Chile de Arbol Salsa + VIDEO

This amazing chile de arbol salsa is a staple in the Mexican cuisine. Is made using only 4 ingredients and yet deliver one of the most delicious and versatile spicy salsas out there.

Chile de arbol salsa in a molcajete.

What is chile de arbol salsa?

Know in Spanish as salsa de chile de árbol, this spicy sauce takes its name from the chili peppers used to make it: Chile de árbol. This type of chili peppers is a variety native to Mexico and Central America and is widely used in traditional recipes.

The chile de arbol salsa is made using those spicy peppers in their dry version, alongside with tomatoes, and sometimes tomatillos. In many households is customary to prepare it in a molcajete, but of course, it can be made also in a blender (more below).

A close up on salsa chile de arbol.

Most asked questions

Is this salsa spicy?

Yes, chile de arbol rates 15,000 and 30,000 in the Scoville Heat Units (SHU). However, you can control the spiciness by adding less chilies to the recipe.

I don’t have a molcajete, how can I make it?

You can use a mortar or as last resource, a blender. Below I’ll leave you some instructions about how to make it with a blender.

My salsa is too spicy, how can I fix it?

Boil another tomato and blend it into the salsa.

Can be stored?

Yes. Salsa chile de arbol can be stored up to a 5 days in the fridge and it also freezes nicely for up to 3 months.

Where can I find chile de árbol?

Amazon is for sure the first place where to look for. Also, do a Google research in your country to see if there are some Mexican online and physical stores that sell it and ship it. If you happen to live in Italy or the EU, drop me a comment below and I’ll tell you where I bought mines.

Salsa chile de arbol served in a molcajete with corn chips.

The Easy Recipe + VIDEO

Remove the stems from chiles, I am using here 1/2 cup which are about 15g of chilies, but remember you can use less or even more depending how spicy you want your salsa.

Removing stems from chilies.

Place a pot with water over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Add the tomatoes and cook for 8-10 minutes. You need the tomatoes to be very soft, so don’t boil less than that.

Boiling tomatoes on a pot.

Turn off the heat and add the arbol chilies. Push them down with a spoon so they can soak well in the hot water. Remove from the stove and let sit everything for 10 minutes.

Adding chile de arbol to the pot.

Now, in a molcajete or a mortar, place 1 clove of garlic (more if you love garlic), and about 1 teaspoon of coarse salt. Then add half of the chilies first and use the pestle to grind and make a pulp. Do same with the rest of chilies (read notes).

Grinded chile de árbol with garlic and salt.

Next, add one tomato at time and grind to combine. It will require a bit of effort and muscles! But is worth it.

Grinding tomatoes with a pestle.

Keep grinding until your chile de arbol salsa have the desired consistency (I like it chunky). Adjust salt to taste and serve with your your favorites Mexican dishes.

How To Serve It

Here are some ideas how to serve or use this chile de arbol salsa recipe:

Huevos rancheros served with salsa chile de arbol.

Useful Recipe Notes

  • If using a blender: Place arbol chilies, garlic, salt and one tomato first. Blend for a couple of seconds then add the remaining tomatoes until your desired consistency.
  • To integrate well the tomato skins, twist and smash them against the molcajete borders. If tomatoes are well cooked, they should be very soft and easy to combine with the rest of the ingredients.
  • The more you’ll grind, the smoother your chile de arbol salsa will be. For a chunky texture, grind less.
  • Simplicity is the key in this recipe. However, you can add a twist to the recipe using other ingredients, such a pinch of cumin seeds, or oregano.

Watch How To Make It

If you liked this chile de arbol salsa, try the oily version made without tomatoes, with sesame seeds and lots of garlic: Mexican chili oil.

Chile de arbol salsa recipe.

Chile de Arbol Salsa

A spicy, bright, and delicious Mexican salsa made with only 4 ingredients! Perfect to pair with your favorite meals or eat as appetizer with tortilla chips.
PREP 10 minutes
COOK 10 minutes
TOTAL 20 minutes
5 from 6 votes
Print Pin Rate
Servings: 2 cups
Author: Maricruz

Ingredients 

  • ½ cup chile de árbol pepper (stems removed)
  • 1 lb tomatoes
  • 1 garlic clove (peeled)
  • salt to taste

Instructions

  • Fill a pot with water and bring to a boil over medium heat.
  • Add tomatoes and boil for 10 minutes.
  • Turn off the heat, add arbol chilies, cover and allow to soak for 10 minutes.
  • Add garlic and salt to a molcajete or mortar alongside with half of the chilies.
  • Grind until you'll have a paste and then repeat with the remaining chilies.
  • Add one tomato at time and grind well before adding next.
  • Keep grinding until the salsa have your desired consistency. Adjust salt to taste and serve.

Using a Blender

  • Place arbol chilies, garlic, salt and one tomato in a blender.
  • Blend for a couple of seconds then add the remaining tomatoes and blend until your desired consistency.
  • Transfer the salsa to a bowl or jar and adjust salt to taste. Serve.

NOTES

  • To integrate well the tomato skins, twist and smash them against the molcajete borders. If tomatoes are well cooked, they should be very soft and easy to combine with the rest of the ingredients.
  • The more you’ll grind, the smoother your salsa will be. For a chunky texture, grind less.
  • Simplicity is the key in this recipe. However, you can add a twist to the recipe using other ingredients, such a pinch of cumin seeds, or oregano.
Nutrition
Calories: 73kcal | Carbohydrates: 16g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 20mg | Potassium: 716mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 4339IU | Vitamin C: 34mg | Calcium: 30mg | Iron: 1mg
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Recipe Rating




6 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Second time making this, I can’t believe the difference between using the blender and my stone mortar. First time I was in a rush so I just blended it but yesterday decided to pull out my trusted mortar. It was chunky, flavorful, clearly a fave in our household.

  2. 5 stars
    I love chile the arbol sauce! It was one of my favorite sauces when I used to live in Mexico. We used to make a parsley and chile de arbol sauce to top our grilled fish and it was sublime! Thank you so much for such an authentic recipe and all the nice tips!

  3. 5 stars
    This chile de arbol salsa is delicious! I assembled this yesterday to enjoy with homemade tacos. It’s so good.