Chile de Arbol Salsa

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Chile de Arbol Salsa 

Cooking Chiles de Arbol

Boiling Chiles de Arbol and Tomatillos

Chile de Arbol Salsa

Chile de Arbol Salsa

Chile de Arbol Salsa

One of our favorite Mexican restaurants makes a salsa out of chiles de Arbol, which has a different spice than the red salsas that you typically find at Mexican restaurants.  The restaurant serves simple, authentic tacos with marinated meat, cilantro and onion on homemade corn tortillas.  We really like the combination of their salsa verde and chile de Arbol salsa with the tacos. 

After many incredible meals at this restaurant, we decided to try to make the chile de Arbol salsa at home.  The base of the salsa is typically dried chiles de Arbol and Roma tomatoes.  However, we substituted tomatillos for the tomatoes and added jalapeño peppers to imitate the flavorful combo of salsa verde and chile de Arbol salsa that we love.  Our recipe is essentially our homemade salsa verde with the addition of chiles de Arbol. 

You can buy the chiles de Arbol in dried form and rehydrate them for the salsa.  Once you boil them with water, they will plump up and turn a brilliant, shiny red. 

To make the salsa less spicy, you can cut down on the chiles de Arbol and/or eliminate the jalapeño peppers.  For a spicier version, you can add more chiles de Arbol and/or use serrano or habañero peppers.  The color of the salsa will also vary depending on how many chiles de Arbol you use (see pictures). 


1 Tbsp canola oil

10-15 dried chiles de Arbol

1-2 jalapeño peppers

7 tomatillos

1 bunch of cilantro

1 tsp salt, to taste

1/4 of a white onion

2 garlic cloves

The juice of 1/2 lime, optional

Peel, scrub and rinse the tomatillos.  Put them in a pot with water and bring them to a boil.  Let them boil for 20-25 minutes.

Heat 1 Tbsp canola oil in another pan over medium-high heat.  Sauté the chiles de Arbol and jalapeño peppers for several minutes.  Then add them to the boiling tomatillos along with the garlic and the onion to finish boiling.

Once boiled, drain the water from the vegetables, except for 1/2 – 1 inch of water.  Blend the boiled vegetables and the cilantro until smooth.  Salt the salsa to taste.  Stir in lime juice if desired.

Let the salsa cool.  Use immediately or store in a sealed container in the refrigerator.

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6 Responses to “Chile de Arbol Salsa”

  1. Taco Fan says:

    The color of Salsa looks different in the last two pictures, which is the right one?


  2. kelsey says:

    The color of the salsa will vary depending on the mix of chiles that you use. In the salsa that is a darker color, there are more chiles de arbol. In the lighter salsa, there are fewer chiles de arbol in relation to jalapeño/serrano peppers. It ultimately depends on personal taste. We experiment with it each time we make it!

  3. Linda says:

    I tried this recipe a few weeks ago and it was a huge hit with my Mexican relatives. They were actually amazed I made this. It is very spicy and has a great taste and texture. Thank you for the recipe.

  4. kelsey says:

    Linda, I’m glad your family liked it!

  5. Roberto says:


  6. Nathan says:

    Just out of curiosity, which restaurant’s salsa were you trying to recreate? Ended up here after a bit of research trying to match the salsa on each table at Tacos Morenos, a fantastic Mexican restaurant in Santa Cruz, CA. Thanks for the recipe; I can’t wait to try it!

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