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Green Enchilada Sauce is tangy and rich and, best of all, so easy to make yourself! Just roast green chiles, then simmer them with tomatillos, onions, garlic, jalapeños and spices. Give the mixture a quick blend and you’re ready to make enchiladas from scratch! Watch the video at the bottom to see the step by step process of making homemade green enchilada sauce – you won’t believe how easy it is.

Green Enchilada Sauce in a white bowl

When it comes to comfort food, Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas are hard to beat. I love the tender chicken, silky green sauce, melty cheese and tortilla, soft in the middle with edges that get perfectly crisp in those last few minutes in the oven.

Ingredients You Need to Make Green Enchilada Sauce

  • Hatch Chile Peppers: or Anaheim chile peppers
  • Olive Oil: or vegetable oil
  • Tomatillos: Look for firm, bright green fruit with the papery husk intact.
  • Onions: ideally white onions
  • Garlic: fresh cloves
  • Jalapeño Peppers: Look for firm, deep green peppers. Avoid those with soft spots or discoloration. (Wear gloves when cutting and seeding to protect your skin from irritation.)
  • Ground Cumin
  • Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Why Homemade is Sauce Worth the Effort

For years I made enchiladas with Hatch brand Green Chile Enchilada Sauce. But one day I read the ingredient label and began my search for a homemade green enchilada sauce recipe that would compare.

hatch-green-chile-ingredients

Recipe Testing Notes

The first few recipes that I tried were okay, but were largely flavored by tomatillos. I like tomatillos as the star in things like pork chili verde, but for enchilada sauce, having them as the primary ingredient makes the sauce too tangy for my taste. They still have a presence in this green enchilada sauce, but the roasted chiles are the star (as they are in White Chicken Chili and Pozole Verde).

A flavorful combination of roasted Hatch or Anaheim chiles, olive oil, tomatillos, onion, garlic, jalapeño, cumin and water, this homemade enchilada sauce is a a great copycat version of the Hatch brand sauce, but without the ‘extra’ ingredients.

Roasted Hatch Chiles

I like to use 3 cups of green enchilada sauce per batch of Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas (make Shredded Chicken to fill them, it’s easy!), a bit saucier than some enchilada recipes. That’s one perk of making your own sauce that you can use more or less according to your taste. And this sauce freezes very well. You’ll get 3 batches from making this just once! For convenience, freeze leftover sauce in one-batch portions.

Onions Garlic and Chiles on a cutting board

More Must Try Mexican Food Recipes

How to Make Green Enchilada Sauce

Roast Hatch chiles (or Anaheim chiles) in a 400˚F oven until brown and blistered. Let steam and then remove skins, stems and seeds. Coarsely chop.

hatch chiles ready to roast
roasted hatch chiles
steaming roasted hatch chiles
peeled seeded and chopped roasted Hatch chiles

Meanwhile cook and stir tomatillos, onions, garlic and jalepeños in a saucepan until soft. Add chiles, cumin and water and bring to boil. Simmer, covered 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Softening Ingredients for Green Enchilada Sauce
Adding Cumin and covering Green Enchilada Sauce

Puree sauce in batches (covering blender with towel instead of lid when liquid is hot). Use immediately or transfer to containers to refrigerate or freeze.

blending green enchilada sauce

Important Recipe Notes

  1. Please note that handling raw chiles that have been cut up can severely irritate your skin. I always recommend wearing gloves when working with raw chiles.
  2. Take care when buying your chiles whether they are ‘mild,’ ‘medium,’ or ‘hot.’ The spiciness of your sauce will reflect your choice of chiles! And note that seeds add heat. So if you want a mild sauce, be sure to discard them.

Recipe Video

Green Enchilada Sauce

5 from 6 votes
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 50 minutes
Total: 1 hour
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
Calories: 20
Servings: 36 1/4 cup servings
Homemade Green Enchilada sauce is tangy and rich and, best of all, such an easy recipe to make yourself! Just roast green chiles, then simmer them with tomatillos, onions, garlic, jalepeños and spices. Give the mixture a quick blend and you’re ready to make authentic chicken enchiladas from scratch!

Ingredients  

  • 1 1/2 pounds Hatch chile peppers or Anaheim chile peppers
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound tomatillos papery coverings removed and diced
  • 2 medium white onions thinly sliced
  • 8 cloves garlic peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 2 jalapeño peppers stem, seeds and membrane removed, chopped (see recipe note #1)
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 3 cups water
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

Instructions 

  • Preheat oven to 400°F.
  • Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and arrange chiles on it in a single layer. Roast chiles for 30 minutes then transfer to bowl and cover for at least 15 minutes or until cool enough to handle.
  • When chiles are cool enough to handle, remove stems, skin and seeds; coarsely chop.
  • Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add tomatillos, onion, garlic and jalapeño; cook and stir until soft, about 15 minutes. Add chopped chiles, cumin and water and bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Blend in 2 or 3 batches, taking care to have a similar ratio of liquid to solids and covering the blender with a towel not the lid if the sauce is hot.
  • Pour sauce into canning jars or other heat-safe containers and let cool. Refrigerate or freeze sauce or use it right away!

Notes

Important Notes:
  1. Please note that handling raw chiles that have been cut up can severely irritate your skin. I always recommend wearing gloves when working with raw chiles.
  2. Hatch chiles and Anaheim chiles may be used interchangeably, but Hatch are often hotter. Take care when buying your chiles, to notice whether they are ‘mild,’ ‘medium,’ or ‘hot.’ The spiciness of your sauce will reflect your choice of chiles! And note that seeds add heat. So if you want a mild sauce, be sure to discard them.
  3. Feel free to use chicken stock or chicken broth in place of water if you prefer.
  4. This sauce freezes beautifully and this recipe makes 9 cups, enough for 3 batches of 8 enchiladas. I recommend freezing leftover sauce in 3-cup portions.
  5. Refrigerate the enchilada sauce up to 5 days or freeze for up to 3 months.

Nutrition

Calories: 20kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 0.3g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 0.1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 65mg | Potassium: 50mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 25IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 6mg | Iron: 0.2mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Leave a comment & rate the recipe below!

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60 Comments

  1. Kellie says:

    Thank you so much Marissa for teaching how easy and wonderful making our own enchilada sauce can be. I was born and raised in AZ, so mexican food is my comfort food and my favorite food. I have also traveled to many areas of Mexico many times and therefore had authentic Mexican food. I try to eat as healthy and organic as possible and I’m never a fan of eating anything from a can if I can avoid it. Anyway, I have used your recipe to make my own green enchilada sauce I would say 3 times now, and right now on my fourth, which brought me to leave this comment. The sauce has come out amazing the past three times and rivals the best canned brands, but better because it’s all fresh and organic. The quantity is great as well because I can freeze three batches to have on hand whenever the family is craving enchiladas. Each third is actually more than I need to fill an 11 x 15 casserole dish 3 – 4 layers deep. Thank you so much for this wonderful recipe!!!!

    1. Marissa Stevens says:

      Kellie, thank you so much for this comment. I love to hear that you and your family are enjoying this sauce. Made my day! 🙂

  2. Marshall says:

    AWESOME! I have been making this all summer and freezing it in vac packed bags so it lays flat and stacks nicely as needed for the winter stash! A very versatile sauce and I thank you for taking the time to share it!

    1. Marissa Stevens says:

      My pleasure, Marshall! So glad you’re enjoying the sauce.

  3. MARK says:

    5 stars
    Thanks Marissa. Great, quick and easy sauce. No cans of this or that! I did, however add some ground bay leaf, an extra jalapeno, and went half and half on cumin and coriander.

    1. Marissa Stevens says:

      So glad you enjoyed this and made it your own, Mark!