Salsa de Chile de Arbol Recipe

Mexican | October 18, 2009 | By

Robust Twist On Classic Salsa

I currently have a bee in my bonnet called SALSA! I’m consumed by it. I’m not really sure how it started, but I’ve been making a different type of salsa every week for the last two months! This one is by far my favorite.

Chile de Arbol is a small dried red chile found in Mexican super markets. These punchy little suckers pack tons of flavor in their tiny little pods. Pungent and spicy, chile de arbol is a staple in the Mexican kitchen and a key player in this smoky and garlicky salsa.


1/2 ounce (about 16) chile de arbol
6 large garlic cloves, unpeeled
1 pound (10 to 12 medium) tomatillos, husked and rinsed
1/2 teaspoon Salt, or more to taste
Sugar, about 1/2 teaspoon


In a dry cast iron skillet roast the chile de arbol for 4 minutes making sure not to burn them. This step is just to release the oils in the chile. Remove the chiles and add the tomatillos. I slice the tomatillos in half and add them to the pan. Reduce heat to medium and add the garlic. Roast tomatillos and garlic until both are soft and charred. They should like this:

Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until completely smooth.

The garlic in this recipe really adds a complex sweetness to the salsa because the roasting transforms the garlic. Use this salsa as a dip with chips or add it to tacos, chicken, anything really! This recipe comes from the almighty Rick Bayless.