Pollo Tropical Cilantro Garlic Lime Sauce

by Cristina | Last Updated: April 16, 2021

I love Pollo Tropical Cilantro Garlic Lime Sauce. Look. I grew up in Miami. There are certain foods that we had in Miami, that might not have hit other areas. You might know about Pollo Tropical now, but did you know about it 20 years ago? I did. I ate it all of the time. One of the things I loved most about their chicken and rice, was the sauce.

Even as a kid I would take Pollo Tropical’s cilantro garlic lime sauce and dump it all over my chicken and rice and I would dip my yuca fries, that’s right yuca fries, into the sauce as well. The stuff is great. 

Funny enough, my kids also love the Pollo Tropical Cilantro Garlic Lime sauce, but they know it by another name. They know it as Chicken Kitchen Cilantro Garlic Lime sauce. It is all about timing and proximity really. Pollo Tropical was founded in 1988, when I was growing up. 

I am not sure when Chicken Kitchen started, but I think it was later on when I was in high school. Anyways we live close to a Chicken Kitchen, but not a Pollo Tropical, so we eat Chicken Kitchen more often. 

I apologize for those of you that live outside of South Florida as you have probably never heard of either of the restaurants. If you are ever in town, try them out. Also, you can’t go wrong learning how to make a cilantro garlic lime sauce. It is really easy and goes great with chicken and fried foods. 

Why make your own sauce?

I ended up making this sauce for my children. Well, actually, it was probably more for my husband. As I mentioned I love this sauce. I remember it from my childhood. It’s great. My kids also love this sauce. However, my husband hates when I uber eats Chicken Kitchen to my house. “You are wasting money ordering chicken and rice.” 

He’s annoying, but might be right. The problem is my kids are hooked on the sauces from Chicken Kitchen. I set out to replicate the Pollo Tropical cilantro garlic lime sauce (for me), aka Chicken Kitchen’s garlic cilantro sauce(for them). 

Turns out it wasn’t that hard. The sauce is really easy and quick to make and most importantly, the kids love it. Unfortunately, that means that I shouldn’t order Chicken Kitchen via uber eats any more, but guess what… I still do.

Here is the recipe. I make it a bit thicker than you might find at the restaurants, if you want it runnier start by adding a few tablespoons of water and then add one at a time until you find your desired consistency.  

Ingredients for Pollo Tropical Cilantro Garlic Lime Sauce:

There are two ways to go about this. Trying not to offend anyone here. I love throwing everything in the food processor and pulsing it. I know there are some of you that prefer to go in some kind of order. If you are not the everyone in the pool at the same time kind of processor like me, here is the order you might want to go in.

Start with the rinsed stemless cilantro and lime in the food processor. Pulse until the cilantro is completely minced. Now add the garlic, salt, black pepper, cayenne into the food processor and pulse again until everything is fully mixed.

Last step. Add the sour cream and mayonnaise to the processor and pulse until smooth and creamy. 

You are now the proud owner of homemade Pollo Tropical Cilantro Garlic Lime Sauce. This sauce is safe in the fridge for around 5 days. 

Throw it on everything. I promise you, the sauce does not disappoint. I love pairing this sauce with cuban fried chicken.