9 Best Substitutes for Enchilada Sauce


This post is a comprehensive guide to substituting enchilada sauce without compromising on the texture or flavor. 

These substitutes are just as flavorful and pair well with countless dishes. Whether you’re looking for a traditional or modern twist on this classic dish, we’ve got you covered.

So let’s dive right into it!

9 Best Substitutes for Enchilada Sauce

1. Taco Sauce

Taco sauce is one of the most convenient substitutes on this list. They’re readily available in grocery stores and also easy to make at home.

It pairs well with tortillas, nachos, tacos, enchiladas, and other dishes. 

It has a thick consistency, which you can dilute by adding water or vegetable/chicken stock.  

How to Substitute

Substitute in a 1:1 ratio.

Learn to make taco sauce at home –

2. Salsa

Although salsa has a different texture, its unique flavor complements almost every dish. Roasted tomato salsa is especially rich and flavorful.

Salsa has onion, tomatoes, and lime juice which are all great sources of vitamin C. 

You can add enchilada seasoning to enhance the flavor.

How to Substitute

Substitute slightly more than mentioned in the recipe. 

Try out these chicken salsa enchiladas –

3. Homemade Enchilada Sauce

Although making enchilada sauce at home can be time-consuming, trust us when we say this – it’s worth it!

Not only will you achieve the same flavor, but you can also alter it according to your needs and substitute it in every dish. 

Moreover, you can make a big batch and refrigerate or freeze it. 

How to Substitute

Substitute in a 1:1 ratio.

Learn to make homemade enchilada sauce –

4. Ranchero Sauce

With a slightly smoky flavor, ranchero sauce is a great substitute mainly due to its consistency.

Ranchero sauce has the same consistency as enchilada sauce and pairs well with tortillas, tacos, burritos, and enchiladas. 

You can add enchilada seasoning to imitate the flavor of enchilada sauce. 

How to Substitute

Substitute in the same quantity as mentioned in the recipe.

Try out this yummy burrito recipe

5. Chiltomate Sauce

Chiltomate sauce is a popular Mexican salsa that has a unique flavor profile.

It is sweet, spicy, and tangy and pairs well with tacos, enchiladas, burritos, and many others. You can dilute it with water or stock to attain a similar consistency. 

You can buy jarred Chiltomate sauce from stores or make it at home!

How to Substitute

Substitute as per taste preferences. 

Learn to make Chiltomate sauce at home –

6. Picante Sauce

Picante sauce is a commonly used sauce that pairs well with enchiladas, burritos, tacos, and other dishes.

Although it doesn’t taste the same as enchilada sauce, it is pretty similar. You can buy it from stores or make it at home!  

It can be slightly spicy for some, so make sure to adjust it. 

How to Substitute

Substitute as per taste preferences. 

Learn to make Picante sauce at home

7. Sofrito Sauce

Sofrito sauce is not particularly a kind of sauce but a way of cooking used in the Mediterranean, Latin American, and Italian dishes.

To make sofrito sauce, aromatic vegetables are cut into small pieces and braised in oil, until you get a mushy consistency.

You can add enchilada seasoning to enhance the flavor.

How to Substitute

Substitute as per taste preferences. 

Check out this recipe

8. Tomato Sauce

Although it isn’t the best substitute in terms of flavor, it is a convenient substitute.

Tomato sauce is a plain base, which you can flavor according to the dish you are making.

You can also adjust the consistency depending on the dish. You can buy it in stores or make it at home.

Tomato-based foods are rich in lycopene and other plant compounds, which may protect against sunburn.

How to Substitute

Substitute as per taste preferences. 

Try out this pasta recipe

9. Green Enchilada Sauce

Green enchilada sauce is the perfect substitute for many dishes like enchiladas, burritos, empanadas, and more.

One of the main differences between red enchilada sauce and green enchilada sauce is the type of chili used. 

Green enchilada sauce is much spicier than red enchilada sauce, so make sure to adjust the spice accordingly. 

How to Substitute

Substitute as per taste preferences.

Learn to make it at home –


Is there a healthier substitute for enchilada sauce?

Although enchilada sauce isn’t particularly unhealthy, there are comparatively healthier substitutes. Salsa and ranchero sauce is comparatively healthier because the ingredients are mostly raw and thus, retain most nutrients. 

You can also make enchilada sauce at home to avoid preservatives and additives.

Is salsa and enchilada sauce the same?

No! Salsa and enchilada sauce both have different uses, ingredients, consistency, and flavor. While salsa is tomato-based and generally used as a condiment, enchilada sauce isn’t tomato-based and is generally an integral flavoring agent in several dishes.

Salsa has a chunky consistency, whereas enchilada sauce is much smoother. 

Bottom Line

Enchilada sauce is one of the best Mexican sauces out there and is surely very flavorful. However, these substitutes are no lesser.

Although these substitutes might differ slightly in taste or consistency, they will still add a unique twist to your dishes. 

If you found this article helpful, let us know in the comments below. And if you have a favorite enchilada sauce substitute, we’d love to hear about it.

Be sure to share this article with your friends and family who love Mexican food as much as you do.

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About Tammy J

Tammy is currently studying in college. While attending, she has broadened her horizons by experimenting with food from all over the world, but she has a special love for Mexican and Indian cuisine. She loves traveling with her friends, and enjoys nothing more than packing up a few backpacks and hitting the open road to explore natural beauty.

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