lid with a clean towel folded to a size slightly larger than the lid
- hold the towel over the lid while blending on the lowest speed
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