If you love Mexican food as much as I do, you’re going to love this homemade green enchilada sauce recipe. I love green enchilada sauce, but buying the canned stuff at the store has always felt like cheating to me.
So to get over that, I made my own sauce. From scratch. And holy hell, let me tell you about this homemade green enchilada sauce! It’s super easy to make, you literally just wash and cut everything and stick it in the oven, then the blender. It takes maybe 5 minutes of actively doing anything, the rest is just oven cooking time. Plus, did I mention it’s naturally vegan?
But boy is this green enchilada sauce tasty! Roasting everything in the oven adds complex flavors to the simplest ingredients! Made with roasted green tomatillos and fresh peppers, this sauce is the perfect thing to slater on some chicken enchiladas like the ones I love to make. Talk about yum!
Ingredients That Make Up Green Enchilada Sauce
- Tomatillos: a whole bunch of them. They’re those green tomatoes that seem so difficult to cook with. Plot twist: they’re amazing and easy to make sauces from.
- Poblano pepper: best known as those peppers you stuff when you make chiles rellenos, poblanos add some much needed heft to the green enchilada sauce.
- Anaheim pepper: just for fun, because they’re more complex than jalapenos in my opinion. When you roast them, these mild peppers add a great smoky flavor to the sauce.
- Garlic and onion: because I’ll add roasted garlic and onions to anything and everything. Use fresh garlic and white onions for a more traditional Mexican flavor. P.S. You can sub in a yellow onion in a pinch.
- Oregano: one of the holy grails in Mexican cooking. I put this in almost everything I make, and it always takes things to the next level. Buy a fresh bunch, you want the oregano to roast in the oven and add flavor to everything. Make sure you don’t put the stems in the blender after it roasts, just the leaves!
- Cilantro: adds so much freshness to the sauce! Go ahead and try the sauce with and without it. I promise you the one that has cilantro will taste better. You can use both stems and leaves in this recipe since everything is going in the blender anyway.
- Cumin, salt and oil: because you gotta bring out those flavors somehow!
Tips Before You Get Started
Make sure you read through the full recipe before you get started. After, gather all the ingredients and equipment needed before you start. The tips below will help you make the best green enchilada sauce from scratch!
- Use a really large cookie sheet like this one from the get go, and line it with oven safe parchment paper. Seriously. As things roast and camerilize, you don’t want to end up with a giant sticky mess to clean up afterwards. If you don’t have parchment paper use aluminium foil.
- Peel your garlic cloves. I’ve done this with peeled and unpeeled cloves and it’s a pain in the butt to peel roasted garlic .
- A little bit of salt goes a long way. If salting to taste, add a little at a time. It doesn’t take much to bring out the flavors in this sauce.
- Don’t be afraid of some charring. You want as much caramelization as possible. Your oregano leaves might turn black, who cares! The point is to infuse as much flavor as possible.
- This is a pretty mild sauce. If you’d like to make it spicy, add a couple of jalapeños or Serrano peppers!
How to Make Green Chili Enchilada Sauce from Scratch
- Preheat your oven to 425 F. Test that it’s actually hot enough with an oven thermometer.
- Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- Rinse your veggies, and cut the top of the stem off the poblano and anaheim pepper. Cut in half lengthwise (from root to tip) and take out the seeds. Cut in half again. You want to end up with 4 pieces. Arrange on baking sheet.
- Cut the ends off a small white onion then cut in half or quarters. Place on baking sheet.
- Peel 7 cloves of garlic. Place on baking sheet.
- Take husks off tomatillos, rinse and place on baking sheet.
- Put 4 sprigs of oregano on baking sheet. Drizzle everything with 1 tablespoon oil, and sprinkle with kosher salt.
- Put the baking sheet in the oven and set a timer for 30 minutes. Don’t open the oven door until the time is up, you don’t want heat to escape!
- Once 30 minutes are up, remove the baking sheet from the oven. Use tongs to put everything in a blender. Add ¼ tsp cumin, ⅓ cup loosely packed cilantro and 1tsp salt, to taste. Pulse everything until it comes together, about 10 seconds.
- Makes about 2.5 cups of sauce.
Homemade Green Enchilada Sauce
- 1 poblano pepper deseeded and cut into 4 pieces
- 1 anaheim pepper deseeded and cut into 4 pieces
- 1 small white onion cut in half, lengthwise
- 7 cloves of garlic peeled
- 10 tomatillos
- 4 sprigs of fresh oregano
- 1 tbsp canola oil or any other vegetable oil
- 2 tsp kosher salt divided, to taste
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 1/3 cup cilantro loosely packed
- Preheat oven to 425°F.
- Line a large cookie sheet or baking tray with parchment paper.
- Rinse all the veggies.
- Cut the top of the stem off the poblano and anaheim pepper. Cut in half lengthwise (from root to tip) and take out the seeds. Cut in half again, to end up with 4 pieces of each. Set aside.
- Cut the ends off a small white onion, then cut in half. Set aside.
- Peel 7 cloves of garlic. Set aside.
- Take husks off tomatillos if you haven't already. Set aside.
- Add all veggies to the parchment lined baking sheet, add 4 sprigs of oregano.
- Drizzle the veggies with oil, and sprinkle with about 1 tsp of kosher salt.
- Place baking sheet in the oven and roast for 30 minutes.
- Once 30 minutes are up, use tongs to put everything in a blender.
- Add 1/4 tsp cumin, and 1/3 cup cilantro to blender and pulse until everything comes together, about 10 seconds.
- Taste the sauce and add 1/2 tsp kosher salt if it needs more salt.
How to Store Green Enchilada Sauce
This sauce will keep for up to 3 days in the fridge. Store it in the fridge in airtight mason jars (like these ones).
You can also make a giant batch and store it in the freezer for later. If you do that, make sure you portion it out so you’re not defrosting and refreezing the sauce.