Green Enchilada Sauce With Tomatillos

Green Enchilada Sauce With Tomatillos: Authentic Recipe & Storage Tips

Enchilada sauce has origins in traditional Mexican cuisine. It’s a staple due to its versatility and ability to enhance various dishes. Ancient civilizations like the Aztecs prepared similar sauces using locally available ingredients. They combined chili peppers, tomatoes, and spices to create flavorful mixtures. Over centuries, regional variations emerged, introducing unique flavors and ingredients specific to each area.

Why Use Tomatillos?

Tomatillos play a crucial role in green enchilada sauce. These small, green fruits belong to the nightshade family and add a distinct tangy flavor. Tomatillos are packed with nutrients like Vitamin C, Vitamin K, and potassium. Their natural acidity complements spicy elements in Mexican dishes, balancing flavors while enhancing taste. Tomatillos also provide a vibrant green color to the sauce, making the enchiladas visually appealing.

Ingredients List

Essential Ingredients for Authentic Flavor

To create an authentic green enchilada sauce, use the following ingredients:

  • Tomatillos: Use 1 pound of fresh tomatillos to achieve the desired tangy flavor and vibrant green color.
  • Green Chili Peppers: Incorporate 2-3 green chili peppers, such as jalapeños or serranos, for balanced spiciness.
  • Onion: Add 1 medium-sized white onion for its mild yet complementary taste.
  • Garlic: Include 2 cloves of garlic to enhance the sauce’s depth.
  • Cilantro: Use 1/4 cup of fresh cilantro leaves for an added layer of freshness.
  • Chicken Broth: Pour in 1 cup of low-sodium chicken broth to bring the ingredients together.
  • Lime Juice: Squeeze the juice of 1 lime to round out the flavors.
  • Salt: Season with salt to taste, starting with 1 teaspoon and adjusting as needed.
  • Olive Oil: Use 2 tablespoons of olive oil for sautéing the vegetables.

Choosing the Right Tomatillos

Tomatillos are crucial for an authentic green enchilada sauce. When selecting tomatillos, look for the following:

  • Firm Texture: Opt for firm tomatillos, avoiding any soft spots as these indicate over-ripeness.
  • Husk Check: Ensure the husk completely covers the tomatillo and is intact. A dried, slightly papery texture is ideal.
  • Color Consistency: Choose tomatillos that are bright green to maintain the sauce’s vibrant color and optimal tanginess.
  • Size Consideration: Smaller tomatillos are usually sweeter and less acidic, which can influence the sauce’s balance.

Following these guidelines ensures your homemade green enchilada sauce boasts authentic flavor and superior quality.

Step-by-Step Cooking Guide

Preparing Your Ingredients

Gathering all ingredients ensures a smooth cooking process. You’ll need the following items:

  • 1 lb tomatillos (husked, rinsed)
  • 2 green chili peppers (seeded, chopped)
  • 1 onion (chopped)
  • 3 garlic cloves (minced)
  • 1/2 cup cilantro (chopped)
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

Ensure tomatillos are firm with intact husks. Wash all produce under cold water to remove any residue. Chop green chili peppers and onion into small pieces, and mince the garlic. Have cilantro chopped and ready to use.

Cooking and Blending Techniques

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add chopped onion and garlic, sautéing for 3 minutes until fragrant. Add chopped green chili peppers and continue cooking for another 2 minutes. Add tomatillos, and cook for 5-7 minutes, stirring often until softened.

Transfer the cooked vegetables to a blender. Add cilantro, chicken broth, lime juice, and salt. Blend on high until the mixture is smooth. If the sauce is too thick, you may add more chicken broth, a tablespoon at a time, until desired consistency is reached.

Return the blended mixture to the skillet. Simmer over low heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. This helps the flavors meld together for a rich, tangy sauce ideal for enchiladas, tacos, or as a dip.

Store leftover sauce in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week.

Customizing Your Enchilada Sauce

Adjusting Spiciness

You can easily adjust the spiciness of your green enchilada sauce. Increase the number of green chilies, like jalapenos or serranos, for a hotter sauce. Use fewer chilies for a milder version. Always remove the seeds and membranes to reduce heat, if desired. Roasting the chilies before adding them intensifies both flavor and heat. In case you need to tame a too-spicy sauce, add more tomatillos or a splash of lime juice.

Incorporating Additional Flavors

Enhance your green enchilada sauce by incorporating additional flavors. Add roasted garlic for a deeper taste. Mix in a handful of cilantro for freshness. Stirring in a tablespoon of sour cream makes the sauce creamier. Pairing the sauce with Mexican oregano adds a hint of earthiness. If you prefer a smokier taste, include a chipotle pepper. For a richer sauce, add a splash of chicken broth while blending the ingredients.

Storing and Preserving Enchilada Sauce

Best Practices for Refrigeration

Refrigerate green enchilada sauce in an airtight container for up to a week. Ensure the sauce cools to room temperature before transferring it to the container. Label the container with the date to keep track of freshness. If the sauce thickens, add a bit of chicken broth or water while reheating.

Tips for Freezing and Reheating

Freeze enchilada sauce in freezer-safe bags or containers for up to three months. Divide the sauce into smaller portions for convenience. Remove as much air as possible from the bags before sealing. Thaw the sauce in the refrigerator overnight before reheating. Heat the sauce gently in a saucepan, stirring occasionally to maintain its consistency. Add a little broth or water if it appears too thick.


Mastering homemade green enchilada sauce with tomatillos opens up a world of culinary possibilities. With its tangy flavor and vibrant color, this sauce can elevate any dish it graces. Using fresh, high-quality ingredients ensures authenticity and nutritional benefits. Proper storage and preservation techniques allow you to enjoy this delicious sauce anytime, maintaining its rich texture and taste. Embrace the versatility of green enchilada sauce and let it become a staple in your kitchen.

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