Today we’re making mojo de ajo, a Puerto Rican garlic sauce perfect for serving with fried plantains, roasted meat or veggies. It’s made in just 5 minutes with 3 simple ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen!

a bowl of garlic sauce

Puerto Rican recipes are known for being rich in flavor and color and this mojo de ajo garlic sauce is a perfect example.

The sauce is said to have originated in the Canary Islands and goes great with just about anything you would like to dip into garlic sauce.

If you order a plate of fried green plantains (aka tostones) in Puerto Rico, you’re likely getting it with a side of this sauce, or mayoketchup.

With bright acidity from lime juice and that spicy pungent garlic flavor, it’s a no brainer why this simple sauce is so popular across the Caribbean.

a bowl of mojo de ajo and plantains

Ingredients

Here are the items you’ll need to make this sauce:

  • olive oil
  • garlic, minced
  • lime juice, freshly squeezed

See recipe card for quantities.

ingredients to make garlic sauce

Instructions

garlic, oil, and lime juice in a pan
Add oil, garlic, and lime juice to a pot over medium low heat. 
garlic, oil, and lime juice in a pan
Simmer gently for 5 minutes, making sure the garlic doesn’t turn brown or overcook.

Hint: because of the acidity from the lime juice, the garlic can occasionally turn a shade of light blue. This is harmless, so don’t worry if it happens to you!

garlic, oil, and lime juice in a pan
Season with salt and pepper to taste (optional).
a bowl of mojo de ajo and plantains
Serve with freshly fried green plantains or whatever you like. Buen provecho! 

How much garlic is too much?

The limit does not exist when it comes to this recipe, and in general. Go wild!

A pile of minced garlic on a cutting board

Picking the right oil

I recommend using extra virgin olive oil for this recipe as it’s flavor lends to the flavors in the garlic sauce.

You can use canola, vegetable, or avocado oil but olive oil produces the best results.

Variations

Here are some easy ways to mix up your mojo de ajo:

  • Spicy – add a chili pepper to the oil while it’s simmering or season with your favorite seasonings once the oil is off the heat (to prevent burning).
  • Strictly Garlic – skip the citrus altogether to keep things strictly garlic in the flavor department
  • Mix up the Citrus – try adding a pinch of lime zest, or a squeeze of lemon juice instead of lime for a slightly different acidity in the garlic sauce.

If you plan to season the sauce with salt, pepper, or any seasonings, make sure to add them once the oil is off the heat as they can speed up the cooking process and burn the garlic easily.

a plantain with garlic sauce

Mojo de Ajo Around the World

While this sauce is said to have originated in the Canary Islands, it can be found in different areas across the Caribbean and Latin America.

These two cultures embrace the sauce and give it their own signature flair:

  • Cuban – Cuban mojo de ajo often incorporates different kinds of citrus and herbs like oranges, fresh oregano, etc.
  • Mexican – the Mexican versions of this sauce usually require fresh parsley, onion, and sometimes spices like paprika

The sauce is named mojo de ajo (garlic sauce) after it’s simple ingredients and big flavor and the truth is, there are variations of it all over the world!

Garlic is a universally loved ingredient, and infusing it in oil feels like it was meant to be.

a bowl of mojo de ajo and plantains

What to Eat it With

I recommend trying this sauce with anything you would add garlic to. As mentioned before, it’s delicious with Puerto Rican tostones and almost all plantain recipes.

Here are some of my favorite things to dip in mojo de ajo:

The world is your garlic infused oyster when it comes to this sauce.

a bowl of mojo de ajo

Equipment

There isn’t any special equipment required for this recipe.

If you’d like to lean into the full Puerto Rican culinary experience, you can simmer the garlic sauce in a caldero.

a bowl of garlic sauce

Storage

One of the awesome things about making a large batch of this sauce is that it should keep for up to 1 week in your fridge.

Make sure to store in an air tight jar.

Top tip

Don’t overcook the garlic!

It’s very easy to burn garlic, especially when working with hot oil. This can cause the garlic to turn blue in color. While this is harmless and 100% still edible, it’s a bit of an uncanny look that I prefer to avoid.

It’s also important to keep the heat on the low side, to keep the integrity of that garlic flavor.

Buen provecho,

Salima written in cursive
Print
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a jar of garlic sauce

5 Minute Mojo de Ajo (Garlic Sauce)

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 3 reviews
  • Author: Salima Benkhalti
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings 1x
  • Category: Sauce, Dip
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Puerto Rican, Latin, Caribbean
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

Today we’re making mojo de ajo, a Puerto Rican garlic sauce perfect for serving with fried plantains, roasted meat or veggies. It’s made in just 5 minutes with 3 simple ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen!


Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 2024 cloves (or 2 heads) garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp lime juice, freshly squeezed


Instructions

  1. Add oil, garlic, and lime juice to a pot over medium low heat. 
  2. Simmer gently for 5 minutes, making sure the garlic doesn’t turn brown or overcook. Season with salt and pepper to taste (optional).
  3. Serve with freshly fried green plantains or whatever you like. Buen provecho!