Salsa de Chile de Arbol

This image courtesy of Joseph DeLeo

This simple, earthy salsa is based on those from the Michoacan area of Mexico. It’s an uncooked table salsa used to add tasty heat to dishes; it is never used as an ingredient in a recipe. Charring the tomatoes and chiles gives the salsa a smoky taste. The de arbol chile is a long, slender chile that looks mild enough—but be cautious; it can take the top of your head and the heat hangs in there for a long time.



Total Timeunder 30 minutes

Make Ahead RecipeYes

Dietary Considerationdiabetic, egg-free, gluten-free, healthy, lactose-free, low calorie, low carb, low cholesterol, peanut free, soy free, tree nut free, vegan, vegetarian


Five Ingredients or LessYes

Taste and Texturegarlicky, hot & spicy, savory, smoky

Type of Dishsalsa


  • 8 to 12 dried chiles de arbol, stems removed
  • 2 Roma tomatoes
  • 3 cloves garlic, unpeeled
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • Salt to taste


  1. Heat a heavy skillet over medium heat, add the chiles, tomatoes, and garlic, and dryroast, shaking the pan occasionally, until the skins start to blacken and the vegetables are soft. This can also be done under a broiler. Cool the vegetables. Remove the skins from the garlic.

  2. Put all the ingredients in a blender or food processor and pulse to coarsely blend, adding just enough water to form a sauce. Season to taste with salt.

  3. This sauce may be stored in the refrigerator, covered, for up to 4 days.



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