Salsas & Sauces/

Toasted Arbol Chile Salsa

Salsa de Chile de Arbol Tatemado
From Season 8, Mexico—One Plate at a Time
Servings: 3/4 Cup


  • 3 garlic cloves, unpeeled
  • 1ounce (30 to 40) medium dried arbol chiles, stemmed


In an ungreased skillet over medium heat, roast the garlic, turning regularly, until soft and blackened in spots, about 15 minutes. Remove and add the chiles. Stir nearly constantly until the chiles are considerably darker and they fill the kitchen with their toasty aroma, about 1 1/2 minutes. Peel the garlic and place in blender jar with the chiles and 3/4 cup water. Blend until nearly smooth (the salsa is best, I think, if it retains a little texture). Taste a little bit (it’ll be very spicy) and season with salt, usually about 1/2 teaspoon.



    1. 30 to 40 was one ounce for us in testing, but if you find them to be different sizes/weights “1 ounce” is more important that “30 to 40.”

  1. I plan to make this today. I have just made macha salsa and guajillo chile salsa , but have no idea how long these will keep in the fridge. Seems like the macha
    Salsa and the Arbol would keep a while . Thanks in advance for your answer. By the way, I love your show!

    1. If you keep a layer of oil over the top of the salsa it will last refrigerate for at least 3 months. Enjoy!

  2. Hi,

    What causes bitternes in chili sauces? Is it that they are old? This occurred when I made the guajillo salsa, so I would like to figure out my problem prior to making this sauce. Note: I did forget to do the final step on the guajillo sauce (simmering the pureed chili mix in hot oil for 10 minutes), could this have caused the bitternes?

    1. Hi Mike –
      You most likely over toasted your chiles. It can be challenging. There is a fine line between the perfect, sweet, nutty, toasted chile, and a bitter burnt chile. Make sure your pan isn’t too hot, toast it (one at a time) until it just barely changes color and becomes fragrant.

      Best of luck!

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