The Best Authentic Tomatillo Enchilada Sauce

Looking for a new sauce recipe to spice up your Central American food repertoire? Or maybe you’re just tired of the regular red sauce. If you enjoy authentic food with a fresh, tangy flavor, your boring Taco Tuesday doesn’t have anything on a beautiful Tomatillo Enchilada sauce. This beautiful green sauce is a must-have staple to get right the first time and have for many dinners to come.

The Best Authentic Tomatillo Enchilada Sauce

What is Tomatillo Enchilada Sauce?

For those who don’t know, let’s start with the enchiladas themselves. Enchiladas, or a form of them, originated in Mexico, and have been around since Aztec times. Simply put, an enchilada is a corn tortilla wrapped around a filling (cheese, meat, veggies, etc.) and covered in a savory sauce, typically made with chili and tomatoes. In fact, the word enchilada is the past tense of the word enchilar which translates “to season with chili”. And what most people see on menus here in the U.S. is the delicious red chili-and-tomato-based sauce. But enchiladas can be found smothered in moles, cheese-based sauces like queso, or our favorite, tomatillo enchilada sauce.

Tomatillo Enchilada Sauce is like the cooler younger brother to the more popular red enchilada version. Green in color, which is why it also goes by the name “Verde sauce”, tomatillo enchilada sauce primarily consists of tomatillos, green chilies, onions, and garlic. Spices such as cumin and cilantro are pretty common ingredients as well. 

What are Tomatillos?

Tomatillos may look like unripe baby tomatoes in a little husk wrapper, and their Spanish name translates as “little tomato” but they’re quite different. This cousin of the tomato isn’t juicy but firm and dense, which holds up well in this sauce. We love this sauce not only because of the beautiful color, but the tomatillos bring a brighter, fresher, and tangier flavor to this traditionally savory dish.

Read More: Best Instapot Recipes the Whole Family Will Love

Where can I use green enchilada sauce?

So where can you use an amazing tomatillo enchilada sauce? Well enchiladas of course! But what about on top of nachos or tacos? Or maybe use it on top of a salad instead of a traditional dressing? This recipe is quite versatile, so having some ready to go in your fridge isn’t a bad idea. Verde casseroles, green chilaquiles, and as a sauce for flavoring pulled pork or chicken. It’s great used as a simmer sauce on some veggies for a quick simple weeknight dinner. And a creamier version can also be made with the addition of sour cream to the sauce too, but certainly not needed.

How to find an easy green enchilada sauce?

If you can’t find tomatillos fresh at your local supermarket, just want to keep a jar handy in the pantry, or are just plain lazy, you can find a pre-made and ready-to-go canned tomatillo enchilada sauce. Old El Paso brand, which you can find in almost any grocery store, has a mild green enchilada sauce in a can, but you can find other smaller companies producing quality product as well. Pick up Siete Green Enchilada sauce which touts a Whole30, Grain-Free, Vegan, Paleo, and Dairy-Free-friendly ingredient list. Or for those who need gut-friendly alternatives, there’s even a low FODMAP version by Fody.

Read More: How to Create a Mexican Charcuterie Board for your Next Party

Authentic Homemade Roasted Tomatillo Enchilada Sauce Recipe

Of course the best way to enjoy this beautiful Mexican sauce is to make it from scratch. So let’s make green enchilada sauce!

Green Enchilada Sauce Ingredients:

8-9 medium sized tomatillos
3 poblanos
2 jalepenos
1 medium red onion
4 cloves of garlic
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 bunch of cilantro
1 cup stock (chicken or veggie)
2 tbsp lime juice
1/4 cup orange juice
1/2 tsp ground coriander
2 tbsp flour
1 tbsp oil
salt and pepper to taste

  1. Preheat the oven to 450 °F / 232°C. Line a baking sheet with non-stick foil and brush it with some oil.
  2. Remove the husks from the tomatillos and wash them in warm water to remove the sticky residue. Also, wash the poblano and jalapeno peppers. Place the tomatillos and peppers on a napkin and pat dry. Peel and cut the onion into quarters.
  3. Place the tomatillos, poblano peppers, jalapenos, and onion on the lined baking sheet. Drizzle some oil on top and a generous sprinkling of salt and toss to mix and coat evenly. Wrap oil-coated garlic cloves in a small piece of foil and place it on the baking sheet as well.
  4. Roast the tomatillos in the oven for about 20 – 25 minutes, flipping them once halfway through. The time is a guideline – the tomatillos and peppers should be roasted until there is a nice char on them, and are softened.
  5. While the veggies are roasting, place the stock, 2 tbsp of lime juice, orange juice, 1/2 tsp cumin, 1/2 tsp ground coriander, into a saucepan. Bring it to a boil over medium-high heat. Once it reaches a boil, turn it down to low and simmer for 30 min. After the time is up, let it sit for another 30 minutes for the flavors to meld.
  6. Remove the roasted tomatillos and veggies from the oven and let them cool. Remove the stems from the poblano and jalapeno peppers (de-seed the jalapeno peppers if you prefer a mild salsa verde). Unwrap the softened garlic cloves from the foil and let them cool.
  7. Place the roasted tomatillos, poblano, jalapeno, garlic, onion, cumin, a handful of cilantro, and juice of ½ lime in a food processor. Pulse until everything is evenly chopped. Taste and add more lime juice if needed, and season with salt.
  8. Place the oil in a saucepan and heat over medium heat. Once heated, add the flour and whisk well to make a roux. Stir for a minute or two until the flour is cooked out and a paste is formed. Add the flavored stock to the saucepan, and let it simmer and thicken. Stir in the processed veggie mixture and heat through. Add salt and lime juice to taste.

Is tomatillo sauce the same as green enchilada sauce?

Can I substitute salsa verde for enchilada sauce?

Salsa verde can be used as the base for enchilada sauce.

Read More: 10 Summer Dinner Ideas for Warm Nights

Whether for a summer BBQ, Taco Tuesday dinner, or to switch up from its red counterpart, this tomatillo enchilada sauce is the perfect addition to your recipe box. So grab some bright tomatillos, hit the kitchen, and whip up a batch of this delectable authentic tomatillo enchilada sauce for your family or just yourself!

Want to pair your new recipe with a drink? Check out Daily Mom’s article on 25 Favorite Drinks to Quench Your Thirst This Summer.



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The Best Authentic Tomatillo Enchilada Sauce



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Lauren Austin
Lauren Austin
She's a full-time Financial Coach, professional designer, and part-time home DIYer. As a business owner of Financial Fundaments, and an awesome mom to 3 young kids, she has a full plate but loves every minute of it. Lauren became a Daily Mom to satisfy her need for writing while helping other moms take control of their financial health.

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