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Cilantro Lime Dressing is light & refreshing, and all you need is a few simple ingredients to make it! It’s the perfect topping for salads, tacos, burrito bowls, and more.

cilantro lime dressing lifted up on a spoon from a jar.

Why You’ll Love It

It’s delicious. Lightly tangy, this dressing is the perfect topping for any number of dishes. You can use it all week long on vegan quesadillas, burritos, or over a taco salad. 

It’s allergy-friendly. This dressing recipe is gluten-free, nut-free, and dairy-free. Instead of using mayonnaise, sour cream, or greek yogurt, it uses olive oil as the base. For extra creaminess, you can add in half of an avocado, too!

It’s easy to make. Just toss the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth! It’s ready to serve in just 5 minutes. 

Prefer a low-oil option? You can replace the olive oil with half of an avocado, plus a 1/4 cup of water. Blend, and add more water as needed, until the dressing is as thin as you prefer.

Ingredients You’ll Need

dressing ingredients labeled on a white surface.

What’s in cilantro lime dressing? 

  • Fresh cilantro
  • Olive oil
  • Fresh lime juice
  • Jalapeno (optional)
  • Garlic
  • Maple syrup
  • Salt

Just blend these simple ingredients together, and you’ll have a bright & flavorful dressing with a slightly spicy kick from the jalapeno. (Be sure to remove the seeds and membrane, or it could knock you over with spiciness.)

For a more mellow dressing, omit the jalapeno or just use half of one. You can also use a 1/4 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes, instead.

How to Make Cilantro Lime Dressing

1. Add the ingredients to a blender. 

Add the olive oil, lime juice, jalapeno, maple syrup, garlic, salt, and cilantro to a blender and blend until smooth.

Note: I tend to only use the cilantro leaves in this recipe, as I find the thicker cilantro stems can taste slightly more bitter. (The small stems attached directly to the leaves are no problem; just the long, larger stems.) Feel free to experiment with this, to see how you like it. 

cilantro lime dressing ingredients blended together in a blender pitcher.

2. Adjust the flavor. 

Taste the cilantro dressing, and adjust the flavors to your liking. You can add an extra splash of maple syrup (or honey) if you’d like a little more sweetness, or a little more lime juice for a more tart flavor.

Pour the blended dressing into a jar or other airtight container, and store it in the refrigerator until you’re ready to use it. This dressing should last in the fridge for 3 to 5 days. 

cilantro dressing poured into jar and added to a taco.

3. Enjoy!

Drizzle this sauce over your favorite salad, baked chicken, black bean tacos, and more. It’s delicious on practically anything!

Substitutions & Common Questions

Can I use dried spices? I don’t recommend replacing the fresh cilantro in this recipe, as it also provides some of the bulk & texture. But, you can use a 1/4 teaspoon of garlic powder instead of the garlic clove.

Can I use a food processor? If you have a large food processor (12-cups or larger) you might need to double this recipe in order to get a large enough quantity for it to blend evenly. In this case, you might want to mince the garlic & jalapeno before getting startedso the food processor doesn’t leave any large chunks in your dressing.

Can I make it creamy? For a creamy cilantro lime dressing recipe, add a 1/2 cup of greek yogurt or half of an avocado. You may want to thin the dressing out with a tablespoon or two of water in this case, too, as the extra creaminess will thicken it up. This is perfect, however, if you want a creamy topping for enchiladas or tacos.

Can I make it oil-free? I recommend starting with my avocado cilantro dressing recipe, instead, which already calls for very little oil. It’s much easier to leave it out of that one!

cilantro lime dressing in glass storage jar in front of peach background.
cilantro lime dressing lifted up on a spoon from a jar.

Cilantro Lime Dressing

5 from 4 votes
Cilantro Lime Dressing is lightly sweet & tangy, with a hint of spice. You'll want to pour it over salads, tacos, and more!
prep5 mins cook0 mins total5 mins


  • cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup lime juice
  • ½ cup fresh cilantro , large stems removed
  • 1 jalapeno , seeds & membrane removed
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup (or more, to taste)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt


  • Add the olive oil, lime juice, cilantro, jalapeno, garlic, maple syrup, and salt to a high speed blender, and blend until smooth, about 60 seconds. (For a more mild dressing, use just half of the jalapeno, or omit it entirely.)
    cilantro lime dressing ingredients blended together in a blender pitcher.
  • Taste and adjust any seasoning to taste. You can add an extra splash of maple syrup for more sweetness, or extra lime juice for a more tart flavor. Store the dressing in an airtight container with a lid for up to 5 days in the fridge, and enjoy it over your favorite salad, tacos, and more!
    cilantro dressing poured into jar and added to a taco.


Nutrition information is for roughly 2 tablespoons of dressing, assuming you get 3/4 cup of dressing from this recipe. This is automatically calculated, and is just an estimate, not a guarantee.
For a creamy dressing, add 1/2 of an avocado, plus an extra splash of water to help with blending. Or, try my Avocado Cilantro Dressing for a low-oil option.
For extra flavor, it’s also fun to add a small knob of ginger (about 1/2-inch) to this recipe. It’s a great alternative to using jalapeno, if you don’t have that on hand.


Calories: 113kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 0.1g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 9g | Sodium: 98mg | Potassium: 29mg | Fiber: 0.2g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 120IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 5mg | Iron: 0.1mg
Course: Salad
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: cilantro lime dressing

If you try this cilantro lime vinaigrette, please leave a comment and star rating below letting me know how you like it.

Megan Gilmore leaning on her white countertop.

Megan Gilmore

Hi, I’m Megan. A former fast food junkie turned best-selling cookbook author. I create healthy recipes made with simple ingredients to make your life easier.

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  1. I l.o.v.e. cilantro and limes and this recipe is delicious exactly as written. I have used it in several ways, but my favorite is when I am too tired to cook. I slice an avocado, top with thin slices of sweet onion, halved cherry tomatoes and pour a generous amount of dressing over it. It is yummy and leaves me pleasantly full. I have tried other recipes, but yours achieves a balance of flavors the others lacked. Thanks so much!

    1. Absolutely AMAZING – my husband and I devoured this! Used it on grilled chicken salads and planing to make again for burrito bowls. Thanks for another amazing recipe!!

  2. This is the 4th salad dressing I have made from your website and yet again, it did NOT disappoint! It is so flavorful. I served it on top of our burrito bowls for dinner last night. We will use the left over tonight to drizzle over some roasted vegetables. Thank you for another keeper!