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What is Mexican White Sauce?

By KD Morgan
Updated May 16, 2024
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Mexican white sauce is a light to medium weight sauce that accompanies a variety of Mexican cuisine main courses and side dishes. As an appetizer, it is often served with tortilla chips. There are many recipes available, using a variety of ingredients.

Classical Mexican white sauce is prepared with sour cream, jalapenos, garlic, cumin and oregano. Mayonnaise is included in many recipes that are served chilled. White salsa is another alternative, and it uses mayonnaise, sour cream, garlic, cumin, oregano and crushed red pepper flakes.

White Mexican cheeses are often added to this sauce. Monterrey Jack or mozzarella cheese (queso blanco), mild white cheddar (Chihuahua) or Italian Parmesan (cotija) can be used. Adding grated cheese to the Mexican white sauce makes a thicker sauce with a stronger taste.

Blue cheese, Roquefort or Gorgonzola is common in many recipes. By including a hint of one of these cheeses, a meal is transformed into a unique signature dish. Simple blue cheese salad dressing is also served as a Mexican white sauce in many recipes. This recipe includes sour cream, blue cheese, garlic, lemon juice, salt and a touch of mayonnaise.

White chili is a unique specialty that is prepared using a white sauce base. The sauce consists of onions, garlic, cumin, cooking sherry, chicken broth, cream, chilies, jack cheese, sour cream, cilantro, basil oregano, thyme and cayenne. Chicken breasts, Spanish olives and white hominy are added to the sauce to create a nice consistency. It can be served as a chili dish or as a dip with tortilla chips.

Mexican white sauce is served drizzled over fish tacos, chili rellenos, chicken enchiladas, veggies, and green fried tomatoes. Whenever a cook wants a lighter sauce, this alternative can substitute a Mexican red sauce. For vegans and people who are lactose intolerant, silken tofu can be substituted for dairy products.


For those recipes that are served chilled, it is good to let the sauce flavors blend in the refrigerator for a few hours before serving. For recipes that serve it warm, most suggest using a double boiler and only warming the sauce as it can split if it gets too hot.

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Discussion Comments

By ahain — On Aug 02, 2011

There's such a thing as white chili?! My world just expanded a bit, there! I knew there were white beans, but the sauce being white is a new one on me. Now I have to visit one of my local Mexican restaurants and see if they serve any white chili.

By whiteplane — On Aug 02, 2011

There is a little food truck that parks about a block from my work and they have absolutely amazing fish tacos. I think what really elevates them to the next level is the incredible white sauce. It is unlike any suave I've ever had. I've been to other places that served fish tacos and a lot of time the white sauce is an afterthought. What a shame. When done well this simple sauce can make even the simplest dish taste like it is gourmet.

By truman12 — On Aug 01, 2011

Unfortunately most people that are only familiar with Mexican white sauce from their local Mexican restaurant have never tried the real thing. A lot of restaurants serve a weak imitation of the real thing.

I lived in southern Mexico for a year when I was in my 20s and I tried some absolutely amazing white sauces when I was down there. When they are done well they are an amazing combination of spice, creaminess and heat. They are really not like anything I have every tried before.

Here in America they are usually just disgusting blobs of melted cheese. If you are curious go to the most authentic Mexican restaurant you can find, a taqueria or something. Or if you are ambitious you can try and make it yourself. It is easy to make a basic version and you can keep it in your fridge for at least a week.

By christym — On Nov 03, 2010

@grumpyguppy: There are actually two different "white sauces" served with the chips. One is a cheese dip and the other is a white salsa. Both are delicious.

By GrumpyGuppy — On Nov 03, 2010

Is the Mexican white sauce the same as the Mexican cheese dip that they serve with tortilla chips in Mexican restaurants?

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