Salsa de cacahuate is a Mexican salsa made from toasted peanuts, chile de arbol, onion, garlic, and salt. The ingredients are blended to deliver a rich and creamy sauce with a balance of savory, spicy, and smoky flavors.
Salsa de cacahuate has been always a favorite in the State where I am from (Colima). It is perfect to serve with tasty antojitos (street food), such as tacos dorados, or chicken tostadas but is also amazing with pozole blanco.
The texture of this sauce is so creamy and its color is orange-ish. The slightly smoky flavor is because the chilies are toasted in a comal or skillet and not fried (as other recipes call for).
This recipe is similar to salsa macha but with fewer ingredients and a lot less spicer. However, is equally delicious!
I am sure you’d love this salsa because has a distinct, rich, and nutty flavor that is both savory and slightly sweet. The spiciness can be adjusted to your liking and you’ll see the recipe is really easy to make.
- Peanuts —I am using toasted and unsalted peanuts, but you can use raw peanuts and toast them yourself. Or use salted peanuts and adjust the saltiness at the end.
- Dried chilies —use arbol chiles or your favorite Mexican dried chili peppers. The more you add, the spicier it will be.
- Aromatics & seasonings —onion, garlic, a pinch of cumin, and salt. Use those seasoning in moderation.
How to Make Salsa de Cacahuate
This is a visual overview of the steps to make this recipe. See the detailed list of ingredients & instructions in the recipe card below.
Heat a comal or cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Add peanuts to the hot skillet and stir for 2-3 minutes.
Top Tip: You should definitely toast your peanuts, even if you bought them already toasted because the heat will make the oils release and enhance their amazing flavor!
Once done with peanuts, remove them and place them in a blender.
Now, add the arbol chilies to the skillet and toast over low heat for 1 minute. Make sure you don’t burn the chilies or they will add a bitter taste to your salsa!
Remove the chilies, add them to a bowl, and cover with hot water. Soak for 5 minutes, just enough to soften them so they will become easier to blend.
Drain and add to the blender with peanuts. Add also garlic cloves, onion, salt and pepper.
Pour 1 cup of water and blend for about 2 minutes on high or until the desired texture.
Note: I like my salsa to have a few bits, but if you prefer a smoother texture just add a little bit more water and blend for 2-3 more minutes.
Taste and adjust with salt if needed. Place in a bowl if you’re serving immediately or in a jar and store in the fridge for later.
I can’t help but dig in immediately with tortilla chips…yum!
Recipe Tips & Notes
- The type of chili peppers you use will greatly influence the spice level and flavor of the salsa de cacahuates. Common choices include chile de árbol which is very spicy, but dried ancho or guajillo chilies are used sometimes for a milder flavor.
- You can also try a mix of nuts to make this recipe, I’ve made it with almonds, walnuts, cashews, and even hazelnuts!
- Be careful when roasting the dried chilies, they are very hot and release a strong and pungent smell that can cause respiratory problems if you’re not used to it. Ensure good ventilation in your kitchen. Open windows and turn on the vent hood to full power.
- If you’re not using pre-roasted peanuts, toast them in a dry skillet over medium heat until they become fragrant and start to turn golden brown.
Salsa de cacahuates lasts up to 4-5 days in your fridge, I like to use a mason jar or a glass container to store it because these preserve best the flavors of the sauce.
If you want to freeze it, use a zip bag or a freeze-proof container. It will last up to 2-3 months. When ready to serve, thaw in the fridge overnight then transfer the salsa to a bowl, give it a good stir, and enjoy!
More Mexican Salsas
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Salsa de Cacahuate (peanut salsa)
- 1 cup toasted peanuts (unsalted)
- 8-10 chile de árbol peppers (stem removed)
- ¼ medium onion
- 2 cloves garlic (peeled)
- ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Heat a comal or cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Add peanuts and stir for 2-3 minutes.
- Remove the peanuts and place them in a blender.
- Add the arbol chilies to the skillet and toast over low heat for 1 minute.
- Remove the chilies, add them to a bowl, and cover with hot water. Leave them to soak for 5 minutes.
- Drain chilies and add to the blender with peanuts. Add garlic cloves, onion, salt and ground cumin.
- Pour 1 cup of water and blend for about 2 minutes on high or until the desired texture.
- Taste and adjust with salt if needed. Place in a bowl if you’re serving immediately or in a jar and store in the fridge for later.
- You should definitely toast your peanuts, even if you bought them already toasted because the heat will make the oils release and enhance their flavor.
- You can also try a mix of nuts to make this recipe, such as almonds, walnuts, cashews, and even hazelnuts.
- Be careful when roasting the dried chilies, they are very hot and release a strong and pungent smell. Use a mask and ensure good ventilation in your kitchen.
- Salsa de cacahuates lasts up to 4-5 days in your fridge, I like to use a mason jar or a glass container to store it.
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.