Easy Old El Paso Enchilada Sauce Recipe – Copycat

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This homemade Old El Paso Enchilada Sauce Recipe is better and healthier than the store-bought version. It’s such an easy enchilada sauce recipe that it only takes 10 minutes to make and has so much bold, incredible flavor.

I’ve used this incredible red sauce as the secret weapon in my favorite enchilada recipe for years, and it’s always a crowd-pleaser.  Unlike store-bought sauces, this one has simple ingredients that will make good enchiladas – great! 

Best of all this red enchilada sauce is so easy to make you will never buy Old El Paso again. Plus, it’s vegan and easily gluten-free. Trust me, it’s so much better than the canned stuff!

My whole family loves all types of Mexican food like this Crockpot Mexican Casserole and we love using this delicious enchilada sauce in it and you will, too.

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Easy Old El Paso Enchilada Sauce Recipe – Copycat

What they are saying about this copycat Old El Paso enchilada sauce recipe

This sauce is so yummy! I’m so glad I found this recipe! – Deb

The Perfect Amount of Heat

This healthier copycat version of Old El Paso enchilada sauce recipe is a game-changer if you care about food additives. By creating your own homemade enchilada sauce, you can have complete control over what goes into it, avoiding excessive salt, artificial additives, and preservatives commonly found in store-bought enchilada sauce. 

I created this copycat Old El Paso Enchilada Sauce recipe because my husband is sensitive to MSG. Even though it isn’t listed as an ingredient, “natural flavor” is listed and that can mean MSG among other things.

I want to be able to enjoy the savory flavors and the boldness of a good red enchilada sauce while knowing exactly what we are putting into our bodies.

Plus, with this delicious recipe you can customize it to suit your taste preferences, making it milder or spicier, and even adjusting the salt content. 

It’s a simple switch that empowers you to enjoy the same great taste you’ve come to love but with the added benefits of healthier ingredients with this homemade old el paso enchilada sauce recipe. 

Add this sauce to these homemade enchiladas and more!

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3 Reasons you will love this copycat Old El Paso Enchilada Sauce Recipe

  • Control Over Ingredients: This homemade, healthier version gives you full control over the ingredients. You can skip the excessive salt and avoid artificial additives and preservatives that are often present in store-bought sauces. This means you’re making a conscious choice for better health.
  • Customizable Flavors: You can tailor the enchilada sauce to your taste preferences. Whether you like a little bit of heat or extra spicy, you have the flexibility to adjust the spice levels to create the perfect amount of heat for your enchiladas or Mexican dishes.
  • Transparency and Freshness: By making this homemade enchilada sauce you’ll always know what’s in it and enjoy the vibrant bold flavor. It’s a great way to take your meals to the next level.
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Copycat Old El Paso Enchilada Sauce

This copycat Old El Paso Enchilada Sauce combines convenience, flavor, and nutrition, making it a top choice for anyone seeking a wholesome and delicious sauce.

If you like Copycat Recipes, you will love this replacement for Old Bay Seasoning!


You can find the full recipe card, including ingredient quantities, full instructions, and nutrition information below.

But first, here are some explanations of ingredients and steps to help you make this delicious enchilada sauce recipe with tomato sauce.

What makes this Old El Paso enchilada sauce substitute so special are the wholesome, simple ingredients that happen to make it dairy-free and vegan, plus the versatility of adding or subtracting for your heat preference.

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Ingredients for Copycat Old El Paso Enchilada Sauce
  • Tomato Paste
  • Chili Powder
  • Flour – you can use All-purpose flour or Gluten-free flour
  • Olive oil – you can use avocado or another vegetable oil
  • Garlic powder – you can use 1 clove fresh garlic, minced
  • Onion powder
  • Cumin
  • Vegetable broth – I suggest using a low-sodium broth or omitting the added salt in the recipe.
  • Lemon juice
  • Mexican oregano or dried oregano
  • Salt and Black Pepper
  • Optional – Cayenne pepper or red chili pepper flakes

Pro Tip – You can skip the garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, oregano, salt and pepper and use 2 Tablespoons of this Copycat Old El Paso Taco Seasoning instead.


How to make this easy enchilada sauce

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Step 1
  • 1. In a saucepan over medium heat, add olive oil and flour. Whisk to combine and cook for one minute.
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Step 2
  • 2. Add the tomato paste and the remaining spices. Whisk to combine.
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Step 3
  • 3. Add vegetable broth stirring constantly. Bring sauce to a simmer and allow it to thicken slightly.
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Easy Homemade Enchilada Sauce
  • 4. Add a squeeze of lemon juice and pour over delicious enchiladas.

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What is in the Old El Paso Enchilada Sauce?

Per the ingredient list on the can it has – Water Tomato Puree (water, tomato paste), Modified Corn Starch, Contains 2% or less of: Sugar, Salt, Chile Pepper, Soybean Oil, Vinegar, Spice, Citric Acid, Hydrolyzed Corn Protein, Onion Powder, Natural Flavor, Color (black carrot and paprika extract).

How many calories and carbs in Old El Paso Enchilada Sauce?

1/4 cup has 20 calories and 4 grams of carbohydrates.

My Copycat version has 38 calories and 5 grams of carbohydrates, but nutritional values can change depending on the brands you use.

Can I freeze enchilada sauce?

Yes! Storing leftover enchilada sauce is easy and ensures you can use it for future delicious meals. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Refrigeration: If you plan to use the sauce within a week, transfer the leftover enchilada sauce to an airtight container and store it in the refrigerator. Make sure the sauce is completely cool before sealing the container. It can typically last in the fridge for 5 to 7 days.
  2. Freezing: If you have a larger quantity of leftover enchilada sauce or won’t use it within a week, you can freeze it. Pour the sauce into ice cube trays or freezer-safe containers. If using containers, leave some space at the top because liquids expand as they freeze. Cover tightly and label with the date. Enchilada sauce can be stored in the freezer for up to 3-6 months.
  3. Thawing: When you’re ready to use the frozen sauce, transfer the container from the freezer to the refrigerator and let it thaw overnight. You can also thaw it using a microwave or by placing the container in a bowl of cold water. Once thawed, give it a good stir to recombine any separated ingredients.
  4. Check for Freshness: Before using refrigerated or thawed enchilada sauce, always check for signs of spoilage like an off smell or unusual texture. If it looks or smells off, it’s best not to use it.

By storing your leftover enchilada sauce properly, you can enjoy its flavors in future meals without any concerns about freshness or quality.

Serving Suggestions

There are endless options. Enchilada sauce can be used in a variety of dishes to add delicious Tex-Mex inspired flavors. Here are some common and creative ways to use it:

  • Enchiladas: The classic choice! Use this sauce to smother rolled tortillas filled with your favorite ingredients. Bake them in the oven until bubbly and delicious.
  • Tacos: Pour a bit of red enchilada sauce over your taco fillings for an extra kick. It will give your tacos so much flavor!
  • Burritos: Pour a cup of the enchilada sauce over burritos and heat in the oven for a bold twist. Grab a fork because it will be messy, but yummy! 
  • Soups: Add a few spoonfuls of this copycat sauce to tomato-based soups for a spicy twist. It’s particularly good in tortilla soup or tomato soup.
  • Marinades: Red enchilada sauce can make a flavorful marinade for tofu. Simply soak it in the sauce for a few hours before grilling or baking.
  • Baked Dishes: Use it as a base for baked dishes like enchilada lasagna. Layer tortillas, sauce, non-dairy cheese, and your choice of fillings for a hearty meal.
  • Dipping Sauce: Enjoy it warm or room temperature as a zesty dipping sauce for quesadillas, taquitos, or even tortilla chips.
  • Stews and Chili: Add a bit of this homemade enchilada sauce to your vegetable stews or chili for an infusion of Mexican flavors. It pairs well with hearty ingredients like beans, potatoes, and carrots.

Be sure to make a double batch because the versatility of this easy vegan enchilada sauce means you can get creative in the kitchen and experiment with various recipes until you find your perfect match!


If you like this recipe remember to leave a 5 star rating and let me know how it went in the below comments, I love hearing from you! You can also FOLLOW ME on FACEBOOK, INSTAGRAM, and PINTEREST to see all my delicious recipes.

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4.34 from 3 votes

Easy Old El Paso Enchilada Sauce Recipe – Copycat

This homemade enchilada sauce is a healthier version of Old El Paso Sauce. It's such an easy enchilada sauce recipe that it only takes 10 minutes to make and has so much bold, incredible flavor.
Course Seasoning
Cuisine Mexican
Keyword copycat old el paso enchilada sauce, homemade enchilada sauce, old el paso enchilada sauce recipe, red enchilada sauce,, vegan enchilada sauce
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Servings 8 servings
Calories 38kcal
Author Cindy Newland with Intentionally Eat


  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp flour I used all-purpose flour, but gluten-free will work)
  • 4 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 3 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp Mexican oregano or dried oregano
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • In a medium saucepan, over medium heat, add olive oil and flour. Whisk to combine and cook one minute.
  • Add the tomato paste, chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, and oregano. Whisk to combine.
  • Add vegetable broth and stir to combine.
  • Bring to a simmer and cook for 5-6 minutes allowing the sauce to slightly thicken.
  • Add lemon juice, salt and pepper, if necessary.


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Nutritional Information is only an estimate. The accuracy of this recipe may differ depending on the ingredients you use.


Serving: 0.25cup | Calories: 38kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 2g

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​Disclaimer: Please note that I am not a medical professional. The information provided on this blog is based on my personal experiences and research as a vegan recipe enthusiast. While I strive to provide accurate and up-to-date information, it is important to consult with a qualified healthcare professional or a registered dietitian before making any significant changes to your diet, especially if you have any underlying health conditions or concerns. The recipes and tips shared on this blog are meant for general informational purposes and should not be considered a substitute for professional medical advice. Always prioritize your health and well-being by seeking personalized guidance from a qualified healthcare provider.

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    1. Hi Terry! Yes, and I believe the original is a bit oily. I love this healthier version and know you will, too! Enjoy!

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