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The 5 Best Substitutes for Enchilada Sauce

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Do you ever find yourself in the mood for Mexican food but don’t have all the ingredients for enchiladas?

Or maybe you want to branch out and try something new with your enchilada sauce.

While it is easy to find bottled enchilada sauce at the grocery store, many home cooks prefer to make their own.

The homemade version is usually less expensive and has a fresher flavor.

Enchilada sauce can also be used in other dishes, such as chili or tacos.

If you need a substitute for enchilada sauce, there are several options available.

In this article, we will share the five best substitutes for enchilada sauce that will give your dish the flavor and texture you are looking for.

What is Enchilada Sauce?

what is enchilada sauce

Enchilada sauce has a deep, rich flavor that is perfect for savory dishes.

It is made with roasted chili peppers, tomatoes, and onions, which give it a complex and slightly smoky taste.

Enchilada sauce is often used in Mexican cuisine and can be served as a dip or used to make enchiladas.

It is also popular in Tex-Mex cuisine, often used as a topping for nachos or tacos.

Enchilada sauce can be mild, medium, or hot, depending on the chili peppers used.

It is typically made with red chili peppers, but green chili peppers can also be used.

Enchilada sauce is usually served with chicken or beef enchiladas, but it can also be used as a dipping sauce for appetizers such as jalapeno poppers or quesadillas.

When shopping for enchilada sauce, you will likely find it in the Hispanic aisle of your grocery store.

You can also find it online or at specialty stores.

The 5 Best Substitutes for Enchilada Sauce

Never fear if you’re in a pinch and need a quick enchilada sauce substitution.

Here are five of the best substitutes for enchilada sauce.

1 – Taco Sauce

taco sauce

When it comes to Mexican food, there are a variety of sauces that can be used to add flavor.

Enchilada sauce is a classic, but taco sauce is a great substitute that can add a little extra zing to your dish.

Taco sauce is typically made with tomatoes, onions, garlic, and chili peppers, giving it a lively flavor that pairs well with tacos, burritos, quesadillas, and more.

And since it’s usually less spicy than enchilada sauce, it’s an excellent option for those who don’t like things too hot.

So next time you’re in the mood for Mexican food, consider using taco sauce instead of enchilada sauce for a little extra flavor.

2 – Salsa Sauce

salsa sauce

Salsa sauce is a type of enchilada sauce that is made from tomatoes, onions, peppers, and spices.

It is typically milder than traditional enchilada sauce, making it a good choice for those sensitive to spicy food.

In addition, salsa sauce is usually lower in calories and fat than its counterpart.

For these reasons, many people choose to substitute salsa sauce for enchilada sauce.

While salsa sauce may not be as traditional as enchilada sauce, it can still be a delicious and healthful option.

3 – Ranchero Sauce

Ranchero sauce is a thick, hearty sauce that is packed with flavor.

It is made with tomatoes, onions, green chilies, and garlic and has a slightly spicy kick.

Unlike enchilada sauce, which can be overly sweet or bland, Ranchero sauce really packs a punch.

It is also very versatile and can be used in several different dishes.

For example, you can use it as a dipping sauce for chips or as a topping for tacos or burritos.

You can also use it to make a quick and easy pasta dish by simply adding some cooked chicken or beef and serving it over a bed of spaghetti.

Ranchero sauce is an excellent way to add a little bit of extra flavor to your favorite Mexican dishes.

4 – Picante Sauce

picante sauce

Picante sauce is a type of chili sauce made from chopped chilies, tomatoes, and onions.

It is used as a condiment or as an ingredient in Mexican and Southwestern dishes.

While both sauces are made from similar ingredients, Picante sauce is generally thinner and less spicy than enchilada sauce.

This makes it a good substitution for enchilada sauce in recipes that call for a milder flavor.

In addition, Picante sauce can be used as a dipping sauce or as a topping for tacos, burritos, or nachos.

So if you’re looking for a versatile sauce with a milder flavor, Picante sauce is a good choice.

5 – Sofrito Sauce

sofrito sauce

Sofrito sauce is a traditional Latin American sauce made from a blend of tomatoes, onions, garlic, and spices.

It has a fresh, flavorful taste that pairs well with many different kinds of foods.

For those who are seeking a milder flavor profile, Sofrito sauce is an excellent alternative.

In addition to being less spicy, Sofrito sauce is also more versatile.

It can be used as a marinade for meats, added to stews and soups, or spooned over rice and beans.

Whether you’re looking for a new flavor or want to tame the heat of your enchiladas, give Sofrito sauce a try.


In conclusion, enchilada sauce can be substituted with various ingredients depending on what you have on hand and what you are looking for in terms of taste and texture.

Some of the best substitutes for enchilada sauce include taco sauce, salsa, ranchero sauce, Picante sauce, and sofrito sauce.

With so many options available, there is no need to be stuck with a bland enchilada recipe.

Be creative and experiment with different sauces to find the perfect flavor combination for your next meal.

The 5 Best Substitutes for Enchilada Sauce

Recipe by Andrew Gray Course: Substitutes


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  • Taco Sauce

  • Salsa Sauce

  • Ranchero Sauce

  • Picante Sauce

  • Sofrito Sauce


  • Pick your favorite substitute from the list above.
  • Follow cooking directions for your selected substitute with the proper ratio of ingredients.

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