This article may contain affiliate links and if you make a purchase after clicking on a link, we may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you.
Taco sauce is a general term of identification for smooth sauces made from tomatoes, chilies, and spices – it’s almost like your regular Salsa. The taco sauce contains tomatoes, onions, and sweet or hot peppers, or both.
But as a taco sauce lover, what happens when you suddenly run out of it while cooking? Will you abort your cooking or prepare something else? Well, you don’t have to, as there are plenty of suitable taco sauce substitutes you can use instead.
Some of the best alternatives to taco sauce that you can use anytime include pico de gallo, salsa verde, red tomato salsa or Salsa Roja, and homemade guacamole.
What Is Taco Sauce?
The sauce is very popular that merely walking down the grocery store aisle will have you see at least five different brands before you leave.
Taco sauce is best when added to tacos. Still, it has gradually become an inclusive flavorer capable of bringing a delicious, smoky, and spicy Mexican flavor to several other recipes.
It can also be used as a sauce for your chips, your tater tots, or your burritos, and it is excellent for drizzling over the top of a plate of your delicious nachos.
Taco sauce is made primarily from a tomato sauce base. Other ingredients are cumin, garlic, paprika — preferably smoked, Oregano, cayenne, Onion Powder; then you can add Salt and pepper to your taste.
The beautiful thing is that you can equally add some sugar or even droplets of honey or maple syrup to taste if you like a little sweetness in your spice.
Best Taco Sauce Substitutes
1. Pico de Gallo
The name literally means “beak of rooster” in the Spanish language. It is a popular kind of Salsa used with a couple of Mexican food, like tacos, nachos, or quesadillas, making it an excellent substitute for Taco sauce.
It is also an excellent ingredient for Spanish dishes because it is lesser in liquid than other salsas out there while retaining the same great flavor. Like most salsas, it is made with a tomato base and other bold ingredients.
It usually includes the following ingredients:
- Diced Tomatoes
- Chopped onions
- Lime Juice
- Seasoning like chili powder
In the process of making it, don’t forget to use tomatoes as your base to make it a good replacement for your taco sauce.
2. Salsa Verde
In Mexican cooking, the salsa verse sauce is based basically on the tomatillo.
They are little green vegetables that look a lot like tomatoes. Although they are from the same family as tomatoes, they are more closely related to gooseberry.
They are highly sought after in the culinary world because of their soft sourness. It goes very well with fiery flavors. In Mexico, a salsa verde is generally a kind of Salsa based on tomatillo and mixed with chili peppers, onions, and other ingredients.
It does great with Tacos, burritos, tostadas, quesadillas, and any tortilla-based, making it an excellent replacement for Taco sauce.
You can drizzle your salsa verde over the chorizo, chicken, refried beans.
The ingredients you’ll need to make them are:
- 1 and a half pounds of tomatillos
- Half cup of chopped white onion
- 2 cloves of garlic, it could be
- serrano peppers, and it is optional
- Half cup of chopped cilantro leaves and stems
- 1 tablespoon of fresh lime juice
- 2 jalapeño or serrano peppers. They should be stemmed, seeded, and chopped, or you can use them whole for more heat if you want.
- Salt to taste
3. Red tomato sauce
This is otherwise known as the Salsa Roja, and it means “red sauce,” it is one of the most known Mexican salsas.
The red tomato sauce is made with ripened, red tomatoes, which bring about its bright red color and name. It is most similar to the popular jarred Salsa that is known throughout the United States.
It is the main Salsa used in most Tex-Mex restaurants around the country.
According to custom, Salsa Roja is used as the condiment for tacos and burritos, which makes it a great substitute for Taco sauce. It is also used as a topping for meats like chicken and beef.
The ingredients include:
- 5 plum Roma tomatoes
- 1 white onion
- 12 stalks of cilantro
- 2 serrano chilies
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1 teaspoon salt or according to taste
- 2 tablespoons of cooking oil
- 4 cups water
You can equally grill the Salsa Roja to give it the ‘roasted taste.’ This would require a different set of ingredients which includes:
- 6 red, ripe tomatoes
- 1/2 of onions
- 4 dried chipotle chilies
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 and a half teaspoons of salt
4. Homestyle Guacamole
This has got to be the best substitute you can make for your Taco sauce.
If you’re wondering what goes best with Tacos or which sauce tastes best on chips, or even which one goes best on a spoon? Look no further. Guacamole is the answer to the question.
No matter the occasion you’re making it for, no matter the kind or caliber of people who will taste it, we assure you that everyone will agree that guacamole is another word to use in place of delicious.
They may get to start loving it so much so that they would start wondering what exactly goes in it or what it is made of. You can laugh it off and calm them down while you explain.
Guacamole is a thick dip based on avocado-based, and it is most commonly used while making Mexican food. It is usually taken with chips or used as a topping on tacos or other delicious meals.
Yes, you’re right. It is a perfect substitute for the Taco sauce.
What makes guacamole fun is the freedom to be able to spice it up as you make yours at home!
The ingredients to use are:
- 3 Avocados
- 1 cup of diced Tomatoes
- 1/4 cup of chopped Onions
- 1 teaspoon of Garlic Powder
- 1/2 of teaspoon salt
- 1 diced Jalapeño
- Cilantro to taste
- Lime, as needed
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Taco sauce the same as Salsa?
It is like regular Salsa when you check the ingredients. Taco sauce contains tomatoes, onions, and sweet or hot peppers. You can add vinegar or lemon juice for spiciness and according to taste. But then, unlike when making Salsa, all ingredients must be puréed and cooked until you get a thick yet smooth texture for a taco sauce.
What can you substitute taco seasoning with?
If your spice rack is short on spices and you’re low on spice, you can make do with the chili powder and cumin alone.
How do I substitute the enchilada sauce for taco sauce?
If you attempt to substitute the enchilada sauce for taco sauce, you will find that it’s too watery for your tacos. But then, you can reduce the wateriness of your sauce by simmering it in a saucepan over low heat to thicken it up.
Is taco sauce and hot sauce the same?
The hot sauce brings the heat. Salsa, on the other hand, adds freshness. But the taco sauce is that bright splash that pulls it all together in unity and elevates all the flavors. It adds complexity to a taco when you taste it.
Is Salsa and tomato sauce the same?
It just means sauce; that’s where the confusion is. Generally, in America, the word salsa has been used for marketing spicy cooked tomato-based sauces primarily eaten with tortilla chips.
To eat tacos in Mexico, you have to choose a great place that makes savory tacos seasoning and find the taquería that makes the best salsas. The problem, though, is when you can’t seem to find it.
The difficulty could also be simply that you simply don’t have the taco sauce handy, and you’re looking for a way around it. These taco sauce substitutes listed above will go a long way to help you select.
When sitting down to a Mexican meal, traditionally, there should always be three separate salsas on the table: one red, one green, and one that is very spicy, which could be any other color.