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The Freshest Salsa de Molcajete Recipe

Salsa de Molcajete is a traditional Mexican salsa made in a molcajete, which is a Mexican mortar and pestle made from volcanic rock with a porous texture. 

The ingredients for this salsa can vary from recipe to recipe, but it typically includes roasted tomatoes, chilies, garlic, and onion. The ingredients are crushed in a molcajete or blended in a food processor until a coarse puree is achieved. 

The salsa has a chunky texture and a smoky flavor due to the roasting of the ingredients. Salsa de Molcajete is a staple in Mexican homes and is served with many favorite Mexican dishes, including carne asada, grilled meats, enchiladas and tacos.

What is Salsa de Molcajete?

It’s known for its robust and smoky flavors, achieved through the unique process of grinding ingredients in the molcajete.

The estimated duration for this recipe is 30 minutes.


  • 3 ripe tomatoes
  • 2 to 3 serrano chilies (adjust for spice preference)
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 cup finely diced onion
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tablespoon of chile de arbol salsa
  • 1 tablespoon of salsa roja picante
  • 1 teaspoon of beef bouillon


  1. Begin by roasting the tomatoes and serrano chilies on a hot, dry skillet or comal until they acquire a charred and blistered appearance. This step adds a smoky depth to your salsa.
  2. While the roasted ingredients are still hot, transfer them to the molcajete and grind them using the pestle until you achieve a coarse paste.
  3. Add the garlic cloves, chile de arbol salsa, salsa roja picante, and beef bouillon. Continue grinding to incorporate them into the mixture.
  4. Next, add the chopped cilantro, diced onion, and a pinch of salt. Grind the mixture in the molcajete until the ingredients meld together, and the salsa reaches your desired consistency.

Expert Tips

To enhance the flavors of your Salsa de Molcajete, consider using heirloom tomatoes or fire-roasted canned tomatoes. These varieties can impart a deeper, more complex flavor to your salsa.

Serving Suggestions

Salsa de Molcajete is an ideal accompaniment for traditional Mexican dishes like beef tacos (such as taco al pastor or carne asada tacos), pork tacos (crispy pork tacos), and fries (loaded carne asada fries). It adds an authentic and rustic touch to your favorite meals.

Storing Your Salsa

To maintain its freshness, store your Salsa de Molcajete in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It can be stored for up to a week without losing its flavor.


While Salsa de Molcajete is relatively low in calories, it’s rich in flavor. The key health benefit lies in the use of fresh ingredients like tomatoes, chilies, and cilantro, which provide essential vitamins and antioxidants.

Exploring Alternatives

Salsa Roja: This salsa is comparable to salsa molcajete due to its use of roasted or charred tomatoes and chilies. Salsa roja often includes similar ingredients like onions, garlic, and cilantro.

Salsa Ranchera: Also known as ranch-style salsa, it shares similarities with salsa molcajete in terms of ingredients and the use of roasted tomatoes, chilies, onions, and garlic. The key difference lies in the preparation method, where the ingredients are usually blended or cooked together rather than ground in a molcajete.

Each salsa brings its own unique flavors and can enhance different aspects of the dishes with which they’re paired. The best salsa for a dish might depend on personal preference, desired spiciness, and the specific flavors you want to highlight.


Salsa de Molcajete Recipe, or salsa martajada, is a testament to the authentic flavors and traditions of Mexico. With its rich smokiness and rustic charm, this salsa is a versatile addition to your culinary repertoire. Whether you’re savoring it with tacos or using it to spice up your favorite dishes, Salsa de Molcajete delivers a taste of Mexico’s culinary heritage to your table.