Cilantro-Lime Enchilada Sauce

I am glad to be back home in the great Pacific Northwest after a 5 day visit to Southern California to see my family. I haven’t been cooking while gone, so today I wanted to share the recipe for a fantastic tasting Cilantro-Lime Enchilada Sauce that I made (and canned) back in July. Cilantro-Lime Enchilada Sauce / The Grateful Girl Cooks!
I’ve included instructions for canning this (optional), but you don’t have to do that to enjoy this delicious sauce on some enchiladas, or even to use as a taco sauce. It’s really good, and very easy to prepare.

I had never cooked with tomatillos before making this green sauce, but found them very easy to work with.  A tomatillo is also known as a Mexican Husk Tomato, due to the paper-like husk that surrounds it. This fruit/vegetable originated in Mexico, and is a key ingredient in Mexican and Central American green sauces.

When I make homemade enchiladas or order them at our favorite Mexican restaurant, I always go with a red sauce, BUT I decided to branch out a bit and make this recipe for a green enchilada sauce. I sure am glad I did. I found this recipe from Pam at “Over The Big”.  The recipe does NOT have to be canned, but I canned it (water-bath canning and recipe makes 3 pints), so I could have some for “later”. I used the first batch of this sauce to make some Pork Enchiladas With Cilantro Lime Sauce, and whoa… they were amazingly DELICIOUS!

Cilantro-Lime Enchiladas / The Grateful Girl Cooks!The sauce was very easy to prepare, and I absolutely will make it again, so I can have more in our pantry!  Here’s how I made it:

I peeled and de-stemmed the tomatillos, then cut each tomatillo in quarters (6 cups total).

Cilantro-Lime Enchilada Sauce / The Grateful Girl Cooks!
I put them into a large stockpot, then added chopped onion, minced garlic, and chopped jalapeno peppers.

Cilantro-Lime Enchilada Sauce / The Grateful Girl Cooks!
I drizzled the veggies with olive oil, and let them cook for a few minutes on medium-high heat. While the tomatillos, etc. were cooking, I chopped the fresh cilantro.

Cilantro-Lime Enchilada Sauce / The Grateful Girl Cooks!
After the tomatillo mixture had cooked for a few minutes, I added water, chopped cilantro, cumin, and salt. I covered the pan, turned the heat to low, then cooked it for about 10-12 minutes.

Cilantro-Lime Enchilada Sauce / The Grateful Girl Cooks!
Once the tomatillos were pretty soft, I used an immersion blender to completely puree everything into a smooth sauce. If you do not have an immersion blender (mine was a gift!), just put everything into a blender or a food processor and blend until smooth (might have to do it in batches).

Cilantro-Lime Enchilada Sauce / The Grateful Girl Cooks!
When the sauce is smooth, add the lime juice to the mixture, and mix well, to combine. At this point if you are NOT going to can it, you can use some right away or store in air-tight bags in freezer. Keep leftovers refrigerated.

Cilantro-Lime Enchilada Sauce / The Grateful Girl Cooks!
**If you are going to can the enchilada sauce, you will need to add the hot enchilada sauce into your clean, hot canning jars (that have been prepped according to USDA safe canning guidelines). YOU WILL ALSO NEED TO ADD ADDITIONAL LIME JUICE TO EACH JAR BEFORE PROCESSING (SEE RECIPE BELOW).

Fill the jars leaving 1/2 ” headspace, remove air bubbles, adjust headspace, if necessary, wipe rims, then apply 2 piece canning lids that have been prepped according to safe canning guidelines. Process in boiling water in waterbath canner for 40 minutes, following published canning guidelines**.

Cilantro-Lime Enchilada Sauce / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Cilantro-Lime Enchilada Sauce / The Grateful Girl Cooks!
Hope you will give this recipe a try! The sauce is so delicious and fresh tasting!

Cilantro-Lime Enchilada Sauce / The Grateful Girl Cooks!Recipe Source:

Cilantro-Lime Enchilada Sauce
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
25 mins
This delicious green enchilada sauce features the flavors of tomatillos, cilantro, and lime!
Category: Condiment
Servings: 3 pints
Author: JB at The Grateful Girl Cooks!
  • 6 cups tomatillos , husks removed and quartered
  • 1/2 cup brown onion , chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic (sliced thinly, or use equivalent of minced garlic)
  • 2 medium jalapeno peppers , finely chopped
  • 3 Tablespoons cilantro , chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • olive oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 2 additional fresh limes (to use only if you are canning this recipe)
  1. Remove husks from tomatillos; rinse tomatillos, then cut into quarters. Place into large saute pan or stockpot, along with the garlic and chopped jalapenos, then drizzle all with a bit of olive oil.
  2. Cook the veggies on medium high heat for 4-5 minutes.
  3. Add the water, cilantro, cumin and salt to the pan.
  4. Put a lid on the pan; continue to simmer the veggies on low for about 10 minutes or so, until the tomatillos have softened.
  5. Once tomatillos have softened, use an immersion blender to blend ingredients until you have a smooth sauce. May also put the hot ingredients into a blender or a food processor (in batches), and process until smooth.
  6. Once sauce is smooth, stir in 1/4 cup of fresh lime juice to combine. If you are NOT canning the sauce, it is now ready to use.
  7. IF YOU ARE GOING TO CAN THE SAUCE: Pour the hot enchilada sauce into clean, hot canning jars. Squeeze the juice from 1/2 a lime into each jar - DO NOT FORGET TO ADD THE EXTRA LIME JUICE TO JAR, SINCE THIS ADDS THE EXTRA ACIDITY NECESSARY FOR LONG TERM STORAGE. Leave 1/2" headspace in each jar. Remove air bubbles, wipe rim of jar with clean cloth, then attach prepared heated jar lid (again, per guidelines) and jar ring. Please follow USDA canning guidelines if you are not familiar with the canning process. Process in a water bath canner for 40 minutes. When done, remove jars to a kitchen towel (do not sit right on counter), and let jars completely cool. Once you have ensured they have sealed correctly, they may be stored in pantry.
Recipe Notes

**The cooking time listed is for making the sauce. If you will be canning the sauce, and additional 40 minutes of processing time will be necessary.




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