Green Chile Enchilada Sauce

$1.87 recipe / $0.31 serving
by Beth - Budget Bytes
5 from 7 votes
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Canned green enchilada sauce is just kind of sad. It’s watery and usually not very flavorful. Authentic green enchilada sauce is a little bit of a project, involving roasting fresh tomatillos, onions, garlic, and peppers—not something I necessarily want to be doing in addition to making the rest of dinner on a busy weeknight. I needed something in between. A rich and flavorful green enchilada sauce that was still super fast and easy. So I crafted this super easy Green Chile Enchilada Sauce, based on my Easy Homemade Red Enchilada Sauce, but with a green chile base and a slightly different mix of spices. If you love my red enchilada sauce, I think you’re going to enjoy this one just as much!

A bowl of green chile enchilada sauce with a wooden spoon next to a can of green chiles

What’s in Green Enchilada Sauce?

Green enchilada sauce is a mix of roasted peppers, onions, garlic, tomatillos, and spices. If you want to try an authentic recipe, give this Green Enchilada Sauce from Isabel Eats a shot. But as I mentioned in the intro, I was looking for convenience without sacrificing a lot of flavor. So I swapped out the fresh roasted peppers, onions, and garlic for canned green chiles and dried spices. I also add a little oil and flour for thickening power. On days when I have time to cook for fun, I’ll probably make my enchilada sauce the real way, but this quick version will be my go-to most of the time!

Is This Sauce Spicy?

It can be. Canned green chiles can vary in heat level. The canned diced green chiles I purchased from Kroger were completely mild, but depending on the brand, they may have a little heat. If you want to make your green enchilada sauce spicy, you can always add a pinch or two of cayenne pepper.

How Do You Use Green Chile Enchilada Sauce?

Enchilada is great for so much more than just enchiladas (try my Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas)! It’s also great for:

  • Combining with eggs, tortilla chips, and cheese for chilaquiles or migas 
  • Drizzled over tacos
  • Stirred into sour cream for a creamy-tangy chip dip
  • Smothering burritos
  • Mixed into mayo to use as a green chile coleslaw dressing

Can I Skip the Flour?

Yes, if you need to make this sauce gluten-free, you can skip the flour. The flour-oil combo does help thicken the sauce, but you’ll still have a wonderfully flavorful sauce without it, just slightly less viscous.

Green Chile Enchilada Sauce being poured from a jar onto a pan of rolled enchiladas

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Easy Green Chile Enchilada Sauce

5 from 7 votes
A rich and flavorful green chile enchilada sauce that only takes minutes to make. The perfect compromise between flavor and convenience for busy weeknights.
A wooden spoon in a bowl of green chile enchilada sauce with cilantro and diced green chiles on the side
Servings 6 ¼ cup each
Prep 3 mins
Cook 7 mins
Total 10 mins

Ingredients

  • 2 4oz. cans diced green chiles ($1.58)
  • 2 Tbsp cooking oil ($0.08)
  • 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour ($0.02)
  • 1 tsp ground cumin ($0.10)
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder ($0.05)
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder ($0.02)
  • 1 cup water ($0.00)
  • 1/2 tsp salt ($0.02)

Instructions 

  • Add the canned green chiles (with any liquid in the can) to a blender and purée until smooth. Set the puréed chiles aside.
  • Add the cooking oil, flour, cumin, garlic powder, and onion powder to a small sauce pot. Stir and cook over medium heat until it begins to simmer and bubble up. Continue cooking and stirring for about 1 minute to toast the flour and spices.
  • Carefully add the water and puréed green chiles to the oil, flour, and spices in the sauce pot. Whisk the mixture until everything is evenly combined.
  • Allow the sauce to come back up to a simmer, then add 1/2 tsp salt, or to taste.
  • Use the green chile enchilada sauce immediately, or refrigerate up to four days.

See how we calculate recipe costs here.

Nutrition

Serving: 0.25cupCalories: 67.35kcalCarbohydrates: 5.47gProtein: 0.4gFat: 4.78gSodium: 404.52mgFiber: 1.67g
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Scroll down for the step by step photos!

A spoon drizzling some green chile enchilada sauce into a jar of the sauce

How to Make Green Chile Enchilada Sauce – Step by Step Photos

Canned green chiles in the can and in a bowl

These are the canned green chiles that I used as the base for this sauce. Some brands are spicy, some are mild (the kind I used are mild). 

Pureed green chiles in the blender

Add two 4oz. cans of green chiles to a blender (with all the liquid in the can) and purée them until smooth.

Oil, flour, and spices in a sauce pot

Add 2 Tbsp cooking oil, 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour, 1 tsp ground cumin, 1/2 tsp garlic powder, and 1/4 tsp onion powder to a small sauce pot.

Oil, flour, and spices being cooked in the sauce pot

Cook and stir the oil, flour, and spices over medium heat until they begin to simmer and bubble. Continue to cook and stir for about one minute to toast the flour and spices.

Water being poured into the sauce pot

Carefully add 1 cup water…

pureed green chiles being poured into the sauce pot

Also add the puréed green chiles.

A spoon dipping into the finished green enchilada sauce in the sauce pot

Whisk the ingredients together until smooth, then allow it to come back up to a simmer, stirring occasionally. This should only take a few minutes. Finally, season the finished sauce with 1/2 tsp salt, or to taste.

Green Chile Enchilada Sauce being poured from a jar onto a pan of rolled enchiladas from above

Use the Green Chile Enchilada Sauce immediately on your favorite enchiladas, or refrigerate the sauce up to four days.

Finished green chile enchilada sauce in a bowl with a wooden spoon on the side

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  1. I disagree with the person with issues with this recipe not being all fresh and alternative etc. I cook from scratch alllll the time (it’s like therapy for me and my creative outlet) but I work 2 jobs, have some cooked chicken to use and had a hankering for enchiladas on a Monday night and zero time or desire to roast tomatillos and junk today at 7pm. This is fantastic. For those of us who do cook a ton from fresh/scratch to see we can still whip something up and make it our own (I used fresh onion I minced with some jarred garlic and chicken broth instead of water mostly because i dont have powdered onion), it’s a lifesaver for a quick dinner decision. This is the best recipe I’ve found on the fly late after a long day. Thank you!!! Keep doing it! I can’t wait to see your other recipes now that I’ve found you!

  2. We don’t have canned green chillies here. Can I used jarred (brined) jalapenos or fresh green chillies instead? (And thanks for the post, this is right up my alley!)

    1. Honestly, I’d need to test it with those substitutions before offering advice. Both of those options might result in significant flavor and texture changes to the sauce.

  3. I’ve never seen enchilada sauce made that way. I’m from southern NM. Las Cruces which is next to Hatch.
    Canned and jarred green chile doesn’t even resemble the actual taste of fresh green chile. We prepare our
    green chile by removing the stem, rinsing off most of the skin and cleaning out the seeds. The skin gives it a lot
    of flavor so we leave some of it on. We don’t process the green chile sauce to the point of puree. In fact I just tap
    the processor a few times and thats it. We don’t want a smoothy. Your recipe may taste good…..but its certainly
    nothing authentic about it. I suppose since you’re using canned green chile and onion powder that you’re not
    trying to achieve an authentic taste and that may work for some people. Raw tortillas? Frying them brings out
    the flavor and makes them as crispy as you want them to be. Uncooked corn tortillas are just massa.

    1. Correct. In the first paragraph of the blog post, I explain how this is a quickie version of enchilada sauce made for busy weeknights, not an authentic enchilada sauce. :)

  4. Good sauce. 2 suggestions….use masa harina for the roux (more flavor)….and after cooking the roux, just dump the water and the chopped chiles straight from the can and use stick blender to puree….easier clean-up.

  5. I love making sauces at home! Thank you for sharing this recipe, and the red enchilada sauce recipe. They are so, so, so yummy! So much better than the sauce in cans. These simple sauce recipes are family favorites that we rely on all the time for tasty meals. Thank you! 

  6. This was the best green sauce! Easy but so so flavorful, we loved it.

    I really appreciate recipes like this that use things like canned chilis, I know I don’t have the time during the week (weekends are different of course) to chop, seed, char BEFORE you even get to making something like a sauce. Thank you for these easy but healthy recipes :).

  7. Wow! I am thankful for Beth, her team, and their recipes. Some are not for me but that doesn’t negate their work and creativity.  I know Budget Bytes has certainly been helpful when I am in a food rut and need some inspiration. Keep up the great work. 

  8. No to this sauce idea! Instead 7 oz. Of Verde salsa. 1 can 11.5 oz. Of Campbell’s cream of chicken soup. 1/4 cup of sour cream. Blend it in a sauce pan! Bada Bing Bada Boom! Excellent enchilada Verde sauce! Enough with the nonsense of adding spices when you can buy authentic Mexican prepared Chili Verde sauce!

    1. Or some of us want try new things that might be better than your processed version?!

      So 100% YES to this sauce idea! Keep them coming Beth!!

    2. John, Beth’s recipe is .31 per serving as well as containing ingredients in most readers pantry. Beth has saved our sanity so many times when it comes to “What to make”. She’s even added nutrition information to many of the recipes. We share successes and ingredient substitutions to be helpful.

    3. Living in southern Colorado an hour from New Mexico and two hours from Pueblo, fresh green chiles are usually plentiful. Besides the canned chiles, This is pretty close to as authentic as a recipe can get.

  9. Thank you so much for this recipe, Beth! I avoid most green chile sauces because they have cilantro, and I’m beyond excited to find yours doesn’t call for any!!

    1. Cialntro’s an odd thing: You really do love it or hate it. I like it, IN MODERATION, but I understand that some peoples’ taste buds process it as “soapy.” It’s perfectly acceptable to make any recipe that calls for cilantro without it. Some people I know substitute parsley, but really it needs no substitute. Just leave it out, and if flavor is lacking, amp up somewhere else. We can never get enough cumin, for instance.

      I think those of us who like it appreciate the slightly grassy, fresh addition, but I can’t think of a single recipe where you couldn’t just leave it out. That said, Beth’s recipe is a lifesaver: Usually I have a long process for green chile sauce, involving roasting fresh tomatillos and chiles, but August has come early to Wisconsin, so I look forward to making this simple, fewer-steps recipe without having pots on the stove and the oven on for hours.

  10. Finally! Been trying a lot of green chile enchilada sauce recipes and haven’t been able to find a good one that I could whip up easily. And I live in a rural area, so there are many options at the store. So easy to make and delicious. Thank you!

    1. Yes you can freeze it. If stored properly, it can last up to six months.

  11. Ms Beth We love you and your website has helped so so many.
    but you are in a rut of processed food and junk recipes. where are the fresh vegetables? where are the alternative flours and the myriad of spices?

    is this even you? did you get bought out? i understand cooking in a pandemic requires real adjustments- but this seems over the top.

    these recipes are silly.

    1. Still Beth here and a few of us behind the scenes. Yes we have had to pivot in helping readers best utilize the food they have on hand not only to help budgets stretch, but to eliminate food waste during a global pandemic. I can assure you recipes such as this are far from processed or junk to many of us just trying to cook at home. We have a myriad of fresh recipes at your fingertips Deirdre. Feel free to use the recipes tab to search for another recipe that will suit your taste. This round up of refrigerator salads has some of my favorites. As for alternative flours, those can be more expensive and aren’t our line of focus. There are some amazing bloggers out there who specialize in using alternative flours. Hope that helps to answer your questions.

    2. Just want to say, I (and likely many others) feel the exact opposite! As part of a two working parent household with two toddlers at home during a pandemic, recipes like this are saving my life! Simple, healthier than jarred sauce, tasty, and highly adjustable. Please don’t stop with these types of recipes- they are a real lifesaver for those of us who currently don’t have the option of spending hours in the kitchen. 

    3. Deirdre, I sincerely hope you are joking. Beth is offering a free website to share her recipe ideas – she’s not your personal chef. Do your own research on different flours. Asking her to cover everything for you for free is just over the top and silly.

  12. You could possibly use GF flour, Tapioca or Garbanzo /Chickpea, or Rice flour instead.

  13. I’m not gluten free but I have used instant mashed potatoes to thicken a sauce when I didn’t have flour and it works pretty well! 

    1. Thank you Kat for sharing.
      The cornstarch in the potatoes flakes is tolerable on occasion, so this is good to know.