Burrito Sauce vs Enchilada Sauce: What’s the Difference?

We Reveal the Similarities and Differences Between Burrito and Enchilada Sauce

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When you are not used to cooking a certain cuisine, it can be easy to get confused as to which dishes pair with which sauces and what each sauce does. Of course, the internet is a wonderful place to help solve this confusion, but it cannot always give a definite answer. 

Burrito sauce and enchilada sauce are two of Mexico’s most popular and well-loved sauces, only increasing in popularity as the taste of Mexico successfully spreads throughout the world. But there is still some confusion as to how the two sauces differ, or if they differ at all. 

The most impactful difference between burrito sauce and enchilada sauce is their flavours. Burrito sauce, while not overly sweet, is very creamy and has a sweet kick. Enchilada sauce is much more complex with a rich warmth both in a hearty and spicy sense. 

What is Burrito Sauce?

Not everyone is as familiar with burrito sauce as they are with the delicious burritos themselves. This is because burrito sauce is not a necessary component of making burritos. However, it is one of those sauces that can make an already wonderful dish that little bit more special. 

Burrito sauce can be used either in the burrito or as a dipping condiment. Either way, it has to be thin enough to not mess with the texture of the burrito and its fillings, which is why burrito sauce tends to be creamy and smooth.

The creaminess of the sauce is due to the use of both sour cream and yoghurt. 

A mix of oregano and cumin are also used in the sauce to give it a hearty warmth. Although, the main flavour of any good burrito sauce is a slightly heated kick from chipotle peppers and a fresh sweetness from lime juice. 

Can You Substitute Sour Cream for Other Creams in Burritos?

If you are not a fan of sour cream, your burrito sauce still needs that extra level of creaminess to work with your burrito, so use mayonnaise instead. Other types of cream will make your sauce too sweet. 

Burrito With Sour Cream Sauce

What is Enchilada Sauce?

Simply put, there is no enchilada dish without enchilada sauce. You’d just be making regular tortilla wraps. Enchilada sauce can be prepared fresh or ahead of time to smother all over your constructed enchilada tortillas before the dish is cooked, allowing the tortillas to absorb the delicious flavour of the sauce. 

For enchilada sauce to properly cling to the enchiladas, it needs to be physically thick but also develop enough of a flavour to not fall flat when compared to the enchiladas themselves. That is why enchilada sauce tastes best when given time to simmer. 

Enchilada sauce is built upon a tomato base which develops a savoury richness while the sauce cooks. Dried herbs and spices, such as cumin, garlic powder, and oregano, are sautéed and added to the tomatoes which gives the sauce a complex flavour. 

Is Enchilada Sauce Spicy?

Like any good Mexican sauce, enchilada sauce does traditionally include some chili powder for some added spice. However, you do not have to include the chili powder if you are sensitive to heat.


Similarities Between Burrito and Enchilada Sauce

Since both sauces have a Mexican origin are used in similar dishes, it makes sense that there are some obvious similarities between the sauces:

  • Type Of Dish – Really, enchiladas are not overly different from burritos at their core. They are both made of a stuffed tortilla and are delicious in their own right. Burrito sauce and enchilada sauce have both been developed to work with the tough tortillas in their dishes to ensure that the dish is as delicious as possible. 
  • Herbs And Spices – Though used in varying measurements, burrito sauce and enchilada sauce mainly rely on oregano, cumin, and garlic powder to bring flavour to the sauce. This combination of herbs and spices gives the sauces an authentic Mexican taste. That is to say, one that is hearty, warm and that will leave your tastebuds tingling the perfect amount. 
  • Country Of Origin – There are few things that are as Mexican as burritos and enchiladas, so it makes sense that the dish’s accompanying sauces are also distinctly Mexican. As much is obvious just from the flavour of burrito sauce and enchilada sauce, but can also be seen in the choice of ingredients used, which are very accessible in Mexico. 

Differences Between Burrito and Enchilada Sauce

As their names would suggest, burrito sauce and enchilada sauce are not the same sauces. They have their differences which should be noted. Such as: 

  • Sauce Thickness – Burrito sauce and enchilada sauce serve different purposes for their dishes and they are different levels of thickness. Whether it is used as a dipping sauce or to help add moisture to a dry burrito, burrito sauce is typically very thin as to not alter the texture of the burrito itself. Enchilada sauce, while not terribly thick, is much thicker than burrito sauce so that it can stick to the enchiladas themselves. 
  • Cooking and Preparation Time – As it does not need to be cooked out or thickened up, burrito sauce is exceedingly simple to make. All you really need to do is throw all of your ingredients into a bowl or blender and mix until fully combined. An enchilada sauce requires time to simmer in order to develop its rich, thick taste which typically takes anywhere between 15-25 minutes. 
  • How It Is Used – Unlike other sauces in other cuisines, burrito sauce and enchilada sauce are quite specific to their designated dishes. Though enchiladas as a dish is much more reliant on the texture and consistency of enchilada sauce than burritos are on burrito sauce. Burrito sauce can be used to add some moisture back into shredded chicken and which can then be used in the burrito itself. But for the most part it functions as an extra condiment. 

Burrito Sauce vs Enchilada Sauce: Which Wins?

If you had to pick between burrito sauce and enchilada sauce, which are you going to go with? Vast your vote in our burrito sauce vs enchilada sauce poll:

Do You Prefer Burrito or Enchilada Sauce?

Burrito and Enchilada Sauce FAQs

Do you still have queries about burrito and enchilada sauces? Then have a look at these FAQs:

Are Burritos the Same as Enchiladas?

No, burritos and enchiladas have one main difference. Enchiladas are filled, placed into a dish, covered in sauce and then baked. Burritos, however, are not baked and are served filled with cooked fillings.

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