Here is my favorite recipe for mild enchilada sauce.
This is a kid friendly recipe for an easy not spicy enchilada sauce.
This post is two recipes in one!
One of my most favorite and easy weeknight meals is easy enchilada casserole.
I've made variations of it for years, and it gets better every time. I've included my recipe below for how I make enchilada casserole.
Now I've made it even better with my own recipe for an easy mild enchilada sauce.
So keep scrolling down - there are two recipes below. First for my mild enchilada sauce, and then a recipe for my easy enchilada casserole.
I rarely buy canned enchilada sauce any more. Honestly it’s not because I’m being a princess about canned foods, but it’s because even ones labeled “mild” are too spicy for my kids. I think I've tried just about every brand of "mild" sauce I can find, and none of them are really all that mild.
I love spicy foods, but my kids aren't there yet. So if I want them to enjoy the meal I am making, then I need to figure out ways to remove spice but preserve flavor.
After looking at a bunch of different recipes online, I decided to come up with my own version of a simple sauce that suits us just perfectly.
It's really flavorful and gives a nice southwest style flavor to dishes, but it's not spicy at all. I love to use this for enchiladas, or more often just an enchilada casserole, but it's also great for simmering chicken or other meat in, to shred up and use for tacos, burritos, salads, etc.
I make no claims about this being any kind of authentic - 'real' enchiladas would definitely have a sauce made of chilis. But we're not in Mexico and I'm not Mexican, so this is just my American girl version of this style of dish.
I also love that this doesn't require any special or unique ingredients - I can whip up a pot of this sauce very quickly with just ingredients that I pretty much always have in my pantry.
It seems like a lot of spices, and it is.
But what we're doing here is making up for the lack of spice from peppers by adding a lot of other flavor. And, as with all of my recipes, this one is super flexible. The quantities of spices are just a guideline, and honestly most of the time I don't even really measure.
Recipe: Lisa's Homemade and NOT Spicy Enchilada Sauce
(Keep scrolling after this for the Enchilada Casserole Recipe)
Mild Enchilada Sauce
An easy recipe for a very mild enchilada sauce that the whole family will love.
- 1 quart of chicken broth
- 1 15.5 oz can of tomato sauce
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
- 3/4 cup flour
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons onion powder
- 4 teaspoons cumin
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
- salt, to taste
Basically, you’re making a simple gravy with a butter & flour roux, and chicken broth + tomato sauce for the liquid, and spices added for flavor. Add all the spices (except salt) at the beginning with the butter and flour, so they toast a bit and get more flavorful. Then whisk in the liquid as usual, and taste to adjust seasoning.
- Put the butter, flour and all the spices except the salt in a medium stock pot over medium heat. Stir until the butter is all melted and you have a well blended paste.
- Once the butter and flour are well combined, slowly add your broth, whisking the whole time to avoid lumps.
- Then add the tomato sauce.
- Let it all simmer for about 10-15 minutes, not boiling, stirring frequently.
- Taste as you go and decide whether you think you like the flavor, or you want more garlic, or more chili powder, etc. I hold off on the salt until I have everything else combined, because the saltiness of any particular batch of chicken broth or tomato sauce can really vary. So get it all mixed up and then add salt if you feel like it needs it.
- This recipe is very flexible. The spice quantities are just a guideline and you should totally play with the amounts. If you actually want to make this spicy, add a little cayenne pepper, or a bunch more chili powder.
- You can also make this without the tomato sauce, I’ve had it that way and it’s great too - like an enchilada spiced gravy.
- This freezes great. This recipe makes more than you’ll need for one recipe of enchiladas. Set aside half and freeze for next time.
- Use vegetable broth to make a vegetarian sauce.
- Make it gluten free by using gluten free flour.
Now that you have homemade enchilada sauce - you can make the most delicious shredded enchilada chicken!
In your slow cooker, or a pot on the stove: add pieces of raw chicken and enough enchilada sauce to cover. Let this simmer for several hours on medium/high, or all day on low, until chicken is cooked and falling apart.
Shred with a fork and you are ready to use in recipe. I love this in tacos, on taco salad, in quesadillas...
or scroll down for my famous easy enchilada casserole recipe.
Now you can make enchiladas!
I rarely make real enchiladas - all that rolling is just too time consuming for my lifestyle.
What we make here is an enchilada casserole.
It's basically everything you would put in enchiladas, but layered in a casserole instead of rolled up.
Easy Enchilada Casserole Recipe
Easy Enchilada Casserole
A simple layered enchilada casserole that the whole family will love. Kid pleasing, and great for a crowd.
- 2 cups enchilada sauce
- 3 cups grated cheese (a blend of cheddar and monterey jack)
- Cooked meat: browned ground beef, or shredded enchilada chicken
- 2 cans cream soup (cream of mushroom, cream of celery, etc.), or about 2 cups homemade white sauce (optional)
- 1 can diced green chilis
- about 2 dozen corn tortillas
This is a simple layered dish, and the ingredients are very flexible. Use your choice of cheeses (we often just buy a bag of shredded "Mexican blend" cheese.
Mix the green chilis in to the cream soup or white sauce if using, otherwise just spread them between the layers. Or leave them out.
We use a standard casserole dish.
Spread a bit of sauce on the bottom of the casserole dish to prevent sticking.
Cover sauce with a layer of corn tortillas. Break up tortillas to fill in any overlaps or gaps.
Top with meat, if using. Then sprinkle with cheese.
Repeat layers of tortilla, filling, sauce(s), cheese... until the dish is full.
Top with shredded cheese and bake at 350 for about an hour, until the whole thing is bubbly and cheese on top is browned.
This can also be done in a slow cooker. Follow directions the same as above, and cook for 4-6 hours on low until bubbly and melted.
Serve with sour cream, extra cheese, salsa, shredded lettuce, diced avocado & tomato.