Mojo Sauce Recipe (Deliciously Creamy Twist)

This post may contain affiliate links. See my disclosure policy.

Savor the magic of The Mojo Sauce Recipe—a vibrant fusion of zesty citrus, aromatic garlic, and smoky cumin. This irresistible blend promises a taste explosion that elevates any dish. Ready in mere minutes, it’s the ultimate game-changer for passionate food lovers seeking bold, unforgettable flavors. Experience this delectable transformation in your meals today!

Mojo sauce holds a special place in my heart. When I first tasted it on a trip to the Canary Islands, its tangy blend of garlic, chili peppers, and spices struck a chord. According to traditional recipes, mojo sauce varies in color and taste. 


Adding mojo sauce is a good idea when in doubt about a dish’s flavor. It’s great for grilled meats, fish, and potatoes.

My best advice for those new to this condiment is not to underestimate its potency. Yet, don’t forget that it’s not just about the heat; it’s the balance of flavors that stands out. 

If you’re unsure how to use it, I’d recommend starting with a small quantity. It is better to add gradually than to overwhelm the dish. Some might prefer milder sauces, so mojo is a great way to elevate any meal.

What Is Mojo Sauce?

Mojo sauce is a traditional sauce originating from the Canary Islands. It is a vibrant blend of garlic, chili peppers, and various spices, often combined with oil and vinegar.

The sauce has multiple variations; some are green, using cilantro or parsley, while others are red, using red peppers. 

When in doubt about adding flavor to a dish, using mojo is a good idea. It’s great for complementing meats, fish, and potatoes. If you’re unsure about its intensity, my best advice is to start with a little and adjust according to taste.

History Of Mojo Sauce

Mojo sauce has its roots in the Canary Islands. The name “mojo” is believed to derive from the Portuguese word “molho,” meaning sauce. It’s a fusion of Iberian and indigenous flavors introduced by Spanish and Portuguese explorers. 

According to historical accounts, the sauce incorporated local ingredients like chili peppers and garlic with spices from overseas trades.

It is better to understand its variations: while mojo rojo (red) uses red peppers, mojo verde (green) is flavored with green herbs. 

When in doubt about its origins, remember the Canary Islands. Yet, its influence has spread; today, you’ll find variations across the Caribbean and the Americas. I’d recommend trying both types to appreciate its rich history.

Interesting Facts About Mojo Sauce

  • Origins: Mojo sauce is native to the Canary Islands, yet its influence spans the Caribbean and the Americas.
  • Name Derivation: “Mojo” likely comes from the Portuguese “molho,” meaning sauce.
  • Variations: Mojo Rojo uses red peppers for a spicier touch, and Mojo Verde employs green herbs for a fresher flavor.
  • Preservation: Due to its high acid content, storing mojo sauce in the refrigerator is a good idea to extend its shelf life.
  • Diverse Uses: Great for meats and fish, yet equally delightful as a bread dip or potato topping.
  • Historical Impact: According to some accounts, mojo sauce was once a trading commodity among sailors.
  • New Adaptations: Contemporary chefs have crafted pineapple and mango variations of the sauce.
  • Pairing: When paired with wrinkled potatoes, mojo sauce completes a traditional Canary Island dish.
  • Vegetarian-Friendly: If you’re unsure about its content, most mojo recipes are inherently vegetarian and vegan.
  • Global Inspiration: I’d recommend tasting local versions when traveling, as many regions have added their unique twist to the classic mojo.
sauce in jar

What Are The Regional Adaptations Of This Sauce?

Mojo sauce, originally from the Canary Islands, has seen various adaptations around the globe. When in doubt about its origins, remember the Canaries, yet its influence spreads far and wide:

  • Mojo Verde: A green version, predominant in the Canaries, uses cilantro or parsley.
  • Mojo Picon: Another Canarian variant, spicier due to red chili peppers.
  • Cuban Mojo: It incorporates sour oranges and omits red wine vinegar. Great for marinating pork.
  • Puerto Rican Mojito: Often features cilantro and might include tomatoes.
  • Floridian Mojo: Influenced by Cuban flavors but with local twists.
  • Caribbean Variations: Some use fruit bases like mango or pineapple.

What Will Make You Love This Mojo Sauce Recipe?

Fresh ingredients make the difference. Zesty citrus brightens every bite. Aromatic garlic adds depth. Smoky cumin introduces warmth.

The texture? Perfectly balanced. It complements grilled meats. It elevates vegetable dishes. Seafood? A match made in heaven. 

Every drop bursts with flavor. Making it? Quick and easy. Your dishes deserve this upgrade. Let this sauce transform your table. Taste the vibrant transformation. Every meal becomes memorable

sauce in bowl

Ingredients List

Dried ancho chiles, stemmed2
Medium red bell pepper1 (sliced)
Garlic cloves5 (peeled)
Red wine vinegar½ cup
Water¼ cup
Ground smoked paprika1½ teaspoons
Cumin seeds1 teaspoon
Olive oil¼ cup
Salt1½ teaspoons

Ingredient Tips 

  • Ancho Chiles: If you’re unsure about their heat, deseed them for a milder flavor. When in doubt, use fewer chiles.
  • Red Bell Pepper: Opt for a firm, bright-colored pepper. It’s a good idea to roast it first for a deeper flavor.
  • Garlic: Fresh garlic is better than pre-peeled or minced varieties for optimum flavor.
  • Red Wine Vinegar: Choose a quality brand. It greatly impacts the sauce’s overall taste.
  • Water: Use filtered or distilled water if available.
  • Smoked Paprika: Don’t forget, this adds a smoky depth. Yet, use it judiciously.
  • Cumin Seeds: Toasting them lightly before grinding brings out their essence.
  • Olive Oil: Use extra virgin for a richer taste.
  • Salt: I’d recommend using sea or kosher salt for a balanced seasoning.

What Are The Variations Of Mojo Sauce Recipe?

  • Green Mojo: Use cilantro or parsley for a verdant twist.
  • Spicy Kick: Add red chili flakes or habanero peppers for heat.
  • Creamy Version: Blend with avocado for a smoother consistency.
  • Tangy Twist: Introduce apple cider vinegar for an extra zing.
  • Sweet and Savory: Mix in a dash of honey or agave nectar.
  • Mild Mojo: Omit the garlic for a gentler taste.
  • Herb Infusion: Incorporate rosemary or thyme for aromatic depth.
  • Tropical Punch: Add pineapple or mango for a fruity dimension.
  • Roasted Depth: Use roasted garlic for a smokier undertone.
  • Mediterranean Flavor: Mix in olives or capers for a briny note.
ingredients of sauce

Recipe Directions

Cooking Method

  • Combine the dried ancho chiles in a blender or food processor, sliced red bell pepper, peeled garlic cloves, red wine vinegar, water, ground smoked paprika, cumin seeds, olive oil, and salt.
  • Blend the mixture until it reaches a smooth consistency.
  • Transfer the sauce into a clean glass jar or an airtight container.

Storage And Ferment Method

  • If you’d like to ferment the sauce for added depth and tanginess, store the sauce at room temperature, covered with a cloth, for 2-3 days. When doubting fermentation duration, tasting the sauce daily is a good idea.
  • After the desired fermentation period, seal the container and move it to the refrigerator.
  • Store in the refrigerator for up to 10 days. My best advice is to use the sauce within this timeframe to ensure freshness.

Note: Fermenting is optional and introduces a unique flavor. Yet, if you’re not sure about fermenting, the sauce is equally delightful without it.

Scaling The Mojo Sauce Recipe

  • Determine Factor: Decide on the scaling factor. If you’re doubling the recipe, the factor is 2. Halving it makes the factor 0.5.
  • Ingredients: Multiply each ingredient by the factor. For instance, if you’re unsure about doubling and the original calls for 1 cup of vinegar, use 2 cups.
  • Blending: When in doubt about your blender’s capacity, blending in batches is a good idea.
  • Taste: Scaling might require slight adjustments for balance. Taste and tweak if needed.
  • Storage: Ensure you have adequate containers.
  • Time: My best advice: While blending time remains consistent, rest time should also increase, especially if fermenting.
making of sauce

Can This Sauce Be Used As A Marinade, Dipping Sauce, Or Dressing For Salads And Other Dishes?

Yes, mojo sauce is incredibly versatile and can be used in a variety of ways:

  • Marinade: It’s a good idea to use it for marinating meats, poultry, fish, or even tofu, infusing them with its rich flavors before grilling or baking.
  • Dipping Sauce: Serve alongside grilled meats, seafood, or bread for a tangy touch. When in doubt, it pairs well with most finger foods.
  • Dressing: Mix into salads, whether green, grain-based, or bean-based. Its vibrant taste can elevate simple salad ingredients.
  • Topping: Drizzle over roasted vegetables, potatoes, or grilled dishes for added zest.

What Are The Best Dishes To Accompany Mojo Sauce?

Mojo sauce pairs splendidly with a variety of dishes due to its vibrant and tangy flavor profile:

  • Grilled Meats: Think steaks, chicken, and pork. The tangy sauce contrasts beautifully with the charred flavors.
  • Seafood: Whether grilled shrimp, baked fish, or pan-seared scallops, mojo sauce complements the delicate flavors.
  • Roasted Vegetables: Drizzle over roasted Brussels sprouts, carrots, or bell peppers.
  • Potatoes: From boiled to roasted, the sauce brings life to any potato dish.
  • Rice and Beans: A drizzle of mojo can elevate a simple bowl of rice and beans.
  • Sandwiches and Wraps: As a spread, it provides a zesty kick.
  • Eggs: Whether boiled, scrambled, or in omelets, eggs benefit from their tang.
  • Tacos and Fajitas: A mojo drop can add a unique twist to these classics.
Mojo Sauce Recipe

What Are Some Classic Dishes That Feature Mojo Sauce?

Mojo sauce, with its zest and tang, graces many classic dishes:

  • Papas Arrugadas: Canary Islands’ signature wrinkled potatoes, where mojo is a must-have accompaniment.
  • Cuban Roast Pork: Marinated in mojo, it’s succulent and flavorful.
  • Grilled Fish: Drizzled with mojo enhances the fish’s natural taste.
  • Mojo Chicken: A popular dish in which chicken is marinated and grilled.
  • Yucca: Often served boiled with mojo sauce drizzled on top.
  • Tostones: Fried green plantains, elevated with a mojo dip.
  • Carne Asada: While traditionally a Mexican dish, adding mojo gives it a fresh twist.

What Are The Key Flavor Profiles And Taste Sensations That Mojo Sauce Offers? 

Mojo sauce captivates the palate with a myriad of flavor profiles:

  • Tangy: The sauce has a notable acidic kick thanks to the red wine vinegar.
  • Spicy: Chiles, whether ancho or red, introduce a warmth that ranges from mild to fiery.
  • Earthy: Ground smoked paprika and cumin seeds provide a grounding, smoky undertone.
  • Herbaceous: Fresh herbs can add a verdant and refreshing note, depending on the variant.
  • Garlicky: Garlic cloves are fundamental, imparting a pungent and aromatic depth.
  • Salty: The addition of salt accentuates other flavors, striking a balance.
Mojo Sauce Recipe

Can This Sauce Be Stored And Preserved For Future Use? What Is Its Shelf Life?

Yes, mojo sauce can be stored and preserved for future use. After preparing, transferring the sauce into a clean, airtight container or glass jar is a good idea. When stored in the refrigerator, the sauce typically has a shelf life of up to 10 days. 

However, the high acid content from the vinegar does offer some preservation properties. If unsure about its freshness, always check for any off-odors, mold, or separation. 

In fact, for longer preservation, you can consider adding a preservative or fermenting the sauce, as fermentation extends shelf life. My best advice is to consume it within the recommended timeframe for optimal flavor.

What Are The Substitutes For Mojo Sauce Recipe?

While Mojo Sauce is distinct in flavor, there are various alternatives you can consider depending on your dish:

  • Chimichurri: An Argentinian green sauce made of parsley, garlic, vinegar, and oil.
  • Pesto: A rich blend of basil, pine nuts, garlic, Parmesan, and olive oil.
  • Sofrito: A Caribbean and Latin base made from bell peppers, tomatoes, onions, and garlic.
  • Gremolata: A zesty Italian mix of lemon zest, garlic, and parsley.
  • Aioli: A Mediterranean sauce, primarily garlic, olive oil, and sometimes egg yolks.
  • Pico de Gallo: Fresh salsa with tomatoes, onions, cilantro, and lime.
  • Tzatziki: Greek yogurt-based sauce with cucumber, garlic, and dill.
  • Harissa: A spicy North African paste of chilies, garlic, and spices.
  • Salsa Verde: A tangy green sauce with tomatillos, chilies, and cilantro.
  • Romesco: A Spanish sauce with roasted red peppers, nuts, and bread crumbs.
Mojo Sauce Recipe

How To Adjust The Consistency Of The Sauce? 

  • Thicker Sauce: Reduce on low heat, allowing water content to evaporate.
  • Add Thickness: Blend in bread crumbs, nuts, or roasted vegetables like bell peppers.
  • Starch Solution: Mix in a cornstarch or arrowroot slurry.
  • Dairy Dimension: Stir in yogurt or heavy cream for a creamy, thicker texture.
  • Thinner Sauce: Drizzle in water, broth, or citrus juice, stirring well.
  • Oil Emulsion: Slowly stream in olive or avocado oil while blending.
  • Blend More: A longer blending time can change consistency, making it smoother.
  • Strain It: For a super-smooth consistency, strain the sauce through a fine mesh.
  • Resting: Let the sauce sit. Some thicken naturally as flavors meld.
  • Adjust Ingredients: More solid ingredients yield a thicker sauce; more liquids thin it out.

Should We Serve The Sauce Cold Or Warm?

The ideal serving temperature for Mojo Sauce largely depends on its application:

  • Cold: Perfect as a zesty dip for chips or veggies.
  • Room Temperature: Ideal for drizzling over salads or sandwiches.
  • Warm: Enhances grilled meats, seafood, or roasted vegetables.
  • Cold Over Warm: Serve cold Mojo on warm dishes for a delightful contrast.
  • Marinade: Use it cold, allowing proteins to absorb flavors before cooking.
  • Cooked Ingredient: Incorporate warm Mojo into stews or soups for flavor infusion.
  • Topping: Cold or room temperature enhances the final touch on tacos or bowls.
  • Stir-ins: Warm the sauce to blend seamlessly into pasta or grains.
Mojo Sauce Recipe

Nutritional Values

Mojo sauce, with its blend of spices and fresh ingredients, is low in calories yet rich in flavor. A typical serving provides essential vitamins from red bell pepper and garlic, while olive oil contributes healthy fats. It’s low in carbohydrates and sugars, making it suitable for various dietary preferences. 

What Are The Total Calories In Mojo Sauce?

The total calories in mojo sauce depend on the specific quantities and ingredients used. The primary calorie-contributing ingredients in the recipe are olive oil, red bell pepper, and dried ancho chiles. Olive oil, being a fat, is calorie-dense, contributing approximately 120 calories per tablespoon

To get an exact calorie count for the given recipe, one must analyze each ingredient’s contribution and sum them. I’d recommend using a nutritional calculator or app for precise measurements.

Dietary Restrictions Of The Mojo Sauce

Based on the provided recipe, Mojo sauce caters to many dietary needs. Here are the dietary restrictions it meets:

  • Vegan: Contains no animal products.
  • Vegetarian: Suitable for those avoiding meat.
  • Gluten-Free: No ingredients contain gluten.
  • Dairy-Free: Lacks any dairy-based ingredients.
  • Nut-Free: The absence of nuts makes it safe for those with allergies.
  • Low-Carb: Predominantly low in carbohydrates.
  • Paleo: Aligns with the paleo diet’s principles.
  • Whole30: Contains compliant ingredients.
  • Low-Sugar: Naturally low in sugars.

Nutrition Table

nutrition table

Are There Any Common Mistakes To Avoid When Making Or Using This Sauce?

When making or using mojo sauce, there are common pitfalls to be wary of:

  • Over-blending: This can heat the sauce and change its texture. Blend until smooth, but do just what is necessary.
  • Too much vinegar: While tanginess is desired, excessive vinegar can overpower other flavors.
  • Skimping on salt: Salt enhances flavors. Adjust to your liking, but don’t forget it.
  • Using stale spices: Always ensure your spices, like cumin or paprika, are fresh for optimal flavor.
  • Not tasting as you go: Every ingredient can vary in intensity. Taste and adjust accordingly.
  • Over-storing: Mojo sauce has a good shelf life but is better when fresh. Use within recommended timeframes.
  • Limiting its use: Mojo sauce is versatile. Don’t restrict it to traditional pairings; experiment!

What Are Some Creative Uses Of Leftover Sauce?

Leftover mojo sauce can be put to a variety of creative uses:

  • Marinade: Great for meats, tofu, or fish before grilling or roasting.
  • Dressing: Mix with salads or drizzle over roasted veggies.
  • Bread Dip: Mix with olive oil for a tangy bread dip.
  • Pasta Sauce: Mix into warm pasta for a zesty twist.
  • Pizza Base: Swap tomato sauce for mojo on homemade pizzas.
  • Sandwich Spread: Elevates the flavor of sandwiches or wraps.
  • Stir-fry: Add to stir-fried vegetables or meats.
  • Egg Topper: Drizzle over scrambled eggs or omelets.
  • Soup Enhancer: Stir into soups for added depth.
  • Rice Flavoring: Mix with steamed rice for a flavorful side.
sauce served in white bowl

Special Tools & Equipment Needed

For making and storing mojo sauce, you’d require the following tools and equipment:

  • Blender or Food Processor: Essential for achieving a smooth sauce consistency.
  • Sharp Knife: To finely chop or slice ingredients like red bell pepper.
  • Cutting Board: For prepping ingredients.
  • Measuring Cups and Spoons: To ensure accurate proportions of ingredients.
  • Airtight Container: For storing the sauce and preserving its freshness.
  • Rubber Spatula: Helpful for scraping down the sides of the blender.
  • Glass Jar with Lid: An alternative for storing the sauce.
  • Fine Mesh Strainer: If you desire a super smooth consistency.
  • Bowl: For collecting the strained sauce.
  • Pepper Grinder: If using whole cumin seeds or fresh pepper.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is The Origin Of Mojo Sauce?

Mojo sauce traces its roots to the Canary Islands. However, variations of it have become popular in various cuisines, especially Cuban and Puerto Rican dishes.

Can I Use A Different Type Of Vinegar Instead Of Red Wine Vinegar?

Yes, while red wine vinegar is traditional, apple cider vinegar or white wine vinegar can be alternatives. The choice of vinegar can slightly alter the sauce’s flavor profile.

How Long Can I Store Mojo Sauce In The Refrigerator?

Properly stored in an airtight container, mojo sauce can last up to 10 days in the refrigerator.

Is Mojo Sauce Spicy?

The heat level can vary based on the chiles used. Ancho chiles give a mild heat. For a spicier kick, you can add or substitute with spicier chiles.

How Can I Use Mojo Sauce In Vegetarian Dishes?

Mojo sauce is versatile and great for drizzling over roasted vegetables, as a salad dressing, or even as a marinade for tofu and tempeh.

Mojo Sauce Recipe (Deliciously Creamy Twist)

0 from 0 votes
Course: Hot Sauces


Prep time


Cooking time




Ferment/Rest Time



Mojo sauce is a vibrant and tangy condiment hailing from the Canary Islands. Its blend of dried ancho chiles, red bell pepper, and aromatic spices offers a symphony of flavors suitable for various dishes.


  • 2 2 Dried ancho chiles, stemmed

  • 1 1 Medium red bell pepper (sliced)

  • 5 5 Garlic cloves (peeled)

  • ½ cup ½ Red wine vinegar

  • ¼ cup ¼ Water

  • teaspoons Ground smoked paprika

  • 1 teaspoon 1 Cumin seeds

  • ¼ cup ¼ Olive oil

  • teaspoons Salt

Step-By-Step Directions

  • Preparation
    Gather all your ingredients: dried ancho chiles, red bell pepper, garlic cloves, red wine vinegar, water, ground smoked paprika, cumin seeds, olive oil, and salt.
    Ensure your blender or food processor is clean and ready.
  • Blending Ingredients
    Add the dried ancho chiles and sliced red bell pepper to the blender or food processor.
    Next, add the peeled garlic cloves.
    Pour in the red wine vinegar and water.
    Sprinkle the ground smoked paprika and cumin seeds.
    Add the olive oil to the mixture.
    Season with salt.
  • Blending Process
    Secure the lid on the blender or food processor.
    Blend the mixture on a medium to high setting until the consistency is smooth and all ingredients are thoroughly combined. If needed, stop to scrape down the sides with a spatula and continue blending.
  • Storage
    Transfer the blended mojo sauce to a clean, airtight container or jar.
    Store the sauce in the refrigerator.
  • Usage
    The sauce will be ready to use once chilled. Before using it, please give it a quick stir.
    Remember, the sauce is best when used within 10 days.

Recipe Video


  • Adjust salt and vinegar according to taste.
  • Always use fresh spices for optimal flavor.
  • Store in an airtight container to retain freshness.

Leave a Comment

Author picture


Welcome, fellow flavor enthusiasts to the world of Sauce Chick, where every flavor tells a tale of creativity, passion, and the harmonious fusion of spices and sauces.

More About Me