The Famous Texas Green Sauce For Serious Jalapeño Lovers

There's no denying that Texans love jalapeños. From fiery salsas and tangy queso to smoky jalapeño-muddled margaritas and that 100-year-old Lone Star favorite, cowboy candy, when it comes to spicy flavors, Texans are on fire. In fact, Texans love jalapeños so much that the state's legislature drafted and approved House Resolution No. 105 (signed by then-Governor George W. Bush) naming the jalapeño the official pepper of Texas, even citing its nutritional and health benefits, as well as its long history as an "essential ingredient" in its official state dish — chili. (Now, that's real love.)

But there's one jalapeño-based condiment that has captured the hearts, and taste buds, of locals and visitors alike — it's their legendary Texas green sauce. This creamy jalapeño sauce, known to locals affectionately as "that green sauce" or "that green stuff," has established a cult-like following and become a staple in kitchens and restaurants throughout Texas. And if you're a serious jalapeño lover, this versatile and verdant sauce is not to be missed as it livens up everything from Mexican and Tex-Mex go-tos like chips, roasted potatoes, fries, eggs, burritos, quesadillas, tacos, grilled meats, but also distinctly American fare like pizza, burgers, and hot dogs.

What's in That Green Stuff or Texas Green Sauce

Not to be confused with salsa verde or Texas green salsa, "that green stuff" is much beloved and hotly debated, with devotees claiming both Houston and Austin origins, each with their own theories as to which ingredients are responsible for its creamy texture. Some credit mayo, sour cream, or avocado for its silky smooth mouthfeel. The truth is — there's more than one version of creamy jalapeño Texas green sauce.

The most frequently cited version comes from the food truck-laden streets of Austin, where it has none of those suspected ingredients. Austin cooking power couple and authors of "Dining with the Dead," Mariana Nuño Ruiz and Ian McEnroe, say the key is emulsification. In the same way traditional aioli is made, "the green stuff," gets its creaminess from an emulsification of oil and garlic, but it also adds fresh jalapeños, onion, and salt. And while some folks saute their peppers and onions until soft before whipping them with an immersion blender, there are those who prefer the bright flavor raw ingredients bring. 

For those who remember the good ol' days when Houston's "green sauce" reigned supreme, you'll find the originator to be widely credited as "Mama Ninfa" Laurenzo, the late proprietor of The Original Ninfa's restaurants. Ninfa's uses green tomatoes, tomatillos, jalapeños, garlic, avocados, cilantro, and sour cream. Both are renowned and delicious — and let's face it, Texas is big enough for more than one green sauce.