Green Enchilada Sauce

You can’t have enchiladas for dinner without this Green Enchilada Sauce. It’s easy to make and full of Mexican flavor!

green enchilada sauce in a glass container


Homemade enchilada sauce doesn’t get any better than this Green Enchilada Sauce recipe. Fresh and delicious, it’s perfect for topping any Mexican dish!

A couple of weeks ago, we had an entire Mexican fiesta, complete with tacos, nachos and, of course, enchiladas. When we have Mexican at home, I like to go all out- there are just so many delicious dishes to choose from, that I usually make several. 

green enchilada sauce ingredients in a saucepan

So along with all of the other ingredients I needed for our in-home fiesta, I picked up a bottle of green enchilada sauce at the store to go with our enchiladas.

Make sure you PIN Green Enchilada Sauce

While the enchiladas were excellent (if I do say so myself,) the store bought sauce was kind of lackluster. It was missing something that I just couldn’t put my finger on.

So in typical foodie fashion, I set out to make my own homemade enchilada sauce recipe.

homemade enchilada sauce ingredients on a wooden spoon

Do you ever make your own condiments? I love making sauces and condiments at home because I know exactly what goes into them. Plus I can season and flavor them to my liking, unlike a store bought version.

There are so many variations of green enchilada sauce. Different ingredients, some are smoked and others roasted. Or like mine, just straight up ingredients, simple and easy. This is a mix between my pork chile verde and tomatillo salsa.

Smooth enchilada sauce

Enchilada sauce doesn’t have to just be for enchiladas either. You can use it on smothered burritos, nachos, as a dipping sauce for tortilla chips or really as a topper on any delicious Mexican food dish. 

Some call for roasting the onions, tomatillos, garlic and jalapeno. This extra step dramatically changes the flavor of your green enchilada sauce. While I love this flavor, I don’t have time for that. 

homemade enchilada sauce in a glass jar

To make this green enchilada sauce, you start by heating vegetable oil in a heavy-bottom pan over medium high heat. Next, add the tomatillos, jalapenos, garlic and onion and stir until softened (about 5-8 minutes.)

Once softened, add in the cumin, chicken broth, green chiles and cilantro and simmer for about five minutes. Then with an immersion blender, blend the sauce until it is smooth.

smooth green enchilada sauce in a wooden spoon

Next, you’ll want to mix the cornstarch with a small amount of water (to prevent clumps) and then add it to the enchilada sauce mixture. Whisk it all together until the sauce begins to thicken.

Once your sauce reaches a consistency that you like, mix in the lime juice and honey. And that’s it! You can serve this sauce right away, or save it for later use.

Close up of green sauce

How to Roast Your Own Chiles

If you want to do a roasted enchilada sauce, instead of softening the vegetables in the sauce pan, place them on a baking sheet at 350 for about 20-30 minutes, or until they are softened.

Turn the broiler on high for 2-3 minutes or until they start to char to finish them off. Transfer the vegetables to a heavy bottom saucepan and pick up at step two.

You can also make Christmas style enchiladas or smothered burritos by using half red enchilada sauce and half green enchilada sauce! 

Overhead of green sauce

Questions you might have about how to make green enchilada sauce: 

Is green enchilada sauce gluten free? My recipe for green enchilada is gluten free! While most use flour, I use cornstarch, a natural gluten free thickener. You can also use arrowroot.

Can I make enchilada sauce without cilantro? You sure can. Nearly 50% of the population have an  identifiable gene that makes cilantro taste like dirt or soap. Just omit it and you’ll still have a delicious green enchilada sauce.

green enchilada sauce pouring over burritos

Do I need to use an immersion blender or food processor? I would highly suggest it, but if you don’t, you’ll still get all the flavors, just with a little more texture. I would recommend finely mincing all the vegetables instead of a rough chop if this is your plan.

However, if you aren’t doing this because you don’t have one or either of these appliances, I highly suggest purchasing one or both. They are my cheapest and most highly used kitchen tools! See links below for the ones I use. 

Do I need to peel the skin off my tomato? For this enchilada sauce recipe, I leave them on, but you are welcome to peel them if you’d like. Check out my tutorial and video on How to Peel a Tomato!

I want to make my homemade enchilada sauce spicy! I hear ya, if my nose doesn’t have sweat beads, it isn’t spicy enough. If you’d like to amp up the spice, simply add a couple more jalapenos!

Can I freeze green enchilada sauce? You sure can! Follow my easy steps for freezing and keep it good for up to 6 months! 

Green enchilada sauce for pinterest

If you liked this green sauce recipe, check out these other homemade sauces:

overhead shot of marinara in a pan with a wooden spoon

Quick & Easy Hearty Marinara

Homemade Marinara Sauce is a quick and easy recipe for a tomato based sauce using herbs and spices. Perfect for pizza, dipping sauce or to put over pasta. 
See The Recipe!
mustard aioli sauce with tater tots

Mustard Aioli Sauce

This zesty Mustard Aioli comes together in less than 5 minutes and is the perfect dipping sauce and sandwich topper for any meal or BBQ.
See The Recipe!

Tools for making Green Enchilada Sauce:

Heavy Bottom Sauce Pan– this will be one of your most used kitchen tools. Having something that is heavy bottom will distribute heat better and prevent burning whether you are using an electric or gas range. 

Mini Food Processor– I use this thing daily! It is by far my most used kitchen appliance, it is small and I throw all the parts into the dishwasher, well except the base and cord, of course!

Immersion Blender– Also known as a stick blender, these are excellent for processing food while still in the cooking vessel. great for soups and sauce.

Green enchilada sauce in a jar
homemade enchilada sauce in a glass jar

Green Enchilada Sauce

4.78 from 9 votes
Homemade enchilada sauce doesn't get any better than this Green Enchilada Sauce recipe. Fresh and delicious, it's perfect for topping any Mexican dish!
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 8



  • Heat vegetable oil in a heavy bottom sauce pan over medium-high heat.
  • Add tomatillos, garlic, onion and jalapeno. Stir until ingredients have softened, about 5-8 minutes.
  • Add cumin, chicken broth, diced green chiles and cilantro. Bring to a low simmer, about 5 minutes.
  • Using an immersion blender (stick blender), blend sauce until smooth.
  • Whisk cornstarch with a small amount of water, adding to to enchilada sauce. and whisking until sauce starts to thicken.
  • When sauce reaches desired texture, whisk in lime juice and honey or agave nectar.
  • Serve immediately or store for later.
  • If you've tried this recipe, come back and let us know how it was!


If you want to do a roasted enchilada sauce, instead of softening the vegetables in the sauce pan. Place them on a baking sheet at 350 for about 20-30 minutes, or until they are softened. Turn the broiler on high for 2-3 minutes or until they start to char to finish them off.


Calories: 39 kcal, Carbohydrates: 5 g, Protein: 1 g, Fat: 2 g, Saturated Fat: 1 g, Sodium: 258 mg, Potassium: 145 mg, Fiber: 1 g, Sugar: 2 g, Vitamin A: 85 IU, Vitamin C: 10.5 mg, Calcium: 21 mg, Iron: 0.7 mg
Calories: 39
Course: Sauce
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: green enchilada sauce, homemade enchilada sauce
Did you make this recipe?I’d love to see your recipes – snap a picture and mention @savoryexperiments or tag #savoryexperiments!
Jessica Formicola in her ktichen

About the Author

Jessica Formicola

Jessica the mom, wife and chef behind Savory Experiments. You might see her on the Emmy- nominated TV show Plate It! or on bookshelves as a cookbook author. Jessica is a Le Cordon Bleu certified recipe developer and regularly contributed to Parade, Better Homes & Gardens, The Daily Meal and more!

Read More About Jessica

4.78 from 9 votes (4 ratings without comment)

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Questions and Reviews

  1. 5 stars
    Love good enchilada. But never tried making one at home. I will definitely give this recipe a try. Sounds easy and delicious.

  2. 5 stars
    Just in time! I’m making enchiladas tonight and have a bounty of tomatillos so will whip up a batch of this quick salsa.

  3. 5 stars
    Yum! Love all those flavors. Homemade is always so much better. A roasted enchilada sauce sounds perfect too.