December 2, 2022

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Cilantro Lime Sauce – Chelsea’s Messy Apron


Dressings, Dips, & Sauces

Dressings, Dips, & Sauces

Say hello to the most flavor-packed creamy Cilantro-Lime Sauce complete with cilantro, garlic, and lime juice! This zippy sauce has so many applications and uses that it’s rare we don’t have a batch made up in our fridge. Simple to prepare and ready in under 10 minutes!

Overhead image of the Cilantro-Lime Sauce

The BEST Cilantro-Lime Sauce Recipe

This recipe came about as I was working to develop my vision of the ideal cilantro lime sauce for shrimp tacos.  I envisioned a zippy, zesty, lime, and cilantro-packed sauce to perfectly complement the spiced shrimp and crunchy slaw. After it was perfect, I was thrilled to read so many of you also loved the sauce. 

In fact, the Cilantro-Lime Sauce for the shrimp tacos is probably the most raved-about component in the comment section. Here’s what some of you had to say about this sauce:

  • “The cilantro lime cream sauce is one of my favorites. Thanks for a great recipe!”
  • “The sauce, to me, is addictive…So good! Wouldn’t change a thing.”
  • “This was sooo good. The sauce was amazing.”
  • “The sauce is so addictive, I could (and do) eat it with a spoon…”
  • “…I always double the sauce recipe so we have extra for other dishes over the next few days. Well done”

Convinced you need this creamy Cilantro-Lime Sauce in your arsenal?! We almost always have a batch of it in our fridge which makes throwing together a quick dinner a cinch! 🙂 

Overhead image of all the ingredients being added to a blender

What Is Cilantro-Lime Sauce Made Of?

  • Fresh limes: Juice and zest of 2-3 limes go into this sauce. We love zesting the limes with a microplane and then juicing with this citrus juicer
  • Minced garlic: Use jarred, frozen, or fresh — whatever you have access to.
  • Fresh cilantro: Grab a fresh bunch and loosely measure it for the sauce — there’s a lot, but it blends down nicely!
  • Jalapeño: Remove the seeds and ribs to control the heat or leave in ’em for a spicy sauce!
  • Mayonnaise: We love Hellman’s/Best Foods® in this sauce — the better the mayo, the better the flavor.
  • Sour cream: We’ve tested this Cilantro-Lime Sauce with full-fat, low-fat, and lite sour cream and couldn’t tell much of a difference with all the other flavors going on. If you’re watching calories/fat, try lite sour cream instead!
  • Salt and pepper. No sauce is complete without salt and pepper, and this creamy Cilantro-Lime Sauce is no exception. Add to taste preference, remembering that an extra pinch can be the difference between a good and a stellar sauce!

QUICK TIP

What Does Cilantro Taste Like? Cilantro’s taste varies depending on your taste buds. To me it tastes most similar to flat-leaf Italian parsley, but with a brighter and more citrusy, zesty flavor. It’s mild, sweet, and fresh tasting. Not everyone agrees, though. Did you know that there’s a genetic characteristic that makes some people dislike the taste?

Process shots of Cilantro-Lime Sauce-- image of the cilantro being added

How To Make Cilantro-Lime Sauce

This sauce is as simple as adding everything to a blender or food processor and giving it a whirl! Taste, adjust, and enjoy! Below are a few tips:

  • Which to use — a high-powered blender or a food processor? Either works just fine. For an ultra-smooth sauce (as pictured here) use a blender. In the food processor, you’ll have a lighter sauce with more specks of cilantro throughout.
  • When zesting the limes, avoid the white pith of the limes–it can be quite bitter.
  • Chill the sauce: This is a great sauce to make ahead of time as it gets more flavorful as it sits. It also tastes better cold!
  • When using this sauce for tacos, add it right before eating to avoid soggy taco shells!
  • If you’d like a slightly sweeter sauce, add a touch of honey or a few pinches of sugar. Depending on the cilantro used, you may want to add a touch — there can be some flavor variation in cilantro.

Process shot-- image of the dressing being blended

STORAGE

Storage

Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 4-6 days and give it a good stir before using again. Make sure the dressing is tightly covered or it will absorb odors in the fridge.

We don’t recommend freezing dairy-based dressings, since the texture will change significantly after freezing. It won’t be smooth and can even curdle or become lumpy as it thaws. Instead, we recommend cutting the recipe in half if it won’t be used within 4-6 days.

Overhead image of the Cilantro-Lime Sauce

How To Use Homemade Cilantro-Lime Sauce

Other Recipes Using This Sauce

Cilantro Lime Sauce

Say hello to the most flavor-packed creamy Cilantro-Lime Sauce, complete with cilantro, garlic, and lime juice! This zippy sauce has so many applications and uses that it’s rare we don’t have a batch made up in our fridge. Simple to prepare and ready in under 10 minutes!

Cilantro Lime Sauce

Say hello to the most flavor-packed creamy Cilantro-Lime Sauce, complete with cilantro, garlic, and lime juice! This zippy sauce has so many applications and uses that it’s rare we don’t have a batch made up in our fridge. Simple to prepare and ready in under 10 minutes!

Instructions

  • PREP: Zest and juice limes to get 4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) juice and 1 teaspoon zest.

  • FIRST BLEND: Add the juice and zest to a powerful blender or mini food processor along with the minced garlic, cilantro, seeded coarsely chopped jalapeño, and mayo. Add salt and pepper to taste (I add 1/2 tsp salt & 1/4 tsp pepper, but add to personal preference). Blend until smooth.

  • SECOND BLEND: Add in the sour cream and blend once more to combine. Taste sauce and adjust to personal preference as needed. The sauce is quite thick and is thinned when added to dishes, but if you’d like it thinner, add water to desired preference.

  • STORAGE: Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 4-6 days and give it a good stir before using again. Make sure the dressing is tightly covered or it will absorb the odors of the fridge.We don’t recommend freezing dairy-based dressings, since the texture will change significantly after freezing. It won’t be smooth and can even curdle or become lumpy as it thaws. Instead, we recommend cutting the recipe in half if it won’t be used within 4-6 days.

Recipe Notes

Note 1: Jalapeño: When preparing the jalapeño, you may want to do this with gloves on as it can burn your fingers/under fingernails. Wash your hands immediately after preparing/touching. Cut jalapeño in half and remove seeds. Coarsely chop to measure. Add more of the jalapeño for a spicier sauce; add slowly if you’re worried about the heat. Wrinkly jalapeños are going to be spicier than smooth jalapeños.
Note 2: Mayo: The better the mayo, the yummier the sauce! We love and recommend Hellman’s/Best Foods mayo.
Note 3: Sour cream: We’ve tested this cilantro and lime sauce with full-fat, low-fat, and lite sour cream and couldn’t tell much of a difference with all the other flavors going on. If you’re watching calories/fat, try lite sour cream instead!

Nutrition Facts

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 97kcal | Carbohydrates: 1.5g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 9.9g | Cholesterol: 8.6mg | Sodium: 78.8mg | Fiber: 0.1g | Sugar: 0.2g

We do our best to provide accurate nutritional analysis for our recipes. Our nutritional data is calculated using a third-party algorithm and may vary, based on individual cooking styles, measurements, and ingredient sizes. Please use this information for comparison purposes and consult a health professional for nutrition guidance as needed.