The BEST homemade green enchilada sauce recipe that you’ve ever tried! Just follow my tips to make the most amazing green enchilada sauce, to take your chicken enchiladas to a whole new level.
A super easy, authentic green enchilada sauce that is made with oven roasted tomatillos. Plus, learn how to add even more flavor to this very simple recipe.
First published May 2016
This authentic Mexican green enchilada sauce is so much better than any store-bought enchilada sauce. I like to make mine extra spicy, but you can make it mild, or to your liking. The roasted tomatillos and peppers make the flavors of this sauce pop even more. It makes for the best chicken enchiladas!
Why I love this recipe
- Because I roast the tomatillos, the acidity is more muted, and the flavors of the tomatillos shine through.
- This is a recipe guide for green enchilada sauce, and I share how to add the most flavor to get the BEST green enchilada sauce made with tomatillos.
- This recipe is gluten free and vegan friendly as well.
- You can easily make it into a creamy enchilada sauce (although that’s not my personal preference).
- I also provide substitutions to make this recipe even easier to make.
The difference between red enchilada sauce and green enchilada sauce is in the ingredients. Red enchilada sauce is made with a variety of red chilis, whereas green enchilada is made with various types of green chili and tomatillo. Because of the green chili, the green sauce can be spicier than the red sauce, but my recipe is super easy to adapt to make it mild.
The balance of spicy, tangy and freshness is what makes the green enchilada tomatillo sauce my favorite recipe. Salsa verde and green enchilada sauce have similar tastes, because salsa verde is the backbone for tomatillo enchilada sauce recipes. So, if you like salsa verde, then you’ll absolutely love this recipe!
For the most flavorful version
Roasted tomatillos enchilada sauce uses the same ingredients as salsa verde as the base.
- Tomatillos – Mexican husk tomatoes
- Poblano peppers and jalapeno peppers
- Cumin and salt
In addition to the salsa verde ingredients, you will also need,
- 1.5 cups stock (or leftover liquid from making carnitas)
- Cilantro roots or coriander seeds
- Orange juice
- Lime juice
- Cornstarch or flour
This will make a small batch of mojo flavored stock that will make your green sauce for enchiladas even more flavorful!
For the quick version
To shave off some time, there are shortcuts you can take. But I can guarantee the flavor won’t be as good as the recipe I’m sharing here with you!
You can purchase canned tomatillos, OR premade salsa verde.
And instead of making a mojo flavored stock, you can buy premade plain chicken or vegetable stock instead.
How to make green enchilada sauce with roasted tomatillos
Making the roasted salsa verde base
The first step is to prep all the vegetables and fruits (tomatillos) and place them on a lined baking tray. Preheat the oven to 450 F. Then roast them in a very hot oven (or broil) until they soften and get a nice char on them.
Once the tomatillos and peppers are charred, blend them in a food processor along with the cumin, cilantro, lime and salt. You can make it chunky or super smooth – that is entirely up to you.
Once the salsa verde is made, you’re ready to proceed with the green enchilada tomatillo sauce recipe.
Making the green sauce
While the tomatillos are roasting in the oven, you can make the mojo flavored stock by simmering stock with orange juice, lemon juice, and cilantro roots.
This stock is used to thin out the salsa verde to the consistency you prefer, and add more lime juice and salt to your taste.
Personally, I like to add a little more sauce, and then thicken it with some cornstarch or a roux.
Add more flavor!
By roasting the tomatillos to make your own salsa verde!
For a quick green enchilada sauce
Making green enchilada sauce with salsa verde is the easiest and fastest method and it can be made with store-bought salsa verde of your choice. All you need to do is cook the store-bought salsa verde with store-bought stock to the right consistency. Then add some lime juice and salt to your taste.
You can also make the salsa verde from scratch, and use it to make enchilada sauce as well.
Replace the roasted tomatillos with canned tomatillos.
Use store-bought salsa verde instead of homemade salsa verde.
Variations and ingredient substitutions
To make a creamy green enchilada sauce – Add 1/4 cup sour cream to the sauce. You can also add vegan sour cream.
Gluten free green sauce – Use cornstarch instead of a flour roux.
Vegan version – Use vegetable stock and vegan sour cream (if using).
To make a milder version – Skip the jalapenos.
You can also substitute the poblano peppers with hatch chile for a green chile enchilada sauce!
Recipes that use roasted tomatillo sauce
Green enchiladas like green chicken enchiladas or green pork enchiladas.
Green chilaquiles – while ususally made with salsa verde, can also be made with this tomatillo based enchilada sauce.
Use the green tomatillo enchilada sauce to make pulled pork or chicken too!
Storing the sauce for later
Place the sauce in an air-tight container or glass jar (with a tight fitting lid). Let it cool to room temperature, and store in the fridge for about 5 days.
You can also store it in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Homemade Roasted Tomatillo Enchilada Sauce (Green Enchilada Sauce)
Roasted Salsa Verde (makes about 1 ½ cups; see recipe notes for shortcuts)
- 455 g tomatillos about 8 –9 medium sized tomatillos
- 3 poblanos
- 2 jalapenos leave out the seeds if you want it milder
- 1 medium red onion peeled and quartered
- 4 garlic cloves
- Pinch ground cumin
- Handful of cilantro leaves and stems
- 1 lime for lime juice
- Salt to taste
- 1 cup chicken stock or vegetarian stock
- 2 tbsp lime juice
- ¼ cup orange juice
- ½ tsp ground cumin
- ½ tsp ground coriander
- 3 cilantro roots washed (optional)
Roasted Tomatillo Enchilada Sauce
- 2 tbsp flour or 1½ tsp cornstarch
- 1 tbsp oil
Roasted Salsa Verde (makes about 1 ½ cups)
- Click here to get the roasted salsa verde recipe.455 g tomatillos, 3 poblanos, 2 jalapenos, 1 medium red onion, 4 garlic cloves, Pinch ground cumin, Handful of cilantro, 1 lime, Salt
- See recipe notes for shortcuts.
Mojo Stock (make this while the tomatillos are roasting)
- Place all the ingredients in a saucepan.1 cup chicken stock, 2 tbsp lime juice, ¼ cup orange juice, ½ tsp ground cumin, ½ tsp ground coriander, 3 cilantro roots
- Bring the stock to a boil over medium-high heat. Lower the heat and allow the stock to simmer for about 20 – 30 minutes. Turn off the heat.
- For even more flavor, allow the stock to sit for about 20 – 30 minutes before straining it. The stock is now ready to be used.
Roasted Tomatillo Enchilada Sauce
- Place the oil or butter in a nonstick saucepan and heat over medium heat.1 tbsp oil
- When heated, add the flour and mix well to create a roux. Stir for a few minutes until the flour is cooked and forms a paste.2 tbsp flour
- To keep it gluten free, add the cornstarch instead of the flour and mix it in well until there are no lumps. You do not have to cook it longer.2 tbsp flour
- Add the mojo stock / regular stock into the saucepan and bring it to a simmer and let it thicken.
- Stir in the salsa verde and heat through.
- Add salt and lime juice to taste (and extra stock if you need to thin it out).
Tips & Tricks
Shortcuts for the salsa verde
- You can substitute 455 g / 1 lb tomatillos with 1 x 312 g / 11 oz can of tomatillos.
- Instead of homemade salsa verde, you can use 1.5 – 2 cups of store-bought salsa verde as well.
Other substitutionsYou can also skip making the mojo stock if you prefer, and just add regular stock.
“This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.”