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This creamy Aji Verde is a fresh and spicy Peruvian Green Sauce that will liven up any dish with bright flavors and a kick of heat. Often served with roast chicken, this version is just as creamy and delicious as the traditional recipe. But it’s a little lighter and made with easy-to-find ingredients like cilantro, lime, and jalapeno peppers.
Homemade Aji Sauce – Easy Peruvian Green Sauce
Years back, a friend introduced me to Peruvian food. After the first time she took me to a restaurant, I couldn’t get enough of the traditional dishes from Peru like Aji de Gallina, Lomo a lo Pobre, and Papas a la Huacaina (that last one is off the table for me to order at a restaurant now since it has bread or crackers blended into the sauce). And, of course, Pollo a la Brasa, the Peruvian roast chicken that I had to just slather in the bright green Aji verde sauce.
I loved how the spices and flavors of Latin American cultures intermingle with native ingredients and just a splash of Asian influence. And I wanted to bring some of those flavors into my own home, only with my own little spin. That means I make it a little lighter and with ingredients that I can easily find in my regular grocery store or that I keep on hand. Because then it’s easy to blend together any time I crave it.
A little drizzle will liven up your chicken, but also any roasted or grilled vegetables, potatoes, rice, salads, or even a nice, juicy steak.
What is Aji Sauce?
Aji Sauce, also called Aji Verde, is the Peruvian green sauce typically served with pollo a la brasa, or roast chicken. It typically starts with a mayonnaise base to give it a rich and creamy consistency. This is blended with aji peppers or aji amarillo paste for a nice, spicy kick, as well as plenty of cilantro and lime for freshness and zing to balance it all out. Sometimes it is even blended with cotija cheese for more richness.
This aji sauce recipe takes inspiration from the traditional Peruvian green sauce, but it is lightened up with Greek yogurt instead of mayo and cheese. It still has that creaminess, but it actually gives it a bit brighter of a flavor. And since everyone might not have easy access to aji peppers or paste, the spiciness comes from jalapenos that you can find in any grocery store.
At the end of the day, while it might not be the most authentic recipe, it is a healthy and accessible version of the classic aji verde sauce. Pour it over meats, vegetables, salads, and rice, or use it for dipping fries and more. It will bring bold South American flair to your meals with some simple ingredients and a few minutes of work.
Aji Verde Ingredients
Here’s the list of the simple ingredients you’ll need to make this amazing sauce. Keep reading for more information about the recipe, then scroll down to the recipe card for the full quantities and instructions.
- Plain Greek yogurt: You can use nonfat, low fat, or whole milk yogurt, depending on what you prefer.
- Olive oil
- Lime juice: Freshly squeezed is your best bet for a bit of zesty flavor without being too bitter.
- Apple cider vinegar: Just a hint more acid for a tangy flavor and to enhance the freshness of the herbs.
- Jalapenos: Slice the top off, then cut them in half lengthwise. Remove the seeds and membranes unless you want it extra spicy, and coarsely chop them. You can use more or less depending on how hot you lie it and the size of the peppers.
- Cilantro: No need to remove the leave from the stems or chop them up. Just grab a handful and pack it in your measuring cup, stems and all. It will all get broken down when you blend it.
- Garlic: Again, fresh is best. Just give it a quick chop into a few pieces.
- Salt and pepper: Adjust to taste.
How to Make Peruvian Green Sauce
Most of the work to make Aji Sauce is in preparing the ingredients, but even that takes little time since it will get broken down in the blender.
Combine the ingredients. Add the yogurt, olive oil, lime juice, vinegar, cilantro stems and leaves, roughly chopped jalapeno and garlic, and a pinch of salt and pepper to a blender jar.
Blend everything together. Pulse at first, and then run the blender until the ingredients are broken down and it is creamy. You can leave little bits of cilantro or puree it completely smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper and pour it into a bowl or jar to serve or save for later.
Tips for Success
Use fresh limes. I do NOT recommend bottled lime juice as it is too strong and bitter. Fresh lime juice will give you just the right amount of zing without being too harsh.
Handle jalapenos with care. I do recommend wearing gloves for handling jalapeno peppers so you don’t cause burning in your fingers. And be sure to wash your hands well with soap and water, taking care not to touch your eyes.
Dry the cilantro well. Rinse the cilantro and dry it between a couple of layers of paper towels. You want to try to remove as much moisture as possible so it doesn’t water down your green sauce.
Because of the fresh ingredients and yogurt, you’ll need to store the aji verde sauce in the refrigerator. It will last for two or three days if you keep it covered or in a jar with a lid. I do not recommend freezing it as this will break down the yogurt so that it no longer has a smooth consistency.
What do you serve Peruvian Green Sauce with?
As I mentioned traditionally this spicy aji sauce is served with Peruvian Roast Chicken alongside French fries and a salad. But it also adds a burst of bright, spicy flavor to many more dishes!
- Simplify the classic: Whip up a batch when you’ve picked up a Costco rotisserie chicken. Or make an Air Fryer Rotisserie Chicken and Air Fryer French Fries.
- Drizzle it on veggies: Whether you’ve made basic roast cauliflower, a big batch of air fryer carrots, or a medley of sauteed vegetables, it’ll make your simple vegetables taste spectacular.
- Sauce up meat and seafood: Add a little creamy kick to grilled steak or Honey Lime Shrimp.
- Top your Tex Mex favorites: That fresh cilantro flavor pairs well with breakfast tostadas and even fish tacos.
- Give more flavor to grain bowls: Whether you’ve made a simple cauliflower rice side dish or gone all out with Chicken Burrito Bowls or BBQ Shrimp Quinoa Bowls, this Aji sauce is a great condiment to add.
And you can take that South American influence and try something new with a creative spin on some traditional recipes:
- Peruvian Turkey Burgers
- Slow Cooker Peruvian Pulled Pork
- Peruvian-Style Street Corn
- Peruvian Chicken Breasts
Things You’ll Need
- Measuring cups and spoons – I have multiple of a basic, inexpensive set so I never have to worry if the one is need is dirty.
- Knife – investing in even just a couple of good quality kitchen knives is worth every penny.
- Citrus juicer – this handheld juicer has become my new best friend lately because it gets out tons of juice without much work or mess.
- Blender – you can use any type of blender to make this recipe.
I like to use my Blendtec for everything, including thi recipe. The Mini Wildside+ Jar is the perfect size for this batch of aji sauce and easily breaks down the jalapenos so you don’t get chunks of pepper, and the cilantro, stems and all.
I am a Blendtec ambassador, and should you make any purchases through my Blendtec Store link, I will receive a small commission, but that also means you can use the code CUPCAKESANDKALECHIPS to receive 20% off.
Peruvian Green Sauce (Aji Sauce)
- ⅓ cup plain Greek yogurt
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 Tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 2 jalapenos, roughly chopped (ribs and seeds removed unless you want it extra spicy)
- 1 cup packed fresh cilantro, including the leaves and stems
- 1 clove garlic, roughly chopped
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Combine the ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Store in the refrigerator.