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Enchilada Sauce Canning Recipe

17. August 2021

Our friend and guest blogger Chez LaRae worked up this family favorite Enchilada Sauce canning recipe. You can follow LaRae’s amazing food adventures on Instagram and her website. LaRae is a self-taught baker, cooking and baking instructor, recipe developer, and an editor at @thefeedfeed. See LaRae's other recipe guest blog posts.

For many, enchiladas are a family favorite. Make them extra special by canning your own enchilada sauce. Summer tomatoes are perfect for a delicious sauce you can pull from your pantry throughout the year.

Enchilada Sauce Canning Recipe |

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Enchilada Sauce Canning Recipe

Recipe modified from America's Test Kitchen's 'Foolproof Preserving'


Preservation method: Waterbath canning

Difficulty level: Easy

Yield: Makes about 6 one-pint jars

You will need clean pint jars and closures, a boiling-water canner, rack, jar lifter, canning funnel, and wooden skewer 

  • 5 dried New Mexico chiles, stemmed and cut into large pieces, seeds reserved (You may omit the pepper seeds if desired. The spiciness level will go down significantly without adding the seeds to the sauce).
  • 2 1/2 tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp ground cumin powder
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 white onion, roughly chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 5 pounds plum tomatoes, coarsely chopped
  • 6 tbsp apple cider vinegar (1 tbsp per jar)*

*NOTE: The vinegar is NOT added to the pot of ingredients in the recipe. It is added to each individual pint jar before filling with the sauce. Adding vinegar to each jar will ensure proper and safe acidification for this water bath recipe.



Enchilada Sauce Canning Recipe with Mexican Chile Peppers |

Place rack in the bottom of a boiling water canner, then place empty jars on the rack. Add water to the jars and the canner until the jars are about two-thirds full. Cover the canner and bring the water to a simmer over medium heat. Place lids in a small saucepan, cover with water, and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Do not boil. Keep lids hot until ready to use.


Enchilada Sauce Canning Recipe |

Heat a large Dutch oven over medium heat. When hot, toast the New Mexico chiles, reserved seeds, chili powder, and cumin. Stir frequently to avoid burning, about 30 seconds. Stir in water, onion, garlic, and salt. Cook until onions are softened, about 10 minutes. Stir in sugar and tomatoes. Bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring often for about 25 minutes.


Enchilada Sauce Canning Recipe |

Working in batches, carefully process hot tomato mixture in a blender until smooth. Return sauce to the pot and bring to a boil, then remove from heat. Taste, adjust salt and spices if necessary.


Enchilada Sauce Canning Recipe |

Remove jars from canner and place on dish towel. Add 1 tbsp of vinegar to each hot jar.


Enchilada Sauce Canning Recipe |

Ladle sauce into jars, leaving 1/2” headspace. Slide a skewer in the jars to remove any air bubbles. Wipe jar rims and threads with a moistened towel. Cover with two-piece lids. Screw bands to finger-tip tight.


Waterbath Canning Enchilada Sauce Recipe |

Place jars onto rack in canner. Water must cover jars by 1 to 2 inches. Cover, bring water to a boil. Once boiling, process the jars for 40 minutes. Turn off heat after 40 minutes and let jars sit in canner for an additional 5 minutes. Remove jars and place upright on a towel to cool completely. After jars cool, check seals by pressing centers of lids with finger. If lid springs back, lid is not sealed and refrigeration is necessary.


Enchilada Sauce Canning Recipe |

Let prepared jars stand at room temperature 24 hours. Wipe down jars, affix CanningCrafts’ labels to jars, and date. Store unopened sauce in a cool, dry place for up to 1 year.




Enchilada Sauce Canning Recipe Sheet |



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Enchilada Sauce Canning Recipe | 

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Comments (23)

Sherry on June 26, 2022

Haven’t tried it yet but will when my tomatoes are ripe

Natalia on August 03, 2022

can i substitute the chilies with jalapeno?

Maria on October 12, 2022

Hello, what’s the purpose of the vinegar?

CanningCrafts on October 12, 2022

To safely water bath can this recipe, it needs to be acidified. So that is the purpose of adding the cider vinegar. Some recipes call for lemon or lime juice, but we use apple cider vinegar for this recipe instead. This will make it safe to preserve in a boiling water bath.

Chris on October 23, 2022

Can I use ancho or guajillo peppers instead of New Mexico peppers?

CanningCrafts on October 23, 2022

You can use different varieties of dried peppers. I have use ancho peppers for this recipe before. I used less peppers though because my ancho peppers were very large.

meagan on April 18, 2023

Hey, you don’t have the Apple Cider Vinegar listed going into the recipe, or anywhere in the Directions section. You only have it listed as an ingredient. This can be confusing to people trying to make this recipe. As they might forget to add it.

CanningCrafts on April 18, 2023

The apple cider vinegar does NOT go INTO the recipe. One tablespoon of vinegar is added to EACH individual pint jar. We do note this in the ingredient list & also fourth step of the recipe. So make sure to add the vinegar to the jars & NOT the pot of ingredients. Adding vinegar to each jar will ensure proper & safe acidification for this recipe.

Priscilla on April 23, 2023

I want to do quart size jars. Do you happen to know what the processing time would be? Thanks!

Pat on July 14, 2023

Have you ever left the vinegar out and pressure canned the sauce instead of using the water bath? The idea of vinegar in enchilada sauce does not sound good.

CanningCrafts on July 14, 2023

I have only waterbath canned this recipe. So the vinegar is added to properly acidify the sauce for water bath canning. You can probably find similar recipes for pressure canning the sauce that wouldn’t need vinegar.

SusiQ on July 27, 2023

I have a double batch simmering now about to jar and process….OMIWORD my house smells heavenly!!! My son tasted it and gave his hearty two thumbs up! I have enough tomatoes left to make another batch in the morning which I most definitely will be doing!!!! Thank you so much for the recipe!!!! Perfection!!!

Linda Neighbor on July 27, 2023

Enchilada Sauce for canning

Lori on August 24, 2023

Can it be pressure canned or will that ruin it or the flavor?

CanningCrafts on August 24, 2023


Enchilada Sauce can be pressure canned. This recipe is for water bath only (which is why the vinegar is added, for safety). So I’m not sure what the processing time would be for pressure canning. You might try the Enchilada sauce recipe in “Pressure Canning for Beginners and Beyond” if you want to pressure can.


Joanne on August 28, 2023

Can I use white vinegar instead of apple cider vinegar?

CanningCrafts on August 28, 2023

Yes, you can use white vinegar instead as long as it’s the standard 5% acidity.

Barbara on September 08, 2023

Can citric acid be used in place of the vinegar? That’s what I use in other tomato based recipes.

RP on September 22, 2023

Don’t forget to adjust time for altitude.

Marisa on September 24, 2023

Like Priscilla above, I would like to do quarts instead of pints. Do you have the processing time for this change in size?

CanningCrafts on September 24, 2023

Sorry, but we only have the recipe for pints. I’m not sure what the processing time would increase to for quarts.

Liz Barbour on October 10, 2023

Can this be frozen

CanningCrafts on October 10, 2023

I’ve never frozen the sauce before, but it would probably be fine.

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