How to thicken enchilada sauce | A Definite Guide

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There’s no doubt that enchilada sauce is delicious, whether homemade or store-bought. It goes well with several dishes like fajitas and tacos and doesn’t need specific consistency. However, a sauce that’s too thin won’t stick to your food well.

If you are looking for a way to make your sauce thicker and more flavorful, you’re in luck! This article will teach you how to thicken enchilada sauce using simple ingredients and easy steps. We’ll also answer some common questions about enchilada sauce, such as red enchilada sauce is and what it tastes like.

So whether you’re a beginner or an expert cook, read on for all the information you need to make delicious enchiladas with a thick and flavorful sauce!

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Step by step guide on ways to thicken enchilada sauce

The best enchilada sauce to enjoy your tacos with shouldn’t be too runny. It should be thick, so it sticks perfectly. If you made some homemade enchilada sauce in your kitchen, then you can quickly thicken it to your liking. But, mishaps happen, and you might find yourself with a runny sauce. Store-bought enchilada sauce might not also meet your texture requirement. So how do you thicken your enchilada sauce in such cases?

Thicken enchilada sauce with cornstarch

You will find cornstarch in almost every kitchen cupboard. Did you know that this ingredient adds goodness to many recipes? From making chicken crispy to softening cookies, cornstarch has it all. Here is how to use it to thicken enchilada sauce.


Equipment needed


  1. Add enchilada sauce into a pot or pan and place it over medium heat.
  2. Add cornstarch and water in a bowl and stir vigorously to form a slurry.
  3. Add the slurry to the sauce. Do not pour in all the cornstarch slurry in the sauce at a go; add in little by little.
  4. Stir until the sauce has thickened and all ingredients are well combined.

Thicken enchilada sauce with a light roux

Roux is a fat– flour mixture commonly usually used as a thickener in soups, or gravies. It also adds creaminess to your sauce. Your roux may take up a brown or light color depending on your food. Some recipes may call for a dark roux, and others a lighter one. If it calls for a darker roux, cook longer. A lighter roux will cook faster with nice bubbling. Be careful though, as cooking longer might make it less thick.


  • Enchilada sauce
  • Fat (vegetable oil, butter, margarine)
  • Flour

Equipment needed

  • Spoons
  • Pot or pan


  1. Measure equal amounts of flour and oil.
  2. Add oil (in this case, I will use butter) butter onto a pan and melt it over low heat. High heat will burn your ingredients.
  3. Add flour onto the butter by sprinkling it evenly over the butter.
  4. Stir the mixture with a spoon to thicken the sauce until the desired thickness has been reached.

Do not leave the sauce to heat for long, as this might make it runny all over again. If that happens, you can correct it effortlessly by making a second batch of roux. I know this might sound strange but, yes! Make another roux and add it into the enchilada sauce while stirring. Keep adding little by little until it thickens.

Thicken enchilada sauce with flour

If your enchilada sauce hasn’t achieved the texture you desire, simply add some flour. Keep stirring the sauce until it thickens to your liking.


  • Enchilada sauce
  • Flour

Equipment needed

  • Pot/pan
  • Spoon


  1. Pour the enchilada sauce into a pot or pan and place it over medium heat.
  2. Mix the flour with some water and stir till they combine well.
  3. Add the flour mixture to thicken the sauce and stir continuously until it starts to thicken.

Thicken enchilada sauce with tomato paste

Most enchilada sauces contain few amounts of tomato paste in them. The tomato paste flavor can be a little too intense, but it won’t affect the flavor of your enchilada sauce drastically. The tomato paste will restore thickness to your enchilada sauce and also make it taste better. You can even add in some salt, garlic or chili powder.


  • Enchilada sauce
  • Tomato paste
  • Spices(optional)

Equipment needed

  • Pan
  • Spoon


  1. Add some enchilada sauce in a pot or pan and place it over medium heat.
  2. Add tomato paste to thicken sauce to your liking.

Thicken enchilada sauce by reducing it

Evaporating some liquid from your enchilada sauce is an easy way to thicken it. Reducing it overheat evaporates the liquid to make it thicker. Ensure that the heat is on a low setting, so the flavors kick in well as well as prevent the sauce from burning.


  • Enchilada sauce


  • Pot/pan
  • Stirring spoon


  1. Pour some enchilada in a pan and place it over medium heat.
  2. Stir the sauce continually until it thickens. The longer you cook, the thicker your enchilada sauce will get. A good rule of thumb is to cook until half as much liquid is left as what was initially poured into the pot or pan.
  3. Add more enchilada sauce if needed and repeat the process if the sauce hasn’t achieved the thickness you desire.

Tips to thicken enchilada sauce

There are basic tips and tricks to follow when you want to thicken your enchilada sauce and get the best out of it.

  • Ensure the pan or pot is on medium heat before adding the slurry to prevent it from burning and sticking to the bottom.
  • Stir until thickened and all ingredients are well combined. This will ensure a smooth, even consistency.
  • Add the thickener slowly to avoid lumps.
  • If using a cornstarch slurry, make sure to stir until sauce has thickened and all ingredients are well combined. This will prevent the sauce from becoming too starchy.
  • If using a roux, make sure to cook it until the desired color is reached. Cook longer for a darker roux.
  • If using flour, make sure not to let it become too starchy by over stirring.

How to make enchilada sauce thicker

There are a few ways to thicken enchilada sauce. A popular way is to use flour. Another option is to use cornstarch. You could also try using a roux made with butter and flour. If you have some time, you can make a paste out of corn flour and water. You could just cook it down for a while to reduce some of the liquid and make it thicker that way.

Mistakes to avoid when thickening enchilada sauce

Sometimes, mistakes happen. But you don’t want to end up spoiling your enchilada sauce. So check out what to avoid when thickening your sauce.

Leaving roux on the heat for too long

The roux you make should be light in color or dark, depending on your recipe. The taste it adds to the sauce should be neutral and thick in consistency. First, that will be achieved by stirring the fat and flour on low heat for up to 4 minutes. Cooking longer will give you thick and creamy enchilada sauce. The heat might even make the sauce turn runny again.

Not dedicating time to find many enchilada sauce recipes

Your goal might be making some enchilada sauce, yes, but go for that recipe that talks about making thick enchilada sauce. This, however will depend on your preference. Another thing to avoid in your recipe is using guesswork. Strictly stick to what the recipe calls for so that you don’t end up burning it or wasting your ingredients and time too.

Using excess cornstarch

Adding too much cornstarch to your sauce will make it thick and have a paste-like consistency. It is recommended to add the cornstarch mixture little by a little while stirring to get that perfect consistency.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is red enchilada sauce?

Red enchilada sauce is a flavorful, red chili pepper-based sauce made from oil and flour roux. It is typically made from chili powder, cumin, red-hued chiles, tomatoes, and spices like garlic and onions.

What does enchilada sauce taste like?

Enchilada sauce has a slightly spicy flavor that is enhanced by chili peppers. The sauce also has a slightly tangy taste due to the presence of tomatoes.

Can I substitute salsa for enchilada sauce?

You can substitute salsa for enchilada sauce in a pinch. Salsa is typically made from tomatoes, onions, and chili peppers. Remember that salsas tend to be thinner than most other types of sauces due to their high liquid content (tomatoes). Salsa’s texture is fuller than enchilada sauces.

Does enchilada sauce have tomatoes?

Yes, enchilada sauce typically contains tomatoes. However, there are variations of the recipe that do not include this ingredient. So if you’re looking for a tomato-free sauce, be sure to check the ingredients list in their packaging.

Enchilada Sauce Recipe on Video


So there you have it! A comprehensive guide on how to thicken enchilada sauce. Whether you are using a roux, cornstarch slurry or flour mixture, be sure to follow the correct proportions so that your sauce turns out just right. And don’t forget to taste as you go – making adjustments until the flavor is just perfect.

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