Made with only 5 ingredients, this Chile de Arbol Salsa is the perfect taco salsa. It’s spicy, goes well with Mexican favorites like tacos, tostadas, and gorditas, and is freezer friendly!
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This Chile de Arbol Salsa recipe is my family’s version of the quintessential Mexican taco salsa.
It’s the salsa that’s always on the table when we’re serving tacos, tostadas, flautas, sopes, and gorditas. It’s my dad’s number one favorite condiment and will forever remind me of my family.
If you’re not a fan of spicy food, this salsa probably isn’t for you. Instead, you may want to try making my 5-Minute fresh homemade salsa or this easy salsa verde.
But if you love spicy food as much as I do, this recipe is for you!
What is Chile de Arbol?
Chile de Arbol is a type of red chile that’s commonly used in Mexican cuisine. The chiles themselves are quite small, but they’re very spicy, ranging from 15,000-30,000 on the Scoville Heat Unit (SHU) scale.
For reference, the average jalapeño pepper ranges between 2,500-8,000 SHU.
How to Make Chile de Arbol Salsa
- In a medium pot, add the arbol chiles and enough water to cover them completely. Bring to a boil over high heat, remove the pot from the heat, cover, and let the chiles soak for 10 minutes to soften.
- Using a slotted spoon, transfer the softened chiles to a blender. Add ¾ cup of fresh water, the tomatoes, garlic, and salt. Blend until completely smooth. Taste and add more salt as needed.
Tips and Tricks
- This salsa is meant to be spicy. That being said, if it’s way too spicy for you, add one or two more plum tomatoes to the blender and puree until smooth.
- This salsa should be fairly smooth. Depending on the power of your blender, it can take anywhere from 1 to 5 minutes of blending time.
Ways to Use Chile de Arbol Salsa
Aside from eating this salsa with homemade tortilla chips (which I love), here are a few of my favorite ways to eat it.
- drizzle it on easy chicken tacos, breakfast tacos, or ground beef tacos
- have it with your chorizo and eggs for breakfast
- mix it into soups like chicken tortilla soup, black bean soup, and pozole rojo to add a little spice
If you’re anything like my dad and absolutely LOVE spicy food (the spicier, the better), then you may want to completely omit the tomatoes.
I modified this recipe to my taste, but when my dad makes it, he doesn’t ever add tomatoes! So if that’s you, go for it! You can always add in more tomatoes later.
Storing and Freezing
To store: Transfer the salsa to an airtight container and store it in the fridge for 1 to 2 months.
To freeze: Let the salsa come to room temperature. Place it in a freezer-safe storage bag or container and freeze it for up 6 months. When ready to eat, remove the salsa from the freezer a day before and thaw it in the fridge.
- 1 ounce dried chile de arbol chiles, rinsed and stemmed
- water, as needed
- 2 large plum tomatoes, halved
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- In a medium pot, add the chiles de arbol and enough water to completely cover them. Bring to a boil over high heat.
- Remove the pot from the heat, cover, and let the chiles soak for 10 minutes to soften.
- Using a slotted spoon, transfer the softened chiles to a blender. Add ¾ cup of fresh water, the tomatoes, garlic, and salt. Blend until completely smooth.
- Taste and add more salt as needed.
- Spice level: This salsa is meant to be very spicy. If it’s way too spicy for your liking, add in an extra tomato or two to help dilute the heat.
- Storage: This salsa will keep in the fridge in an airtight container for 1 week.
- Freezing: To freeze, let the salsa come to room temperature. Place it in a freezer-safe storage bag or container and freeze it for up to 6 months. When ready to eat, remove the salsa from the freezer a day before and thaw it in the fridge.
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