Spicy Chile de Arbol Salsa Recipe

Overhead image of a jar of arbol Chile salsa sitting on a wood cutting board with blue and white tortilla chips around it.

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How to make homemade Chile de Arbol Salsa using dried chile de árbol peppers, onion, garlic, and tomatoes. This spicy Mexican salsa is simple and easy and makes a fiery dip or a topping for everything from tacos to eggs. 



2 tablespoons sunflower oil or other neutral-flavored oil

1/2 white onion, sliced

5 cloves of garlic, peeled

25 dried chiles de arbol (depending on how spicy you want the salsa* See note about the seeds), stemmed and rinsed

2 medium tomatoes, quartered

1/3 cup water

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for seasoning


Sauté the onions and garlic. Heat oil in a medium frying pan over medium-high heat. Add onions and garlic and season with salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions and garlic and deep golden and caramelized. 

Caramelize tomatoes and chiles. Add tomatoes and chiles and season again with salt. Continue cooking until the tomatoes are soft and browned in a few spots. 

Blend. Transfer everything to a blender. Add water and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Blend on high until very smooth. Taste and add more salt if needed. 

Enjoy or save. Eat right away or transfer to a tightly-sealed container and keep in the refrigerator for up to 7-10 days. 


You can remove the seeds of the arbol chiles by breaking them open and shaking the seeds out. I leave them in to make this salsa extra spicy. 

Keywords: Chile de arbol