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+ servings
Bowl of Chile de Arbol Salsa surrounded by chips and topped with a single dried chile
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5 from 4 votes

Chile de Arbol Salsa

This spicy and tasty Chile de Arbol Salsa is the perfect addition to tacos, tamales, and more. A true Mexican food favorite that adds a flavorful kick.
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time8 mins
Total Time13 mins
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: Mexican
Servings: 1 cup
Calories: 325kcal



  • In a skillet, char tomatoes and tomatillos on all sides.
  • Halfway through the charring of the tomatoes and tomatillos, add onion and garlic to the skillet.
  • Cook for 2 minutes.
  • Remove garlic.
  • Let everything cook for 1-2 minutes more, or until onion is translucent.
  • With your spatula, move the tomatoes and tomatillos on their sides, making sure they char on all sides.
  • Remove everything from the skillet and set aside until ready to use.
  • In a clean skillet, add oil and dried chile de arbol. If you like it spicier, add more chile.
  • Cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Do not let the chiles burn, or the salsa will be bitter.
  • Place all the chile de arbol and as much of the oil from the skillet in a blender.
  • Add the tomatoes, tomatillos, onion, garlic, salt, and water to the blender.
  • Blend until smooth.
  • Pour into a salsa bowl. Enjoy!



Choose pods that have no tears and are not cut in half. Bugs like to hide inside torn chile pods. Dust also collects inside.
The combination of tomatoes and tomatillos is what gives the Salsa de Chile de Arbol that orange-y color. You can also use all tomatoes, or all tomatillos.
  • How do you make a salsa less spicy? Add more tomatoes (or more tomatillos).
  • How do you make salsa hotter? Add more chile and less tomatoes (or tomatillos).
You can boil the tomatoes, tomatillos, onion, and garlic instead of roasting. However, roasting will give the salsa a smokey flavor. 
Line the skillet or sheet pan with foil paper for easy clean up.
Do NOT touch your eyes when working with chiles. 
To make the salsa more chunky, use a food processor and pulse a couple of times.
Let the salsa cool before tasting. It is always spicier when it is still warm.


Calories: 325kcal | Carbohydrates: 43g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Sodium: 3540mg | Potassium: 1497mg | Fiber: 15g | Sugar: 26g | Vitamin A: 11927IU | Vitamin C: 56mg | Calcium: 41mg | Iron: 3mg