Peruvian Aji Sauce

5 from 9 votes

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Fresh and spicy Aji Verde is a traditional Peruvian Green Sauce that will liven up any dish with bright flavors and a kick of heat. Often served with roast chicken, it’s also delicious with grilled meats and veggies. Just as creamy and delicious as the classic recipe, this version is a little lighter and made with easy-to-find ingredients.

Picking up a spoon of Aji sauce from a bowl

What is Aji Sauce?

  • Cuisine Inspiration: Peruvian
  • Primary Cooking Method: No-cook
  • Dietary Info: Gluten-free
  • Skill Level: Easy

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 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.

Why You’ll Love This Peruvian Green Sauce Recipe

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 of course, Pollo a la Brasa, the Peruvian roast chicken that I had to 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 slight twist on the classic. This is now a staple in our house anytime we want to liven up our meals. Here’s why you’ll love it too…

  • Easy to find ingredients. If you don’t have a Latin market near you, you might not have ingredients like aji peppers or paste readily available. So in my recipe, the spiciness comes from jalapenos that you can find in any grocery store.
  • Just a little lighter. This recipe 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.
  • Super versatile. 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.
Peruvian Aji Sauce Recipe on chicken.

Aji Verde Ingredients

Here’s the list of the simple ingredients you’ll need to make this amazing green 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 leaves 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.
Ingredients to make Aji sauce in bowls on a marble countertop with text labels including cilantro, jalapenos, lime juice, garlic, apple cider vinegar, Greek yogurt, and olive oil.

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.

Proper Storage

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.

A spoon dripping into a bowl of Peruvian Spice Aji Sauce.

Tips for Success

Keep these tips in mind for the best tasting aji sauce:

  • 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. This handheld juicer is one of my best friends in the kitchen because it gets out tons of juice without much work or mess.
  • 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.

A table set with Peruvian roast chicken with a bowl of Aji sauce and rice and beans

Make it a Meal

As I mentioned, this spicy aji sauce is traditionally served with Peruvian Roast Chicken alongside French fries and a salad. But I also take inspiration from this South American cuisine to make Peruvian Turkey Burgers or Slow Cooker Peruvian Pulled Pork as main dishes, and Peruvian Corn as a side.

But it also adds a burst of bright, spicy flavor to many more dishes!

A spoon dripping into a bowl of Peruvian Spice Aji Sauce.
5 from 9 votes

Peruvian Green Sauce (Aji Verde)

Peruvian Green Sauce, or Ai Verde, is spicy, fresh, and creamy to liven up any dish. But this recipe is lighter and made with easy-to-find ingredients. Of course it pairs with roast chicken, but it's also delicious on vegetables, salads, potatoes, rice, and all kinds of grilled meats or seafood.
Prep: 10 minutes
Total: 4 hours 35 minutes
Servings: 8 servings

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  • Combine the ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Store in the refrigerator.
Nutrition Facts
Peruvian Green Sauce (Aji Verde)
Amount Per Serving (2 Tablespoons)
Calories 41 Calories from Fat 36
% Daily Value*
Fat 4g6%
Saturated Fat 1g5%
Cholesterol 1mg0%
Sodium 5mg0%
Potassium 19mg1%
Carbohydrates 1g0%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 1g1%
Protein 1g2%
Vitamin A 173IU3%
Vitamin C 5mg6%
Calcium 12mg1%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Disclaimers: Please discuss your individual dietary needs (i.e. gluten free) with a physician. Even when not specified, be sure to verify all ingredients are gluten free, if needed, by reading labels on all packaging and/or confirming with the manufacturer this varies by brand and can change at any time. Nutrition information shown is an estimate and not guaranteed to be accurate.

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