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The Perfect Salsa de Chile Recipe

Salsa de chile (arbiol) is a type of spicy Mexican salsa that is commonly used in Mexican cuisine. It is made with chile de arbol, a small and very spicy red chile that is mixed with other ingredients such as tomatoes, tomatillos, garlic, and onion. 

The resulting salsa is usually smooth and has a spicy flavor that goes well with pork tacos, tostadas, sopes, and gorditas.


Salsa de chile is a staple in many Latin American cuisines, especially in Mexico, where its origins lie. It’s an embodiment of the region’s rich culinary history, marrying native ingredients with culinary techniques.

Flavor Profile

The flavor profile is a balance of spiciness from the chiles, acidity from the tomatoes or tomatillos, and a hint of earthiness. Depending on the chiles used, it can range from mildly spicy to fiery hot.

Salsa de chile adds a burst of flavor and heat to dishes. It’s versatile, authentic, and elevates any dish it accompanies. Additionally, it’s relatively simple to make with a few basic ingredients.

Equipment Needed

  • Blender or food processor
  • Knife and cutting board
  • Frying pan or pot (optional for roasted or cooked versions)


  • 2-3 ripe tomatoes or tomatillos
  • 2-3 chile peppers (like serrano or jalapeño, adjust to heat preference)
  • 1 small onion, quartered
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • A handful of fresh cilantro
  • Salt to taste
  • Lime juice (optional)


  1. Start by cleaning the chiles and tomatoes. You can either use them raw or roast them on a pan for a deeper flavor.
  2. Place chiles, tomatoes, onion, and garlic in a blender.
  3. Pulse until desired consistency is reached. Some prefer it chunky, while others like a smoother salsa.
  4. Add cilantro, salt, and lime juice. Pulse again to mix.
  5. Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary.

Serving suggestions


  • Roasting the ingredients first can add a depth of flavor.
  • For a smokier taste, use dried chipotle chiles.
  • Remove seeds from chiles for a milder heat.

Ingredient Substitutes

  • Tomatillos can replace tomatoes for a tangier salsa verde.
  • Red bell pepper for a milder version without much heat.
  • Green or red onions can replace regular onions.

Nutritional Information

This will vary based on the exact ingredients and quantities used. Generally, salsa de chile is low in calories but rich in vitamins from the fresh vegetables.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Can I make it less spicy? Yes, use fewer chiles or deseed them.
  • Can I use dried chiles? Absolutely! Just rehydrate them in warm water before blending.

Storage Ideas

Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week. For longer storage, it can be frozen.


Salsa de chile is a versatile and flavorful addition to various dishes. Whether you like it hot and spicy or mild and tangy, there’s a version of this salsa for everyone. It’s easy to make, healthy, and truly captures the essence of Latin American cuisine. Enjoy your culinary journey!