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Creamy Cilantro Jalapeno Sauce

Creamy Cilantro Jalapeno Sauce

A copycat of the famous Chuy’s restaurant sauce, this creamy cilantro jalapeno sauce is bold, flavorful, and the perfect complement to spicy Tex-Mex foods or as a dip for tortilla chips, veggies, or anything else you can think of.

jar of creamy cilantro jalapeno sauce - copycat version of Chuy's restaurant sauce.

I like to serve this sauce as part of a Tex-Mex dinner.  Chips and The Best Guacamole start the meal, and this sauce goes well with the guacamole.  Then Tex-Mex Beef Fajitas, Mexican Grilled Corn, and Spicy Mexican Rice Pilaf complete the meal.  And if you’re like me you have to have something sweet, so Mexican Hot Chocolate cookies are served for dessert.

Copycat Recipe

When I moved to Houston within a week, I was taken to Chuy’s Mexican restaurant.  Almost everyone I met told me about the restaurant and their Jalapeno sauce.  Well, they weren’t kidding.  Once I experienced (okay, buried my face into) a bowl of the sauce alongside warm tortilla chips, I was hooked.  

When I asked for and was denied the recipe, I went on an internet search for the sauce and found out that many people are on the same quest.  There are many variations of this recipe out there on the web.

So, I embarked on a flavor journey by spending many dinners at Chuy’s (rough life, huh?) eating bowls of this delicious concoction.  I took notes on the flavors that were especially enticing to me.

For creaminess and tang, I thought that sour cream and buttermilk would best replicate the creaminess and tang in the Chuy’s sauce. Cilantro would provide that distinct flavor and pretty green color.  Fresh jalapenos, I think, have a more pronounced flavor, but make it more difficult to control the heat.

I added the canned chiles to hit upon a tiny note of smokiness, but not heat.  The lime juice just seems to bring all of the flavors together.

This recipe is my interpretation of the infamous sauce.  With a food processor and five minutes, you will have the most addictive, flavorful condiment that you’ll want to dip or put on everything.

Ingredients Needed

  • Sour cream – I like full fat, but you could use low or non-fat as well.
  • Buttermilk
  • Dry ranch dressing mix packets
  • Jalapenos
  • Canned diced green chiles – you can pick mild, medium, or hot.  Use what you like.
  • Garlic clove – if you’re a fan of garlic, use more.
  • Lime juice – fresh is always best.
  • Cilantro – this is the backbone of the delicious flavor of this sauce. You could use another herb, but it would be a completely different sauce (but still delicious, I’m sure).

Bunch of fresh cilantro on a wooden cutting board.

What Is Cilantro And How To Buy It

Cilantro is an herb that is a common ingredient in many Mexican, Asian, Indian, or Middle Eastern recipes.  It has a pungent, lemony, peppery flavor that people either love or hate.  Those who hate cilantro or think it tastes soapy can detect an aldehyde chemical in the leaves of the plant.

When cooked, cilantro loses a lot of its pungency, so it’s best to add it at the end of the cooking process.  Dried cilantro has only a fraction of the flavor of the fresh herb.

When buying cilantro, look for bright green leaves and stems that are crisp and lighter green.  The bunch of cilantro should stand upright when you hold the stems in your hand.  The leaves should not hang down.

The leaves can hold a lot of grit and dirt, so be sure to wash them thoroughly just before you are ready to use them.

To store it, wrap the bunch in moist paper towels and slide it all into a food storage bag. Refrigerate for up to one week.

How To Devein And Seed A Jalapeno

Did you know that most of the heat of a jalapeno is located in the veins and seeds?  If you remove them, you have all the fresh flavor of the jalapeno with a fraction of the heat.  Simply slice the jalapeno in half lengthwise and use a spoon to scrape out the seeds and membrane from each half.

Are your hands burning now from the oils in the pepper?  Rub a tablespoon of olive oil onto your hands.  Wait a minute or so and then wash your hands with soap.  The olive oil dissolves the capsaicin (the oil) in the pepper and allows it to be washed away in soapy water.

Substitutions

  • For less heat, use jarred, pickled jalapenos or take out all the seeds AND veins on fresh jalapenos.
  • For a thicker sauce, swap in 1 cup mayonnaise for 1 cup of the sour cream or place the sour cream in a paper towel-lined mesh strainer over a bowl in your refrigerator.  Allow it to sit for 2 to 3 hours to ‘drain’. Discard the liquid in the bowl. You could also reduce the amount of buttermilk, but you will also lose some of the tanginess of the sauce.
  • Don’t like cilantro?  Leave it out altogether or substitute parsley or dill.Print
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    Top view of a jar of creamy cilantro jalapeno sauce.

    CREAMY CILANTRO JALAPENO SAUCE


    • Author: Millie Brinkley
    • Prep Time: 8 minutes
    • Total Time: 8 minutes
    • Yield: 8 servings 1x

    Description

    Cool and creamy. Spicy and tangy. Quick and easy to make. This copycat Creamy Cilantro Jalapeno Sauce is the perfect condiment for tortilla chips, tacos, or raw vegetables.


    Ingredients

    Scale
    • 16 ounce container full fat sour cream
    • 2 packages dry ranch dip mix
    • 2 whole large fresh jalapenos, seeded and deveined
    • 1 (4-ounce) can mild green chiles, drained well
    • 1 large garlic clove
    • ½ cup fresh cilantro leaves
    • 1 whole lime, juiced
    • ½ cup full-fat buttermilk

    Instructions

    1. In the bowl of a food processor, add jalapenos and cilantro and process until finely chopped.
    2. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add sour cream, ranch mix, canned green chiles, garlic clove, lime juice, and buttermilk. Process until fully combined.
    3. Spoon the sauce into a bowl, cover, and chill for at least 1 hour to allow flavors to blend.
    4. Serve and enjoy with tortilla chips, on top of tacos, enchiladas, or burritos – even salads.
    • Category: Starter - Appetizer
    • Method: Puree
    • Cuisine: Tex-Mex

    Keywords: creamy cilantro jalapeno sauce, copycat sauce, Tex-Mex, cilantro, ranch seasoning, jalapenos, jalapeno recipes, condiments,

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4 thoughts on “Creamy Cilantro Jalapeno Sauce”

  • I was looking for something to drizzle over bluefish tacos with shredded cabbage this spring (dark oily fish that grills or bakes well). This may do the trick.

  • Is there a reason for full fat sour cream. Would like to try but typically keep low fat sour cream in fridge.

    • I have found that the full-fat sour cream doesn’t separate as much, but I have used low fat and even fat-free in a pinch. You just have to stir it before serving the leftovers.

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