taco sauce substitute

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If you’re making a recipe that calls for taco sauce and you have none, chances are you’re looking for the best taco sauce substitute options right now. After all, how can one really enjoy tacos or other yummy Mexican dishes without a flavorful taco sauce? Well. today, you will see 9 ways you can replace taco sauce with amazing results!

taco sauce substitute

Taco sauce is a thin tomato-based sauce with an almost soupy consistency made with ingredients like tomato puree, water, jalapeño peppers, vinegar, sugar, and a mixture of taco seasonings – paprika, cayenne pepper powder, ground cumin, onion powder, garlic powder, dried oregano and chili powder.

Taco sauce can come in various flavors including hot, mild, green, chipotle, and original.

This sauce is very popular and is used mainly for tacos, burritos and quesadillas. It is also becoming more and more popular as a sauce one can drizzle over nachos and as a dipping sauce for chips.

But, if you have no taco sauce, then what else can work? You can find the list of substitutes for taco sauce below:

Best substitutes for taco sauce

Homemade taco sauce

The best substitute for taco sauce is a homemade taco sauce. To make a homemade taco sauce recipe, you will need ingredients like tomato puree, water, cumin, onion powder, garlic powder, sugar, paprika, cayenne pepper, dried oregano, salt and black pepper.

You can find an easy recipe for homemade taco sauce here and it can be used in tacos, dips, marinades, casseroles and more.

Picante sauce

Picante sauce is another easy substitute for taco sauce. Picante sauce is typically made from ingredients like crushed or diced tomatoes, water, jalapeño peppers, onions, vinegar, garlic powder, onion powder and salt.

From this list of ingredients it can be seen that picante sauce is very similar to taco sauce, except for the fact that the vegetables in the picante sauce are finely chopped which makes this sauce a little chunkier than the smoother taco sauce.


chunky salsa

Salsa can also be used as a substitute for taco sauce. While salsa is more chunky, this sauce made with roughly chopped tomatoes, jalapeños, onions, bell peppers, cilantro and lime juice, can be used in place of taco sauce.

It should be noted that salsa has a different flavor profile than taco sauce, but it can be added to tacos, burritos, and other such Mexican dishes.

Pico de gallo

pico de gallo

Pico de gallo is also good in place of taco sauce to spoon on tacos, tostadas, burritos or quesadillas or even used as a dip for chips.

Pico de gallo is made from roughly chopped tomatoes, onions, jalapeños, salt, cilantro and lime juice. Pico de gallo is very similar to salsa, except for the fact that it is less runny than salsa.

Red enchilada sauce

Red enchilada sauce

Red enchilada is another hearty tomato based sauce that can be used to replace taco sauce.

Red enchilada sauce is made with some of the same ingredients that is used to make taco sauce including tomato puree, white vinegar, chili powder, paprika, onion powder, chipotle powder, cumin and black pepper and red bell pepper puree.

You can even feel free to add a little extra taco seasoning to this sauce if you find the flavor to be too mild!

Green enchilada sauce

Green enchilada sauce

Green enchilada sauce can also be used to top tacos. This type of sauce is made using green tomatoes, green chiles, onions, cumin, salt and cilantro.

These ingredients are cooked down to form a smooth, fruity green sauce that can be used in lots of Mexican dishes including nachos, burritos, quesadillas, tortilla chips and even casseroles.

Taco sauce (made with tomato sauce)

Taco sauce (made with tomato sauce)

You can also make a homemade taco sauce with a mixture of tomato sauce, taco seasoning water, sugar and vinegar. Follow the steps in this taco sauce recipe to see how to make it! This recipe made with tomato sauce is very easy to make and can be made to taste exactly like regular taco sauce!

Taco sauce (made with tomato paste)

taco sauce made with tomato paste

If you have no tomato puree or tomato sauce, but you have tomato paste, this ingredient provides you with another option to make a homemade taco sauce recipe

This homemade version tastes pretty much like the store bought sauce and will work well in dips, marinades, casseroles, tacos, burritos and more.

Avocado sauce

Avocado sauce

Unlike the substitutes mentioned above, which are comparable in terms of flavor to taco sauce, avocado sauce is simply a great substitute that can be used to top tacos or as a dip for chips.

It does not taste anything like taco sauce. In fact, avocado sauce is made of ingredients like ripe avocados, lime juice, mayo, salt, garlic and cilantro and has a rich, creamy, zesty flavor that you will enjoy!

It pairs well with tacos, nachos, burritos, chips, crackers and everything else Mexican!



Guacamole which is chunkier than avocado sauce also makes a good alternative for taco sauce. Again, not in terms of taste, but, as a way to top your favorite beef, chicken or shrimp tacos, or even as a dip for tortilla chips and crackers. 

Final thoughts

When it comes to sauces, you can find a lot of replacements for this type of sauce that work well. From the tomato based substitutes to the avocado substitutes, you can be assured that you can always find other sauces, even though the flavors may not be exactly the same. So, whether  you’re making tacos, quesadillas even just chips or vegetable sticks, there is a sauce here that will work in place of taco sauce!

More sauces and their substitutes

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