Salsa Lizano – Everything You Need To Know

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Salsa Lizano is the quintessential Costa Rican condiment- you can find it on every table, in every restaurant, and at every grocery store. The flavor is savory and rich with no spice. That’s right- it’s NOT a hot sauce!

If you’ve ever been to Costa Rica, then you have seen the Salsa Lizano bottles everywhere. They are on every restaurant table, in every souvenir store, every house, and every grocery store. You can’t make Costa Rican gallo pinto without it either.

It’s a product uniquely Costa Rican- and Costa Rican cuisine wouldn’t be the same without it. Here’s everything you need to know about Salsa Lizano from Costa Rica.

Related post: 30+ Foods To Try In Costa Rica


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Birth of Lizano

To understand how Lizano salsa came to be, you first have to understand a bit about Costa Rican cuisine and traditions. Today, when you visit a local restaurant (or soda) for lunch, there is generally a set of condiments in the middle of the table- salt, tabasco, Lizano, and an encurtido.

Enurtido is a homemade vinaigrette of local vegetables fermented and served in a plastic tub with a small spoon. It is usually put over a whole casado (traditional Costa Rican lunch), or more often slathered liberally over white rice. No two encurtidos are the same- each cook has his or her own special flavor.

Salsa Lizano was born of this encurtido tradition- Don Próspero Jiménez, owner of a small cantina in the province of Alajuela, decided to make a unique sauce to have on the table. He started serving it in his restaurant and ticos loved it.

They asked to take some home, and the rest, as they say, is history. Don Próspero started officially bottling and selling his sauce under the Lizano company name- and the legend was born. He started the brand officially in 1920, and celebrated his 100th birthday last year in 2020.

After about 40 years, the brand was sold to Best Foods. Today, Salsa Lizano is owned by Unilever and has a line of Tabasco sauce, mayonnaise, and Lizano light.

If you've ever been to Costa Rica, then you have seen the Salsa Lizano bottles everywhere. They are on every restaurant table, in every souvenir store, every house, and every grocery store. It's a product uniquely Costa Rican- and Costa Rican cuisine wouldn't be the same without it.

What does Salsa Lizano taste like?

Salsa Lizano has a unique flavor. It’s not spicy at all. It’s a little bit sweet and savory. It’s got a similar flavor to Worcestershire sauce but is not nearly as smoky. It’s made of many vegetables (cilantro, carrot, tomato, onion, cauliflower, red pepper, cucumber, garlic), paprika, turmeric, and black pepper. Everything is blended up into a smooth consistency that is slightly green in color.

Lizano is often also called “salsa inglesa” or English sauce, as it does have a very similar flavor, color, and consistency to Worcestershire sauce.

The sauce is an ingredient in most all popular Costa Rican recipes- it’s the “secret sauce” that makes Costa Rican food taste unique. Many people also have a bottle on hand in their homes or on the tables at restaurants for slathering on top of food or dipping.

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Where To Buy

In Costa Rica you can buy Salsa Lizano literally anywhere. I’ve seen it at grocery stores, pulperías, mini supermarkets, in liquor stores, souvenir shops and in the airport.

Outside of Costa Rica, however, it can get a bit trickier. I’ve seen Salsa Lizano in the most random places, like our local hardware store. I like to keep my eyes peeled for it around town, but the most consistent place that I find Salsa Lizano is on Amazon.

How To Store

Salsa Lizano is shelf-stable until opened. I recommend that you refrigerate after opening, although many ticos don’t because they don’t want to pour cold sauce on hot food.

The bottle doesn’t say either way- but it does say to shake well before pouring. I say if you aren’t going to put it in the fridge then you should make sure it passes the smell test before consumption.

Homemade Salsa Lizano

So many people ask for a Salsa Lizano recipe- and I have to say that I’ve been chasing a good one for years now. I haven’t found anything. If you know of one that I can share, please let me know! Otherwise- I’ll stay on the hunt.

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Let’s talk about how to use Salsa Lizano. You can use it as an ingredient in your favorite dishes to give a unique flavor, or you can put it on top of other foods.

Salsa Lizano as an Ingredient

Salsa Lizano as an Accompaniment

Note- I have found non-Costa Ricans get super obsessed with Salsa Lizano and end up putting it on everything- burritos, grilled steaks, on their Mexican tacos…. the sky is the limit!

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Christa Jimenez

Welcome! I’m Christa, a Spanish teacher married to a handsome Costa Rican and mother of two bilingual daughters. We’ve spent over 25 years living in and traveling to Costa Rica with our daughters, and this website is my love letter to all things Costa Rica- and to bilingual parenting too. You can read my full story here. Thanks for stopping by!

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  1. Hi Christa, my name is Dan, born in Georgia, USA and mi esposa es Costa Rican. we live in NW central Floirida. There ars 2 Latin Grocery stores in the region, neither have Costa Rican Lizano encurtidos. Do you know where we coulld find a jug?

  2. I have been trying to buy Salsa Lizano, there are no stores that carry it. can I order direct from the Lizano Company in Costa Rica.
    Pura Vida

  3. I recently was in Costa Rica and loved the Lizano salsa. I see on Amazon they carry three different varieties and don’t remember which one I saw in CR. Your pictures show the “de vegetables y condimentos naturales” but your link to Amazon is for “de vegetales y especias”. What is the difference between the two and which is the one commonly used in CR?
    Thank you!

  4. hi Christa,
    my wife recently bought a huge bottle of linzano sauce. can I put it in the freezer after we take what we need for the pantry? looking forward to trying some of your recipes.

    1. Hi David,

      This is awesome. 😂 I have never tried to freeze Lizano, but I don’t see what it wouldn’t work. I would probably say to stir it a ton when you defrost it, and probably defrost at room temperature. I also would just freeze a small amount first before you do the huge bottle. Let me know how it goes!