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+ servings
A molcajete with red salsa

Chile De Arbol Salsa

An authentic Chile De Arbol Salsa that goes perfect for taco fillings, tamales and more! This classic salsa is made with chiles de arbol, guajillos & tomatillos.
Course Salsas
Cuisine Mexican
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 2 cups
Calories 43kcal
Author Ana Frias


  • 1 pound fresh tomatillos*
  • ¼ of a medium onion
  • 2 large garlic cloves peeled
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 20 to 30 dried Chile de Arbol no seeds 
  • 2 guajillo chiles no seeds
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 beef (or chicken) bullion cube optional. It gives a little more flavor to the salsa
  • 1 fresh serrano pepper optional for a very spicy salsa


  • In a small pot, place the onion, garlic and tomatillo with enough water to cover the vegetables. If using a serrano pepper & beef bullion, add it on this step. 
  • Cook on medium heat. 
  • While the tomatillo mixture cooks, on a hot skillet, sauté the guajillo chiles on ½ tablespoon of vegetable oil for about 45 seconds on each side. This is a very fast step as it if it cooks too long, the chile will become bitter. 
  • Remove from skillet and add to the tomatillo mixture. 
  • Repeat this process for the chiles de arbol. 
  • Cook the tomatillos until they start to turn yellow and before they crack. Remove pot from heat and set to cool off.
  • Remove the tomatillos from the pot and transfer to a bowl to cool off ** (leave the rest of the ingredients in the hot water).
  • Once the tomatillos have cooled off, add all ingredients to a food processor or blender and blend well. NOTE: Do not add the cooked water yet. Only add a little bit at the time if your salsa turns out too dense.
  • Taste for salt & pepper and add some according to taste.
  • Store in refrigerator in an airtight container for up to two weeks.



*Use roma tomatoes or canned tomatillos if you can't find fresh tomatillos. 
**The tomatillos must be cooled slightly prior to blending. If they're still hot, the salsa will become bitter. 
  • Do you add the cooking water in with the rest of the ingredients when blending? You don't add the water as the tomatoes will make it liquid enough. If can add some from the cooking water if you think it's too dry
How spicy is this Chile De Arbol Salsa?
You can actually make this as hot as you want! Here are a few ways to control the spicy level:
* Medium hot = 20 chiles de arbol
* Hot = 30 chiles de arbol.
* Hot + = Leave the seeds in the peppers
* Super hot = Add a serrano pepper or two.


Serving: 1/4 cup | Sodium: 165mg | Sugar: 4g | Fiber: 2g | Calories: 43kcal | Fat: 2g | Protein: 1g | Carbohydrates: 6g