Make versatile Chile de Arbol Salsa to go with all your favorite Mexican dishes. Drizzle it on tacos, dip salty tortilla chips into it or add it to soups and stews. Make in a cooking blender, traditional blender, or food processor.
Chile de Arbol Salsa is a spicy tomato and pepper salsa that can be added to many Mexican dishes, like tacos, enchiladas, nachos, chili, or just to dip your chips. It's made using one of the spicier peppers (chile de arbol) and tomatoes. Depending on the recipe, onions, garlic and seasonings are also added.
It's a delicious hot salsa that can be used just like any other salsa. Use it instead of salsa roja, salsa verde made with tomatillos, and mango habañero salsa in any of your favorite recipes or to serve at your next gathering.
I make my chile de arbol salsa in my Instant Ace cooking blender. It's truly a 1 step recipe in a cooking blender! All you do is add your ingredients and the blender will cook the peppers, crush the tomatoes, and blend it all together to create a smooth restaurant quality salsa.
Chile de arbol salsa can easily be made in a traditional blender or food processor, too. With traditional blenders, the chiles de arbol need to be soaked first but using a cooking blender eliminates this step.
The instructions below include how to use a cooking blender and a traditional blender. Both are simple and require little preparation and time.
What Is Chile de Arbol?
Chile de arbol peppers are small and skinny Mexican peppers about 2 inches long. They are dark reddish brown in color and very spicy at 15,000 to 30,000 Scoville heat units. To put that in context, chiles de arbol are slightly milder than cayenne pepper at 30,000 - 50,000 heat units but much hotter than a jalapeño at 2,500-8,000 heat units.
Chile de arbol peppers are used in many Mexican dishes to add heat and spice. They are a great addition to sauce, salsa, chili, and stew. A small amount of peppers goes a long way in adding heat to your dish. It takes just 1 or 2 peppers to really spice things up. One of the most popular ways to use these little spicy peppers is to make chile de arbol salsa- the reason you're here!
- Dried chile de arbol
- Tomato sauce: plain without any seasonings.
- Fresh tomatoes: your favorite kind!
- Onion: sweet onion is my preference but yellow onions work too.
- Garlic cloves
PREPARATION: Cut the tops off the chiles de arbol. Remove the seeds and discard (or use for extra spice). Roughly chop the tomatoes and onion.
COOKING BLENDER METHOD: Add the teaspoon of olive oil, chiles de arbol, tomato sauce, onion, tomatoes, garlic cloves, and salt. Set to the puree mode for 16 minutes. When done, carefully transfer the salsa to a mason jar or bowl. Allow to cool and then taste, adding more salt if desired.
TRADITIONAL BLENDER METHOD: Fill a small pot with 3 cups of water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Remove from the heat when it begins to boil and add the chiles de arbol. Let sit for 10 minutes in the hot water. Put all ingredients into your blender, including the chiles. Pulse on high speed until the salsa is smooth, about 1-2 minutes depending on the strength of your blender.
Cover and store in the fridge. Serve chilled or at room temperature.
Tips and Tricks
This salsa is meant to be very spicy. If it's too spicy for you, add more tomato sauce to dilute the heat. If you're looking for a mild salsa, classic salsa roja may be a better option.
If you're unsure about the heat factor, use half the peppers and remove all of the seeds. If that's not spicy enough use more the next time and use some seeds.
But if you love very spicy foods, add those seeds! Don't deseed the chiles de arbol for the most significant spiciness.
A little salsa goes a really long way here. Just a little drizzle over your tacos, eggs, etc. will add a lot of heat. You can always add more so don't add much in the beginning.
This salsa has a thin, sauce-like consistency. To make it chunkier, blend it for less time, use less tomato sauce, or use more fresh tomatoes. The best way to make a chunkier salsa is to eliminate some of the water that the tomatoes produce when blended. Do this by removing their pulp before adding them to the blender. Another way to make it chunkier is to use a food processor to chop the ingredients rather than blend them.
How To Use Chile de Arbol Salsa
There are so many ways to use chile de arbol salsa. Some of them include:
- using it as a dip for tortilla chips
- drizzled on tacos, nachos, and chilaquiles
- as a sauce atop enchiladas and taquitos
- add a few tablespoons to slow cooker chile rojo to spice it up a notch
- in Mexican-style rice bowls
- to dip your quesadillas into
- drizzle it over taco pasta or jalapeño cheddar chicken
- add to your favorite burrito stuffings
- add to scrambled eggs and breakfast burritos
Yes! Chiles de arbol peppers are one of the spicier peppers used for cooking.
In the fridge, fresh salsa will last for 5-7 days. If it has been cooked it will last for longer at 14-21 days. So if you used your cooking blender, expect the salsa to last about 2 or 3 weeks since the ingredients were cooked. If you used a traditional blender, expect it to last about 1 week.
Salsa is a very freezer friendly food! Use freezer storage bags or freezer safe containers. It will keep for up to 6 months, for optimal quality.
If using a cooking blender, there is no need to soak the peppers as long as you use the soup mode or another mode that heats and cooks them for you. But if using a traditional blender it is necessary to soak the peppers in hot water. This softens their skins and makes them much easier to blend to create a smooth salsa. It will be more flavorful with well blended peppers!
Of course! Dehydrated chiles de arbol are much easier to find in many locations so they are a popular choice. But if you have access to fresh chiles, lucky you! Go ahead and use them, but skip the soaking step. Use the same amount of fresh chiles de arbol as you would dried.
Chile de Arbol Salsa
- Cut the tops off the chiles de arbol. Remove the seeds and discard (or use for extra spice). Roughly chop the tomatoes and onion.
- Cooking Blender: add the teaspoon of olive oil, chiles de arbol, tomato sauce, onion, tomatoes, garlic cloves, and salt. Set to the puree mode for 16 minutes. When done, carefully transfer the salsa to a mason jar or bowl. Allow to cool and then taste, adding more salt if desired.
- Traditional Blender: fill a small pot with 3 cups of water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Remove from the heat when it begins to boil and add the chiles de arbol. Let sit for 10 minutes in the hot water. Put all ingredients into your blender, including the chiles. Pulse on high speed until the salsa is smooth, about 1-2 minutes depending on the strength of your blender.
- Cover and store in the fridge. Serve chilled or at room temperature.