Cilantro Sauce

A spicy and intensely flavourful cilantro sauce that is sure to liven up any meal. I created it by combining two recipes, both of which sound really good on their own: zhoug from Cookie & Kate and this cilantro jalapeno sauce from Damn Delicious. Cilantro is divisive–to some people it tastes like soap and is completely offputting. If you are not one of those people, you’ll love this sauce!

Cilantro Sauce

A great way to use up leftover cilantro, this versatile sauce works in rice bowls, wraps, and sandwiches.
Prep Time10 minutes
Blending Time2 minutes
Total Time12 minutes
Course: Main Course
Keyword: Sauces & Dips
Servings: 2 cups


  • Food Processor


  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped or 1 ½ tsp jarred minced garlic
  • 2 cups packed fresh cilantro leaves (about one large bunch)
  • 3 medium jalapeno peppers, seeds removed and saved See Notes, below.
  • 3/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes. or to taste
  • 1/2 to 3/4 tsp salt
  • ⅛ to ¼ tsp ground cardamom, or more, to taste
  • 1/8 tsp ground coriander, or more, to taste
  • juice of half a lime, or more, to taste
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt, full fat See Notes, below.
  • 1 tbsp + 1 tsp olive oil, or more to adjust consistency


  • If using whole garlic cloves, place them in a food processor and pulse until they are in very small pieces. If using jarred garlic, add it in the next step with the other ingredients.
  • Add all the remaining ingredients except the olive oil. Process until smooth.
  • While the food processor is running, drizzle in the olive oil. Process a little longer until well blended.
  • Taste and adjust seasoning. Add more lime a little bit at a time, or salt or other spices a pinch at a time. To add more heat, you can use reserved jalapeno seeds or more red pepper flakes.
  • Let sauce chill in refrigerator for at least an hour before serving so the flavours can mingle.


  • The seeds contain a lot of the heat in jalapenos. To ensure you don’t overwhelm this sauce with spice, remove the seeds. You can save them and add them at the end if you feel the sauce needs more heat. 
  • The original recipe used sour cream, which I find too rich. Since yogurt is naturally lower in fat than sour cream, I recommend a higher fat yogurt so you don’t lose all the flavour from the sour cream. I use Oikos 11% fat, but the choice is yours. 

Cilantro Sauce

Serving Ideas for Cilantro Sauce

  • I used this sauce with frozen chicken nuggets served over basmati rice. It was delicious and a great, new way to serve boring chicken nuggets. It would also work with chicken fingers.
  • I tried it with plain, leftover basmati rice and chopped pistachios. Also very good. 
  • This cilantro sauce would work with any white meat, fish, or seafood. Try it on a chicken or turkey burger or on a sub with sliced turkey.
  • You can also try this in wraps or on any sub or sandwich for a zesty, intense hit of flavour. 

About Cilantro

  • As with any ingredient, be wary of exaggerated nutritional claims made about cilantro. Some sites note that cilantro is a good source of potassium, manganese, and vitamins like folate, A, C, and K. While cilantro is a good source of vitamin K, containing 16% of your recommended daily allowance (RDA) in one-quarter cup, you’d have to eat a lot of it to get the other nutrients it contains. Consider that that same quarter-cup contains only 1% of your RDA of potassium, manganese, and folate. (Source: Nutrition Data.)
  • Herbs like cilantro may not add a tonne of nutritional value, but that doesn’t mean they have no value at all. Cilantro boosts flavour without excess calories, fat, or sodium, so that’s a big plus.

Cilantro sketch: 107687325 © Nataliia Golovanova |

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