Cilantro-Lime Sauce

cilantro lime sauce

The right sauce can make a big difference

Sometimes all you need is a great sauce to take a dish from good to great. Some people like a little, others a lot, so a sauce on the side pleases all palates.

The idea for this cilantro-lime sauce was inspired by Café Rio’s Creamy Tomatillo dressing. Like so many others, I am a big fan of Café Rio. For those not familiar, Café Rio is a fantastic casual restaurant chain based in Salt Lake City. My daughter lives there, and a Café Rio visit is mandatory every time I visit. Hey Café Rio people: your brand would be HUGELY popular in Madison, Wisconsin. Hint, Hint.

How to make Cilantro-Lime Sauce

There are many copycat recipes for Café Rio’s dressing; but the one I used as my starting point was from “the girl who ate everything”. Her recipe starts with buttermilk and a ranch-dressing packet. This sounded brilliant, because most other recipes like this have a much longer ingredient list!

I like to simplify even more, so decided to use Hidden Valley’s Buttermilk Ranch dressing, conveniently available in “light.” From there, I played with sour cream, lime juice and cilantro to get the right proportions.

Since I was not trying for a copycat, I skipped the tomatillo part. I just wanted a cilantro-lime sauce.

It turned out great! A light, creamy sauce, which works on any Tex-Mex dish. I particularly like it on a taco salad – yum! Add some salsa and you have a party on your plate.

And be sure to check out the recipe for Mini Bell Pepper Poppers. I LOVE dipping them in this sauce!

cilantro lime sauce
Print Recipe
5 from 24 votes

Cilantro-Lime sauce

the perfect dipping sauce for everything Tex-Mex
Prep Time10 mins
Total Time10 mins
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: Mexican
Servings: 8
Calories: 86kcal
Author: Sula


  • ½ cup Hidden Valley Buttermilk Ranch dressing light
  • 1/3 cup light sour cream
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • ½ cilantro chopped
  • Juice from one lime


  • Place all ingredients in a blender or mini food processor.
  • Process until smooth.
  • Refrigerate until ready to serve.


Calories: 86kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 8mg | Sodium: 171mg | Potassium: 30mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 40IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 18mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition values are estimates only, using online calculators. Please verify using your own data.

cilantro lime sauce

Pin it for later!

Need some other sauces for your Tex-Mex buffet? Try making Roasted Salsa, Guacamole or Avocado Dip. I love them all!

Another great sauce inspired by a fast food restaurant: Taco Bell (Copycat) Quesadilla Sauce. So good!


    42 thoughts on “Cilantro-Lime Sauce

      1. I haven’t tried it without lime, but I do think it would be very good. I have been on a lime kick lately so I actually love that as part of the taste. 🙂

    1. 5 stars
      This Cilantro-Lime Sauce was perfect on my chicken and my husband actually used it on fish the next day and loved it. I will be saving this recipe to try on other items.

      1. I’ve used it on chicken but fish never occurred to me. I’ll have to give that a try, thanks for the great suggestion!

    2. 5 stars
      This was so delicious!! And super easy to make! We loved it on our taco salads!! Thanks for a great recipe!

    3. 5 stars
      Cilantro and lime are my two favorite flavors and combining them in the sauce is genius! So many ways to use it!

    4. 5 stars
      Some time ago, I started to collect sauce recipes. Yours sounds so delicious that it is going to my recipe collection. I will definitely give it a try!

    5. 5 stars
      This cilantro lime sauce is so easy to make, and so delicious! Perfect for dipping so many things, We loved dipping quesadillas in this yummy sauce!

    6. 5 stars
      We made this for our taco night, and it was so delicious with chips and as a side to the rest of our meal!

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