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Virginia White Sauce (Salsa)

A Norfolk city favorite, this Virginia White Sauce is a creamy sauce that became a popular dip at a favorite local Mexican restaurant!


Virginia White Sauce (or White Salsa) is a regional condiment very specific to the Tidewater area of Virginia – more specifically in Norfolk (my hometown). It was created by a local Mexican restaurant owner (Willie Jenkins at El Toro) who was looking to create a salad dressing for his guests. This is the recipe he came up with; however, guests started using it to dip their tortilla chips in and the rest is history! I am sharing his original recipe below. It can be tailored to your tastes (most people like to thin it out a bit.)

a hand holding a tortilla chip and dipping it into white sauce in a small clear bowl.


This seems a bit thick, how do I make it thinner?

I wanted to keep with the original recipe that was given and it is pretty thick. All you have to do is add a splash of milk and whisk. Keep adding the milk little by little until you get the consistency you enjoy.
Photo below courtesy of the Virginian-Pilot.
Handwritten Virginia White Sauce recipe.

Is this authentic Mexican food?

Absolutely not. It is in no way to connected or created by Mexican culture or cuisine (so don’t come after me that I’m calling it Mexican – I definitely am not!) This was created by an American to suit the tastes of his American customers. He just happened to own a Mexican restaurant.

Can I use mayonnaise instead of Miracle Whip?

I’ll be honest, I am not a fan of Miracle Whip but that is what the recipe mentions to use (preferably). However, mayonnaise obviously works great with this recipe (and would probably be y personal preference).

What can this be used for?

As I said above, it’s intended use was for a salad dressing. So, you could certainly use it on salads. Also as dip for tortilla chips and even a dip for fresh veggies! You could also thin in out with a bit of milk (to make it more of a drizzle) and use it on your favorite pulled pork or chicken.

Could I use fresh garlic?

I am a huge fan of heavy garlic flavors. You could substitute the garlic powder with a teaspoon of minced garlic.

Is this spicy hot?

It does have a mild kick to it. If you are adverse to spice, you can leave out the crushed red peppers or perhaps cut it in half. But if you prefer more heat, you can add in some chopped jalapeños as well. Many of the Mexican restaurants in the area have slightly changed this original recipe to suit their guests tastes.

How do I store leftovers?

Leftovers should be stored in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 8 days.

overhead shot of Virginia white sauce in small glass bowl surrounded by yellow corn tortilla chips.


  • Miracle Whip – Miracle Whip is in the original recipe but you can definitely switch it out for mayonnaise.
  • milk – I stuck to the original recipe on the amount of milk to use but personally, I would add a little extra to thin it out some.
  • dried oregano, garlic powder and ground cumin – these are the original spices (see recipe photo above). Again, I use the amount from the Willie’s original recipe but you can certainly adjust to taste.
  • crushed red pepper – if you don’t like any spice, just leave it out. As I’ve said numerous times, I am keeping with the original recipe.
Miracle Whip, oregano, garlic powder, crushed red pepper flakes, cumin and milk.


In a medium bowl or large measuring cup, mix together the spices.

spices added to a clear glass bowl.

Then whisk in the milk until combined.

milk added to spices in a bowl.

Finally, whisk in the Miracle Whip.

miracle whip added to milk and spices in a bowl.

Cover with plastic wrap and put into the refrigerator for at least 48 hours. This is very important to give the flavors time to marry together. It won’t taste the same if you don’t give it time to chill.

plastic wrap covering a bowl of white salsa.

Serve with tortilla chips!

a tortilla chip shown dipped into the white sauce in a clear glass bowl.


Virginia White Sauce recipe.

Virginia White Sauce (Salsa)

A Norfolk native favorite, this Virginia White Sauce is a thick and creamy sauce that became a popular dip at a favorite local Mexican restaurant!
5 from 19 votes
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Chill Time: 2 days
Total Time: 2 days 5 minutes
Servings: 8


  • 1 ½ teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 ½ teaspoons garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • ½ cup milk (personally I like to add more to thin it out)
  • 2 cups Miracle Whip (mayonnaise can be used)


  • In a medium bowl or large measuring cup, mix together the spices.
  • Then whisk in the milk until combined (note: I personally like to make this thinner than the original recipe calls for. Add a little milk at a time and whisk until it reaches your desired consistency.)
  • Finally, whisk in the Miracle Whip (or mayonnaise, if using).
  • Cover with plastic wrap and put into the refrigerator for at least 48 hours. This is very important to give the flavors time to marry together. It won’t taste the same if you don’t give it time to chill.
  • Serve with tortilla chips.


  • 1 teaspoon of minced garlic can be used instead of garlic powder if you enjoy a garlic “kick”. 
  • Miracle Whip is part of the original recipe and keeps it authentic but mayonnaise can certainly be substituted. 
  • This original recipe makes a thicker sauce. I prefer it thinner so I would add more milk to thin it out some. 
  • This sauce gets better if it has plenty of time to “marinate.” It really does seem to get better the longer it sits. The original recipe calls for 48 hours but I would recommend you at least let it set for a couple of hours (more if possible). 
  • If you don’t like any spice, leave out the red pepper flakes. But if you like more spice, try adding in some small diced jalapeños!
  • See my FAQ’s above for other uses for this sauce. 
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: American


Calories: 65kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 2g | Sodium: 514mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 7g

Nutritional Disclaimer

“The Country Cook” is not a dietician or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is an estimate. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, we recommend running the ingredients through whichever online nutritional calculator you prefer. Calories and other nutritional values can vary quite a bit depending on which brands were used.

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  1. I am Spotsylvania,VA native. I have been making your recipes for many, many years. As I become a stay at home for a few short years, your recipes became staples. I recently came across this one & found you are from VA also & you grew up only a few hours away! 🙂 I think that is pretty cool!
    I love this recipe! It taste so much like the white sauce we get in Fredericksburg, Va. Thank you for sharing this recipe!

  2. If you read the article this is a very specific type sauce in a small region of Virginia. It’s what locals call it (as stated in the article above). No one said this was salsa from the west coast. This is not even an east coast thing. It’s a southeast Virginia thing and we like it here.

  3. Is this actually Willie’s original recipe or a copycat recipe. As far as I can find, it’s not printed anywhere…only copycats.

  4. 5 stars
    Thank you so much for sharing! I’m from Richmond and didn’t realize this was a Virginia thing until trying to find a recipe online. White sauce is always something we look forward to when going out to Mexican, so I can’t wait to make this at home 🙂

    1. I hope you love it! You can definitely play a bit with the flavors (if you like it spicier, etc.) and make it as thick or as thin as you like. This is the actual original recipe from the creator. I find a lot of restaurants thin it out a bit but it’s very easy to tailor to your preference 🙂