Chile de Arbol Salsa

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Every now and again, you need to breathe a little fire. The heat is good for the soul! Fret not because this salsa is no where near as spicy as the One Chip Challenge. No Carolina Reapers, ghost peppers, habañeros, or other extremely hot chiles in this homemade salsa. This chile de arbol salsa has the perfect balance of a spice, acid, and a touch of sweet and smokiness from the cooked tomatoes and onions. It’s just one of the salsas that you can’t stop eating!

The great thing about this salsa is that it comes together within 20 minutes. Named for the peppers it uses, this chile de arbol salsa is more about depth of flavor than “knock you down” spice. Not only is it the perfect dip for chips, but it is also a great condiment for tacos, burritos, fajitas, and more. Should your taste buds be a bit more sensitive to spice, you can always reduce the amount of chiles you use to make the salsa. It does have a little kick that builds as you eat it, but it isn’t life-threatening. The tomatoes do a great job to mellow the flavor.

Chile de arbols come in dried form, so don’t just add them to the blender as is. In order to tame the spice, toast them in a pan for a couple minutes, but don’t burn them. If you burn the chiles, your salsa will taste very bitter. After toasting them, add water and bring the water to a boil. Remove from heat and then let the chiles soak for 15 minutes. That gives you enough time to cook the onions, garlic, and tomatoes. Drain the chile water and then add everything to a blender. Refrigerate to chill the salsa or enjoy right away!

Chile de Arbol Salsa
  • Prep Time:10m
  • Cook Time:15m
  • Total Time:25m


  • 4 chile de arbol peppers, dried
  • 1/2 c water
  • 1 lb Roma tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 white onion, cut into wedges
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 3/4 c cilantro
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 lime, juiced


  1. Toast the chiles in a small saucepan over medium heat (about 2 minutes). Add 1/2 cup water and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and let the peppers soak for 15 minutes.
  2. While the peppers are soaking, warm a large frying pan over medium heat. Add a little olive oil and then add the tomatoes, onion, and garlic.
  3. Sauté these ingredients for about 8-10 minutes, or until nicely browned. Remove from heat.
  4. Remove the peppers from the water and take out the top stems to discard. Add them and the sautéed tomatoes, onions, and garlic to a blender or food processor. Add the cilantro, sea salt, pepper, and lime juice and blend until smooth. Taste and season as needed.
  5. Serve immediately or refrigerate for an hour and then serve with chips. Enjoy!


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