Cilantro Jalapeño Sauce
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!
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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
Keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week.
I don’t recommend it, as even though it’s safe, the texture will change considerably. I find it unappetizing.
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.
In my experience it’s not as smooth as a blender, but it should work out decently well.
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.
I haven’t tested this personally, but if it can stand up to blending, it should work out fine.
Cilantro Jalapeno Sauce
- 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
- 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!
Nutrition is estimated using a food database and is only intended to be used as a guideline for informational purposes.