If you’re ready to spice up your next dinner, a quality, flavorful enchilada sauce is the way to go. Enchilada sauce is the core to many Mexican dishes, with the strong pepper base and fine blend of onion, garlic, and tomato. But, who has the time to make it from scratch? Luckily, there are many canned versions on the market, that have mastered the recipe and use fresh ingredients to bring authenticity to the dish.In this article, we review the most prominent brands of enchilada sauce, from more traditional methods to those who experiment with taste and flavor. There are numerous options in any grocery store, making it difficult to pick out the best sauce that fits your taste bud’s preferences and the recipe’s needs. We will highlight the top things to consider with each brand, diving deep into their features, advantages, and disadvantages, ultimately helping you find the best canned enchilada sauce on the market right now.
Old El Paso Enchilada Sauce Medium, Red. For an authentic Mexican taste, that truly tastes like a homemade version, Old El Paso Enchilada Sauce is an excellent option. It sticks to a classic recipe that can be enjoyed by everyone. The brand offers it in red or green options, with large-scale of spiciness levels. It’s low in calories, sodium, and sugar and is versatile enough to be added to any meal.
Rosarita Enchilada Sauce. The Rosarita Enchilada Sauce is the best bang for your buck. With traditional Mexican flavors at an affordable price, it’s the best option if you’re on a budget. It is delivered in a pack 12, helping you save per can when it is bundled. Rosarita is a trusted brand that uses quality ingredients, all at a great price point.
Quick Comparison: The 8 Best Canned Enchilada Sauces
1. Old El Paso Enchilada Sauce
The Old El Paso Enchilada Sauce sticks to a basic, authentic recipe that lies close to any homemade version. Not to mention, it’s one of the most affordable options on the market.
Old El Paso contains high-quality ingredients, including tomato puree, sugar, salt, chili powder, vinegar, soybean oil, and onion powder. It is 20 calories per serving, with 1g of fat, 290mg of sodium, 4g of carbs, and 1g of sugar. Each serving is about a quarter of a cup.
This particular sauce is their red chile version, with a tomato base. It has a medium heat, adding a kick of spice, while not over doing it. This sauce is unique in that it can be used for a wide variety of Mexican-inspired dishes; it is not exclusive to enchiladas only.
2. Rosarita Enchilada Sauce
Rosarita was established in the 1940s, boasting over 70 years of experience in making quality enchilada sauce. This tomato-based sauce has a refined, cheesy taste, with low acidity levels and layered flavors.
It has a mild heat level, making this the perfect option for children or if you have a low tolerance to spicy food. The brand recommends using it for chicken and cheese enchiladas or a 7-layer fiesta dip.
This is a great addition if you are health-conscious; the sauce is just 20 calories per quarter cup and 1g of fat, 430mg of sodium, 3g of carbs, 1g of fiber, and 2g of total sugar. Ingredients include tomato puree, tomato paste, water, red chili puree, salt, chili pepper, canola oil, onion, garlic, and more.
3. La Victoria Green Chile Enchilada Sauce
The La Victoria enchilada sauce has been around since 1917, bringing customers real flavor through canned goods. Their green chile sauce contains low heat if you prefer something not too spicy.
The brand has brought many groundbreaking contributions to the enchilada sauce industry. They incorporate a heat thermometer for each sauce, allowing the customer to decide the amount of spiciness preferred. This method is now used by many brands on the market.
Made from water, green chile peppers, green tomatoes, jalapeno peppers, soybean oil, distilled vinegar, salt, and more, this canned good is only 25 calories per quarter cup, with 0g of fat, 350mg of sodium, 3g of carbs and 1g of sugar.
4. La Victoria Traditional Red Enchilada Sauce
Here’s another delicious sauce option from La Victoria – their traditional red blend. This is a great alternative if you do not like excessive spice in your dishes. It comes in a mild heat level, with hints of smoky, chipotle flavors.The ingredients are high-quality, consisting of peppers, dehydrated California chile peppers, soybean oil, salt, distilled vinegar, dehydrated pasilla chille peppers, and garlic. It has only 25 calories per serving, including 1.5g of fat, 460mg of sodium, 3g of carbs, and 1g total sugars.
5. Las Palmas Enchilada Sauce
This red enchilada sauce from Las Palmas is a zesty blend of spices and chiles. It is a bit more spicy than other popular brands, without being too overpowering and stark.
The ingredients include red chiles, salt, cottonseed oil, cider vinegar, garlic powder, olive oil, and other spices. For every quarter cup the sauce has 15 calories, 0.5g of fat, 370mg of sodium, 3g of carbs, 1g of fiber, and 2g of sugar.
What’s really special about this brand is the handpicked tomatillos and chiles. The recipe contains fresh ingredients that brings out an authentic Mexican flavor. It works great in beef, chicken, and pork enchiladas, as well as other delicious Mexican-inspired cuisines. Las Palmas enchilada sauce is a zesty blend of different spices, making for a great additive to traditional Mexican recipes.
6. Hatch Green Chile Enchilada Sauce
Another great canned enchilada sauce is by Hatch, a popular American-brand that began creating their sauce in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
If you prefer a more mild sauce with less spice, Hatch is a good option. It is available in most groceries stores and supermarkets across the country.
The sauce is made from green chile puree, diced green chiles, soybean oil, diced jalapenos, and more, with the core ingredient being the puree. The sauce gets its taste from the dehydrated chile powder used in the recipe. The company even uses green chile peppers grown in south New Mexico and sources it from locally grown farmers in the area.
7. Hatch Red Enchilada Sauce
Another great enchilada sauce from Hatch is their canned red sauce. Both their green and red variants are rich with flavor, while sticking to a milder spice level.
The sauce is made from ground red chile peppers that can be used for enchiladas, other Mexican-themed foods, or even as a marinade when grilling. This flavorful, yet mild sauce will add a substantial tang to a variety of grilled meats.
The sauce is packed full of clean ingredients that afford a traditional-tasting, savory zest. Tomato puree, dried red chile pepper, garlic powder, salt, soybean oil, sugar, and yeast extract are among a couple of the fundamental additives in every can. You may be happy to hear that Hatch uses only organic ingredients and were one of the first companies to eliminate the use of MSG.
Hatch is made up of third-generation chile farmers, who carefully handpick every chile used in the sauce. They then wash, peel, roast, and pack all chiles within 24 hours, with the ultimate goal of producing a quality, authentic sauce.
8. La Preferida Mexican Foods Red Chile Enchilada Sauce
The La Preferida red sauce is perfect if you are looking for a chile-tomato combination and love that traditional, enchilada taste.
Made from chile paste, tomato paste, and a variety of spices, this product has an outstanding flavor, with hints of tomato and a mild spice from the chiles. You can spread this sauce all over your enchiladas, or other dishes like burritos, tacos, chicken, omelets, or grilled meats.
The sauce is not too spicy, so you won’t have to worry about burning up your taste buds from a single bite. This mild, red sauce from La Preferida has 80 calories per serving, notably with 5g of fiber and 2g of protein. The sauce is made with high-quality, authentic ingredients, creating a blend of a smooth, yet textured consistency.
Things to Consider Before Buying Canned Enchilada Sauce
Canned or Homemade?
Enchiladas are not only a big part of Mexican cuisine, but have also become very popular in modern American culture. If you’ve never had an enchilada before, you might be wondering what it even is. Essentially, it’s a rolled tortilla with some type of meat inside. They come in a variety of options, including pulled pork, chicken, beef, and even refined beans for vegetarians. Then the cheese and sauce is layered on top of the tortilla. A quality enchilada sauce will enhance the meal and provide a more authentic taste. The thing is – a lot of us don’t have the time to make the sauce from scratch. A canned sauce provides just as much flavor, while bringing a level of convenience to the cooking process.
Green or Red Enchilada Sauce?
As you may have noticed, there are both green and red sauce options available on the market. The main difference lies in the chile peppers used and the type of based formed. Red enchilada sauce is usually made from tomatoes, water, and red chile peppers. This creates a tomato-based puree that has a smoky flavor, with hints of sweetness. On the other hand, the green version will typically include green chile peppers and jalapenos for a more light, tangy taste.
When deciding which type to go for, you can think about the base of each sauce and which sounds more appealing to you. There is no rule-of-thumb for using a green or red sauce for a certain type of enchilada. Both are great, no matter the filling. It all depends on your preference.
The ingredients used and the quality of those ingredients are important considerations. This will influence how to sauce will taste, whether it’s sticking to the traditional flavors of enchilada sauce or venturing off to an original, creative taste. Additionally, the ingredients should be considered if you have a food allergy or certain dietary restrictions.
Before buying any can of enchilada sauce, evaluate the ingredient list and make sure it fits with your needs. Is the product gluten-free, soy-free, Kosher-certified, or contain any MSG or preservatives? These are all essential questions evaluate before purchasing the product.
The ingredients can also help indicate the level of spiciness of the sauce. Though each can should have a label that tells you whether it’s mild, medium or hot, sometimes looking at what’s actually in the sauce can give a better idea. For example, a product that contains jalapenos may have an extra kick to it, compared to a product that doesn’t. Reading through the ingredients for yourself can help you make the right decision when it comes to what type to go for.
How to Use It
Enchilada sauce, whether red or green, is a versatile product that can be used on a variety of Mexican dishes. Whether used as a salsa alternative in a burrito or as a marinade for grilled chicken, canned enchilada sauce is one of the best ways to get authentic Mexican flavors without the hassle of making something from scratch. Most options can be eaten straight from the can, without any preparation needed (excluding La Preferida, who recommends heating it up before use). Most of the time, simply layering it to the food will suffice. This makes it an extremely convenient and efficient product.
Mild, Medium or Hot?
The level of spice is another important factor to keep an eye on. Whether to get mild, medium or hot all depends on your preference and tolerance for spicy food. Most brands provide many heat levels that are specified on the packaging.
As far as authentic-tasting, Mexican enchiladas, they are definitely known for spice. In fact, because Mexico’s agriculture is largely based on producing chilles and peppers, the food heavily focuses on a substantial spice to every dish. Although that is a major factor of Mexican cuisine, it’s all comes down to your flavor preference and the level of spiciness you’re looking for. If you want that traditional Mexican enchilada and prefer spicy foods, the medium to hot options are probably best. But, if you want that authentic taste, minus to spicy factor, head over to the mild version.
Canned enchilada sauce is a great way to get authentic flavor to turn a bland meal into a colorful one. With that being said, you need to make sure the flavor appeals to your taste buds. Flavor depends on three factors - the brand, whether the sauce is green or red, and the ingredients.
Make sure the flavor and consistency is right for you, while also taking into consideration how it will complement the dish. Do you want something with more zest or a sauce with hints of a smoky, chipotle flavor? The best thing to do is to read the ingredient list, reviews, or even get a sample and taste it yourself.
The nutritional value is definitely something to consider before buying. Between the calories, sugar, sodium-levels, carbohydrates, and fats, you can get a good idea of what the sauce is made up of. This may be important if you trying to be conscious of what you’re consuming.
Overall, canned enchilada sauces are historically low in calories, sugar, and carbs. A typical serving size is around a quarter cup, and that usually contains around 25-30 calories, 2-3 grams of sugar, and 3-4g of carbs. Of course, this is not the case with every enchilada sauce, but it’s a good average to abide to. Products may be slightly higher or lower than these averages. Additionally, enchilada sauce is typically rich in antioxidants and vitamin C, providing some nutritional benefits.
It’s important to see if the product is sufficient for any food allergies or restrictions you may have. If you are allergic to certain things or prefer specific additives to not be included, you may want to be mindful of the product you are buying. Luckily, many canned enchilada sauces on the market today have gluten-free options.
Additionally, many of the products do not have added preservatives or MSG, and contain clean ingredients for the most part. Although, many of the brands do use soybean oil in their recipes. They, therefore, contain soy and should not be consumed by anybody who has a soy allergy. It’s always a good idea to double check that the food you consume and products you buy do not cause you any adverse reactions.
If you are now itching to make a Mexican-inspired dish, using a canned enchilada sauce, we completely get it. It’s an easy and affordable way to satisfy any traditional, Mexican food craving. Whether experimenting with a new recipe or sticking to your favorite meal, the versatility of enchilada sauce is truly something remarkable, with such a simple product and ingredient list. It usually comes in green and red options, with a variety of spice levels, helping vamp up an array of recipes.We hope this article provided a good synopsis of the different brands of enchilada sauce, distinctions between each, what they’re made of, their nutritional value, and overall what to look for to ensure you get the best canned enchilada sauce on the market.