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Slow Cooker Ancho Chili Enchilada Sauce

Slow Cooker Ancho Chili Enchilada Sauce

This is something I’ve wanted to try for a while now, but popping open a jar of sauce has just always seemed so much simpler so I never even bothered. But now I know. Making your own enchilada sauce is insanely easy. It can totally be make in a sauce pan on the stove, but just for fun I made it in the slow cooker instead and it was just that much easier (read: lazy girl who doesn’t want to stir)! Just add the ingredients and walk away! My world has just changed a little and will now include a whole lot more homemade sauce.

Slow Cooker Ancho Chili Enchilada Sauce

Make a single, double or even a quadruple batch and freeze! Then you will have all sorts of sauce ready to go for all sorts of easy meals. Like these Slow Cooker Mushroom and Spinach Enchiladas (sneak peek!) that I will share with you tomorrow!

Slow Cooker Spinach and Mushroom Enchiladas

Don’t get me wrong, I still have my favorite go-to store bought sauces that will be staying the line-up (Hello, Trader Joe’s!!) but now I have yet another way to make a simple and totally customizable sauce for so many more recipes!

Slow Cooker Ancho Chili Enchilada Sauce

So what do you think? Easier to stick with popping open a can, or worth the effort to make homemade? I hope you will give it a try!

Slow Cooker Ancho Chile Enchilada Sauce

Slow Cooker Ancho Chili Enchilada Sauce

Jennifer Draper
3.40 from 5 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours
Total Time 4 hours 10 minutes
Calories 279 kcal


  • 2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 8 oz can roasted garlic tomato sauce
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons ancho chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch + 3 tablespoons water whisked to a smooth paste


  • Add all ingredients to slow cooker
  • Cover and cook on high for 2-3 hours for low for 4-6 or until sauce has reached desired thickness
  • Use immediately or cool and place in zipper bags or airtight containers and refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 6 months


Recipe makes about three cups of sauce.
I cooked this on high for 2 hours in my 2 quart slow cooker


Calories: 279kcalCarbohydrates: 55gProtein: 10gFat: 6gSaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 4603mgPotassium: 1822mgFiber: 15gSugar: 12gVitamin A: 10470IUVitamin C: 48.8mgCalcium: 198mgIron: 10.5mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @slowcookergourmet or tag #slowcookergourmet!
Important nutritional disclaimer

Slow Cooker Ancho Chili Enchilada Sauce


  1. Hey, Jennifer! I’ve been making your homemade “seasoning blends” ever since you first posted them and they are great! That was the end of store-bought packets. Am going to make your Enchilada sauce and freeze it to use in the recipe when family is here after Christmas.
    Thanks for another slow cooker (YAY!) recipe!

  2. 4 stars
    I think you can up the flavor profile as well by using whole chilies and a variety – ancho, guajillo, pasia, chipotle, New Mexico dried, etc. I haven’t seen the others, except NM, in dried form very often tho. If you used whole (and maybe whole cloves of garlic, roasted and not) you’d want to blend it at the end.

    Nit picky perhaps but I distinguish ‘chili’ powder which is a blend of spices, from ground ‘chile’ powder, e.g., ‘ancho chile powder’ which are pure chile powders, no cumin, garlic, onion, etc.

    I like this idea tho. Especially being able to freeze it. Thanks!

  3. Jennifer,

    I am a native New Mexican. I have made and cooked red chilie sauce for seventy years, from community and family recipes. And NEVER used tomato anything in the fix’ns. Please check your sources.

    Linda Gonzalez

    1. Hi Linda! Thanks so much for the note. Yes, I don’t claim to make recipes authentic to every style of cooking (although I’d love to have access to all those family secrets!!). My goal is to create delicious, simple and approachable recipes for home cooks who love to use their slow cookers. Any recipes that have been passed down to me for enchilada sauce have always included some form of tomatoes, so I guess this is just what I’ve been used to 🙂 If you have a recipe or tips you’d be willing to share, I’m sure everyone would love it even more!

  4. 5 stars
    Hi. Just found this via a search for an enchilada sauce recipe. It was pretty darned easy, and tasted great. I’ve only cooked with enchilada sauce a few times, and always used a canned sauce. I guess I always assumed enchilada sauce had some trickery to it, or something. I made this twice, exactly as written. Once I used chicken broth, and once vegetable broth, but my palate really couldn’t tell the difference. The first time I had enough anchi chile powder, but the second time not enough, so I made it up with regular chili powder. Also, I only have a large crockpot (5 quarts, I think) so that was overkill, but it still cooked up nicely; once I used the “low” timing, and once the “high”. It all made a smooth, tasty sauce that I used in a chicken enchilada casserole. I try to cook a lot, and now I guess there’s no reason, other than sheer laziness, to make my own enchilada sauce.
    Thanks for sharing the recipe!

    1. Hi Kevin!! Thanks so much for letting me know! I’m glad it worked out for you! I actually just bought the ingredients to make this again myself since we are having company during Thanksgiving week and I’d like to make a meal that’s a little different one night. You could double up the recipe since you have a larger slow cooker and keep the extra in the freezer! It freezes nicely then you always have some on hand.

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