Mexican Sauces: Great Ways to Top Your Tacos

SOHO TACO Gourmet Taco Catering - Fullerton Arboretum Wedding - Condiments and Salsa Table
Salsas as far as the eye can see. Which one would you reach for first?
(Photo: Wedding Catering at Fullerton Arboretum)

Do you know how many kinds of Mexican sauces there are? Top your tacos with all varieties of this delicious salsa.

You meet your mom during your lunch break to eat at a Mexican restaurant. You sit for a few minutes before the waitress brings out the chips and salsa. She sets four bottles down in front of you and you’re having a hard time telling which is which.

Salsa is more than just an essential for chips. It’s also a great topper for other dishes such as tacos. If you’re unfamiliar with the different types, you may accidentally ruin your entire meal.

To help you liven up your food in the best way possible, here is a quick guide on the different Mexican sauces.

1. Salsa de Chamoy 

This Mexican salsa is used to dip fruit in but you can also use it for chips, tacos, anything you want really. It’s made with apricots, mangos or plums (depending on your tastes), lime juice, and chilies. 

SOHO TACO Gourmet Taco Catering - Espadillas de Fruta - Orange County - OC
Oh boy, chamoy! This classic sauce goes great with our watermelon & mango espadilla de fruta appetizers.

You can get it at different degrees of spiciness so if you want to put something on your tacos that’s sweet but has a kick, this sauce is the best. 

2. Pico de Gallo 

Pico de gallo is probably the one sauce on this list that you’re most familiar with. While you can get it at almost any Mexican restaurant and it’s also on the shelf in most grocery stores in America, it’s actually not too common in Mexico. 

SOHO TACO Gourmet Taco Catering - Pico De Gallo - Orange County OC - Los Angeles LA
Classic salsa de Pico de Gallo is an essential at any taco party.

It’s created with tomatoes, cilantro, onions, jalapeno or serrano peppers, and is covered with a hint of lemon. Pico de gallo doesn’t pack much heat so it’s good if you want to give your tacos a small kick. 

3. Salsa Verde

Salsa verde is also very well known sauce. It’s got basically the same ingredients like pico de gallo except it uses green tomatoes instead of red and there is a little bit of garlic thrown in. It’s also prepared a little bit differently. You can get raw salsa verde or grilled. 

SOHO TACO Gourmet Taco Catering - Wedding - Island Hotel - Newport Beach CA - Salsa Verde
Our spicy salsa verde made with pure fire roasted jalapenos is a terrific topping on any of our tacos.

If you want a sauce that’s a little on the thin side you’ll go with grilled. Grilled salsa verde adds a bit of a smokey flavor to anything it’s put on. If you want your sauce to have a little more consistency so it holds to your taco, getting raw sauce is going to be your go-to. 

No matter which type you get, be prepared for a little heat. Despite the fact that it contains many of the same ingredients as pico de gallo, salsa verde is a lot spicier. 

4. Guacamole-Style Salsa Verde 

If you like the idea of salsa verde but not the idea of the heat that comes with it, you can get the much more mild guacamole-style. It’s got all the same ingredients but vegetable oil is added and the sauce is boiled before it gets liquified. The result is a satisfyingly creamy sauce. 

SOHO TACO Gourmet Taco Catering - Los Angeles - Facebook LA - Adding Salsa de Guacamole
Slather that beautiful guacamole all over your tacos. Don’t be shy!

Please note that despite the name, no guacamole is used in the making of this sauce. So, if you get it for the guacamole in the name you’ll be sorely disappointed. 

5. Salsa Roja 

If a waitress places a red sauce on your table, chances are that it’s this one. It’s very similar to salsa verde except instead of green tomatoes it’s made with red ones and salsa roja also uses red serrano peppers. 

SOHO TACO Gourmet Taco Catering - Temecula Creek Cottage - Wedding - Adding Roasted Red Tomato Salsa
Adding our fire roasted salsa roja is always a great idea.

The peppers make salsa roja have a little bit more of a kick than the green sauce so you may want to keep a water bottle beside you if you can’t handle your spice too well. 

6. Salsa de Chile de Árbol 

If you don’t mind a lot of spice, salsa de chile de árbol is a favorite topping for tacos. It’s only made with a few ingredients tomato, garlic, onion, oil, and of course, chile de árbol. 

SOHO TACO Gourmet Taco Catering - Taco Jardinero - Salsa de Chile de Arbol - Orange County - OC
Last year our March 2018 special #TacoJardinero featured a touch of smoky, spicy Salsa de Chile de Arbol.

If you’re unfamiliar with chile de árbol, it’s a thin, tiny pepper that packs a huge punch. It’s about 6 times hotter than your standard jalapeno pepper. So, while this salsa it’s not as hot as the next one on this list, it still has a strong kick. 

7. Salsa Tamulada

Usually, the thick salsas are the ones that pack a punch because they haven’t been diluted. Salsa tamulada is an exception to this rule. It’s almost transparent when it comes to the consistency but you’re going to want several drinks next to you when you try it. 

Need something that’ll make you sweat like the US Attorney General getting grilled by the Senate? Salsa Tamulada will do it for you.
(Photo: Serious Eats)

It’s not as popular as some of the other sauces on this list but it’s still a contender as far as taste goes. It can be orange, coffee colored, red, or green depending on the type of habanero pepper that’s used in its creation. 

8. Guajillo Chile Salsa

If you need something to cleanse your palate after the salsa tamulada, guajillo chile salsa will be like a breath of fresh air. Guajillo is a very mild chile and actually brings a fruity flavor to the sauce.

For more info & a terrific recipe be sure to visit and enjoy!

It’s one of the most versatile chiles out there. It goes great on everything from tacos to enchiladas.  

Top Your Tacos with Some of These Great Mexican Sauces 

Not all Mexican sauces are made the same. They come in varying degrees of spiciness and have different colors and consistencies. Which one you get all depends on your tastes and your dish of choice. Refer back to this guide the next time you’re confused about which sauce you’re putting on your meal so your pleasurable eating experience doesn’t turn sour. 

SOHO TACO Gourmet Taco Catering - Temecula Creek Cottage - Wedding - Adding Salsa
Let us help you create your own taco masterpiece with our terrific selection of salsas.

From sauces to the amazing meals that they top, we have all your next event needs. Contact us to give us the details about your event and get an estimate on our catering services. 

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