Vegan Enchilada Sauce

Make your own delicious vegan enchilada sauce in just minutes! This easy recipe is free of animal products and full of flavor. Follow our simple instructions to create this classic Mexican sauce that will quickly become a favorite.

A spoonful of vegan enchilada sauce hovers over a jar full of it. There are tomatoes, herbs, and seasonings behind it.

Have you ever decided to make homemade vegan enchiladas only to discover halfway through making them that you’re out of enchilada sauce?

Me too! But the good news is…it’s so easy to make your own!

Maybe once you know the secrets to making homemade vegan enchilada sauce, you’ll never buy the stuff in the can again!

Key Ingredients

You can find the full printable recipe, including ingredient quantities, below. But first, here are some explanations of ingredients and steps to help you make this recipe perfect every time.

  • Olive oil — A little bit of oil combined with flour creates a roux which yields a nice, thick sauce.
  • Flour — We’re using flour as a thickener. You can use all-purpose, whole wheat, or gluten-free flour.
  • Chili powder — This ingredient is the star of the show. It adds the best flavor so be prepared to use a lot of it!
  • Seasoning — Using both garlic powder and ground cumin creates the best flavor. I have a cumin “hater” in my household, but the taste of the chili powder is pretty strong. The little bit of cumin added here is subtle.
  • Water — I used tap water, but if your water has flavor, you may want to use filtered water for the best results.
  • Tomato paste — Make this sauce colorful and robust with some added tomato paste.
  • Soy sauce — We’ll add umami flavor with sauce sauce. Use tamari or Braggs for a gluten-free option.
A hand holds a measuring spoon full of tomato paste over a sauce pan with enchilada sauce.

How to Make Vegan Enchilada Sauce

  1. Cook olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat until it’s shimmering.
  2. Sprinkle in the flour while stirring with a spatula. Cook and stir for one minute.
  3. Add the chili powder, garlic powder, and ground cumin and stir until it’s combined.
  4. Stir in the water, a little bit at a time.
  5. Continue to stir and bring it to a simmer until the sauce thickens.
  6. Stir in the tomato paste and soy sauce.
  7. Use it immediately in a recipe or refrigerate it for use later.

Frequently-Asked Questions

Is canned enchilada sauce vegan?

Most canned enchilada sauces are vegan because the ingredients are typically tomato paste, seasonings, and a thickener. It’s always a good idea to look at the ingredients to double-check.

Can you make enchilada sauce gluten-free?

To make enchilada sauce gluten-free, use gluten-free flour in place of all-purpose flour. Be sure to use gluten-free soy sauce as well. Tamari is a great gluten-free substitute for soy sauce.

Enchilada Sauce Without Flour

Want to make your enchilada sauce without flour? It’s pretty easy to do.

Make a cornstarch slurry by combining a tablespoon of cornstarch with a tablespoon of water. Stir this together.

Then, when your sauce begins to simmer, pour the cornstarch slurry into the pan and simmer it for another 1 to 2 minutes until the sauce thickens.

Serving Suggestions

Serve plant-based enchilada sauce with your favorite vegan Mexican dishes such as:

Storage Tips

Transfer enchilada sauce to a lidded container and refrigerate for up to 7 days. You can freeze enchilada sauce in a freezer-safe container for up to 2 months.

Looking down on a glass jar of enchilada sauce with a spoon in it.

Vegan Mexican Recipes

If you love this recipe for vegan enchilada sauce, here are more plant-based Mexican dishes to try:

A spoonful of enchilada sauce hovers over a jar with more of the sauce.

Vegan Enchilada Sauce

Discover the flavors of Mexico with this easy-to-make vegan enchilada sauce recipe. With natural, delicious ingredients, give your next meal a tasty kick – try it now!
No ratings yet
Course: Sauce
Cuisine: Mexican
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 2 cups
Calories: 204kcal


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons flour (all-purpose, whole wheat, or gluten-free)
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 cups water (see notes)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce (use tamari for gluten-free)


  • Add olive oil to a saucepan over medium heat. Cook until it's shimmering, then sprinkle in the flour while stirring with a spatula. Cook and stir for one minute.
  • Add the chili powder, garlic powder, and ground cumin and stir until it's combined.
    A hand holds a spatula, stirring ingredients in a saucepan.
  • Stir in the water, a little bit at a time into the saucepan. Continue to stir and bring it to a simmer. Cook for another minute or so until the sauce thickens.
  • Add tomato paste and soy sauce and stir to combine.
    A hand holds a measuring spoon full of tomato paste over a sauce pan with enchilada sauce.
  • Use it in a recipe immediately, or transfer it to a lidded container and refrigerate until you're ready to use it.

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You can substitute vegetable broth for the water, but then don’t add the soy sauce, because it will be too salty with both ingredients.
Calories: 204kcal | Carbohydrates: 16g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 11g | Sodium: 498mg | Potassium: 429mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 3808IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 56mg | Iron: 3mg

The nutrition information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator and should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

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