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Colombian Aji Picante

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Colombian Aji Picante is a spicy Colombian hot sauce served with soups, sancocho, beans, stews, rice, empanadas and more.

Colombian Aji Picante
Colombian Aji Picante

Every Latin country has there own version of a spicy hot sauce or herby sauce like chimichurri for example, each unique and delicious. This is my mom’s recipe. She never measures when she cooks so it was a bit tricky getting her measurements right. A little goes a long way, you only need to add a few teaspoons to whatever you put this on. To save time, you can use a mini food processor.

Colombian Aji Picante

The other night I made Dominican Beans in the Instant Pot and was reminded of this recipe. We served them over rice with steak and this aji picante sauce on top, it was delicious!

My mom always made this when she made some homemade empanadas, beans or stew. It adds brightness and a little heat to anything you’re grilling. You can chop everything up by hand or use a food processor. Adjust the heat to your taste, if you like it spicy keep the seeds from the jalapeño in. If you prefer it mild, leave them out. Adjust the salt, lime juice and cilantro to your taste. Every Colombian home does it slightly different.

Dominican Beans over rice with aji picante on top and steak on the side.

Colombian Aji Picante

Colombian Aji Picante

5 from 3 votes
Colombian Aji Picante is a spicy Colombian hot sauce served with soups, sancocho, beans, stews, rice, empanadas and more.
Course: Sauce
Cuisine: Colombian
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 0 minutes
Total: 5 minutes
Yield: 20 servings
Serving Size: 1 tbsp


  • 4 scallions
  • 1 medium tomato
  • 1 tbsp jalapeno pepper, seeded
  • 1/3 cup cilantro, minced
  • 1 lime, juice of
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup water, or more as needed
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt and fresh black pepper, to taste


  • Place all ingredients in a small food processor and pulse a few times or mince everything with a sharp knife.
  • Refrigerate to let the flavors meld.

Last Step:

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Serving: 1 tbsp, Calories: 3 kcal, Carbohydrates: 0.8 g, Protein: 0.2 g, Fiber: 0.2 g


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60 comments on “Colombian Aji Picante”

  1. Avatar photo
    Kelly Ospina

    Your recipe is very similar to my mother-in-law’s recipe, except she used tiny red chilies she grew in her garden, then dried. She ground them in a mortar and pestle before adding to the other ingredients. The aji, plus her empanadas vallunas, were the first foods I fell in love with in Colombia. I’m so happy to have found your site, and especially all of the Colombian recipes you share. Thank you!

  2. Shoot!  What happened with the flank steak marinade recipe that was with this recipe?  I want to make that again but it’s gone…help!  Is it in the cookbook?

  3. Your Aji Picante recipe is so on point. I have lived in Colombia and traveled there countless times. Obviously there are a variety of styles but this one hits home for me. Buen Provecho

  4. Sounds awesome, but what would you recommend using in place of the peppers for a total spice wimp. I can't even handle jalapeno….

  5. Avatar photo
    Blythe Owen Hunt

    I use your recipes 3-4 times a week. At least! I could post on every recipe, but I decided to comment on this one because we LOVE your aji picante sauce!! I make double batches and freeze what we don't use that week to use later. And I put it in baby food jars and give it away as gifts. Delish! We can't WAIT for your cookbook to come out! Thanks for all the hard work you put into these recipes. We are loving them.

  6. I've been making your recipes for a few years now. I just wanted to pipe in finally and say I love this sauce! I made it originally to go with the Carne Guisada but I've been putting it on everything even after the stew was long gone. I will definitely be making this over and over again! Thanks!

  7. Avatar photo
    Danielle Kawamura

    Made this for my husband with the Carne Guisada latin stew and we both loved it! I added a clove of garlic to the salsa just cause I love garlic 🙂 thanks so much for sharing, I love your recipes Gina!

  8. I want to make this tonight but I dont have peppers, can I use hot sauce, or hot pepper flakes or srichihi?

  9. Just made this to go with the Carne Guisada that's simmering away…snuck a taste and wow! It's delicious! Can't wait to pair them together!

  10. Your recipes are too die for. They are delicious, and I'm so happy to have found your blog that has helped fit right in with my healthier lifestyle. By the way, you made me porud with this recipe. I am 100% COLOMBIAN and I approve!!!

  11. Yes, you can puree it in a blender. Just don't blend it for too long.

    Gina – thanks for this fantastic recipe. I made this along with your Fiesta Lime Rice and Cheddar Jalapeno Chicken. A truly amazing meal (except for the part where I was careless with the habaneros and had to soak my hand in yogurt! Gloves next time for sure).

  12. You are doing us foodies a great service! Thanks for all your hard work! I would love to see the Crab Empanada recipe soon! LOL

  13. Im new to WW and when given your sight at our meeting, I was soo excited to check it out. They were naming off sooo many yummy sounding recipes at our meeting(not nice to do when its dinner time) and I absolutely am thrilled to start my new journey,,and these recipes are awesome!!! Thank You sooo much for the points recipes on here, I will be visiting often!!! 🙂

  14. Avatar photo
    Gina @ Skinnytaste

    Mine were green, they might get hotter when red! You could use any hot pepper, jalapenos would work too.

  15. Gina, I bought the ingredients to try this, but got scared a little. Your recipe for the Habanero Cilantro Lime Rice doesn't have any red in it. My grocery store only had RED habanero chile peppers. Is this right??? We do like the spicy sauces, but I don't want to kill myself with this stuff either. The website I just looked up as the red habanero among the top 5 hottest peppers.
    Please let me know which color of pepper is to be used in this recipe. Thanks!!!

  16. Avatar photo
    In Krista's Kitchen

    I made this for dinner tonight!  I forgot to buy the ingredients for the aji, but with a spatter of hot sauce my hubs and I were happily slurping up our soup.

  17. Thank-you for your great post, its really intresting and mouth watering. Its easy to prepare and very intresting to read. Definetly ill try this tonight.

  18. Avatar photo
    Gina @ Skinnytaste

    Yes Katy! Which is why it's so hard to make Moms recipes if I'm not standing right next to her : )

  19. I'm Colombian and my mom always says "al calculo del ojo" when cooking, she never measures anything. I guess that's the Colombian secret 🙂 Thank you for this blog!

  20. My mom always makes pavlova's but I've never attempted it. Thanks for the inspiration – this is so pretty!

  21. Avatar photo
    Gina @ Skinnytaste

    No, sofrito is something you cook with, where as aji is a condiment you eat raw, add to your cooked food. Hot sauce basically.

    Thanks Chris!

    The longer this sits in the fridge, the better it tastes. So make this ahead of time. Great with bbq meats!

  22. Here via Kim's blog (Stirring The Pot) where I saw your link to this recipe. I love aji sauce. I first came across it in Steven Raichlen's Planet Barbecue!

    I like your blog, great photography and content.

  23. Avatar photo

    I can't even tell you how excited I am to see this!!!! I recently tried your empanadas (using your picadillo recipe) and they have been such a hit I made them three times within a week! My Puerto Rican-Colombian husband loved them but was missing the "green sauce" that is served on the side at the local Colombian restaurants. Now I can make some for him! Since he's asked for 100 empadanas for his birthday, I'll be making at least a quart of this! 🙂

    P.S. We had company over for empanadas and one of our guests doesn't eat red meat, so I made up a chicken empanada and it was awesome. It was the first time I created something that was good, so thanks for being the inspiration!!!

  24. Avatar photo
    Gina @ Skinnytaste

    Good question Kassie, it keeps a while. At least 1 week if not longer. I'm sure it would freeze fine! Great way to use up that extra cilantro you don't know what to do with!!

    I should mention, if you like your food super hot, add more peppers. Scott bonnets are super hot! You coups also use jalapeño peppers, red pepper flakes would even do.

  25. I love the southern recipes but don't care for the Morocan recipes. Send more because you are great. WW is awesome & we need all the help we can get.

  26. Ooooo..I want to try this because my husband has been all about adding hot sauce to things, and this is a healthier way to do it! Question: how long does it keep for in the fridge? Can you freeze it?