Salsa Taquera Roja | Easy Recipe

This salsa taquera is not overly spicy, yet it will add the right flavor to brighten up your favorite taco recipe!

Salsa taquera in a clay sauce bowl.

What Is Salsa Taquera?

What really is a taco without a spicy and flavorful salsa taquera? It isn’t easy to imagine! Taquerias all over Mexico offer a variety of salsas and the salsa taquera roja is one of the most popular ones in Mexican cuisine. 

It consists of chiles de árbol, tomatoes, white onion, garlic, salt, and water. The ingredients are super simple but the result is an authentic Mexican taco sauce recipe, full of flavor and with the right amount of heat.

This salsa has a red, sometimes an orange color that alerts people to how fiery it is. The spice level will depend on how many chiles de árbol are used in the making of the salsa. As you can imagine, many Mexicans prefer it very spicy. 

Close-up of salsa taquera.

About This Recipe

When it comes to taqueria-style salsa, there are many different types to choose from. Such as salsa verde, habanero salsa, pico de gallo salsa, red salsa with peanuts, and so many others. 

However, the salsa taquera roja is the most popular one in taquerías all over Mexico because the ingredients are inexpensive, it’s very easy to make, and it perfectly enhances the flavor of many different types of tacos. 

My version of the salsa taquera roja is not as spicy as what you’d usually find in authentic taquerías. That’s because I use fewer arbol chilies and add guajillo chili, which has a lower level of spice. 

To give you an idea, chile de árbol has 15,000 – 30,000 SHU on the Scoville scale, while guajillo chili only has between 2,500 and 5,000 SHU. As you can see, there’s a big difference. Combining the two makes the salsa flavorful and spicy but still manageable and enjoyable. 

I also use tomatoes and onion in my recipe, which I believe are key to accomplishing a more balanced flavor. This matters because you want to be able to enjoy this salsa with a wide variety of tacos and it should complement the dish, not overpower it. 

Nutritional Properties of Taqueria Salsa

The salsa taquera roja consists of basic ingredients but they all provide many nutritional benefits. Tomatoes are a great source of vitamin C and K, folate, and potassium.

They are also a major source of lycopene, which is an antioxidant that provides many health benefits, such as reducing the risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease. 

The ingredients for salsa taquera roja displayed on a cutting board labeled with names.

Chiles de árbol are a good source of vitamin A and C, calcium, and iron. They also provide protein and fiber. If you make my recipe, you’ll also enjoy the benefits of guajillo chili. They add more vitamin A and C, fiber, protein, calcium, and iron. 

There’s also onion and garlic in the recipe, which are not just flavorful. Onions and garlic offer vitamin C and B6, potassium, manganese, copper, fiber, selenium, and protein. Overall, this salsa is not just packed with deliciousness, it’s also packed with nutrition. 

Why You Will Love This Recipe

  • Because really, it goes well with any type of tacos, I especially love it with my crispy chicken flautas!
  • The recipe is super easy to make, even for non-experienced cooks and you will get lots of compliments.
  • Is not as spicy as other salsas, it has the right amount of heat for those who can’t handle too much but still want to enjoy some spiciness.

Now, let’s see how to make this perfect salsa!

How To Make It

Remove the stems from arbol and guajillo chilies, then cut them lengthwise and remove the seeds. Cut guajillos into 1-inch pieces.

Last, roughly chop the onions and tomatoes and peel the garlic cloves.

Quartered tomatoes and onions on a cutting board.

Heat the vegetable oil in a pan or a cast-iron skillet. Add first the onions and cook over medium heat for 3 minutes or just until they soften a bit.

Cooked onions in a cast-iron skillet.

Add garlic and tomatoes and keep stirring for 4-5 more minutes until everything is nicely cooked.

Cooked tomatoes, garlic, and onions in a cast-iron skillet.

Now, make some room in the middle and add the chilies and cumin seeds. Cook for a couple of seconds just to slightly fry the chili peppers and heat the cumin to release its aroma.

Chilies fried in the middle of the skillet with the other ingredients.

Pour in 1/4 cup of water and 1 teaspoon of salt, mix well and cover the pan. Allow the ingredients to cool down slightly, this will help to soften the chilies to make them easier to blend.

Transfer everything to a blender and blend at high speed until you’ll have a smooth sauce.

Blended salsa taquera in a blender. Seen from above.

Adjust salt to taste and transfer the sauce to a bowl. Serve it with your favorite taco recipe and store your leftovers as suggested below.

Best Tacos Recipes To Pair This Salsa With

Steak tacos with salsa taquera.

How To Store It

This salsa is perfect to make ahead and store for months! So you can have it always ready for your Taco Tuesdays and parties, this is how you should store it:

  • Transfer it to a glass container with a lid and store it in the fridge for up to one week.
  • Place the sauce in a freeze-proof container or bags and store it in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw it, stir it a bit and serve at room temperature.
Salsa taquera recipe.

Salsa Taquera

2 cups
This delicious salsa taquera will brighten up any taco recipe! Is easy, delicious, and it requires only a few ingredients.
prep 5 minutes
cook 10 minutes
Resting time 5 minutes
total 20 minutes


  • 3 chile de árbol (seeded)
  • 1 guajillo pepper (seeded and cut into pieces)
  • 2 medium plump tomatoes (quartered)
  • 1 medium onion (cut into chunks)
  • 4 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves (peeled)
  • 1 pinch cumin seeds (optional)
  • salt (to taste)


  • Heat the oil in a cast-iron skillet.
  • Add the onions and cook over medium heat for 3 minutes or just until they soft a bit.
  • Add garlic and tomatoes and keep stirring for 4-5 more minutes until everything is nicely cooked.
  • Make some room in the middle and add the chilies and cumin seeds.
  • Cook for a couple of seconds just to slightly fry the chili peppers.
  • Add ¼ cup of water and 1 teaspoon of salt, mix and cover the pan.
  • Allow to slightly cool down then transfer everything to a blender
  • Blend at high speed until you’ll have a smooth sauce.
  • Adjust salt to taste and transfer the salsa to a bowl.
  • Serve it with your favorite taco recipe.
Nutrition Information
Calories: 296kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 28g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 20g | Sodium: 1172mg | Potassium: 293mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 1181IU | Vitamin C: 15mg | Calcium: 30mg | Iron: 1mg
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Is Salsa Taquera Hot?

It depends. Our recipe for this taquera sauce is not overly spicy as we used just a few arbol chilis.

What do you use taquera sauce for?

Besides tacos, you can use this good salsa to drizzle over fried eggs, serve with burritos, quesadillas, or dip in tortilla chips.

What makes salsas orange?

This particular taquera sauce gets its bright orange color from tomatoes and chiles, and because they are mixed with onions.

Why do you fry the salsa ingredients?

In our opinion, frying the ingredients adds a sweeter flavor, cutting down the spiciness of chilies.

If you don’t want to fry them, you can also toast the ingredients in a cast-iron skillet or comal.

Or you can boil everything in a saucepan.

What other ingredients can I use?

You can add a few tomatillos, a pinch of oregano, or a few drops of lime juice for a change. You can also use other types of chiles, such as chipotle peppers.

More Salsa Recipes

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Recipe Rating

One Comment

  1. 5 stars
    Really good salsa, not overly spicy, lots of flavors, and SO easy to make. From now, this will be my favorite salsa for tacos. Thanks for the recipe!