Red Vs Green Enchilada Sauce: What’s The Difference?

Enchilada Sauce

Spicy sauces are typical for Mexican cuisine and go alongside many recipes. The same goes for Enchilada sauce. This is a type of sauce that is not made from tomatoes like the other Mexican spicy sauces, but it’s a blend of seasonings, chili powder,  garlic, oregano, and cumin.

The sauce has a warm, earthy taste. There are two types: red and green enchilada sauce. Simple, easy, and ready in no time for your next dish, enchilada sauce is a very delicious, gluten-free, and vegan sauce.

However, since both types of sauces are commonly used, you probably wonder what is the main difference between them. What are the differences between red and green enchilada sauce?

The main difference between the two sauces is in the chili that is used to make it. So, they vary in the hotness as well as the ingredients that are used.

First, let’s go through the ingredients used in the red and green sauce and learn more about the main differences between them. Find out which one is hotter, what you can use instead of green enchilada sauce, and much more.

Green Enchilada Sauce

Green enchilada sauce

Before we make a comparison between the two types of sauces, let’s take a look into what the green enchilada sauce is made from. 

It has green tomatillos, green chilies, vinegar, garlic, cumin, oregano, onions, and other spices. The tomatillos are small, green fruit that has a dry texture with a tart and fruity taste. They are considered to be the main ingredient in enchilada sauce.

Further, either green chilies or jalapeno is used as the spicy contributor in this type of sauce. The spiciness varies depending on the peppers. As an option, you can add garlic, salt, pepper, olive oil, and other flavors to enrich the whole texture. 

Red Enchilada Sauce

Very similar to the green enchilada sauce, the red one is made of dried red chili peppers. It has vinegar, garlic, onions, basil, oregano, and chili powder.

The red dried chili peppers add flavor and spiciness to the sauce. You can use Guajillo, Chipotle, Cascabel, and other similar types of peppers that vary from mild to hot. By adding onions, garlic, basil, and salt you’ll make this type of sauce more authentic.

How To Make Enchilada Sauce?

When making the enchilada sauce you need ingredients that will spice up and make this sauce very unique such as the following.


  • Use 3 tablespoons of flour
  • 3 tablespoons of oil
  • Cumin
  • Chili powder
  • Beef broth
  • Oregano leaves
  • Garlic
  • Salt and pepper


Now that you know the ingredients used both in the green and red enchilada sauce, your next step is to follow the guide on how to make it at home.

You have to place the oil, flour, chili powder, and cumin in a saucepan on low heat. Cook until the texture is bubbly and add the beef broth with oregano, garlic and salt, and pepper.

Cook the mixture for an additional 15 minutes and stir occasionally until the mixture is fully cooked.

Red Vs Green Enchilada Sauce: What’s The Difference?

Now that you know how to make the enchilada sauce, next we will discuss the other differences between these two sauces.

The difference between green and red enchilada sauce is the type of chili that is used to make the sauce. The green sauce is a mixture of tomatillos and green chilies whereas the red one has red chilies, onions, garlic, and other species.

Both are very spicy. But the green enchilada sauce is considered to be spicier. When it comes to the taste, there is a difference as well. Meaning the red sauce has an earthy taste while the green one has a fresher taste.

The way they are prepared is also different. Actually, there is no right or wrong way to do it, but enchilada sauce is unique on its own. You can either make both sauces at home or find them in the store, but those mixtures are not that spicy. 

What Can I Substitute For Green Enchilada Sauce?

Taco sauce is the best substitute for green enchilada sauce. The taste may not be the same but this is the closest that you can get when it comes to replacing green enchilada sauce.

This is due to the fact that taco sauce can be adjusted and used in many different ways. Red chilies can also replace green enchilada sauce. However, they are milder than the green ones. 

Which Is Hotter, Red Or Green Chile Sauce?

You may think that the red chile sauce is spicier than the green one but it depends on the chili peppers that are used and how spicy they are. The green one can be spicier than the red sauce and vice versa, depending on the spiciness of the chili peppers used in the making.

Related Questions

Does green and red enchilada sauce taste the same?

There is a slight difference in the taste of the red and green enchilada sauce. The red one has a more earthy taste while the green sauce has a fresh taste. The spice level varies and all depends on the peppers that are used.

Which enchilada sauce is better: red or green?

This is a question of taste. Sometimes the red enchilada sauce can be sweeter in taste, whereas the green one can be spicier if it’s prepared with hotter jalapenos. The heat range differs in both sauces and you can choose whichever works best for your dish.

Which is spicier, red or green sauce?

Typically red sauces are considered to be a bit more chilly than green ones. But in this case, the green enchilada sauce can be a bit spicier than the red one.

What’s the difference between red sauce and green sauce?

It depends on the ingredients in the sauce. For instance, the difference between red and green enchilada sauce is the type of chili peppers used to make it. Meaning the red one is made with red chilies, while the green one is made with green chilies.

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