You need to try this 6-ingredient and 5-minute Pollo Tropical copycat cilantro garlic sauce! It’s creamy, packed with flavor, so delicious, and is so incredibly easy to make.
Cilantro Garlic Sauce
One thing I’ve been missing lately is the Pollo Tropical Cilantro Garlic Sauce. Seriously, that stuff is AMAZING. Like I would eat there just to get some of the sauce.
I decided to try making a copycat Pollo Tropical sauce, and I’m so happy with the way it turned out.
I haven’t eaten there in a while, so I can’t be 100% sure this copycat is perfect. So, I’ll just say that it’s inspired by their sauce.
Either way, it’s seriously SO good and is definitely worth making.
I even had to get up and make another batch of it while writing this post after looking at the pictures and remembering how tasty it was.
The cilantro really balances out the flavors in this creamy garlic sauce perfectly.
The raw garlic and fresh lime juice wake up your mouth, the cilantro packs flavor, the salt seasons, and creamy sour cream and mayonnaise make the perfect base.
A Cilantro Sauce For People Who Don’t Like Cilantro
So, here’s the thing, Shane doesn’t like cilantro, liked at all. He’ll even ask me why I ruined a dinner by adding cilantro to it.
He’s not one of the people that thinks cilantro tastes like soap, but it’s far from his favorite flavor. But…
He LOVES this sauce.
Like really really really loves it. He calls it his “go-to sauce”, and even says “the more cilantro the better”.
Here’s what he thought about eating it with homemade restaurant style salsa and tortilla chips: “Those two sauces…like…WOW…they need to be together…those two worlds combine together and make perfect stuff.”
So, there you have it. If you love cilantro but the other person you’ll be eating with doesn’t, this may be the perfect sauce for you!
How to Make Pollo Tropical Cilantro Garlic Sauce
The steps couldn’t be any easier! Simply pulse the ingredients in a food processor until it’s smooth and creamy (but stop before the cilantro is fully blended).
I love this recipe as it’s written, but there are a few changes you can make if you like.
Omit the mayonnaise. You replace the mayonnaise with sour cream and add in a couple of Tablespoons of olive oil if you prefer.
Add extra lime juice. If you love really citrus infused flavors, feel free to add some more!
Use seasoned salt. I prefer it with regular sea salt, but feel free to play around with this! Just be careful with the amount – this recipe can get too salty really quickly.
Add extra cilantro. Shane’s not the biggest cilantro fan in the world, so I don’t normally add extra cilantro. That being said, if you love cilantro, you’ll probably love adding more to this sauce.
Adjust the garlic. I prefer 3 medium cloves, but noticed that 3 cloves was too spicy at about the 12 hour mark.
3 medium cloves of garlic was perfect for me when it was freshly blended, and after 24 hours though. If you’re making this in the morning and planning to serve it with dinner, I’d recommend only using 2 cloves of garlic.
I’d also recommend only using 2 garlic cloves if you use all sour cream and don’t use the mayonnaise.
Swap the sour cream for Greek yogurt. I haven’t tried this, but I think full fat Greek yogurt would work well in this recipe.
Use up your cilantro stems. Did you know that the tender stems of the cilantro are as flavorful as the leaves? Since this is a blended sauce, it’s a great way to use up all of your fresh herbs. Just be sure to throw away the tougher parts of the stem past the leaves.
Use roasted garlic. If you don’t like the bite and spice that comes with raw garlic, you can always try using roasted garlic.
What To Serve It With
Some other delicious things to serve it with are:
- Shredded Beef (Try making shredded beef in the Instant Pot!)
- Baked Salmon
- Skirt Steak (especially if it’s been seared in a cast iron skillet)
- Fried Yucca
It’s also great as a dipping sauce for veggies (especially red bell peppers).
How To Store It
Dairy-based dips should be stored in an airtight container in the fridge. Assuming they’re stored this way, they should keep for 3 to 4 days.
Can You Freeze It
No. Since this is a dairy-based sauce it won’t freeze will. After thawing the texture would be unappealing.
Is It Gluten Free?
Yes, this recipe is naturally gluten free as it’s written.
Is It Keto?
Yes. Assuming you don’t eat tons of this sauce, it can be a great addition to your keto or low-carb meal.
How To Make It Vegan
To make it vegan, you’ll need to swap the mayonnaise for plant based mayonnaise (the Grapeseed Oil Vegenaise is my favorite). You’ll also need to replace the sour cream with vegan sour cream (or with a homemade cashew cream).
Some reader favorites are:
- Copycat Taco Bell Quesadilla Sauce
- Cilantro Lime Sauce
- Creamy Jalapeno Sauce
- Magic Green Sauce
- Cuban Mojo Marinade
- 1 cup full fat sour cream
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1/3 cup roughly chopped cilantro leaves and tender stems (lightly packed)
- 2 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice (the juice of about 1 lime)
- 2 - 3 medium garlic cloves (crushed with a garlic press, amount depending on when you plan to eat it)
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt (plus more to taste)
- Add all ingredients to a food processor, and pulse until the sauce is combined. Stop pulsing while there are still visible bits of cilantro (this sauce tastes better this way than it does fully blended).
I’d recommend using real mayonnaise in this recipe. I don’t think using Miracle Whip would taste right (it would be too sweet).
One thing I noticed about the garlic was that 3 medium cloves was perfect for me when I ate it fresh, and after 24 hours. However, at about the 12 hour mark the garlic tasted too pungent. So, if you’re making this ahead in the morning for dinner, I’d recommend using only 2 cloves.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 39Total Fat: 4gCarbohydrates: 0.6gNet Carbohydrates: 0.6gFiber: 0gSugar: 0.3gProtein: 0.2g
Nutrition information isn’t always accurate.
I’d love to hear what you thought of this recipe in the comments or on Instagram! @KeyToMyLime #KeyToMyLime
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Try making the BEST copycat Pollo Tropical cilantro garlic sauce at home!