Salsa De Chiltepin is a flavorful sauce that will set your taste buds on fire! This salsa is made with chiltepin peppers, tomatoes, garlic and a little vinegar to make it last a long time. It goes with any Mexican dish you decide to use it on.
This salsa is very special to me since it’s a family recipe. My brother gifted me a large container of these little fiery peppers before moving to Portugal and gave me the recipe! Now I’m sharing it with the world. Lucky you 🙂
What is Chiltepin pepper? It’s a small, round, and extremely spicy chili pepper native to Mexico, specifically to Sonora and the northern states. The pepper is typically about the size of a pea and bright red. These are dried out to conserve them for many years!
Chiltepines are often referred as “El Oro Rojo de Sonora” (Sonora’s red gold). The “gold” refers to the high value placed on chiltepin peppers, both culturally and economically.
They grow in the wild on a small, bushy shrub in arid regions and are very difficult to grow and cultivate. This is why chiltepines are so expensive in the markets.
Chiltepin has been an important ingredient in traditional Mexican cuisine for centuries, and it’s often used in salsas, sauces, and marinades. In addition, the chiltepin pepper has gained popularity in the culinary world, with chefs and food enthusiasts seeking out this rare and unique pepper for its intense heat and flavor.
Chiltepin is a member of the Capsicum annuum species, which includes other chili peppers such as jalapeño and cayenne. Chiltepin pepper is also sometimes referred to as Capsicum annuum var. glabriusculum.
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- Dried chiltepines.
- Garlic cloves peeled
- White or yellow onion (just a little piece)
- Dried oregano
- Kosher or sea salt and black pepper
- Apple cider vinegar
How to Make a Salsa De Chiltepin
This is a visual overview of the steps to make this recipe. See the detailed list of ingredients & instructions in the recipe card below.
- Slice the tomatoes in quarters and remove the stems part.
- In a medium pot add the tomatoes and about 2 cups water or enough to cover the tomatoes.
- Cover and bring to a soft boil over medium high heat. Lower heat to medium low and cook the tomatoes for 2 minutes.
- Add the chiltepines and cook about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and cool the tomatoes and chiltepines in the water for about 5 minutes.
- Add the cooled tomatoes, chiltepines and rest of the ingredients in a blender.
- Puree well for a couple of minutes or until you no longer see chunks.
Tips on handling Chiltepin
A word of caution – DO NOT handle the chiltepines with your bare hands if possible! The pepper is so spicy that it may leave some residue on your hands. Either use a spoon or a paper towel to handle them.
Be sure to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water before and after handling hot peppers. This will help remove any oils or residue that can irritate your skin or eyes.
Chiltepines are a popular addition to soups like albonigas, pozole or gallina pinta to bring the perfect touch of spice. The pepper is crushed as much as possible then sprinkled into the soup. To crush them, you can use a paper towel, a mortar or these wood crushers, that are made specifically for chiltepines:
This salsa is good with anything you want to add a little kick to but be careful! Only add a few drops (even if you’re used to spicy foods). The heat is intense! Remember, you can always add more but you can’t take it away.
How to Store
The first step once you’ve made your salsa is to cool it down. Do not place a hot salsa in the fridge or freezer.
- Fridge – Store in the refrigerator in a glass jar or container for up to 1 month. The vinegar in the salsa makes it last longer than salsas without it.
- Freezer – Freeze in an airtight, freezer-safe storage container or freezer bags for up to 3 months.
- To Thaw – Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before using.
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Salsa De Chiltepin
- ¼ cup dried chiltepines
- 3 medium tomatoes, sliced in quarters
- 2 garlic cloves peeled
- 1 tablespoon white or yellow onion (just a little piece)
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
- black pepper
- 2 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- In a medium pot add the tomatoes and about 2 cups water or enough to cover the tomatoes.3 medium tomatoes,
- Cover and bring to a soft boil over medium high heat. Once you reach the boiling point, lower heat to medium low and cook the tomatoes for 2 minutes.
- Add the chiltepines and cook over medium heat until the tomatoes are soft. About 5 minutes. Remove from heat and cool the tomatoes and chiltepines in the water for about 5 minutes.¼ cup dried chiltepines
- To a blender, add the cooled tomatoes, chiltepines and rest of the ingredients. Puree well for a couple of minutes or until you no longer see chunks.2 garlic cloves, 1 teaspoon dried oregano, 2 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar, black pepper, 1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt, 1 tablespoon white or yellow onion (just a little piece)
- If the salsa is too dense, add one tablespoon of the cooked water at the time until you reach the desired consistency.
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The nutritional information and US conversions are calculated automatically. I cannot guarantee the accuracy of this data. If this is important to you, please verify with your favourite nutrition calculator and/or unit conversion tool.