Is Enchilada Sauce Vegan?

By Olivia

Find out if enchilada sauce is vegan-friendly.

Ingredients in Enchilada Sauce

Enchilada sauce is a key component in this classic Mexican dish, but its ingredients can vary depending on the recipe and brand. While some enchilada sauces are indeed vegan, others may contain animal products. Here are the common ingredients found in enchilada sauce:

  • Tomatoes
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Chili peppers
  • Spices (such as cumin, oregano, or paprika)
  • Vegetable oil or fat
  • Salt
  • Water or broth

It’s important to check the specific product or recipe to determine if any non-vegan ingredients, like animal fats or stock, have been added.

Common Non-Vegan Ingredients

Some non-vegan ingredients that might be found in certain enchilada sauce recipes or brands include:

  • Chicken broth or stock: Some enchilada sauces may use chicken as a base, which would make them non-vegan.
  • Beef broth or stock: Similarly, beef-based stocks or broths are sometimes used in enchilada sauce recipes and should be avoided by vegans.
  • Lard: Traditional recipes might call for lard, a rendered animal fat, which is obviously not vegan.
  • Dairy products: Some enchilada sauces contain dairy ingredients like cheese or cream, making them unsuitable for vegans.

It’s crucial to read the label or ask about the ingredients if you’re unsure whether a particular brand or recipe is vegan-friendly.

Vegan-friendly Enchilada Sauce Brands

Thankfully, there are various vegan-friendly enchilada sauce brands available in stores. Some popular options include:

  • Trader Joe’s Enchilada Sauce: Their traditional red enchilada sauce is vegan, and they also offer a green vegan enchilada sauce.
  • La Victoria Enchilada Sauce: Several of their enchilada sauce varieties, including red and green, are vegan.
  • Santa Cruz Organic Enchilada Sauce: This brand offers an organic red enchilada sauce that is vegan-friendly.

Remember to always double-check the ingredients, as companies may change their recipes or introduce new products.

Making Vegan Enchilada Sauce at Home

If you prefer making enchilada sauce from scratch, it’s fairly simple to create a delicious vegan version. Here’s a basic recipe:

  1. In a saucepan, sauté minced garlic and finely chopped onions in vegetable oil until they soften.
  2. Add crushed tomatoes, chili powder, cumin, oregano, and salt to the saucepan.
  3. Simmer the mixture over low heat, stirring occasionally, for about 15-20 minutes.
  4. Blend the cooked sauce with an immersion blender or in a regular blender until smooth.
  5. Taste and adjust the seasonings if needed.

This homemade vegan enchilada sauce can be used in your favorite enchilada recipes or as a topping for other Mexican dishes.

Enchilada Sauce as Part of Vegan Recipes

Enchilada sauce is a versatile ingredient used in many vegan recipes. Here are some tasty dishes where you can use vegan-friendly enchilada sauce:

  1. Vegan Enchiladas: Fill tortillas with vegetables, beans, or vegan proteins, cover with enchilada sauce, and bake until bubbly.
  2. Enchilada Casserole: Layer tortillas, beans, corn, and vegan cheese in a baking dish, pouring enchilada sauce over each layer. Bake until heated through.
  3. Chili: Add enchilada sauce to your favorite vegan chili recipe to enhance the flavors and add a touch of spice.
  4. Stuffed Peppers: Fill bell peppers with a mixture of cooked rice, beans, veggies, and enchilada sauce, then bake until tender.
  5. Tofu Scramble: Use enchilada sauce as a flavor-packed topping or stir it into your tofu scramble for a Mexican-inspired breakfast.

With vegan enchilada sauce, the possibilities are endless for creating delicious and plant-based Mexican-inspired meals.


While not all enchilada sauce is vegan, there are plenty of vegan-friendly options available. By checking ingredients carefully and exploring alternative recipes, vegans can continue to enjoy the flavors of enchiladas without compromising their dietary choices. Whether store-bought or homemade, vegan enchilada sauce allows you to savor this classic Mexican dish guilt-free!