You may be a self-proclaimed burrito lover who wants to try a new sauce, or you might be making burritos for the first time. Either way, chances are you’re here because you’re looking for a great sauce and the most delicious pairing! Great, you’re in the right place. Below I share some of the most popular burrito sauces and why you might want to try them. I also mention some sauces you’d likely want to avoid that do not pair quite so well!
So, what sauces work well with burritos? Generally speaking, creamy pepper sauces work incredibly well with burritos – the most common being chipotle and poblano cream sauces. Serving a burrito with either or a combination of guacamole, sour cream, and salsa (whether fresh or cooked) also works great. Cooked tomato sauce is another brilliant option.
If you want to make your own recipe, using sour cream as a base and adding traditional Mexican flavors is a good starting point.
We will get onto this shortly.
But first, let’s explore these recommendations above in greater detail!
Best Sauces For Burritos
Poblano Cream Sauce
Poblano cream sauce is an extremely versatile and well-loved sauce. Made with roasted poblano peppers, it has a fresh and creamy taste.
Poblano peppers are more earthy and sweet than they’re spicy, so unless you add spice to the sauce, it’s a mild sauce.
While recipes vary, poblano sauce contains a cream base—usually regular cream, sour cream, or Mexican crema.
Some people make a cold version of the sauce in a blender, using sour cream or crema. Others cook it and then use stock and some roux to thicken it.
In addition to the roasted poblano peppers and base, poblano cream sauce often contains chili or garlic and, sometimes, cilantro. Salt and cayenne pepper are also commonly used to flavor the sauce.
Once you learn to make poblano cream sauce, you’ll likely find you’ll add it to all sorts of Mexican dishes and use it as a dipping sauce! It’s such a versatile sauce.
Read more: What Is Poblano Sauce?
Chipotle Cream Sauce
If you prefer smoked peppers to roasted peppers, chipotle cream sauce is the way to go.
Hot and smokey, it becomes more mellow but just as tasty when mixed with a cream base, whether mayo, sour cream, or Mexican crema.
Some people simply make a chipotle cream sauce by stirring some chipotle sauce into mayo.
Others prefer something a little more advanced, such as blending chipotles in adobo sauce with sour cream, Greek yogurt, oregano, salt, cumin, lime juice, and/or honey (the last two ingredients being optional).
You can sub the yogurt or sour cream with mayo, too. And if you like your garlic—add some!
If you want to make the sauce vegan, you can experiment with a base of cashew cream (cashew nuts soaked in water and blended into a smooth paste).
This kind of creamy chipotle sauce is perhaps the best-loved, or at least most well-known, burrito sauce. And anyone who loves the smokey taste of chipotle peppers will be more than ready to sing its praises!
If you want a tomato sauce for your burritos, you can cook one up quite easily.
Brown some onions in butter, add flour to make a roux, slowly pour in some vegetable or chicken stock, add some tomato sauce and chilies/jalapeño peppers and seasoning and let it cook till it reaches the desired consistency.
Not particularly difficult, but certainly more time-consuming than stirring together some mayo and chipotle sauce! If you want something that isn’t creamy, though, it’s perfect.
And some find a creamy sauce in a burrito full of cheese a little bit too much of a good thing.
For the full recipe for tomato sauce, look here.
Pico de Gallo
You can’t mention burritos without mentioning the holy trinity (sort of) of Mexican sauces.
I’m talking about guacamole, sour cream, and pico de gallo (or some other salsa), of course.
While these sauces are normally served together, there’s no saying you can’t serve just the one sauce.
Pico de gallo or salsa Fresca (fresh sauce) is made from chopped tomatoes, onions, and Serrano peppers, combined with lime juice, salt, and cilantro.
Of course, there are variations on a theme, but that’s the main idea.
As the name implies, pico de gallo is a very fresh sauce.
Not only because it is made with fresh ingredients, but because the cilantro and lime really make it fresh on another level, too.
Plus, the serrano peppers and onions certainly give it some heat that will wake you right up!
Oh, and if you belong to the camp that hates cilantro, just sub it with parsley.
Pico de gallo is a form of fresh salsa. However, salsa can also come in other forms—both raw and cooked.
For example, you could make a mango salsa with fresh ingredients or cook up a tomato salsa that you can and keep in the fridge. There are peach salsas, pineapple salsas, and plain old tomato salsa of all sorts out there.
The basis of most salsas is similar to that of pico de gallo, but you could use fruit in it and add (or subtract) various ingredients, such as garlic or herbs.
Of course, there’s also the choice of what kind of hot pepper to use.
Do you want something mild? Something smokey? Something sweet and earthy? There are so many options, as the pepper aficionado will tell you.
In short, you can have a lot of fun creating your own salsa recipe.
You can, on the other hand, also go to the nearest grocery store and pick up a ready-made jar! Or there is always online, such as on Amazon!
These days there are many nice brands that create anything from simple salsas to gourmet salsas.
Some claim that all you need to make guacamole is avocados and salt. Most people tend to add a few more ingredients than that, though.
Usually, guacamole contains garlic and/or onions (whether raw or in powder form) and lime (or lemon when in a pinch).
Some people like adding cilantro and/or tomatoes. Paprika powder, smoked paprika powder, and cayenne pepper are other popular ingredients.
You can add sour cream to make it more creamy and a bit more mellow and tart. Or you can serve sour cream on its own, or not at all. It all depends on how much you love sour cream!
Sour cream on its own, why not? It’s creamy and delicious. Most people serve it together with guacamole and pico de gallo or some other kind of salsa, though.
If you want to spice up your sour cream, add some herbal salt and smoked paprika. You can also add garlic and/or onion powder.
You can also go full out and create your own sauce with sour cream as a base. Add lime juice, garlic, onions, tomato, cilantro or parsley, paprika, you name it. Whatever floats your boat, basically.
What Types Of Sauces Pair Best With Burritos?
The best types of sauces for burritos are creamy and/or spicy in flavor. Sauces with a bit of additional texture, like a chunky salsa also tend to pair best too.
Burritos are often served with a creamy poblano or chipotle sauce.
Sometimes people go full out and serve them with guacamole, salsa, and sour cream, or just one of the three. A cooked tomato sauce is another option.
Creamy tends to be the name of the game when it comes to burrito sauces. A base of something creamy combined with peppers—poblano or chipotle.
A very creamy combo of guacamole, sour cream, and salsa (such as pico de gallo or some other salsa of your choosing) is another great option.
You can also make your own creamy sauce using sour cream as a base and adding herbs and spices—maybe some lime, cilantro, smoked paprika, perhaps onion, and garlic powder.
A tad of salt or herbal salt is often also a good idea. Whatever you like.
Some people like to serve their burritos with something not very creamy, such as a cooked tomato sauce made with a base of some kind of stock.
That makes the burrito less creamy unless you also serve some sour cream on the side.
What Sauces To Avoid Serving With Burritos
You don’t really want to serve burritos with something like ketchup or BBQ sauce (unless those have been added to a chipotle and sour cream sauce). Nor do you use a thin sauce, like Tabasco, or any hot sauce on its own. The hot sauce would be incorporated into a sour cream base.
It’s hard to say what sauces you shouldn’t serve with burritos because one man’s trash is another man’s treasure and all that.
That said, if you try putting condiments such as ketchup, mustard, BBQ sauce, Tabasco, and sweet chili sauce (and other Asian hot sauces), people won’t be overjoyed. More like horrified, most likely!
But if you can’t get enough of them and want to give them a try, by all means – give it a go.
Don’t say I didn’t warn you, though!
Hi there. I’m Jeremy – a passionate food technologist with several decades in the food industry. With a love for sauces, food, and nutrition, I decided to create WeWantTheSauce. Here I share my experience, knowledge, and recommendations; from ingredients and recipes to storage all the way through to nutrition for every sauce imaginable.