Creamy and delicious, with just a hint of heat from jarred jalapenos, Firecracker Jalapeno White Sauce is a homemade recipe that replicates the dipping sauce served with chips in Mexican restaurants. My local grocery store had these festive red, white and blue tortilla chips for sale during the season leading up to the 4th of July. So patriotic, I thought they’d be perfect with jalapeno white sauce – the kind served in one of our local Mexican restaurants.
Trouble is I didn’t have the recipe, nor have a clue how to make it. I knew it was a basic white sauce, but a search on the internet only led me to recipes made with Miracle Whip. Now I’m not knocking Miracle Whip and I’m sure these other white sauce dips are delicious, but Miracle Whip is more of a Southern thing than a Southern California thing, so I knew that wasn’t the taste I was searching for!
Enter my friend, Kathy, the one of Kathy’s 16-Layer Lasagna fame! She happened to have the EXACT recipe, directly from the hands of our local Mexican restaurant chain! In seems that sometime in the past, they used to share their recipe on their website. No more; it is now a “secret”!
Anyway, she gave me a copy of her printed recipe that she’d saved from long ago and I set about to create it! So, I followed the recipe exactly and it turned out amazingly delicious. But, it wasn’t spicy enough and I didn’t think it was thick enough.
I know! How can it be not spicy enough for me! I’m a wus when in comes to spicy foods. I don’t like them too spicy and about a medium spice is my maximum level. So, how can this jalapeno white sauce not be spicy enough for me? I figured the restaurant version was made for mass appeal; after all, lot’s of people can’t tolerate heat.
So, I made it again. Their recipe is made with heavy cream and fresh jalapenos and by making it again, I used up both of these ingredients I had on hand. And, guess what?
It still wasn’t spicy enough! So, I made it yet again. This time with whole milk because I’d run out of heavy cream.
But, guess what happened? It curdled! So, I threw it out and started over.
Can you guess what happened next? It curdled again, so out it went!
Determined to make this jalapeno white sauce a success, I stepped aside and re-read the recipe over-and-over again to try and figure out what I was doing wrong. Well, a Google search answered my question: if your milk is too hot when you add the sour cream, your sauce will curdle!
This time, I watched the milk carefully, until tiny bubbles appeared around the rim of the pan and then added the sour cream. Success!
By this time, I’d run out of fresh jalapenos, so I made it with jarred jalapenos. Which makes better sense anyway, because why would you buy jarred jalapenos only to use the juice for a recipe?
And, another good piece of news – I’ve lowered the calories and the cost slightly by substituting whole mile for the heavy cream (because I’d run out of heavy cream, remember?). Plus, I made it thicker.
Here’s a photo collage to pin to your Pinterest board. Thanks for sharing! And, here’s the code to the “secret” recipe so that you know how to make the EXACT recipe from this local Mexican restaurant chain (if you can figure it out from my clues!):
- substitute the whole milk for heavy cream
- substitute the diced jarred jalapenos for a fresh jalapeno
- decrease the butter to 2 tablespoons
- decrease the flour to 1 tablespoon
- decrease the jalapeno juice to 1 tablespoon
- increase the sour cream to 1 cup
- use equal parts Monterey Jack and cheddar cheese
- omit the ground white pepper
Are you totally confused now? It’s a math problem just for you! But wait! There’s more…
Want to make serving this appetizer easier for your friends and family? Set out plastic food baskets lined in paper basket liners with little bowls for the jalapeno white sauce (this post contains affiliate links for your convenience. Click here to read my full disclosure policy.). I got these at Target, but if you can’t find them, here are some links to make your search easier:
Or, if you just want to serve your chips on a large platter with a cute bowl in the center and an adorable Mud Pie serving spoon, and let everyone fend for themselves, here are some links for your convenience:
My Firecracker Jalapeno White Sauce still isn’t spicy. In fact, I think it’s darn near perfect, but if you want a spicier dipping sauce, just add more jalapeno juice.
Here’s another collage to pin to your Pinterest board. Pin one or pin them all! Thanks for sharing. And, oh, one more thing… this jalapeno white sauce keeps well in the refrigerator. It makes almost 3 cups of sauce and there is no way that Charlie and I could eat it all in one sitting, even though it’s delicious and tempting! So, I put it in the refrigerator, in a plastic bowl with a lid and we had it the next day. And, the next day! And, the next day!
And, it was delicious every single time! Just spoon into a microwave safe dish, cover with a wet paper towel, microwave for a minute, stir and microwave again!
Here’s the recipe:
- 2 cups whole milk
- ½ cup sour cream
- 1 teaspoon Chicken Better Than Bouillon
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 2 tablespoons jarred sliced jalapenos, drained and finely diced
- 2 to 6 tablespoons juice from jarred jalapenos including some seeds (depending on degree of spiciness desired)
- ⅓ cup shredded Mexican 4 Cheese blend (a combination of medium cheddar, Monterey Jack and Asadero Queso Quesadilla cheeses)
- ¼ teaspoon ground white pepper
- Tortilla chips, for serving
- In small saucepan with a pouring spout (optional, but nice to have), heat milk over high heat until just before the boiling point (watch carefully).
- Add sour cream, combining with whisk.
- When the sour cream is thoroughly dissolved into the milk, reduce the heat to medium and stir in the chicken base and jalapeno juice.
- Reduce heat to simmer and stir occasionally as you work on the next step.
- In a larger saucepan, melt butter over medium heat.
- Make a roux by adding flour and whisk to combine until mixture is smooth, lump-free and pale gold.
- Pour milk mixture (this is where the spouted saucepan comes in handy!) into butter/flour mixture, whisking continuously until mixture thickens and is smooth.
- Remove from heat and add cheese, white pepper and diced jalapenos, whisking until cheese has melted.
- Pour into serving dish and serve warm with tortilla chips.
More Red, White and Blue recipes from Toot Sweet 4 Two’s archives: