Huancaina Sauce (Peruvian cheese and yellow chili sauce)

This delicious Peruvian sauce is traditionally served as an appetizer with boiled potatoes, hard boiled egg, olives and lettuce, however, it can be use for garnishing any meat dish or as a dip for cocktail potatoes, bread, chips or crackers… its use is only limited by your imagination.

Every Peruvian will have his/her own recipe for this sauce, so there are many variations, so feel free to adapt and create your own too!


  • 120g of yellow chili ground (paste)
  • 100g of onions (one small to medium onion)
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 100g of ‘fresco’ or feta cheese (can be salted or unsalted, just adjust the salt accordingly)
  • 250ml (1 cup) of milk (UHT or pasteurized because you won’t cook it)
  • 2 or 3 packets of crackers (or saltine crackers)
  • Vegetable oil
  • Salt and pepper


Chop the onions and the garlic in relatively large slices, it does not matter too much as they will go later to the blender.

On a frying pan pour some vegetable oil (3 or 4 tablespoons) and heat.

Once the oil on the pan is hot put the chopped onions and garlic along with some salt and pepper (half a teaspoon of salt and a sprinkle of pepper would be enough) and saute them until the onions start to become golden (meaning they are getting cooked). At this point incorporate the yellow chili ground (paste) and continue cooking for 1 minute or 2, you will note a slight change in the yellow colour of the chili as it gets hot and cooked. Stop the heat.

On a blender incorporate the cooked mix from the pan, the cheese and milk and blend until getting a uniform yellow fluid paste.

At this point the mix should be very fluid and it is the time to adjust the salt, and if you want the huancaina to be more hot spicy you can add more yellow chili if you wish… so taste your mix and adjust as you wish.

The last ingredient to incorporate in the blender are the crackers, which function is to ‘thicken’ the sauce to the desired consistency (the consistency of a dip or mayonnaise). Using saltines is a good idea because they have salt, so they will not alter the saltiness of the sauce. Crash the crackers and incorporate them 2 or 3 at a time in the blender, then blend for a while and check the consistency).

Let the huancaina sauce cool down and store it in the fridge. As it cools down it may become thicker than you expected, don’t worry, just loosen it with a bit of milk and stir with a spoon.


As an appetizer, serve some potato slices over a leaf of lettuce covered generously with the huancaina sauce. Garnish with olives and hard boiled egg slices.

As party finger food, present the sauce as a dip in a bowl, and provide plenty of boiled mini-potatoes, crackers, celery or carrot slices, toasted bread or mash potato balls… use your imagination… we can assure you that your guests will get addicted and will not be able to stop dipping whatever is available in this Peruvian delight. Enjoy!






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