Enjoy this Salsa Macha! A Mexican chili oil packed with smoky flavors and perfect to drizzle over tacos, soups, salads, and pretty much anything! Learn how to make the traditional recipe.

Salsa Macha is a type of chili oil or condiment from Veracruz, Mexico. This spicy sauce typically consists of dried chili peppers, such as chile de árbol, or chile morita, which are toasted and blended with other ingredients to create a fragrant and spicy chili oil.

The key components of Salsa Macha can vary depending on the region and family recipes, but they often include ingredients such as garlic, sesame seeds, peanuts, and sometimes vinegar or lime juice.

My family has been preparing this macha salsa recipe for generations! Is one of our favorite salsas to serve with pozole blanco, tacos, and picaditas!

Salsa macha (a.k.a. Mexican chili oil) in a clay bowl and some chilies scattered around.

Ingredients

  • Dried chilies: The traditional recipe typically includes dried chilies, such as chile de árbol, chile serrano, or chile morita.
  • Garlic: Use fresh garlic cloves.
  • Peanuts (cacahuates): Use unsalted toasted peanuts, or if you want to use salted peanuts add salt gradually, tasting along the way to avoid over-salting.
  • Sesame seeds: For texture and to help to balance the spiciness.
  • Oil: The traditional recipe from Orizaba Veracruz, is made with mild olive oil, but feel free to use any neutral-flavored oil available to you.
  • Vinegar: You can use cider or white vinegar.
  • Salt: For basic seasoning.
Salsa macha ingredients on a marble countertop.

How To Make Salsa Macha

Remove the stems from the morita and arbol chiles. If you prefer a milder salsa, you can remove the seeds as well.

Set a medium saucepan or skillet over medium-low heat and add 1/2 cup oil, add the garlic and cook stirring constantly for 2-3 minutes or until nicely golden brown.

Golden garlic in a pan with oil.

TOP TIP: Always make sure the oil is not too hot or it will easily burn the ingredients, resulting in a bitter salsa.

Transfer the garlic along with the oil to a bowl and set aside.

Return the pan to the stove and add another half a cup of oil. Allow to heat over medium-low heat.

Add the dried chilies to the pan and stir for 1-2 minutes or until you’ll see they have changed to a lighter color. Check the video below!

Dired chilies frying in a pan.

Once done, add the chilies and oil to the bowl with garlic. Then add the sesame seeds and peanuts.

Give the ingredients a mix, so the remaining heat will warm the seeds and peanuts, making them release their wonderful flavor.

Ingredients for the Mexican chile oil salsa macha, cooked and ready in a bowl.

Allow everything to reach room temperature then transfer to a blender, along with vinegar and a good sprinkle of salt.

Blend in small intervals until you’ll have the desired texture. Make sure to not over-process or it will become too smooth.

Salsa macha or chili oil in a blender.

Transfer the Mexican chili oil to a serving bowl and serve immediately or place it into a jar and store it in the fridge. Read below my best recommendations for storing this salsa!

Expert Tips & Notes

  • Freshness and quality will significantly impact the taste of your salsa macha, make sure to choose high-quality dried chilies, fresh garlic cloves, and nuts or seeds for the best flavor. Avoid brittle chiles as those are too old and might compromise the salsa flavor.
  • It’s important to watch the ingredients closely when frying the ingredients to prevent burning, as it can give a bitter taste to the macha sauce.
  • If you prefer a milder salsa macha, remove the seeds from the dried chilies, but, for spicier salsa, leave the seeds intact or add extra chilies. Adjust the heat level according to your preference.
  • The texture of this salsa can vary based on personal preference. For a chunkier salsa, pulse the ingredients a few times in the blender. For a smoother consistency, blend them longer until a paste-like texture is achieved.
  • You can increase the amount of oil in the recipe, this way you’ll end with more chili-infused oil that you can use as a condiment for salads or burrito bowls!

Recipe Variations

  • Other dried chiles: Use a combination of dried chipotle chilies and other dried chilies like guajillo, pasilla, or ancho chiles.
  • Other nuts & seeds: Experiment with different types of nuts like cashews, pecans, almonds, or pine nuts instead of peanuts. Other seeds such as sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds are also a good option.
  • Dried fruits: Modern recipes sometimes include dried fruits such as raisins, blueberries, or cranberries. These fruits will add a touch of sweetness to balance the heat.

What to Serve With Mexican Chili Oil

Salsa macha can be served in various ways to add flavor and spice to your dishes. With its garlic-infused oil and delightful crispy elements, this versatile condiment can elevate any dish!

Here are my favorite ways for serving this delightful Mexican chili oil:

  • Tacos & Quesadillas: Drizzle salsa macha over flautas de pollo or these steak quesadillas to add a burst of flavor.
  • Eggs: Spoon this chili oil salsa over scrambled eggs Huevos a la Mexicana, omelets, or fried eggs for a zesty and savory breakfast.
  • Sandwiches & Burgers: Use it as a condiment or spread on tortas cubanas and burgers for an extra layer of flavor and spice.
  • Dip: Mix the salsa with sour cream, Greek yogurt, or cream cheese to create a spicy dip for tortilla chips, crackers, or vegetable sticks.
  • Soups and Stews: Stir salsa macha into sopa de tortilla or your favorite soup or stew.
Close-up of chili oil salsa macha.

How to Store

This Mexican chili oil can last up to 4-5 weeks in the refrigerator. Make sure to allow the salsa to cool completely at room temperature then transfer to a glass airtight container or a jar.

I prefer glass containers because they help preserve better the quality and flavor of the foods.

Avoid opening the jar unnecessarily and always use a clean spoon to take the sauce from the jar to prevent cross-contamination.

FAQ

What is salsa macha made of?

Salsa macha is made of dried chilies, garlic, vegetable oil, salt, and other ingredients such as peanuts and sesame seeds. The traditional recipe from Orizaba Veracruz always includes dried chiles serranos, but in other regions of the country, different types of chilies are used.

Why is it called salsa macha?

The name translates to “macha sauce” or “macho sauce” in English. The word “macho” in this context refers to strength or intensity, emphasizing the fiery and robust flavors of the sauce.

More Mexican Salsas Recipes

Did you make this Mexican chili oil recipe? Please, don’t forget to rate it and leave a comment below. Also, follow us on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and YouTube for daily inspiration, helpful tips, and engaging discussions.

Video

Mexican chili oil salsa macha recipe.

Salsa Macha (Mexican Chili Oil)

2 cups
This salsa macha recipe is a Mexican chili oil with a spicy, smoky, and hearty flavor that goes perfectly with tacos, soups, stews, and many other traditional foods.
prep 10 minutes
cook 10 minutes
total 20 minutes

Ingredients 

  • 20 chile de arbol peppers (stems and seeds removed)
  • 2 morita chilies (stems and seeds removed)
  • ½ cup peanuts (toasted & unsalted)
  • 2 Tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
  • 4 cloves garlic (peeled)
  • 1 Tablespoon vinegar (white or cider)
  • 1 cup light olive oil (or any mild-flavored vegetable oil)
  • salt (to taste)

Instructions
 

  • Heat half a cup of oil in a pan over medium-low heat.
  • Add the garlic and cook stirring constantly for 2-3 minutes or until nicely golden brown.
  • Transfer the garlic and oil to a bowl and set aside.
  • Return the pan to the stove and heat the remaining oil over medium-low heat.
  • Add the dried chilies to the pan and stir for 1-2 minutes or until you’ll see they changed to a lighter color.
  • Remove the chilies and oil from the pan and add to the bowl with garlic.
  • Add the peanuts and sesame oil to the bowl with the other ingredients and mix well. The remaining heat from the oil will warm the seeds and peanuts, making them release their flavor.
  • Allow to reach room temperature then transfer everything to a blender along with salt and vinegar.
  • Blend in small intervals until you’ll have the desired texture.
  • Transfer to a serving bowl and serve immediately or place into a jar and store in the fridge.

Notes

  • Pay attention when frying the ingredients to prevent burning, as it can give a bitter taste to the macha sauce.
  • For a spicier salsa, leave the seeds intact or add extra chilies. Adjust the heat level according to your preference.
  • The texture of this salsa can vary based on personal preference. For a chunkier salsa, pulse the ingredients a few times in the blender. For a smoother consistency, blend them longer until a paste-like texture is achieved.
Nutrition Information
Serving: 1 cup | Calories: 1258kcal | Carbohydrates: 18g | Protein: 13g | Fat: 131g | Saturated Fat: 18g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 20g | Monounsaturated Fat: 89g | Sodium: 139mg | Potassium: 428mg | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 1326IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 131mg | Iron: 4mg
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Maricruz Avalos Flores is a Mexican cook and photographer living in Italy where she shares authentic Mexican & Italian recipes that can be easily made at home using easy-to-find ingredients.

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Recipe Rating




17 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Salsa Macha is a family favorite! We love drizzling this spicy chili oil on tacos and soups. It adds a smoky kick that enhances our meals. Simple, authentic, and always a hit!

  2. 5 stars
    Holy smokes, this salsa macha lit my taste buds on fire! 🔥🌶️ But amidst the intense heat, there was a symphony of flavors that kept me coming back for more. The nutty undertones and smoky aroma added a depth that made it truly addictive. A daring salsa lovers’ delight! To anyone who want to make it: Do not reduce the amount of chilies, is best to add more oil and use that as condiment for pasta, rice, salads. You’re welcome!

  3. 5 stars
    Homemade sauces are my favorite, and this salsa macha takes our taco night to the next level! Thanks so much for sharing the recipe!

  4. 5 stars
    I was looking for a recipe like this, thank you for sharing! I can’t wait to try it soon!

  5. 5 stars
    I made this last night and it was so delicious! Had it with my scrambled eggs this morning and oh wow! That spicy smoky flavor is just the best.

  6. I’m looking for a recipe from. Cuitlahuac Vera Cruz, Mexico. I cannot find it anywhere. It is similar to your recioe but I don’t believe it had sesame in it. I know it didn’t have peanuts like some recipes. It’s a bit more dry than your recipe. I can’t find it anywhere. A vendor made hamburgers in the town square and she spread chili de oro on the burger gers in Cuitlahuac, Vera Cruz. I want this recioe. Please help.

  7. Hi,I would like to can this recipe using a water bath method. I know how to can, but for this recipe I am unsure how long to boil the product during canning. Do you have any recommendations? I am at 6,000 ft,so high altitude canning is important. Thank you

  8. 5 stars
    I had a similar salsa at a restaurant that was delicious. I found this recipe and made it and was superior to the one at the restaurant. Thank you for sharing this recipe! This is my go to!

  9. Hi, I have tried several recipes of Chile de Arbol or Salsa Macha trying to recreate a sauce at my favorite restaurant but this latest batch I made was so spicy it is hard to eat. I see in your recipe that sesame helps to balance the spiciness. Do you think I can toast some sesame and add it after the fact to balance it out? Thank you for your advice!

    1. You can surely add more sesame to help, but keep in mind that chile de arbol is still the main ingredient and will always stand out.

      You can also try adding less hot peppers and add a little bit more oil.

  10. 5 stars
    Thank you so muchhhhhhhhhh
    I am so grateful for your amazing experience cooking and your blog was extremely helpful to me
    Blessings

    1. Hi! You can store in many ways, outside the refrigerator last for about 1 week, just covered with oil. Refer to the “how to store” section to know more about :)