5 Minute Quesadilla Sauce

This sauce for quesadillas is creamy and smooth, featuring a balanced blend of tangy, spicy, and savory flavors, and pairs well with almost anything.

It combines mayonnaise and sour cream for creaminess, pickled jalapenos and their juice for tang and spice, and a mix of spices like paprika, cumin, and garlic powder for depth.

The result is a rich and zesty sauce that pairs wonderfully with Mexican dishes, especially quesadillas of course!

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Avocado Crema
Steak Sauce (Cowboy Butter)
Honey Sriracha Sauce
Garlic Sauce
Chinese Garlic Sauce
Boiling Crab Sauce
Ranch Dip Without Buttermilk

Ingredient Notes and Substitutions

Mayonnaise: Choose Greek yogurt or a combination of Greek yogurt and a small amount of olive oil as a substitute for mayonnaise.

Sour cream: Greek yogurt, plain yogurt, or even buttermilk are good substitutes in this sauce recipe.

Pickled jalapeno juice: Use the juice from other varieties of pickled peppers, or make your own pickle juice, with vinegar and a pinch of sugar.

Pickled jalapenos: If you’re out of pickled jalapenos, use fresh jalapeno peppers, with a splash of vinegar and sugar.

Paprika: Smoked or hot paprika work well as a paprika alternative.

Ground cumin: Cumin seeds are a suitable replacement for ground cumin.

Garlic powder and onion powder: You can use fresh minced garlic and finely chopped onions if you prefer fresh ingredients. Sauté them before adding to the sauce for a milder, less powdery texture.

Chili powder and cayenne: Always start with less, and add more as needed. Or you can leave them out completely, for a kid-friendly version of this sauce.

creamy sauce for quesadillas

How to make Quesadilla Sauce: Step by step

Step 1: Diced The Pickled Jalapenos
Dice the pickled jalapenos.

Step 2: Combine The Wet Ingredients
In a mixing bowl, combine the mayonnaise and sour cream.
Mix in the pickled jalapeno juice.

Step 3: Add Spices
Sprinkle in paprika, ground cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, chili powder, and a pinch of cayenne pepper.

Step 4: Incorporate The Diced Jalapenos
Add the diced jalapenos to the sauce. Stir all the ingredients together until well combined. Taste and adjust if needed.

Recipe Tips and Tricks

Adjust spice level: Start with a small amount of pickled jalapeno juice and diced jalapenos, then taste and adjust to your ideal level of spiciness.

Balancing creaminess: If you find the sauce too thick, you can thin it out with a little milk or buttermilk. Conversely, if it’s too thin, add more mayo or sour cream to achieve your perfect sauce.

Chill before serving: Letting the sauce chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before serving allows the flavors to meld and develop, resulting in a tastier sauce.

Make it in advance: This sauce can be prepared in advance and stored in the refrigerator for several days, making it a convenient condiment for quick meals.

quesadilla dipping sauce

What to serve with Quesadilla Sauce

Besides pairing quesadilla sauce up with quesadillas, tacos, burritos, and nachos, here are some ideas for what you can serve with this sauce:

Grilled meats: Serve it as a condiment for grilled chicken, steak, pork, or shrimp to add a zesty and spicy element to your proteins.

Vegetables, especially potato dishes: Use it as a dipping sauce for roasted or grilled vegetables like bell peppers, zucchini, or asparagus.

Burgers and sandwiches: Spread it on burgers, sandwiches, or wraps to give them a creamy and spicy twist.

Salads: Thin the sauce with a bit of lime juice or vinegar to create a unique dressing for salads, especially those with a Mexican or Tex-Mex theme.

Seafood: It pairs well with grilled or fried seafood like fish tacos or shrimp dishes.

homemade quesadilla sauce

Variations of Quesadilla Sauce

Avocado quesadilla sauce: Add avocado, lime juice, cilantro, a touch of garlic, and salt.

Salsa verde quesadilla sauce: Add salsa verde (green salsa) and cilantro for extra flavor.

Chipotle quesadilla sauce: Add chipotle in adobo sauce (chopped), lime juice, and a dash of smoked paprika.

Cilantro lime quesadilla sauce: Add lime juice and minced fresh cilantro.

Ranch quesadilla sauce: Add dried dill, dried parsley, and a pinch of black pepper.

Honey mustard quesadilla sauce: Add Dijon mustard, honey, and a squeeze of lemon juice.

Taco seasoning quesadilla sauce: Add taco seasoning mix.

Mango habanero quesadilla sauce: Add pureed mango and a touch of habanero hot sauce.


To store the quesadilla sauce, transfer it to an airtight container with a lid. Place the container in the refrigerator, where it can be stored for up to one week.

Make sure to keep it tightly sealed to maintain freshness and prevent any odors from being absorbed.

Quesadilla Sauce FAQs

What can I use if I don’t have pickled jalapenos?

If you don’t have pickled jalapenos, you can use fresh jalapenos (remove seeds and membranes for milder heat) or other pickled chili peppers, such as banana peppers or pepperoncini, as a substitute.

Can I use fresh garlic and onion instead of powder?

Yes, you can use fresh minced garlic and finely chopped onion for a more vibrant flavor. Sauté them briefly before adding them to the sauce to soften their taste.

Quesadilla Sauce

This sauce for quesadillas is creamy and smooth, featuring a balanced blend of tangy, spicy, and savory flavors, and pairs well with almost anything.
Total Time5 minutes
Course: Sauce
Cuisine: American, Mexican
Keyword: quesadilla sauce, sauce for quesadillas


  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons pickled jalapeno juice
  • 2 tablespoons diced pickled jalapenos
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
  • A pinch of cayenne pepper


  • In a mixing bowl, combine the mayonnaise, sour cream, and pickled jalapeno juice. Mix them together until well combined.
  • Add the paprika, ground cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, chili powder, and a pinch of cayenne pepper to the mixture. Stir everything together until all the spices are evenly distributed.
  • Stir in the diced pickled jalapenos until well incorporated.
  • Taste the sauce and adjust the seasonings if needed. Refrigerate for 30 minutes before serving.

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