This Cilantro Jalapeño Sauce is one of my “I want to put it on everything” sauces, and came about from trying to recreate a wildly popular green sauce recipe from a Peruvian restaurant in NYC. It’s a creamy and flavorful dairy-free sauce, only takes 5-10 minutes to make, and is perfect with so many dishes!

Jalapeno Cilantro Sauce - In A Weck Jar With Jalapenos, Lime, Garlic, and Cilantro

Last week on my Instagram stories I shared a video of me making this recipe, and I put up a poll asking if people were interested in more simple sauce recipes on the blog. The answer was a resounding YES! As in, 97% said yes please. So here’s one of my favorites.

This Cilantro Jalapeño sauce was born out of trying to recreate a green sauce that’s served at a chain of restaurants in NYC called Pio Pio.

The sauce has a bit of a cult following because it’s outrageously delicious, and many have tried to figure out their secret recipe to no avail. Including me, ha.

When I was living in NYC I would order takeout of their sauce and try to figure it out. I also scoured the internet for clues and found this post from Serious Eats where they try to figure the recipe out as well. They claimed that one of the secrets was a hot yellow chile paste from Peru, so I even ordered that from Amazon to try to nail the flavor.

But even with that special hot pepper, their copycat recipe didn’t taste the same, and not even close. Shucks.

Cilantro Jalapeno Sauce - in Glass Jar with Garlic and Lime in Background

These days, I’ve settled down my sauce replicating ambitions and have accepted this recipe for the deliciousness that it is. This creamy sauce is bright and flavorful, and if you try it I really think you’ll LOVE it!

I find myself making it regularly and so far I haven’t tired of it, even after making it for the past couple years.

Tips for Best Results

Use the freshest ingredients – Most people don’t realize how quickly fresh produce loses its flavor as it sits in the fridge, and especially herbs! Make sure the jalapeño peppers are firm and fresh, and the cilantro leaves aren’t black or shriveled, and shop close to when you plan to prepare the recipe.

Remove the ribs and seeds from the jalapeño – Unless you like blazing hot and spicy food, I recommend removing the ribs and seeds from the jalapeno peppers. That way you get their wonderful flavor and a little bit of heat, but not overwhelmingly so.

Be choosy about your mayo – I’ve tried and compared several brands of mayonnaise and some are fantastic while others are downright revolting. Use one that tastes delicious to you. If you have 10 minutes to spare, I recommend using homemade mayonnaise for the best flavor (swap lime for the lemon juice!), but Sir Kensington’s and Kewpie are good store-bought options as well.

Step by Step Overview:

To make the cilantro jalapeño sauce, place chopped fresh jalapenos, fresh cilantro, minced fresh garlic cloves, lime juice, mayonnaise, avocado oil (or a neutral olive oil), salt, and black pepper in a blender:

Seeded and Ribbed Chopped Jalapeños, Fresh Cilantro, Lime Juice, Avocado Oil, Mayonnaise, Garlic, Salt, and Pepper in a Blendtec Jar

If you have 10 minutes to spare, I recommend using homemade mayonnaise for the best flavor.

I like the sauce on the milder side, so I seeded and ribbed the jalapeños before chopping, but you can leave the seeds and ribs in if you prefer it spicy.

Also know that it’s fine to use the stems here for the cilantro. They are delicate enough that they blend nicely.

Blend it all up until you get a smooth and creamy cilantro sauce.

Creamy Blended Jalapeno Cilantro Aji Verde Sauce In Blendtec Jar

Give it a taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Sometimes I prefer a little more lime.

I find the sauce tastes slightly better after it chills for a few hours, so it’s great to make ahead! I actually keep a container of this stuff ready to go in the fridge, and it keeps for a week.

Jalapeno Sauce - In A Jar With Jalapenos, Lime, Garlic, and Cilantro on Cutting Board

How to Use It

This cilantro jalapeño sauce is wonderful drizzled on SO many food groups. Here are some of my favorite ways to enjoy this delicious sauce.

Meats: Spoon onto Spice Rubbed Chicken Thighs, Peruvian Chicken, Carnitas, or Slow Cooker Pulled Pork.

Potatoes: Drizzle over Crispy Smashed Potatoes, Potato Croquettes, or Hash Browns. Or use as a dunking sauce for Steak Fries or Homemade French Fries.

Vegetables: Drizzle on veggies like Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Roasted Fennel, or Roasted Brussels Sprouts, or use a delicious dip for crudites. I even use it as a salad dressing sometimes.

Eggs: Drizzle over Huevos Rancheros or Poached Eggs.

Chips: Dunk tortilla chips into the sauce for delicious flavor!

For more quick and easy blender sauces, try my Roasted Red Pepper Sauce or Basil Vinaigrette. Like this sauce, they are also Whole30-compliant. Delicious sauces were one of my secrets to surviving the Whole30!

Recipe Tips and FAQ

How do you store Cilantro Jalapeño Sauce?

Keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week.

Can you freeze Cilantro Jalapeño Sauce?

I don’t recommend it, as even though it’s safe, the texture will change considerably. I find it unappetizing.

How do you reheat Cilantro Jalapeño Sauce?

If you are drizzling this sauce on hot dishes like Peruvian Chicken or dipping with Homemade French Fries, I find that the sauce will warm up enough to be enjoyable, straight out of the fridge. However, if you want the sauce to warm up a bit, remove it from the fridge and set on the counter 30 minutes before eating. Do not heat in the microwave or on the stove.

Can you use a food processor instead?

In my experience it’s not as smooth as a blender, but it should work out decently well.

Can you swap sour cream for the mayonnaise?

In my opinion it is a bit too tangy, but you can try it and see if you enjoy it. I’ve also been asked if Greek yogurt is okay, but I imagine that would give a very odd flavor.

Can you use vegan mayonnaise?

I haven’t tested this personally, but if it can stand up to blending, it should work out fine.

Did you enjoy the recipe? Please leave a 5-star rating in the recipe card below and/or a review in the comments section further down the page. Or, follow me on Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest!

Jalapeno Cilantro Sauce In A Weck Jar With Jalapenos, Lime, Garlic, and Cilantro

Cilantro Jalapeno Sauce

This Cilantro Jalapeno Sauce is based off a Pio Pio restaurant recipe and is one of my "I want to put it on everything" sauces. It only takes a few minutes to make.
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Ingredients

  • 3 jalapeños
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro (2oz)
  • 5 medium cloves garlic (1.5 tbsp)
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 2 tbsp avocado oil
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Instructions 

  • For a milder sauce, remove the seeds and ribs from the jalapeños, then roughly chop them. For a spicier sauce, leave the seeds and ribs in, and simply chop the jalapeños. You should have about 1 cup of chopped jalapeños.
  • Place the jalapeños into a blender along with all the remaining ingredients (I even include the cilantro stems), and blend on high for at least 30 seconds, until the sauce is smooth and creamy.
  • Store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Enjoy!

Notes

Suggested Uses: Serve with meats like Peruvian Chicken or Carnitas, potato dishes like  Crispy Smashed Potatoes or Steak Fries, vegetables like Roasted Sweet Potatoes or Roasted Brussels Sprouts, and egg dishes like Huevos Rancheros.
Storing leftovers: Keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week.
Freezing: Not recommended.
Reheating: Remove the sauce from the fridge and set on the counter 30 minutes before eating. Do not heat in the microwave or on the stove.

Nutrition

Calories: 183kcal, Carbohydrates: 2g, Fat: 20g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Cholesterol: 8mg, Sodium: 116mg, Fiber: 1g

Nutrition is estimated using a food database and is only intended to be used as a guideline for informational purposes.