June 4, 2021

Creamy Jalapeno Salsa

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 sauce 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 creamy jalapeno sauce. It was the reason I checked in 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 jalapeño sauce is so incredibly creamy, you won’t believe it’s not packed with avocados or sour cream. Many readers have said they’ve tried to figure out what’s in Taco Deli’s salsa doña and are blown away that it doesn’t contain any dairy! 

It 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, if you’re looking for a new way to enjoy it.

roasted jalapenos for jalapeno sauce


How to Make this Creamy Jalapeño Salsa Recipe

You’ll need to roast your jalapeños first to make this salsa. 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.

From there, you’ll place the jalapeños in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a tight-fighting lid. This is essential in order to steam the skin so it’s easier to fall off. 

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. 

One the jalapenos and cloves are roasted, throw the seed peppers along with the garlic and cilantro in the base of a blender. Then with the motor running, slowly drizzle in the oil until a creamy sauce develops. I use a Kitchen Aid blender, but if you have a lower powered blender, then it may take more time to get the creamy texture.

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

spicy jalapeno sauce



How Spicy Do You Want Your Creamy Jalapeño Salsa?

Salsa Dona is fairly spicy, which is why I like to make it with enough heat. However, I will warn you not to keep all of the seeds in the jalapeños. I did this on my first batch 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.

How long will this 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 tacos, egg scrambles, enchiladas and the like– any reason to smother food in this sauce! 

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 (a silicone one is best for easy removal.) Freeze, then pop out a cube or two to thaw and enjoy.

Can you safely can this creamy jalapeño 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.

What vegetable oil is best for this salsa?

I’ve made this salsa with olive oil, avocado oil and a more neutral oil like sunflower or canola oil. I personally don’t think it matters that much and prefer either avocado or olive oil. However, some readers have commented that using olive oil masks the flavors of the jalapeños, so I’ve changed the original recipe to include canola oil for a more neutral flavor.

spicy jalapeno salsa


You’ll want to put this sauce on everything

After you make this creamy jalapeno salsa, enjoy it on my tofu migas tacosvegan lentil tacos, vegan black bean tacostofu tinga tacostaco stuffed sweet potatoes, chipotle softitas tacos

It’s also fantastic on it’s own 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 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! 

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


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


  • 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


  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 burnt! Burnt 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. 

did you make this?

Tag @delishknowledge on Instagram and hashtag it #delishknowledge

This recipe was first posted in 2018 and updated in 2021. 

spicy creamy jalapeno salsa

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Alex Caspero is a Registered Dietitian, Plant-Based Chef and Yoga Instructor. 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. I added chicken bouillon and salt for flavour. So good also added vegetable oil didn’t have the other one

  2. WOW!!! I cut the recipe in half and now I wish I hadn’t. This was spectacular! So much flavor. I’ve been tasting it on crackers and need to go put it in the fridge before it’s gone. I’ll definitely be making again!

  3. Hi Alex,
    I had a creamy jalapeño sauce from a food truck in Denver from a woman from Sinaloa, exceptional, and bright green. Is it possible the jalapeños were uncooked?
    Have you compared this recipe to ‘guasacaca sauce’, or ‘avocado green sauce’, which I buy from La Noria grocery in Denver?

    • Hi Paul– yes, guasacaca sauce typically has avocado in it. Roasting the jalapenos first does mellow the color, but it also heightens the flavor in my opinon. You could try it without roasting first and see how you like this. This sauce is similar to a “salsa cremosa”

  4. There’s a Taco Truck in Katy TX that has a very similar green sauce I became obsessed with while traveling there for work. The bottles said the ingredients were only Jalapenos, Garlic and Oil. The lack of creme seemed curious, but it never went sour in the fridge so it made sense. Still, I had no procedure to recreate it. I found this recipe and did a small test batch last night using a Magic Bullet mixer. Even with careless ratios, the results were phenomenal.
    I did water can a few jars I bought in Texas in hopes they would survive the plane ride back to DC, and had good results. Once home, I kept the vacuum sealed jars in the fridge, but the shelf life was remarkable.

  5. Hi there! This is common in Mexico, as far as making it last goes, I freeze it in ice cube trays and sand which bags to use in small or medium amounts whenever ^_^

  6. I live outside of Austin and have been making this salsa for a while and was wondering if you can pressure can this recipe?

  7. I’ve been making a few different versions of this salsa for years, but I think your ratios are the best! I used to put in just a couple of cloves of raw garlic, but I like the flavor of more garlic that’s been roasted, and I had never thought to add cilantro before. Brilliant!
    Since I am a madwoman for heat, I always do leave in all of the seeds and throw in a roasted serrano on top of that. But that’s just me 😉

  8. Hi there, so I am looking at my Salsa Dona carton that I bought, and the ingredients are “jalapenos, canola oil, garlic, salt.” I’m curious, is the cilantro totally necessary if it isn’t in the original recipe? If it was made without the cilantro, would it taste more like the actual thing? I’m also curious about the 16 garlic cloves. There’s one other prominent recipe for copycat Salsa Dona online, and that recipe only calls for 4. `16 just seems like a lot, but I’m curious if that could potentially be reduced.

    • Hi Seth– I’m not sure of the other recipe out there, but is it roasted garlic or raw? Roasting the garlic here mellows out the flavor a lot. It’s not the same at all as 16 raw garlic cloves. That said, you are always welcome to decrease the amount of garlic. It can be reduced– I find this recipe to be vert forgiving, I make it often and rarely measure. IE the cilantro, I find that it gives more flavor but you can also omit it. If I don’t have it, I leave it out sometimes.

  9. This is a great recipe–my family begs me to make it! For those of you getting a chunky result, I had the same problem and consulted my Vitamix book for help. Try adding ¼ cup water when you put everything in the blender. This will not make the sauce runny. After you puree everything, drizzle in the oil with the machine running. I also double the cilantro.
    A nice variation to try is to replace ¼ of the jalapeños with a roasted, peeled and seeded poblano pepper. Not better, but a little different flavor.
    Thanks for a keeper of a recipe!!

  10. I want to make your creamy jalapeno sauce. Your ingredients call for ⅓ cup of canola oil but your blender instructions say olive oil. I’m confused? I have lots of jalapeno peppers from my garden and I am looking for recipes to use them with. Please clarify the oil in yor recipe.

  11. Wanted to can this with water bath method. Has anyone tried doing this? Looks so yummy and I have jalapeños everywhere!

    • It typically has several limes of juice in it, but still wouldn’t be acidic enough.

      Is water bath style the kind that doesn’t require acid?

    • Hi Ginger– my guess is that it’s too high of a pH to water can– but would likely work on adding in citric acid. I haven’t tried it yet– but am going to work on it and test it with a pH reader to see if we can do this. I’d love to can it as well!

  12. Our garden is producing so many jalapeños I thought I would give this a try. It’s similar to a sauce we get at del Norte taqueria near Fort Worth Texas. My only input would be it needs a little acid. Perhaps the juice of a lime. Turned out well. Thanks for the recipe.

  13. Did you mean to say 16 garlic cloves? That just sounds like so many and I don’t want to mess it up on my first try!

    • It IS 16 cloves– but not heads of garlic. It seems like a lot, but they become much more mellow once they are roasted and it helps to balance out all the peppers.

      • Hi there, I too was surprised by the 16 cloves of garlic. One of the other most popular Dona copycat recipes calls for only 4. Why is there such a significant difference between the garlic required? I tried that recipe last time and it tasted just about right. I wanted to try this recipe this time, but I am really concerned about the amount of garlic called for; it just seems like so much.

  14. Holy Moly! I used to live in Austin but have been stuck in Amarillo and was missing all the good salsas down there. This hit the spot! So good! Mine was not quite as smooth as the photo but I’ll just blend it longer next time. We’re doing a fajita night and I can’t wait for everyone to try it. Will definitely be making some as gifts. Thank you!!

  15. We’ve made this four times and we can’t get enough. It’s sometimes hard to get the skin off but the work is 100% worth it. We eat it on everything. Mine is also a good bit darker green than yours.

  16. Hi! I just recently made this recipe, trying to imitate the Trader Joe’s Jalapeño Sauce, which is essentially the same as the one you described.

    When I made this, my “sauce” did not come out looking at all like a blended lime-greenish sauce like the one in your picture. I was very much able see the individual bits of everything. Maybe I didn’t blend it at a high enough speed?


  17. I LOVE this sauce! Left half unseeded & actually want to add more seeds next batch. But not all of them! I’m in South Tx & have wanted a good “green sauce” recipe excluding dairy. This is it! Reduced with some vegetable broth for an enchilada sauce. Was great on my Swiss Chard enchiladas. Also, had about 1/3 of that enchilada sauce mixture leftover – added it to my vegetable broth/tomato sauce mixture for Spanish Rice. Game changer! I buy bulk jalapeños at a local fruit stand & now I know exactly what to do with them all. This is a great recipe!

  18. Hello! I’m going to make this in the next few days but had a couple questions… In step #6 you say to “then drizzle in the olive oil”, did you mean to say canola? Also, how much oil do you drizzle into the blender? Thank you so much, looks delicious! Can’t wait to make it! 🙂

      • Hi Keith– you can use either. I tend to use olive oil, but some people thing that olive oil is too strong of a flavor, depending on the brand. Canola is much more neutral!

    • Oh yes! Canola oil. And on my blender I have a little place where I can open the lid and drizzle it in, it makes it easier to emulsify when the blade is running and you add the oil in this way! If not, then just add the oil and then slowly puree it.

  19. Followed this recipe, but I blackened the Jalapeno’s then cooked them sous vide at 183 degrees with some garlic. Got a really nice emulsion with a vita-mix.

  20. After you’ve opened it, how long do you think it will last. I’ve made it before, but I’m planning on making some as Christmas presents and wanted to make sure of the shelf life prior to doing so.

    • You would definitely need to pressure can this! When my jalapenos come on, I plan on trying it, and canning also.

    • Hi Diana, I haven’t canned this recipe so I can’t verify that the pH level is safe for water canning. However yes- most canning/heating will degrade the capsaicin level in peppers. I’ve canned several hot salsas and the heat doesn’t change too much, just slightly.

  21. We made this sauce last night and it turned out a little too spicy. We only used seeds from about 3 jalapenos. Is there any way to tone down the spice after it’s made?

    • Hi Brandi, that’s the only downside to using peppers. The spice level can vary so much, and it’s hard to know whether you choose more mild or spicy peppers. One of the best ways to counteract heat is by adding a dairy product: whole fat milk, heavy cream, yogurt or sour cream. If you are dairy-free, then canned full-fat coconut milk can do the trick. Or, you can add in some sugars help to neutralize the heat of chile peppers. So try adding a little sugar or honey to balance out. Lastly, you can make another batch without any seeds/membranes and then mix it with the spicy batch to help blend the heat. Hope that helps!

  22. I can’t seem to get mine creamy like the photo. It’s chunky and more of a dark green. I’ve puréed 4x about 1 min each and it still stays chunky. Any ideas?

  23. I love this salsa, but by the second day in the fridge, it’s not creamy anymore. It kind of separates. Can you tell me how to prevent that from happening? Thank you!

  24. i live in south TX, figuring out the local taco places salsa recipes is such a mystery, some i think just straight up blend jalapenos and water. This looks pretty close to what i wanted.

  25. I tried it. Didn’t take any seeds out. Taste like delicious fire. Definitely will make again, might leave out some seeds though.

  26. Awesome! I used olive oil and juice from one lime to thin it out and it was amazing. Will definately make this again. Perfect for Tri-tip and carne asada.

  27. This sauce is delicious!! I live in Austin, TX and this recipe totally nails the infamous green sauce that you find here. I’ve tried many ‘green sauce’ recipes and this is the best! Thanks so much!

  28. Delicious! But, must use an oil that’s not too strongly flavored. I used olive oil the first time, and it tasted off. It was also a little salty to me.

    • Hi

      Taco Deli is one of my favorite taco places! Their dona sauce is the best.

      I plan on trying this recipe this weekend. Is removing the skin necessary? Will the skin alter the flavor?



      • Hi Dan, I think the skins can make for a bitter sauce. You’ll want to roast the jalapeños anyways and the skin should easily slip off after doing so.