Cooking With Confidence
Project Delicious
by Nick

Chili Gravy Enchiladas

Have you ever made enchiladas at home, sat down to eat them, and thought, “These are good, but they are missing something.”

It just seems like really good restaurant enchiladas are somehow more flavorful than the enchiladas that most home cooks make.

Well, guess what? This post contains the secret.

The secret is this crazy addictive stuff called chili gravy that is half enchilada sauce, half brown gravy, and 100% amazing. You could make enchiladas out of soggy cardboard as long as you drenched them in enough of this stuff.

You could slather this stuff on any enchilada, but it really shines in a very basic cheese enchilada. No need to get fancy when you have the gravy on hand.

12 enchiladas
Prep Time
Total Time

Just a moment please...

Chili Gravy Enchiladas


  • Chili Gravy:
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 cups beef stock
  • 12 corn tortillas
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil + 1 tablespoon
  • 2 peppers (various), sliced thin
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 3 cups cheddar cheese, grated
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1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

2) In a medium pot, whisk together vegetable oil and flour for the gravy over medium heat. Keep whisking until the mixture turns a light, tan color, about 5 minutes.

3) Whisk in all the spices and cook for another 30 seconds. Then start whisking in beef stock in a thin stream. Once stock is whisked in, bring gravy to a slight simmer and cook until it thickens nicely, about 2-3 minutes, whisking occasionally.

4) To make enchiladas, Slice peppers and grate cheese. Add peppers to a large skillet with a drizzle of olive oil over medium high heat. Add diced onions (reserve a few tablespoons for top of enchiladas) and a pinch of salt. Cook until veggies are just soft, about 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat.

5) Add 1/4 cup oil to a large skillet over medium heat. Working with one tortilla at a time, let it heat in the oil for 5-10 seconds per side. Then remove tortilla and let drain on a paper towel. Repeat with all the tortillas.

6) Once all tortillas are warmed and flexible, work with one at a time. Fill it with some of the peppers and onions and a small handful of cheese. Roll it tightly.

7) Lightly oil an 9x13 baking dish and pour in 1/2 cup of the chili gravy. Then add rolled enchiladas to the baking dish. Fit as many as you can. You should be able to fit 12 at a minimum.

8) Pour most of the chili gravy over the top of the enchiladas once they are all in the pan. It's okay to reserve some gravy to serve on the side later. Cover enchiladas with leftover cheese and onions.

9) Bake for 15 minutes and then let cool briefly before serving.

Chili gravy recipe roughly adapted from a Homesick Texan recipe.

Chili Gravy Enchiladas The Sauce

The base of the chili gravy is a simple roux. You need a fair amount of it to get the right consistency so start with about 1/4 cup of fat (I used vegetable oil) and 1/4 cup flour. Whisk this together over medium heat for 4-5 minutes until it’s turning a light tan color.

roux for chili gravy enchiladas

Do the roux.

Meanwhile, you can prep your spices.

Almost all of the flavor in this dish comes from this gravy so the spice levels are intense. Just go with it.

spice mix for chili gravy enchiladas

Once your roux is the right color, whisk in all those lovely spices. Your house will immediately smell like a taco shack. This is a good thing.

Whisk whisk whisk.

Whisk whisk whisk.

Let the spices cook and get happy for 30 seconds and then start whisking in the beef stock (you could use veggie stock). As it heats, the gravy will thicken. The finished gravy shouldn’t be super-thick, but it should coat a spoon lightly.

Go ahead and taste it at this point. It’ll be really strong, but you’ll probably go back for more.

Tastes good on a shingle.

Makes shingles edible.

Once the gravy is done, you can take it off the heat. No need to keep it warm.

Making the Chili Gravy Enchiladas

You could honestly just wrap some tortillas around cheese, slather them in the gravy and call it a day, but I wanted to add some other colors and textures to my enchiladas.



I just sliced a few different peppers really thinly and diced up an onion. I cooked those over medium heat with a drizzle of oil and some salt until they were tender, but not completely cooked, about 3-4 minutes.

Don't overcook the chili gravy enchiladas

Don’t overcook these.

Then I heated some oil in a small skillet (1/4 cup, say) and once hot, I warmed my tortillas in the oil for just 5-10 seconds per side. You don’t want them to cook at all, just get warm and flexible in the oil. Once the tortillas are warmed let them drain on a few paper towels and do all the tortillas before you start making the enchiladas.

Warmed and flexed.

Warmed and flexed.

Then it’s as easy as filling each tortilla.

Stuffed chili gravy enchiladas


Rolling it up!

All rolled up.

All rolled up.

And piling them in a baking dish!

Be sure to lightly oil your baking dish and pour about 1/2 cup of chili gravy in the bottom.

chili gravy enchiladas In the pan.

In the pan.

Then pour on the rest of your gravy, the rest of your grated cheese and a smattering of diced onions. If you want you can also reserve some of the gravy to serve on the side.

Ready to bake.

Ready to bake.

This will only need to bake for about 15 minutes at 400 degrees F. You just want to heat everything through and make sure the cheese is bubbly.



These tasted super-authentic.

I’ll be hard pressed to not make this gravy every time I make enchiladas now.


Now you know. That brown sauce on your enchiladas is pretty easy to make at home.

Chili gravy enchiladas will change your Tex-Mex life.

Have you ever thought that your homemade enchiladas are good, but just not quite as great as an authentic restaurant makes? The secret is in the gravy. It's a very spicy, smooth sauce that bakes up perfectly on enchiladas. Try it and never look back!

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75 comments on “Chili Gravy Enchiladas

  1. This looks great! I’ve done a similar sauce with a slightly different mix of spices + chicken broth, but I’m excited to try your version…it sounds awesome!

  2. These look great. Betsy was right to get the trophy, when you tire if it in the living room, It’ll make a great towel rack.

  3. I made the Chili Gravy tonight for our own enchiladas and they were GREAT. My husband thinks this is the best recipe I have used in years, and I have to agree. I used hot smoked paprika because we like things quite spicy, but otherwise followed the recipe for the gravy to the letter. Thank you so much for a wonderful addition to our dinner repertoire!

  4. Can the sauce be frozen or will it break/separate? It is sooooo good I would like to keep on hand.

    1. Hey Michelle, I didn’t actually try it because I ate it to darn fast, but I think it would freeze fine. Typically, sauces like this will freeze okay. Sometimes if they are cheesy they will break when you reheat them though, but I think you would be okay in this case.

      1. This freezes beautifully–this is my go to enchilada sauce and I typically make an extra pan for the freezer whenever I make for dinner. I’ll pull out the day before and stick in the fridge and bake as usual; I’ve never had any issues with the sauce separating.

  5. I’m going to try this, it looks creative. I need your help, however. I made my own chili powder mix from dried peppers yesterday (coincidentally almost identical to yours on on your chili powder trials post) It had the bulk of these ingredients.

    Do I just take the 2 TB of chili powder up to 3-4 TB of my stuff to compensate? Or am I going to have to judge this based on roux+broth consistency? Or do your words stay the same in this case (“The finished gravy shouldn’t be super-thick, but it should coat a spoon lightly.”)

    Thanks and sorry for the painful math question.

    1. Hey man, sounds good! I would start with 3TBSP of your homemade stuff. You’ll probably still need to add salt and pepper I’m guessing. Then you can kind of eyeball it. It’s a loose recipe honestly. If your finished sauce looks a little light, just stir in another tablespoon of chili powder and you’ll be in good shape.

      Good luck man!

  6. I, too, am a homesick Texan. I am making this right now and the house smells luscious! I have always wondered why enchiladas didn’t taste like home and this sauce is the answer. I can’t wait til it comes out of the oven with all of the cheese and tortillas. :-) thanks for the recipe!

  7. I wet my tortillas with water and put them in a hot non stick frying pan and the water steams them soft. I flip them once. Easy to roll and not a lot of extra grease.

  8. Oh my gosh! This recipe is heaven <3 I am not really a fan of many tomato-based sauces, and so this recipe sounded like a try. Since the first try, I have made them approximately six times, different fillings many times – sometimes browned ground turkey, or browned ground beef, shredded rotisserie chicken, whatever! DELICIOUS. Just the right amount of spice, and quick and easy. I warm my extra-thin corn tortillas in the microwave (six at a time, 15 seconds – flip – 15 seconds) rather than warming them in oil. Thank you so much!

  9. You posted this on my birthday, I see :) So that’s a sign it’s the right recipe for me. Thanks for sharing, I can’t wait to try this tonight!

  10. Have made cheese enchiladas a couple times but as you said “were good but tasted like they were missing something.” We tried this recipe tonight and my boys , 14 and 11 were excited to help make it and thought it smelled Great! They posted pics of finished product on Instagram (which they never do) and both had a second helping…they were Delicious!! While enchiladas were in the oven my 11 yr old kept going back to the pan and scraping last bit of gravy out…oh and he did say he would dream of enchiladas.

  11. Tried to rate this 5 stars and it grabbed a 3.!! This gravy ( without the cayenne and 1/4t. White pepper instead) was so good that my 4 year old asked for seconds. I used it over 2 pounds cooked g.beef with a sauteed chopped bell pepper, an onion , and 2 cloves garlic to make a pot of chilli that will be the new ‘go to’ recipe!

  12. I made a spicy ground turkey with peppers and onion filling. But what made it shine was the spicy brown sauce. Served it with white rice and home made guacamole and sour cream.

    Thank you for sharing this recipe.

  13. Yo dude! This rocks! Trying to duplicate restaurant enchiladas with store bought sauce was always disappointing. I’ve tried recipes from various websites that have me rehydrating chilies, to the blender then simmer… Not only did your recipe have that homemade authentic flavor but it was WHAM! BAM! THANK YOU MAN! Quick and easy! Thank you for sharing! I will be making this for my family again! Mos def!

  14. These are yummy! I prefer grating cheese myself for the taste but this time I decided to use already shredded cheese. This isn’t easy over in Belgium and I was pleasantly surprised to find a bag of “Spcial Mix” cheese. It was Affligem, Grimbergen, and cheddars cheeses. Delicious on the enchiladas!

  15. I’ve been making these since you first posted them. Sometimes I modify the content ever so slightly based on what I have, but it’s amazing as written. I only ever add a little chicken or jalapeno once in awhile.

  16. I just made this “gravy” exactly as posted, however, I didn’t have stock, so I made my own using bouillon cubes. It was a bit spicy to me, so next time I’ll use a little less cayenne or maybe just leave it out. Otherwise, it tastes delicious. My house smells amazing. I’m sure dinner will be a hit. Thank you!

  17. This sauce over Mexican stuffed peppers should almost be illegal! Using a ground beef filling with onions, black beans, corn, rice, spices and salsa and stuffing it into red bell pepper halves, baking with sauce poured over the too and adding cheese at the last 10 minutes of cooking – oh my goodness! Pan was licked clean, my friend! Whew! You raised the bar on these peppers! And they freeze beautifully fully assembled (minus the cheese) covered in this wonderful sauce! Thank you for posting a great recipe. I have only ever commented on 2 other recipes in my whole life, but I HAD to thank you for this. Blessings to you and yours!

    1. Awesome idea Jenn! To be honest I’ve never thought to use it on anything other than enchiladas. Thanks for the comment! :)

  18. I tried this enchilada sauce tonight and we loved it!!! Thank you! It was easy to make and it tastes wonderful!

  19. I made these Enchiladas with Chili Gravy tonight, 3/2/2015. I served them with my own Spanish Rice & Refried Beans. They were Outstanding:) My new go-to Tex-Mex recipe, Thank you. Sincerely, Debra(angelswhiskers)Creech

  20. Many Thanks! I’m a homesick South Texan & this recipe was perfect. I followed this fairly closely; the only modest changes, I used chicken stock & only made 6 enchiladas. Since everything is hot, I simply broiled for a fee minutes. Again, many, many thanks.

  21. Okay…not only am I mexican but also live in Texas…and this recipe is spot on!!! I made it last night for my hubby who loves cheese enchiladas and he was so impressed with this dish!!! To even say “NEW FAVORITE DINNER” so thumbs up on this dish!!! Will be making it more in the near future!!!

  22. I’m making the sauce for enchiladas for my husbands trip with old friends,,I know they will like ,it’s smell so good in my kitchen,,,guys always like home cooking when they can get it,,

    1. You definitely need the broth or base with water. Maybe you could try just water and more spices??

    2. Hey Maureen, you could use water, but broth is best. It won’t be as deep without it. I’ve made it with just water (or veg stock) in a pinch though.

  23. Made this tonight! Fabulous! I LOVE chili gravy (thanks to a local TexMex restaurant that has me hooked!). I cut the cayenne in half because I’m a wuss, but it was still wonderful. Hubs loved it too! Nice idea to add the peppers and onion to the enchilada filling – I’m going to always do it this way. Thanks for the great recipe, Nick!

  24. I just made the sauce to use on cheese enchiladas tonight. It’s amazing! I used veggie broth and gluten-free flour, and I didn’t have oregano – and it worked great. I have to stay away from the kitchen now so I don’t eat too much of it before dinner, just as it is!

  25. This. Is. Simply. Amazing. We serve “something” Mexican once a week. My menfolk: 45, 23, 20 & 15 are singing my praises! This is going on a recipe card to be saved for the ages. Muchas Gracias! Merci! Danke! Mesi Anpil! (We all speak a different 2nd language)

  26. I made chicken enchiladas with this sauce. Super easy and super delicious. My husband called it liquid gold lol. Wish I could post my picture. This will be a family regular. No more canned sauce ever again.

  27. It is good but it would be better with less paprika. Paprika is bitter and the chili gravy has a faint taste of bitterness. Taste a tiny taste of paprika by itself and you will know what I mean. Some may like this bitterness but I think it would be better with less bitterness. I used College Inn beef stock and it has plenty of salt in it so you could leave the salt out of the gravy if your stock already has plenty of salt in it. Also if you don’t like it hot enough to make your nose run – you might want to use less cayenne pepper. Personally I like it hot,. but some do not. Overall good recipe.

  28. I’ve been looking for a chili enchilada sauce and this has been the best recipe I have found, hands down. I worked as a server in a Tex-Mex restaurant for years and I’ve been trying to recreate the chef’s recipe since the restaurant is now closed. So happy to have found your recipe as it is almost identical to the chili sauce I miss and love so dearly. Awesome job! Pleased the entire family with this one.

  29. My husband who is Hispanic always says I cook like a white girl! I made this tonight with ground beef stuffing in the enchiladas and he loved it!!!! Definitely keeping this recipe. Thank you

  30. great sauce recipe. Found it to be a tad salty, but I also used regular salt as opposed to kosher. Had just the right amount of spice to it and I think next time I make it I’ll try to use a little chipotle chile powder.

  31. I’ve used your recipe for enchilada sauce several times now, and it is delicious! My mother in law who is mexican taught me her recipe, which starts like yours except she uses water and chili seasoning packets. I prefer your recipe! Thank you!

  32. I’m from the southwest and Hubs is from Califoria, and we lived in the far NE most of our lives, where in the 70s they had never tasted a taco, and Old El Paso sold a few tortillas in a can, kept in the gourmet food section! I would have died then for some chile gravy, but in retirement I use an almost identical recipe, coaxed from an old Texas resturant by a cookbook author named Rob Walsh. Now I make TexMex food at least twice a week, and this week one dish will be shredded beef enchiladas in chile gravy. I keep a jar of chicken base in the fridge all the time so I can have chicken stock for chile gravy and other dishes whenever I want. It is so concentrated that it takes up very little room, and you can make a small amount or gallons from the small jar.

  33. ok, so i made this previously but added protein in the enchiladas. I think it was chicken. Anyway, I’m making two huge pots of chili for our friday night Cards Against Humanity party. one with beans and one without. i remember my husband saying at the time (he is my taste tester), that is some really fine tasting gravy, it would be great in chili. So that’s what i’m doing, starting off the chili with your gravy and adding the rest. Can’t wait to see how it turns out! Thank you!

  34. These are simply the best cheese enchiladas I have ever made. I have made these several times since finding this beautiful recipe on your website. I make mine with just a little less cayenne because that can get a little to much heat but wow I love love love these. Thank you@!

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