papi chulo sauce

papi chulo sauce

There’s a lot of great Bay Area food but papi chulo sauce from The Cheeseboard is tough to beat. The Cheeseboard is a bakery and cheese co-op in Berkeley, California. They serve up delicious scones and cheeses but they’re most famous for their amazing pizza.

papi chulo sauce

Pizza at the Cheeseboard is very different than other establishments. They only serve one flavor a day, the pizza has no sauce, and it’s completely vegetarian. Situated in the heart of the Gourmet Ghetto, Cheeseboard leans into farm to table dining by allowing seasonal produce to determine the “pizza of the day”. Unique combinations like fresh corn, cilantro, and feta cheese are par for the course at this Bay Area establishment. Locals and visitors alike line up around the block for a taste of what the coop is cooking.

Loyal customers know that the pièce de ré·sis·tance of any Cheeseboard slice is the papi chulo sauce. A cilantro and serrano chili concoction that magically pairs perfectly with any pizza topping the coop happens to be cooking. A thoughtful papi chulo dispenser is available to anyone who orders a pie but Kenny and I always buy the tub of sauce to bring home.

There’s so much to love about The Cheeseboard, including the camaraderie of hungry patrons in line, the live jazz music they play on weekends, and the extra slice they place on top of your pie as a lagniappe. However, the infamous papi chulo sauce tops the list for me.

Now that we live on the east coast, I love making this sauce at home when the Cheeseboard cravings strike I hope you enjoy this taste of the Bay Area wherever you may be.

Other SF Bay Area inspired recipes:

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papi chulo sauce

papi chulo sauce

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4 from 1 review

  • Author: Sepideh Esmaili Campos


  • 2 cups fresh cilantro (trim off any thick stems but keep the rest in tact)
  • 4 jalapeños, cut into chunks (ribs and seeds in tact if you want it very hot – remove them if you want a milder sauce)
  • ½ cup fresh lemon juice 
  • ¼ cup fresh lime juice 
  • ¼ cup olive oil 
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard 
  • 2 Tablespoons honey 
  • 2 cloves garlic 
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar 
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt 


  1. Place all of the ingredients in a blender. 
  2. Blend until fully combined. 
  3. Taste and adjust salt if necessary. 
  4. Pour the sauce into a mason jar (or clean jam jar) and refrigerate for up to a week. 
  5. The sauce is best served after being refrigerated overnight, allowing the flavors to combine and the heat to build. 
  6. Serve over pizza, eggs, avo toast, or burgers. 


Note: be sure to use fresh squeezed lemon and lime juice for this recipe.

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  1. The flavors are definitely there but I found it to be too watery.

    Source: someone who eats too much Cheeseboard for his own good, always with green sauce and occasionally red sauce.

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