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Taste-Off: The Best Canned Enchilada Sauce

Maria Foster
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by Maria Foster

I don’t know anyone who doesn’t love fresh, authentic enchiladas, filled with steaming-hot meat, cheese, and beans, wrapped in soft corn tortillas. 

Wait, what am I missing that transforms enchiladas from pretty tasty to absolutely mouthwateringly delicious? The sauce, of course! When you know the best canned enchilada sauce, you can design these beauties straight from your own kitchen.

We have researched dozens of enchilada sauces on the market today, and trust me, if you want authentic, don’t just go to the nearest grocery store and grab any enchilada sauce brand off the shelf. What separates OK from the best are the five best canned enchilada sauces we present to you today:

Best Canned Enchilada Sauce
  • 2g net carbs
  • Dimensions (inches): 13.7 x 10.1 x 4.7
  • Weight (ounces): 20
El Paso Red Enchilada Sauce
Best Canned Red Enchilada Sauce
  • Contains soy ingredients
  • Dimensions (inches): 11.61 x 8.07 x 4.06
  • Weight (ounces): 9.26 pounds (12 pack)
El Pato Enchilada Sauce
Best Canned Sauce with Natural Ingredients
  • Sold from Downtown LA
  • Dimensions (inches): 4.1 x 4 x 3.9
  • Weight (ounces): 28
La Victoria Enchilada Sauce
Best Canned Mild Enchilada Sauce
  • Kosher certified
  • Dimensions (inches): 11.1 x 8.2 x 4.1
  • Weight (ounces): 9.25 pounds (12 pack)
Las Palmas Enchilada Sauce
Best Canned Green Enchilada Sauce
  • Medium, deep spicy flavor
  • Dimensions (inches): 16.25 x 12.25 x 4.75
  • Weight (ounces): 25.5

The Five Best Canned Enchilada Sauces

After evaluating numerous sauces, we determined the best canned enchilada sauce to be the Rosarita Enchilada Sauce, an authentic, mild heat flavor Mexican sauce with shelf life of over 540 days. Old ElPaso and El Pato red sauce are also good alternatives.

1. Rosarita Enchilada Sauce: Best Overall

Rosarita Enchilada Sauce

In 1923, Pedro Guerrero from Arizona sold tamales at a festival, which inspired his dream to bring authentic Mexican food to the masses.

Armed with only a third-grade education, Pedro founded Rosarita Mexican Food Products in the 1940s, and the company expanded into what it is today: a go-to for premium quality sauces, refried beans, and whole beans, still made from the 70-year old Guerrero family recipe!

Features & Ingridients:

  • Tomato-based enchilada sauce made from fresh ingredients
  • Mild heat flavor
  • 20 calories per serving
  • Keto-friendly: 2 net carbs, no added sugar
  • Sold in 12 pack of 20 oz cans
  • Shelf life: 540 days

Why is Rosarita Enchilada Sauce the Best?

With just a hint of spice, the Rosarita Enchilada Sauce is not only an Amazon’s Choice, but our top choice. Advertised as “a bold and zesty sauce full of authentic flavor,” Rosarita’s Enchilada Sauce proves this claim in every Mexican-style dish. If you’re looking for a mild heat level with an authentic Mexican flavor, Rosarita is what you need.

Rosita is the best because of the fresh ingredients;

In fact, the top ingredients in Rosita’s Enchilada Sauce are tomato paste and red chile puree. With only 20 calories, 2 net carbs, and no added sugar per serving, the Rosarita is also a keto-friendly and health-conscious option. Expert chefs and cooking enthusiasts applaud the refined taste of Rosarita Enchilada Sauce.

Rosarita Enchilada pairs well with any Mexican dish, but customers and experts alike rave about how well it complements cheese and chicken enchiladas. Check out Rosarita’s recipes, straight from their website, and plan an authentic Mexican meal! Your taste buds will thank you.

2. Old El Paso Enchilada Sauce: Best Canned Red Enchilada Sauce

El Paso Red Enchilada Sauce

Owned by General Mills, Old El Paso has been spicing up Mexican-inspired meals since 1917. With a passion of bringing families together, Old El Paso creates the best sauces, seasonings, rice and beans, and even dinner kits, including the Old El Paso Enchilada Sauce, a sure hit for your dinner time!

Features & Ingridients:

  • Tomato-based enchilada sauce with an authentic spice blend
  • Medium heat flavor
  • 20 calories per serving
  • 4 carbs/1 g sugar per serving
  • Sold in 12 pack of 10 oz cans

Why is Old El Paso Enchilada Sauce the Best?

Old El Paso “bridges the gap of mild and hot,” so if you want a little more heat, but not too much, this one is for you. The nostalgic taste of Old El Paso Enchilada Sauce is cited by many as what makes this sauce the best. Indeed, the authentic spice blend is what sets this sauce apart.

While Old El Paso is a red, tomato-based enchilada sauce, it is not real “tomato-y.” The Mexican inspired spices add flavor to casseroles, salad, dinners, you name it. Old El Paso will create a homey feel to your meals. As I mentioned, Old El Paso features a medium heat flavor, which is perfect for both children and adults.

The price is a bit more than some others, and the cans come in a 10 oz, 19 oz, or 28 oz. The 10 oz cans come in a pack of 12 on Amazon, and each can is enough for five six-inch enchiladas. Experts and food junkies alike swear by the lightly spicy authentic flavor of El Paso.

3. El Pato Red : Best Canned Sauce with Natural Ingredients

El Pato Enchilada Sauce

Walker Foods, the manufacturer of El Pato Red Chile Enchilada Sauce, has been a true family business since 1914! Located in the heart of Los Angeles, Walker Foods was not only the first business to produce salsa in the U.S., but they are known for using pure, natural ingredients in their products.

Features & Ingridients:

  • Tomato-based enchilada sauce with whole chiles
  • Fresh taste with no preservatives
  • 15 calories per serving
  • 3 carbs/1 g sugar per serving
  • Sold in single 28 oz. cans

Why is El Pato Red Chile Enchilada Sauce the Best?

The best part of El Pato Red Chile Enchilada Sauce is the sheer simplicity of natural ingredients, including whole chiles. The first two ingredients are tomato puree and chile peppers, as opposed to chiles powder, like some others. So, what is the secret to keeping the chiles fresh?

They are pickled in a brine solution, so they remain crisp and fresh without refrigeration. Customers rave about the freshness this sauce adds to their meals and love the natural ingredients with no preservatives.

But what about the duck logo, you may be wondering? According to the Walker Foods website, Mr. Walker’s grandfather heard of a Mexican proverb that duck, or El Pato, translated into Spanish, is good luck. A duck can walk on land, fly, and swim, making it super adaptable to any environment, representing how Walker Foods does business!

The only thing we don’t like about El Pato Red Chile is that it is only sold in 28 oz. cans. Some people may not need the abundance, so you’re likely to need to freeze leftovers unless you want to cook Mexican food in bulk, and that’s actually a great idea!

4. La Victoria Traditional: Best Canned Mild Enchilada Sauce

La Victoria Enchilada Sauce

For over 100 years, La Victoria, a family-owned business, has been proudly bringing fresh ingredients straight from California’s Central Valley, to savory sauces, including the Traditional Red Enchilada Sauce.

The company’s slogan, “Field to Table. Simple Ingredients. Flavors that Excite” rings true in their enchilada sauce!

Features & Ingridients:

  • Red enchilada sauce with fresh
  • Mild heat flavor
  • 25 calories per serving
  • 3 carbs/1 g sugar per serving
  • Gluten-free
  • Kosher certified
  • Sold in 12 pack of 10 oz cans

Why is La Victoria Traditional Red Enchilada Sauce the Best?

The simple ingredients straight from California’s fields to your plate make La Victoria’s Traditional Red Enchilada Sauce stand out. Not to mention, it’s gluten-free and Kosher certified. La Victoria was the first in the industry to produce the “heat thermometer,” so customers could choose the right amount of spice for their liking.

This red enchilada sauce is mild, so if you love the spice but not the heat, this one is for you.

Not only is the La Victoria perfect for those who can pass on the heat, but it is also one of the healthiest enchilada sauces out there. Made with water, red chile peppers, California Chile peppers, soybean oil, distilled vinegar, salt, garlic, and spice, it’s all-natural, gluten-free, and Kosher certified.

This sauce is thicker than some, and if you want to thin it out, no problem. Just add stock of water by the teaspoon to turn it into the consistency you prefer. There are no overpowering flavors in this enchilada sauce, just a fine blend of the natural ingredients to complement your Mexican-style meals.

5. Las Palmas Sauce: Best Canned Green Enchilada Sauce

Las Palmas Enchilada Sauce

If you’re reading this article thinking, red enchilada sauce is OK, but I prefer green, we haven’t forgotten about our #teamgreen folks! If you’re looking for the best canned green enchilada sauce, Las Palmas is your answer.

Las Palmas originated in 1922 by a talented Mexican woman named Rosa Ramirez from California, and today, the company is one of the top-selling brands in Mexican foods.

Features & Ingridients:

  • Green enchilada sauce with deep, spicy flavor
  • Medium heat flavor
  • Versatile sauce
  • 25 calories per serving
  • 3 carbs/1 g sugar per serving
  • Sold in 12 pack of 28 oz cans

Why is Las Palmas Green Enchilada Sauce the Best?

Las Palmas Green Chile Enchilada Sauce is the best canned green sauce out there because of its deep, spicy flavor that is not overpowering. Still, there’s the heat! Made from fresh green chile peppers, jalapeno peppers, garlic, and spices, this green enchilada sauce is sure to complement your favorite meals, but not just traditional Mexican recipes.

That brings us to our next point: while this sauce is specifically enchilada sauce and pairs well with Mexican food, it’s also incredibly versatile. The zesty flavor complements lasagna, casseroles, soups, pulled pork, macaroni and cheese, or you could even eat it as a salsa with tortilla chips.

Seriously, this stuff has so much flavor and so many ways to add it to your meals and snacks!

Like many of the other companies in our article today, Las Palmas has proven its trusted reputation over the years. Even though it has grown world-wide, it remains authentic to its roots: high-quality, fresh ingredients.

What to Consider Before Buying Canned Enchilada Sauce

In this section, we will go over a few things to ask yourself before buying canned enchilada sauce. The first point is that not all canned enchilada sauce brands are high quality or tasty, so grabbing the first canned sauce you see is not the best idea.

Red Enchilada Sauce

Red or Green?:

Some prefer red; others, green. The main difference between red and green enchilada sauce is the ingredients. Red enchilada sauce is made from tomatoes, while green is made from green peppers and jalapenos. Deciding which one to use is based on preference and what you plan to cook.

Related article: Enchilada Sauce vs Taco Sauce Comparison


The next factor is the ingredients. Look through the ingredients’ list to see if the sauce is best for your needs, especially if you have food allergies. If you’re looking for a mild sauce, you wouldn’t want to choose one with whole chiles as the main ingredient. Typically, the fewer ingredients, the better. If you see a canned enchilada sauce with a whole bunch of ingredients, chances are it’s full of preservatives.


The calories, sugar, salt, carbs, and fat are other factors you may want to consider before buying canned enchilada sauce. Most enchilada sauces are low in calories, sugars, and carbs. A typical serving has around 15-25 calories, 2-3 g of sugar, and 2-4 carbs. As far as nutritional value, you can get antioxidants and Vitamin C from the tomatoes in red enchilada sauce. We know it’s not as much as eating fresh tomatoes on a garden salad, but hey, it’s still something.

If you are looking for a gluten-free or Kosher enchilada sauce, La Victoria Traditional Red Enchilada Sauce is a good choice. If you’re looking for low carb and no sugar, our top choice, Rosarita Enchilada Sauce, is your go-to.

Heat Level:

Mexican food is notorious for its spice, which is why we love it! However, not everyone likes the heat. Before choosing an enchilada sauce, decide on the heat level. If you’re cooking for a big group that includes children, mild is best. If you’re cooking for a bunch of teenagers, ramp up the spice, hahaha! Most people enjoy somewhere between mild and hot, so keep that in mind, too, as you choose enchilada sauce.


Enchilada sauce should not be limited to enchiladas. Both red and green enchilada sauce can be paired with other Mexican-inspired meals. Still, many can also be used in American-style meals such as various soups and casseroles, macaroni and cheese, and even pizza! Many people use enchilada sauce as a dipping sauce for tortilla chips, egg rolls, or raw veggies! (Yes, I know someone who does that.)


Sure, going out for Mexican food is fun, but if you want to make your own from your own home, you will need a high-quality canned enchilada sauce. Choose one from our top picks and tell us when dinner will be ready!

About Maria Foster
Maria Foster
Maria Foster is a mother of 3 and she and her husband of 23 years share their home with 2 faithful dogs. Besides being CEO of the household and active in her community, Maria is the lead contributor to Food Champs and loves to try new food ideas and kitchen accessories to make easier and more delicious meals.
Maria Foster
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