Salsa Criolla, the Perfect Complement

Onions, Aji­ Amarillo chilies, lime juice and a few cilantro leaves, a simple mix of intense flavor. Salsa criolla accompanies many of our dishes as a side dish, like Tamales, Humitas, Arroz con pollo, sandwiches, beans, and the list goes on. It’s up to you how hot this salsa will be: follow the recipe word by word or make it milder by substituting the Aji­ Amarillo with bell peppers. Make it colorful so it is visually appealing and keep the onion crunchy to fully enjoy its texture and awaken all your senses (for this you need to prepare the Salsa Criolla right before serving, as the onion becomes soggy when it macerates in the lemon juice for too long).

Salsa criolla
Recipe type: Salsa
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2
  • ½ medium red onion, finely sliced from top to root
  • 1 aji­ amarillo cut in thin slices or ½ red bell pepper
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro leaves, chopped
  • Salt and pepper
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  1. *Put the sliced onion in a bowl, cover with ice water and let rest for 5 minutes. Strain thoroughly. (This is done to eliminate the bitterness of the onion).
  2. *In a bowl combine onion, Aji­ Amarillo or bell pepper, salt, pepper, lemon juice and olive oil. Mix carefully. You can use it immediately or have it on hand up to an hour in the fridge.


  1. Salsa criolla is so good… Love it on beans and rice, tacu tacu, lentejitss, on everything


  1. […] summer rolls with spice-rubbed roasted sweet potatoes (marinade below) and salsa criolla from […]

  2. […] Perú hay una salsa llamada Salsa Criolla que se le agrega a casi todos los platos. Esta salsa está hecha a base de cebolla cortada […]

  3. […] we eat a salsa called Salsa Criolla with almost every dish. This salsa is made with thinly sliced red onions, chili, lime juice, and […]

  4. […] Perú hay una salsa llamada Salsa Criolla que se le agrega a casi todos los platos. Esta salsa está hecha a base de cebolla cortada […]

  5. […] pan fried untill it’s golden on the outside. Like most creolle dishes, it’s accompanied with salsa criolla, and although it was originally created as an appetizer, in most households it’s eaten as an […]

  6. […] Despite not being the most typical way of eating it, the smokiness of the lomo saltado, together with the silky purée, whose flavor has been enhanced by four different cheeses, is a wonderful combination that I always enjoy when I visit this place. I´m sure that pork, chicken, duck, or even turkey, would also be perfect companions and enhancers of this already delicious-on-it’s-own, simple entreé. The usual way of eating it at home? Two tasty fried eggs and a crunchy and spicy salsa criolla. […]

  7. […] of deep fried meat– served with roseta rolls, fried sweet potato slices, and topped with salsa criolla. If you add one or two chicken or pork tamales, fresh papaya or orange juice, and café con leche, […]

  8. […] Salsa criolla is part of the Peruvian gastronomic landscape. It complements perfectly well most of our tasty dishes, and I´m sure that many of them simply won´t be the same without this side of lemony onion slices and aji amarillo. There is a radish variation, and some adventurous cooks add red and yellow bell peppers, sliced tomatoes or creamy avocados to the salsa, making it even more delicious. Here you have a tiny list of some dishes that need salsa criolla to be just perfect. […]

  9. […] Salsa Criolla is the Peruvian equivalent of what ketchup and mayonnaise is to Americans: we put it on everything. This crunchy, slightly spicy, and citric salsa is made by finely slicing red onions, and combining them with chili peppers, lime juice, salt, pepper, and herbs. […]

  10. […] them in Peru. The ingredients were simple: a crispy roll, perfectly roasted turkey, gravy, lettuce, salsa criolla, and a varied choice of sauces: mayonnaise, aji amarillo, rocoto, huacatay, mustard, and the […]

  11. […] Salsa criolla, ají amarillo and rocoto sauces are always served with this entree or shared appetizer, as are very thin yucca chips, and even cancha. Mayonnaise, tartar sauce, and lime wedges are also part of the tasty display of condiments, so each person can add the right amount and combination of flavors to his / her jalea. […]

  12. […] or dinner party with some delicious piqueos. What else do you need? Just some ají amarillo sauce, salsa criolla, and an icy cold chicha morada or beer. […]

  13. […] a la Huancaina,  is one of those culinary tokens that enhance almost any savory dish. Similar to Salsa Criolla, in Peru we use this sauce, which is famously perfumed and colored with the one and only aji […]

  14. […] without a filling. I love to serve this dish with ají amarillo sauce, with Huancaína sauce, or Salsa Criolla, but you can serve it plain and it´s equally […]

Speak Your Mind