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Verde Enchilada Sauce


Ditch the store-bought enchilada sauce in favor of this made from scratch verde (green) enchilada sauce. It’s super easy to prepare, inexpensive, and so so tasty. Naturally gluten-free and vegan.

verde enchilada sauce in jar on table with bunch of cilantro and a tomatillo shot from above

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In my house, we have enchiladas quite frequently. For years I purchase store-bought enchilada sauce. You know, that stuff in the cans?

Truth be told, it’s not the worse thing. It’s convenient, inexpensive, and doesn’t taste all that bad. BUT the real deal, made from scratch stuff is SO much better.

This enchilada sauce is incredibly simple to make and takes less than 30 minutes, most of which is hands-off. The prep time is seriously only five minutes. If that!

So aside from the ease, you may be wondering what makes this sauce a better alternative to that canned stuff? It all comes down to freshness in my opinion. I mean, what doesn’t taste better fresh?

Verde enchilada sauce is prepared with fresh ingredients as opposed to red sauces that are prepared with a combination of both fresh produce and dehydrated peppers. While red enchilada sauce is typically richer, green sauce is brighter and more acidic.

The acidity comes from the tomatillos and lime which are both naturally acidic and complement each other wonderfully. Pair that with a teeny tad bit of heat from the Anaheim pepper, aromatics, and cilantro and you have a light, well-balanced, and flavorful sauce. It’s healthy, gluten-free, and vegan to boot.

And it’s not just for enchiladas!! It pairs especially well with pinto beans, chicken, dishes with cream or white cheese, and all sorts of veggies.

Ingredients (+ notes & substitutions)

cilantro bunch, tomatillos, Anaheim pepper, and garlic on distressed wood table.
  • Tomatillos: The base of this sauce, tomatillos are a husked fruit. They may look like tomatoes, but they actually are not. They do belong to the nightshade family, however. Choose tomatillos that have filled out their husk and are firm rather than mushy and shriveled. After removing the husks it is important to rinse them as they are often dirty and stick
  • White onion
  • Anaheim pepper: Could sub for poblano. Both of these peppers are on the milder side, although Anaheim peppers have the potential to be a bit spicier.
  • Cilantro
  • Vegetable broth or water: Chicken broth would work as well, although it’s not vegan.
  • Lime juice: Fresh or bottled. To bring brightness and balance.
  • Olive oil
  • Kosher salt

How to make this verde enchilada sauce (+ tips)

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Arrange the tomatillos, onion, and Anaheim pepper on a baking sheet in a single layer and bake for 20-minutes, flipping the pepper halfway through so you get a nice char on both sides.

roasted tomatillos, onions, and Anaheim pepper on a baking sheet shot from above.

Remove from the oven and transfer everything to a blender. Add the cilantro, broth/water, lime juice, olive oil, and salt and pulse until smooth.

verde enchilada sauce in blender shot from above


Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to five days. A mason jar works great! If you’re feeling ambitious you could even can it for later.

small jar of verde enchilada sauce with bunch of cilantro and a tomatillo on a distressed wood table
close up of verde enchilada sauce in jar with cilantro and tomatillo in background

More Mexican (inspired) sauce recipes that may come in handy:

  • Hatch Chile Enchilada Sauce: Tired of your standard green or red enchilada sauces? Try this hatch enchilada sauce!!! It features smoky, earthy roasted New Mexican hatch chile peppers, is quick and easy to prepare, and can be made mild or hot to suit your taste. Naturally vegan and gluten-free.
  • Hatch Green Chile Sauce: During hatch chile season this is the only sauce you need! It’s earthy, smoky, and buttery; a wonderful addition to burritos, enchiladas, and more that is easy to make and takes only 25-minutes. Naturally vegan.
  • Chile De Árbol Hot Sauce: Smoky and spicy; this quick and easy five-ingredient chile de árbol hot sauce packs a mighty punch. The use of Mexican chiles makes it an ideal addition to dishes like tacos, burritos, and enchiladas. Naturally gluten-free and vegan.

If you make this green enchilada sauce I’d love your feedback. Please leave a comment and/or a rating below as I greatly value your opinion. Or snap a pic and tag me on Instagram @taoofspiceblog. Love, light, and happy cooking ya’ll ♥

verde enchilada sauce in jar on table with bunch of cilantro and a tomatillo shot from above

Verde Enchilada Sauce

Yield: 2 cups
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes

Go ahead and ditch the store bought enchilada sauce. This homemade verde enchilada sauce is super easy to prep, inexpensive, and so so tasty. Naturally gluten-free and vegan.


  • 1/2 pound tomatillos, husked and halved
  • 1/2 medium white onion, peeled and halved
  • 1 Anaheim pepper, de-stemmed 
  • 1/2 cup cilantro
  • 1/4 cup vegetable broth or water
  • 1/2 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt 


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Arrange tomatillos, onion, and Anaheim pepper in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes, flipping Anaheim halfway through.
  3. Remove from oven and transfer to blender.
  4. Add cilantro, broth or water, lime juice, olive oil, and salt. Pulse until smooth.

Storage: Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to five days.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1/4 cup
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 22Total Fat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 155mgCarbohydrates: 3gFiber: 1gSugar: 2gProtein: 0g

The nutritional information provided is computer generated. It is only an estimate and intended for informational purposes only. Nutrition details may vary depending on various factors such as origin, freshness of ingredients, etc

Did you make this recipe?

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Tuesday 6th of December 2022

This sauce is AMAZING!! I will NEVER buy store bought enchilada sauce again. Thank you!!

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