Salsa Lizano Guide: History, Flavor, Benefits, Uses

Salsa Lizano is also known as Lizano Sauce and is regarded by most experts as being the quintessential Costa Rican seasoning. The sauce is one of the core components of Costa Rican cuisine and is used both to cook dishes and as a condiment at the table.

Salsa Lizano was invented by a bar owner named Prospero Jiminez who lived and operated his bar in the Costa Rican province of Alajuela. Jiminez began his venture into food processing by inventing a kind of pickle that he sold to local grocery stores. Jiminez eventually encountered Worcestershire sauce and decided that he could out-do the classic British sauce. From his efforts, the condiment that would go on to become Salsa Lizano emerged.

The sauce was so popular that Jimenez eventually had trouble meeting the demand for it.

In 1950, Jiminez and an employee named Claudio Rojas Araya approached a factory owner named Prospero Lizano to make the sauce. Lizano had the facilities to produce the sauce on a large scale. Jiminez partnered with him and through this partnership, the sauce was given the Lizano name and became the Costa Rican sensation known as Salsa Lizano.

Today, you can find Salsa Lizano in most Costa Rican restaurants and grocery stores. Its ubiquity could be likened to that of ketchup in the US.

Despite ownership of the brand and the recipe changing hands, Salsa Lizano continues to be popular in its land of origin. It is still produced in Costa Rica in a factory in San Antonio de Belén. The recipe is still kept secret so that while several people know parts of the recipe, only one knows the whole thing.

Salsa Lizano flavor profile

Salsa Lizano’s flavor profile is sometimes likened to that of Worcestershire sauce, which inspired its creation. It can also be compared to another British favorite: HP sauce. They all belong to the same general flavor family of fruity and tart notes with a few spices thrown in.

Like the aforementioned sauce, Salsa Lizano contains many ingredients that blend together to create its complex flavor profile. Those ingredients include chili peppers, mustard, and molasses along with sugar and carrots. Despite the presence of chili peppers, Salsa Lizano is not a hot sauce. The heat is subtle to the point of being barely detectable.

Health benefits

Salsa Lizano is not a great source of any major nutrients. That said, it does have one major health benefit: it is relatively low in calories. It can provide flavor without increasing a food item’s caloric load. As a result, you can use it to help control or prevent obesity.

Health concerns

Like many condiments, Salsa Lizano is high in sodium. The high salt content means that it can contribute to high blood pressure if you consume too much of it. Salsa Lizano also contains a significant amount of sugar relative to the serving size. Too much of it may spike blood sugar and increase your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Common uses

Salsa Lizano is popular for adding extra flavor to Costa Rican dishes that feature rice and beans. One such dish is gallo pinto. You will also see it drizzled onto eggs and potatoes. You can use Salsa Lizano as a marinade or as a glaze that you brush onto foods that you are grilling.