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The 5 Best Substitutes for Taco Sauce

What’s the key ingredient in taco sauce? You might be surprised to learn that it’s not actually tomatoes.

While tomatoes are a common base for many sauces, they play a relatively minor role in taco sauce.

Instead, the key ingredient is typically a type of chili pepper.

This gives the sauce its characteristic heat, which is then balanced out by the addition of other ingredients like vinegar, garlic, and spices.

While you can find ready-made taco sauce at most grocery stores, it’s also easy to make your own at home.

And once you’ve mastered the basic recipe, there’s no limit to the variations you can create.

Here’s a look at how to cook and use taco sauce, as well as five of the best substitutes if you find yourself in a pinch.

What is Taco Sauce?

Taco sauce is a type of condiment or sauce that is typically used in Mexican cuisine.

It is usually made from a combination of tomatoes, chili peppers, vinegar, and spices.

The exact ingredients and proportions vary depending on the recipe, but the goal is always to create a flavorful and slightly spicy sauce.

In terms of taste and texture, taco sauce is somewhere between a salsa and a hot sauce.

It has a fresh, tomato-y flavor with just a hint of heat.

The consistency can range from thin and pourable to thick and chunky, again depending on the recipe.

So, how do you use taco sauce? Well, it’s commonly used as a dipping sauce for tacos or tortilla chips.

It can also be used as a condiment for grilled meats or vegetables.

And if you’re feeling adventurous, you can even use it as a pasta sauce or pizza topping.

So go ahead and experiment – there are really no rules when it comes to using taco sauce.

The 5 Best Substitutes for Taco Sauce

If you’re looking for a delicious taco sauce alternative, look no further.

Here are 5 of the best substitutes for taco sauce:

1 – Salsa

Salsa is a food that typically contains tomatoes, onions, and chili peppers.

It is used as a sauce or a dip, and it is often used in Mexican and Tex-Mex cuisine.

There are many different types of salsa, ranging from mild to very spicy.

The texture of salsa can also vary, depending on the ingredients that are used.

Some salsas are smooth, while others are chunky.

Salsa can be a great substitute for taco sauce.

If you want to add some extra flavor to your tacos, try using salsa instead of taco sauce.

The salsa will add some extra spice and flavor to your tacos, and it will also add some extra nutrition.

Salsa is typically made with fresh vegetables, so it is a good source of vitamins and minerals.

Try using salsa as a topping for your next taco night.

2 – Pico de Gallo

Pico de gallo is a delicious salsa made from chopped tomatoes, onions, cilantro, and chiles.

It’s perfect for adding a little zing to tacos, burritos, or even just plain old chips.

The best part about pico de gallo is that it’s super easy to make at home.

Just throw all of the ingredients into a food processor and pulse until everything is finely chopped.

Then, give it a taste and adjust the seasoning as necessary.

If you want your pico de gallo to be extra spicy, you can add more chiles or use a hotter variety.

Once you’ve perfected your recipe, you can use it as a substitute for taco sauce.

Just spoon it on top of your favorite taco fillings and enjoy.

3 – Chimichurri Sauce

Chimichurri sauce is a staple of Argentinean cuisine, traditionally served with grilled meat.

The sauce is made with a blend of fresh herbs, garlic, olive oil, and vinegar and has a bright, tangy flavor.

It can be used as a marinade or a condiment and is also terrific as a taco sauce substitute.

If you’re looking for a chimichurri recipe, you’ll find that the ingredients list is simple: parsley, cilantro, garlic, olive oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper.

The key to making a good chimichurri is to use fresh herbs – dry herbs just won’t give the sauce the same flavor.

You’ll also want to use good quality olive oil, as it will add depth of flavor to the finished sauce.

To make the sauce, simply combine all of the ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.

Chimichurri sauce will keep in the refrigerator for up to two weeks – so go ahead and make a batch so you can enjoy it all week long.

4 – Romesco Sauce

Romesco sauce is a delicious Catalan sauce that’s perfect for livening up any dish.

It’s made with roasted red peppers, almonds, olive oil, garlic, and vinegar, resulting in a rich and flavorful sauce.

The peppers give the sauce its characteristic red color, while the almonds add a nutty flavor and creamy texture.

The garlic and vinegar provide a zesty kick, making Romesco sauce the perfect condiment for anything from grilled vegetables to fish tacos.

If you’re looking for a way to spice up your next meal, try substituting Romesco sauce for taco sauce.

Romesco sauce is just as easy to make as taco sauce, and it adds an extra layer of flavor to your favorite dishes.

Plus, the versatility of Romesco sauce means that it can be used as a dipping sauce, a sandwich spread, or even a pasta sauce.

5 – Red Enchilada Sauce

Red enchilada sauce is a smooth, flavorful sauce that is perfect for topping a variety of Mexican dishes.

It has a rich, slightly spicy flavor that pairs well with both chicken and beef.

The sauce is also relatively thick, making it ideal for coating enchiladas or dipping tortilla chips.

Red enchilada sauce can be found in the Hispanic section of most grocery stores.

If you’re looking for a taco sauce substitute, red enchilada sauce makes an excellent option.

The flavor is very similar, but the thicker consistency of the sauce helps to hold everything together better.

Plus, the extra spice from the enchilada sauce can really kick things up a notch.


In conclusion, there are a variety of sauces that can be used as substitutes for taco sauce.

Each sauce has its own unique flavor that can add a new dimension to your favorite dishes.

So, the next time you’re in the mood for something different, try using one of these sauces as a taco sauce substitute.

You might just find your new favorite.

Yield: 1 Serving

The 5 Best Substitutes for Taco Sauce

The 5 Best Substitutes for Taco Sauce
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes


  • Salsa
  • Pico de Gallo
  • Chimichurri Sauce
  • Romesco Sauce
  • Red Enchilada Sauce


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