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How Do I Choose the Best Mexican Dipping Sauce?

Many tomato-based sauces contain hot peppers.
Celery is often added to tomato-based Mexican dipping sauces.
Flautas with a dipping sauce.
Jalapeno peppers are often used in Mexican dipping sauces.
There are a wide variety of salsa that you can choose as dip for tortilla chips.
Sour cream can be used on salsa verde to lessen the spiciness.
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  • Written By: Eugene P.
  • Edited By: Angela B.
  • Last Modified Date: 07 December 2014
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The best Mexican dipping sauce really depends on the foods that are going to be dipped into it. Some are tomato-based sauces with a fresh and light taste that complements fresh vegetables or lightly toasted tortillas and nachos. Sour cream or creme fraiche can make a base for a Mexican dipping sauce that has strong spices, heat or robust aromatic flavors that can add flavor to cooked meats or roasted vegetables. Avocado can be mixed with ingredients such as Worcestershire sauce or vinegar to make an almost sweet and sour dipping sauce for shrimp. A more classic variety that is frequently served at gatherings or parties is a cheese-based Mexican dipping sauce with hot jalapeno peppers or even ground meat in it.

One consideration when choosing the best Mexican dipping sauce is the amount of heat it contains. Many Mexican dishes use jalapeno, habanera or chipotle chilies to give a fruity flavor along with spicy heat. The thinner a dip is, such as dips that use tomatoes or salsa as a base, the stronger the heat will be. Creamier dips, or dipping sauces that contain meats or cheese, tend to mitigate the heat and allow more of the fruit flavor of the peppers to come through.

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A tomato-based Mexican dipping sauce can resemble a salsa or use salsa as one of the main ingredients. These tend to have a light, fresh taste and can include a variety of ingredients. In addition to tomatoes, these sauces can contain onions, bell peppers, cilantro, parsley, tomatillos and celery. These are best with freshly made nachos that have a light, airy texture, thin quesadillas or cut vegetables such as celery or bell peppers.

A heavier Mexican dipping sauce can be made with sour cream or creme fraiche. The creamy base can easily be enhanced with garlic, peppers, onions and sometimes tomatoes. A vinegar-based hot sauce can give some color and heat to the dip. This type of dip goes well with grilled or roasted foods such as chicken, beef tacos or burrito-style meat wraps.

There are a host of Mexican dipping sauce recipes that use cheese as the main ingredient. They can be made easily by mixing spicy salsa with a melting cheese. Simple, homemade sauces can contain cheddar or Monterrey jack cheese mixed with freshly cut chili peppers, or chipotle chilies in a spicy adobo sauce. A dense cheese dipping sauce can serve a variety of purposes, sometimes adding flavor to a bland nacho chip and other times dulling the heat from spicy finger foods.

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Kristee
Post 6

I absolutely love mango salsa. It is sweet, salty, and hot all at once, and it goes great on top of everything from beef to fish tacos.

I recently learned how to make it at home. I chop up a red onion, a jalapeno, a mango, and a red bell pepper. I squirt in some lime juice and sprinkle some cilantro, along with a dash of salt.

I put it in a container with an airtight lid and stick it in the refrigerator for half an hour. This gives the flavors a chance to get acquainted.

Some of my friends like eating this as a chip dip, but I think it is best on top of meat. I had it on some tilapia tacos the very first time that I tried it, and I was sold.

feasting
Post 5

A lot of the sauces at Mexican restaurants contain cheese, and this is a problem for me. I hate the taste of cheese, so I generally just eat my food without the sauce.

The tortilla chips that come as an appetizer are delivered with goat cheese. That sounds even more disgusting than regular cheese!

Fortunately, they are also served with salsa. Salsa is generally a safe bet for me.

However, if my meal arrives and it has an unidentified sauce on the side, I stay away from it. Chances are that it contains cheese to some degree.

John57
Post 4

One way to experiment with the different Mexican dipping sauces is to order something different when you go to a restaurant. Many times if I like something on the menu, I keep ordering it over and over again.

Recently I ordered an enchilada dish that had a creamy, spicy sour cream sauce over it. This was really good and had just the right amount of spices added to it.

Ever since then, I have been trying to order something different to try out different flavors. This wasn't served as a dipping sauce, but I could see how many things would also taste great when dipped in this sauce.

myharley
Post 3

@Mykol-- I used to order a cheese sauce like that too, but since I have been trying to really watch what I eat, I have made some changes.

One thing I like to do is mix in a little bit of cheese sauce with the salsa. This looks and sounds gross to some people, but I love it. The cheese adds more taste to the salsa and I feel like I am still treating myself without as many of the extra calories I used to consume.

I don't really like eating salsa alone with the chips, but by mixing the two together come up with my own Mexican dipping sauce.

Mykol
Post 2

Most Mexican restaurants serve you free chips and salsa as part of your meal. I am not a huge salsa fan no matter how it is made, so will usually order some cheese dipping sauce to go with my chips.

This thick cheese sauce has some peppers and other spices mixed in with it. It is considered a mild sauce, and even though it is full of calories and fat, I find myself ordering this every time.

They can make this cheese sauce a lot hotter than they do by the amount and kind of peppers they put in, but I prefer a milder dipping sauce. Not only is this cheese sauce good for dipping chips, but also on just about any of the entrees that are served too.

LisaLou
Post 1

I have a friend that makes the best homemade salsa. Every year he grows a big garden and uses peppers, onions, tomatoes and cilantro from his garden to make this.

He makes several different varieties of this sauce from mild all the way up to very hot. This is best when it is served fresh with some tortilla chips. Even though it is a simple snack, the flavors of the fresh ingredients in the salsa really come through.

When you are used to eating this homemade salsa, buying it in a jar at the store doesn't taste nearly as good.

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