Meet Alex Caspero
Alex Caspero is a Registered Dietitian, New York Times Bestselling Plant-Based 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.
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!
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 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 salsa with my canning salsa or salsa roja.
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.
Make sure to scroll down to the recipe card for full ingredient amounts and exact instructions.
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.
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.
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.
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. 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!
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.
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, burritos, 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.
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 smaller blender or mini food processor on a half batch.
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.
I’ve made this creamy jalapeno sauce 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.
It’s also fantastic on it’s 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!Print
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!
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!
This recipe was first posted in 2018 and updated in 2023.
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