Creamy Jalapeno Salsa (Dairy Free)

By Alexandra Caspero on June 4, 2021
Got a bumper crop of jalapenos? Make this! If you love spicy food, then you've gotta try this creamy jalapeno salsa.
Makes 1 1/2 cups

Creamy Jalapeno Sauce! Similar to Salsa Dona from TacoDeli in Austin, Texas, this jalapeno salsa is SO good! Spicy jalapeno salsa that tastes great on everything. A must-make if you like the heat!


Wow, this creamy jalapeno salsa. If you’ve talked to me since our trip back to Austin, I’ve likely talked about this jalapeno dip. It was the reason I went to Whole Foods almost daily to see if they had any of this sauce back in stock. It’s the reason I brought 10 mini-containers home with me from TacoDeli to try and recreate at home. I may or may not have drank three of those containers before we actually made it back to St. Louis.

It’s that good.

I’m pretty sure we were home for only a few hours when I headed to the grocery store to load up on what I thought was in it. After some creative investigative journalism when we were in Austin, I figured out that the sauce was mostly a blend of roasted jalapeños and garlic in an oil emulsion.

This creamy jalapeño sauce is so incredibly smooth, you won’t believe it’s not packed with avocados or sour cream. Many readers have said they’ve also tried to figure out what’s in Taco Deli’s salsa doña and are blown away that it doesn’t contain any dairy– yup, not a drop of mayonnaise! 

This jalapeno salsa also tastes great on everything. I know this because I’ve gone through two batches in less than two weeks. Try it on my tofu migas tacos or sofritas tofu tacos if you’re looking for a new way to enjoy it. For the perfect balance of acid and heat, I usually pair this jalapeno sauce with my canning salsa or salsa roja.

See below for more details and tips, or scroll down to the full recipe card at the bottom.

Grabbing A Tortilla Chip With Jalapeno Sauce

Why we love this jalapeno sauce recipe

  • It’s as spicy as you want it to be. Depending on the heat of your jalapeno peppers and how many seeds you add, this can be as spicy or mild as you prefer.
  • Dairy-free. Unlike most creamy jalapeño sauce recipes that rely on mayo, greek yogurt, sour cream or buttermilk as their base, this one is completely dairy-free!
  • Perfect taco topping. As this recipe is a copycat of the salsa doña that I had in Austin, it’s safe to say that it tastes great on any Tex-Mex or taco recipe! Try it on my lentil tacos, crispy bean tacos, cauliflower tacos, and my 10-minute black bean tacos.
Roasted Jalapenos



Notes on Jalapeno Sauce Ingredients

  • Jalapenos: The beauty of this recipe is that you can make it as spicy as you’d like. If you want to keep the seeds in, then it will be a fairly spicy salsa. If you omit them, then it won’t be as spicy but will still have some nice heat. I recommend wearing gloves to prepare the jalapenos so you don’t burn your skin.
  • Oil: You can either use a neutral oil, like canola or avocado, or olive oil. I don’t recommend an extra-virgin olive oil as it will impart too much flavor. You can use a regular olive oil that is more mild in flavor if you prefer. I usually use canola because it doesn’t have any flavor.

Substitution Notes

For a milder sauce, you can substitute Anaheim peppers or poblano peppers. You can also substitute some of the jalapenos for a poblano pepper. I don’t recommend using a banana pepper as they don’t have the same depth of flavor as a jalapeno pepper does.

I don’t add any other dried spices, but some readers have added cumin or smoked paprika to their salsa. Additionally, I find that the 1 teaspoon of salt is perfect for this recipe, but if you are watching your sodium intake or are sensitive to salt, then I recommend starting with 1/2 teaspoon and adding more from there to taste.

Spicy Jalapeno Salsa In A Jar With A Spoon

How to Make this Creamy Jalapeño Salsa Recipe

Make sure to scroll down to the recipe card for full ingredient amounts and exact instructions.

Roast Your Jalapeños

I find the easiest way to do this is tossing fresh jalapenos with a little oil and salt, then placing under the broiler until blackened, turning halfway through. The crisper the skin, the easier it is to remove.

Remove the skin

Place the jalapeños in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a tight-fitting lid. This is essential in order to steam the skin so it’s easier to fall off. From here, you can also decide how spicy you want your jalapeno sauce to be. The more seeds that you remove, the milder the salsa.

Roast the garlic

Don’t be put off by the 16 cloves garlic called for here. Garlic mellows considerably as it’s cooked and not only does the garlic add flavor to the sauce, blending the garlic cloves adds body to this dairy-free sauce. 

Puree

Once your peppers and garlic cloves are roasted and slightly cooled, place them in the base of a food processor or blender along with the cilantro. With the motor running, slowly drizzle in the oil until a creamy sauce develops.

Hard to believe that this creamy, spicy jalapeño salsa is made from such simple ingredients. Jalapeños, garlic, cilantro, oil, and salt!

Trio Of Vegan Tacos With Jalapeno Salsa And Potatoes

How Spicy Do You Want Your Creamy Jalapeño Sauce?

Salsa Dona is fairly spicy, which is why I like to make it with enough heat. Jalapeños can vary in their spice level and you can always add in more of the peppers, but you can’t take them away once they are added.

The very first batch I made, I kept in all of the seeds and oh my, I’m pretty sure I’m still breathing fire. For medium heat, I like a mix of 1/2 and 1/2; half of the peppers completely de-seeded, half left in.

If you’re not sure on your preferred spice level, start with 1/4 of the jalapeños and their seeds and the rest with seeds removed. Set some seeds aside, then make the sauce. If you still need a kick of heat, add in more seeds and blend again.

I think this salsa is perfect as is, but if you want more tang then some readers like to add a little squeeze of fresh lime juice to the finished creamy jalapeno sauce. This will also help cut through some of the spice if it’s too much.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long will this jalapeno salsa keep?

This jalapeño sauce will keep in the fridge for about a week. It’s easy to down the entire batch in a week if you’ve got a family that loves hot sauce like mine. Whenever I make a fresh batch, I find myself making excuses to make lentil tacos, burrito bowls and enchiladas, or any reason to smother food in this sauce! 

Can I freeze this recipe?

If you don’t think you can enjoy this jalapeno salsa in a week, then I recommend halving the recipe. You can also freeze it for longer keeping. For smaller batches to freeze, I recommend portioning the creamy salsa into a ice cube tray. Freeze, then pop out a cube or two to thaw and enjoy.

Can I halve (or double) this recipe?

Yes, this recipe can be halved or doubled. Depending on the size of your blender, you may have more success getting sauce creamy and smooth using a small blender or mini food processor on a half batch.

Can I can this jalapeno sauce?

As written, this sauce does not have enough acid for safe canning. However, you can make jars of this sauce and then freeze it. If you do freeze it, make sure to leave enough head space to allow the salsa to expand.

Spicy Jalapeno Salsa

You’ve been warned! Once you try this creamy jalapeno sauce, you’ll want to put it on everything.

It’s also fantastic on its own as a dipping sauce with quesadillas or with tortilla chips! My husband and I have been known to make a meal out of this creamy jalapeño salsa and a basket of tortilla chips some nights for dinner. If you love taco salads or burrito bowls, it’s also great mixed with a little ranch dressing and used as a salad dressing! Trust me on that one!

If you try this recipe, let me know! Leave a comment, rate it, and tag your Instagram photos with #delishknowledge . I absolutely love seeing your creations. Happy cooking! 

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Creamy Jalapeno Sauce

Creamy Jalapeno Sauce

  • Author: Alex Caspero
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: ~ 1 1/2 cups
  • Category: sauce
  • Method: oven
  • Cuisine: Mexican, TexMex, American
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

Creamy Jalapeno Sauce! Similar to Salsa Dona from TacoDeli in Austin, Texas this jalapeno salsa is SO good! Spicy jalapeno sauce that tastes great on everything. A must-make if you like the heat!


  • Author: Alex Caspero
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: ~ 1 1/2 cups
  • Category: sauce
  • Method: oven
  • Cuisine: Mexican, TexMex, American
  • Diet: Vegan
  • Author: Alex Caspero
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: ~ 1 1/2 cups
  • Category: sauce
  • Method: oven
  • Cuisine: Mexican, TexMex, American
  • Diet: Vegan
Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 pound jalapeno peppers
  • 16 peeled garlic cloves
  • 1/3 cup canola oil, plus more for drizzling on peppers and garlic
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • 12 teaspoons salt, depending on preference

Instructions

  1. Turn on the broiler. Toss the jalapeño peppers in a little oil, then place in a single layer on a baking sheet. Broil until mostly blackened and soft, about 10-12 minutes, flipping the peppers halfway through cooking time to get all sides cooked.
  2. Place the peppers in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap to steam. Let sit for 10 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, toss the garlic cloves with a little oil and place on the baking sheet you just used. Put back in the oven and broil for 4-5 minutes until browned (not burned! Burned garlic will ruin the entire dish)
  4. When the jalapeños have cooled down, remove the skins (they should just peel off) and the seeds. See the commentary above or notes below for how many seeds to keep; I like 1/2 seeded and 1/2 kept for a spicy sauce. For a milder version, remove all of the seeds.
  5. Place the peeled jalapeños and seeds (as using) along with the garlic, cilantro and 1 teaspoon salt in the base of a high-powered blender. Puree until mostly combined, then slowly drizzle in the oil to form a smooth and creamy sauce. Season to taste, adding more salt as needed. If you want a thinner sauce, add in a few tablespoons of water.
  6. Enjoy on everything. Literally everything. 

Notes

I find that 1 teaspoon of salt is perfect BUT if you are sensitive to salt, then I recommend starting with less and adding to taste. Just like with the heat, you can always add but can’t take away!

did you make this?

Tag @delishknowledge on Instagram and hashtag it #delishknowledge

This recipe was first posted in 2018 and updated in 2024. 

Meet Alex Caspero

Alex Caspero is a Registered Dietitian, New York Times Bestselling Chef, and mom of two. She aims to cut through the nutrition noise by providing real-life, nourishing tips for body and mind. Learn more about Alex.

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    1. Joey
      March 3, 2024 AT 12:51 am

      Its not the seeds that are hot, Its the membrane they are attached to.

    2. Jalapeno
      December 2, 2023 AT 5:37 pm

      You don’t remove skins from jalapeños. No need. They’re edible.

      1. Alex
        December 3, 2023 AT 6:55 am

        Yes, they are edible. But removing the skins improves the creamy texture and any bitter flavor from roasting for this recipe.

    3. Ron Fisher
      November 3, 2023 AT 3:12 pm

      B O M B !!!






    4. Linda Berkley
      October 11, 2023 AT 4:20 pm

      I have made a steamed version of this sauce, but with onion mainly. I tried this and loved it, I will use both recipes as they do turn out different enough.






    5. Laurie
      September 18, 2023 AT 6:59 am

      This looks absolutely delicious!!! Can I substitute store bought minced garlic for roasted fresh garlic? Will it alter the taste or recipe? Thanks

      1. Alex
        September 18, 2023 AT 7:36 am

        The roasting really adds to the sauce so I’m not sure how it will taste subbing in minced garlic instead. But, you could buy already peeled garlic and roast it if you are looking to cut down on prep

    6. Katherine
      September 8, 2023 AT 12:23 pm

      Based on other reviews I expected this to be good, but it was even more delicious than I thought it would be!! I was eating it straight out of the blender. I put in 1.5 tsp salt, but next time I’ll just put in 1 tsp (there will definitely be a next time).






    7. Gail
      June 20, 2023 AT 10:15 am

      Excited to try this. How long will it keep in the refrigerator? Thanks!

      1. Alex
        June 20, 2023 AT 11:24 am

        Hi Gail– I’d say about 3-4 days BUT you can freeze it!

    8. Leslie
      March 15, 2023 AT 6:03 pm

      Fabulous! I love super spicy salsa and this did not disappoint. I used all of the seeds and ribs of my peppers. I ended up freezing half of it because it made so much. We will see how that turns out when I thaw it!






    9. Christopher
      December 3, 2022 AT 3:41 pm

      It’s tasty. Good recipe! I used peanut oil because that’s what I like. I’d definitely recommend keeping all the seeds. Weak salsa is not hot also I love the color. I use the same emulsification type strategy with my chile de árbol salsa. It comes out a beautiful orange pastel color. I think they’ll look cute together, probably time to make some heuvos divorciados






    10. Kristen
      August 7, 2022 AT 8:52 pm

      Ever since I visited TacoDeli in Austin I fell IN LOVE with this sauce. I have used this recipe exclusively! I make my version of TacoDeli’s “Cowboy” taco at least once a month and THIS is Recipe for Daña sauce is IT!!!






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