Enchilada Sauce Vs Salsa: Head To Head Differences

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Enchilada Sauce Vs SalsaMexican cuisine is one of the most popular cuisines in the world. Thanks to the concept of global culture sharing, we don’t have to travel across the world to try new food from different countries.

People love the spicy, tangy, and colorful food in Mexican cuisine. That is why their Tacos, Enchiladas, and Salsas have become so popular all over the world now.

Salsa is a very common dip used in Mexican cuisine. A very similar kind of sauce to Salsa is the Enchilada sauce. Both of these dips are made with a flavorful combination of Chilies, Tomatoes, and a lot of spices. So, how will you differentiate between them?

Keep on reading this article to learn more about Enchilada sauce vs Salsa.

A Brief History About Enchilada Sauce

A Brief History About Enchilada Sauce

Enchilada means spicy, or to be spiced in Spanish. Therefore, as the name suggests, this sauce is packed with flavor and can be quite exhilarating for our taste buds.

This is a smooth Chile-based sauce that is most commonly used to make Enchiladas. Since the sauce is so flavorful, it is also used in some other dishes.

Similar to most Mexican food, Enchilada sauce also has a lot of cake to it. This sauce can add a burst of flavor and spice to any sort of dish.

The key ingredients to use in an Enchilada sauce are Chile, Chili powder, Cumin, Garlic, and some other spices.

People may use a mild Ancho Chile base or a spicier option Chipotle Pepper for their Enchilada sauces. The sauce is quite customizable. People who want to whip up a quick Enchilada sauce can use a Serrano Pepper base as well.

Don’t be confused between Enchilada sauces, and the filling for Tamales. A Tamale sauce is quite different from an Enchilada sauce. Tamale sauce is mixed in with the filling- which is typically meat. It is not served on top of a dish, or around it as a dip.

What Does Enchilada Sauce Taste Like?

Enchilada sauce tastes like Chili powder and Tomato sauce. The flavor can vary from recipe to recipe.

The sauce is customizable and can be made using different ingredients. Red Enchilada sauce tastes tangy and spicy. This is because the sauce has Tomatoes, Vinegar, and a lot of spices.

Green Enchilada sauce tastes a bit smoother as green tomatoes are a bit sweeter. You still get a spicy and tangy taste from it as it contains spices and Vinegar as well.

Different Types Of Enchilada Sauce

Enchilada sauces come in two different variations- a red kind of Enchilada sauce, and a green one.

1. Red Enchilada Sauce

Red Enchilada Sauce

Red Enchilada sauces are the more classic version. The red color comes from the usage of tomatoes or tomato paste. Besides the key ingredient being tomato, the sauce also uses Red Chili, Vinegar, Garlic, Onion, and some other spices.

2. Green Enchilada Sauce

Green Enchilada Sauce

Green Enchilada sauce is based on Green Chilies. This sauce often has a good number of Tomatillos in it. This is a green variant of the tomato commonly consumed in Mexican cuisine. Green tomatoes are tangy than red ones.

To add a little bit of cake to the sauces, usually, people put in Jalapenos or Serrano peppers.

Benefits Of Using Enchilada Sauce

Benefits Of Using Enchilada Sauce

Besides being absolutely delicious to eat, Enchilada sauce has other benefits as well.

Because both red and green enchilada sauce is made with tomatoes, the sauces are filled with antioxidants and lycopene.

When cooked, the bioavailability of these antioxidants in the tomatoes is enhanced significantly. Therefore, Enchilada sauces, whether it be store-bought or homemade, are a great source of anti-inflammatory antioxidants.

Lycopene is an antioxidant that can be beneficial for your heart health, bone health, and also can give you anti-cancer benefits.

A Brief About Salsa Sauce

A Brief About Salsa Sauce

Salsa has become a staple dip in the US. There’s not a household in the country that doesn’t know what Salsa is.

Salsa is not considered a sauce because of its chunky texture. But, in Spanish Salsa translates to the sauce.

Salsa is generally a chunkier ticker version of an Enchilada sauce.

Salsas are usually made with Tomatoes, Chiles, and Onions. Tomatoes are an essential part of Salsas. It is what gives the dish its unique flavor and texture.

Salsa is generally used as a condiment, and not as a staple ingredient. We often eat Salsa with chips. Salsa is also commonly eaten with Tacos and Tortilla chips.

The dish is served cold alongside other dishes so that it can add a burst of freshness and flavor.

Salsas are also quite adjustable. It can be very spicy, or very mild, depending on a person’s palate. The heat in the Salsa comes from the chilies added to it. The spices can also be a contributor to the heat.

Salsa Verde is the green version of Salsa. Here, instead of using Tomatoes, you would use Tomatillos. It is served as an option for tacos, or to be eaten with chips.

What Does Salsa Taste Like?

The taste of Salsa can vary depending on the recipe being used. The basic recipe contains tomatoes, chilies, and onions. But a lot of people add different spices and even coriander to the dish.

However, a basic Salsa will be a little bit sweet, tangy, and zesty. Salsa Verde is tarter, as it uses green tomatilos.

Benefits Of Using Salsa Sauce

Benefits Of Using Salsa Sauce

Salsa has a lot of benefits. Besides being delicious to eat, the dish also is very good for your health.

Because Salsa has Lime Juice, Tomatoes, and Onions as its key ingredients, the dish is a great source of antioxidants and vitamin c.

Vitamin c can help prevent heart diseases. It also promotes healthy aging. Salsa is most commonly served raw, which helps to preserve the nutrients in the ingredients.

The nutrients in Salsa can also be great for controlling blood sugar. As over 95% of the tomato’s weight is water, Salsas also can help you to stay hydrated.

If you add Jalapenos to the Salsa, the spice in it will help increase your body’s fat-burning ability. Therefore, in a way it can also promote weight loss.

Also, Salsas are low in calories but packed with flavor. It’s a great source of Vitamin c, Potassium, Quercetin, and helps to give you a good dose of citric acid.

Differences Between Enchilada Sauce And Salsa Verde

Differences Between Enchilada Sauce And Salsa Verde

We’ve learned about Salsa and Enchilada sauce in detail. But, which condiment is used for what? Let’s look at the key differences between these two sauces to understand their contribution a little better.


Salsa is typically consumed as a condiment. It is served as a side dish.

Salsa is consumed with Tacos or Tortilla chips.

On the other hand, Enchilada sauce is a part of the dish that provides a lot of flavors. Enchilada sauce can be labeled as one of the key contributors to the main flavor component of a dish.


Salsa is made with Chilies Tomatoes, Onions, and Lime Juice. Some people also add Cilantro and other spices.

Enchilada sauces are not based on Tomatoes. Although they have Tomatoes in the ingredient list- an Enchilada sauce is typically based on Chiles. Therefore, an Enchilada sauce can be a bit spicier than Salsas.


Salsa cannot be labeled as a sauce because it is not smooth and not a paste. It is chunky and contains all of the ingredients cut up into small pieces.

Enchilada sauce is thin and very smooth at consistency. The texture is just like any other sauce.

Salsa is generally served cold, while Enchilada sauce is hot.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can You Use Salsa Instead Of Enchilada Sauce?

Salsa and Enchilada sauces are used for two very different things. While Salsa is used as a condiment, an Enchilada sauce is a key ingredient in recipes. Enchilada sauces are used to add a very specific flavor to a dish.

You can add Salsa to a dish instead of Enchilada sauce, but you won’t get that intense spicy flavor of the chili.

2. Are Salsa Verde And Green Chile Enchilada Sauce The Same Thing?

No, there is a difference between the two. Both of these use tomatillos, which are green tomatoes consumed in Mexico.

However, an Enchilada sauce is cooked and smooth, while a Salsa Verde is served raw and chunky.

3. What Is Enchilada Sauce Made Of?

Enchilada sauce is a mixture of Mexican Peppers, Spices, Chili powder, Cumin, Tomato paste, and Chile. A lot of people also use oil, flour, and some type of broth in the sauce.

The base of the Enchilada sauce is dominated by Chile.

Final Words

Both Salsa and Enchilada sauce are widely popular in Mexican cuisine. The two dishes are made with very similar ingredients. But, the cooking process is different, and so is the taste.

To conclude, we would say that the main difference between an Enchilada sauce VS Salsa is that- Salsa is served raw, while an Enchilada sauce is cooked.

Also, the Enchilada sauce is a lot smoother, and served hot, while Salsa is usually served cold and is chunky and raw.

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