Tomato & Arbol Chile Salsa | Salsa de Jitomate y Chiles de Arbol

Salsa roja made with Tomatoes and Chiles de Arbol: Perfect for topping, dipping or cooking with! | #vegan #salsaroja #salsas #chilesdearbol #chipsandsalsa

Have you ever been to a Mexican restaurant and wondered why their salsas taste so good? And have you ever wanted to replicate those flavours at home?

I’ll share a little (not-so) secret of why those restaurant salsas taste so delicious: fresh ingredients. Yep that’s really pretty much it. Fresh and seasonal ingredients, I believe, is the key to cooking great authentic Mexican food. Of course as long as you have access to the traditional ingredients you’ll always be able to replicate the true flavours of Mexican cuisine at home.

So guess what, today I’m going to share with you a super easy red salsa recipe that you’re going to love because it tastes just like a taqueria‘s salsa. It won’t take too long to prepare and I promise once you make it you’ll quickly get the hang of salsa making, so that you can enjoy fresh, authentic, and flavourful salsa whenever the craving strikes!

This salsa calls for chiles de arbol, which roughly translate to chilies from the tree, and because they are very commonly used in Mexican cooking you should be able to find them alongside other Mexican ingredients. First try the ethnic food isle at your grocery store, if not find a Hispanic market or there’s always Amazon or MexGrocer.

A little warning about these long red dried chilies, they pack quite the heat. So if you’re not into that you’ll want to really cut down the amount of peppers you use. But I do have to tell you that my heat tolerance is about medium to medium high and though this salsa was spicy it wasn’t anything I couldn’t handle. The tomatoes and other ingredients help balance the heat so that it’s not the only thing that you taste.

This salsa can be used for topping tacos, tostadas, hamburgers, hot dogs…or anything that you’d like. Additionally it’s perfect for dipping corn chips into or even to cook with. You could even mix the salsa with some Mexican crema or sour cream and create a spicy cream sauce. If you want to cook with it I suggest marinading some veggies in it for about a half hour then either grilling or roasting them. Ah, the beauty about salsas is that the possibilities are endless.


Salsa roja made with Tomatoes and Chiles de Arbol: Perfect for topping, dipping or cooking with! | #vegan #salsaroja #salsas #chilesdearbol #chipsandsalsa

Tomato & Arbol Chile Salsa | Salsa de Jitomate y Chiles de Arbol & Nancy Lopez-McHugh
Salsa roja made with Tomatoes and Chiles de Arbol: Perfect for topping, dipping or cooking with! | #vegan #salsaroja #salsas #chilesdearbol #chipsandsalsa
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Prep Time 15 mins
Total Time 15 mins
Course condiment, Salsa
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 4 servings


  • 2 large or 280grams or 9.85 oz roma tomatoes, remove the stems
  • 28 grams or 1 oz of dried chiles de arbol get themhere
  • 118 grams or 4.15 oz white onion it was 1/2 of small one
  • 2 large cloves garlic
  • one small lime juiced
  • sea salt to taste
  • a large pinch of dried epazote or a leaf or two optional and only if available
  • splash of water


  • Heat a comal (or griddle) or a large pan until hot. Then place the tomatoes, onion and garlic cloves on it. Without leaving unattended allow all three to char evenly on all sides. The garlic cloves will be ready much quicker so be ready to remove them before they burn. Once all have charred place on a plate and allow to cool, set aside.
  • Now turn off the heat and then spread the chile pods on the hot comal or griddle and toast the peppers on both sides -- you want to keep turning them so that they don't turn black and burn. They'll be ready in a minute or two, then quickly remove from the heat and set aside to cool. Once they have cooled and you can handle them, remove the stems and shake out the seeds -- if you'd like you can include some but if you prefer lots of heat then you can choose to include all of the seeds.
  • In a blender add a splash of water and the lime juice, then add the charred tomatoes first and on top of them place the garlic cloves and the onion. Next add the seedless chilies, the salt, and the epazote if using. Now blend until you achieve a completely smooth salsa. Taste and if needed add more salt.
  • Serve as desired and store any leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 4 to 5 days.


DO be warned that as you toast the chilies you may begin to cough, I don't know about you but whenever I toast or char peppers I either always cough or start sneezing like crazy! 😆
I love adding fresh lime juice to my salsas for some freshness and because it helps keep the vibrant colours. If you don't have it on hand for this recipe, then no worries.
Tried this recipe?Leave me a ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ review and tag me on social media @MexicanMadeMeatless or tag #mexicamademeatless!

Salsa roja made with Tomatoes and Chiles de Arbol: Perfect for topping, dipping or cooking with! | #vegan #salsaroja #salsas #chilesdearbol #chipsandsalsa


That’s it amigos, see how easy it was?

I’ll be back in a couple of days to share another recipe with you…there’s a little hint in the background of the last salsa picture. 😉

Have a beautiful day and hasta luego! 👋

☮️ & 💞 ~Nancy

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  1. I can not make this salsa fast enough. There is a small restaurant that doesn’t serve the best food…but they have a really watery salsa that I could just DRINK. Owner said it was roasted de Arbol Chiles pureed. I’ve tried it without any luck. I just used up the last of my de Arbol stash, so your recipe post came at the perfect time! Thanks so much for sharing Ü

    1. I’m glad to hear it, MJ. Chile arbol is a bit too spicy for some so too many people miss out on that delicious flavour. Thank you!

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