Sugar And Flour Are All You Need To Fix Bitter Canned Enchilada Sauce

Enchiladas always hit the spot, but sometimes you're not up for going out and don't have the energy to make a labor-intensive, 12-ingredient made-from-scratch enchilada sauce. Sometimes, it's all about getting dinner on the table, and that's where canned enchilada sauce comes in. Simply prep your filling, assemble your tortillas, smother in sauce (and cheese), and bake it all in the oven — a good, basic dinner done in half an hour.

The potential downside of that easy prep is that enchiladas are all about the sauce, and canned enchilada sauce can sometimes taste a little bitter ... or a lot bitter. Shop around to get a brand you favor, but if the can you just purchased isn't quite to your liking, there's an easy fix. Before you assemble your enchiladas, heat the sauce up and whisk in a little flour and sugar to taste. The flour will neutralize some of the bitterness and thicken the sauce a bit in the process. This can be a good thing, too, as canned enchilada sauce is usually a little thin in consistency. The sugar will balance the flavor profile. Simmer on the stovetop for 15 minutes, and then prepare the dish as usual.

Experiment with the flavor profile

The amount of flour and sugar you add depends in part on the size of the can of sauce and on your personal taste preferences, so go easy at first. You can taste as you go and add more until you reach the flavor you're looking for. You don't want the sauce too sweet; you just want to counteract the bitterness. 

A little dairy can also help improve the flavor of canned enchilada sauce. If you're concerned about whisking raw flour into your sauce, try melting a little butter in a separate skillet first, whisking in an equal amount of flour, and cooking that mixture for a few minutes before adding it to your enchilada sauce. And while Mexican crema traditionally goes on top of the enchiladas before serving, you can also try stirring a spoonful of that into the sauce before baking as well.