Chile de Arbol Salsa

A Taste of Southern California’s Taco Stands: Authentic Chile de Arbol Salsa Recipe

Calling all salsa enthusiasts! Today, we’re taking a trip south of the border to explore a true Mexican staple: Chile de Arbol Salsa. This vibrant condiment, a cornerstone in countless taco stands across Southern California, is bursting with flavor and versatility.

Chile de Arbol Salsa recipe

Beyond the Jar

Store-bought salsas often lack the freshness and depth of flavor found in homemade versions. This Chile de Arbol Salsa recipe empowers you to create an authentic experience right in your own kitchen. With readily available ingredients and a simple process, you can unlock a world of flavor possibilities.

Tangy, Spicy & Smoky Flavors

The magic of this Chile de Arbol Salsa lies in its harmonious combination of tangy, spicy, and smoky notes. The tartness of tomatillos and lime juice creates a refreshing base, while the heat from the dried and toasted chile de arbol peppers delivers a delightful kick. A touch of cumin adds a subtle smokiness, rounding out the flavor profile beautifully.

Chile De Arbol Salsa recipe

Simple Yet Satisfying

Don’t be fooled by the seemingly simple ingredient list. This Chile de Arbol Salsa comes together quickly and easily, requiring minimal effort for a maximum payoff. It’s perfect for busy weeknights when you crave a taste of authentic Mexican cuisine without the hassle. We especially love this salsa topped on soft street tacos, breakfast burritos and quesadillas, but feel free to experiment with your favorite foods!

Endless Flavor Pairings

This versatile Mexican salsa complements a variety of dishes:

  • Taco Stand Star: Top your next soft shell taco with this vibrant salsa for an authentic experience.
  • Breakfast Burrito Boost: Add a burst of flavor and heat to your breakfast burritos with a generous spoonful of this salsa.
  • Quesadilla Companion: Elevate your quesadillas with a drizzle of this flavorful salsa alongside other fillings.
  • Beyond Mexican Fare: Experiment with this salsa on grilled meats, scrambled eggs, or even as a dip for homemade tortilla chips!

With its simplicity, bold flavors, and endless versatility, this Chile de Arbol Salsa recipe is sure to become a staple in your kitchen. So, ditch the store-bought options, gather your ingredients, and embark on a culinary adventure to the heart of Southern California’s vibrant taco stand culture!

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Chile de Arbol Salsa

Taco Stand Chile de Arbol Salsa

Recipe by Jason Hill –
This Chile de Arbol Salsa recipe is a staple in taco stands throughout Southern California. It has the tangy tartness from the tomatillos and lime juice, heat from the dried toasted chiles, and a bit of smokiness from the cumin.
We especially love this salsa topped on soft tacos, breakfast burritos and quesadillas, but feel free to experiment with your favorite foods!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Sauce
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 8


  • 24-28 ounces canned crushed tomatillos
  • 10 dried chiles de arbol
 stems removed
  • 2 dried guajillo chiles optional
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 2-6 cloves garlic chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • cup cilantro
  • Fresh squeezed lime juice and salt to taste


  • Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add all of the chiles and roast until lightly browned on all sides. Remove from the skillet.
  • Place tomatillos in blender with roasted chiles, cumin, garlic, onion and cilantro. Puree the mixture using a little bit of the tomatillo liquid to form a not-too-thick consistency. The mixture should just barely coat the back of a spoon. Add salt and lime juice to taste.
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Keyword burritos, chiles, egg burritos, Mexican food, Mexican recipes, salsa, tacos
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AboutJason Hill

Hi, I’m Jason Hill, host of YouTube’s “Chef Tips” series. I graduated from culinary school in 1998, and gained my experience working the lines in Southern California. I launched my cooking videos in 2007. I love sharing quick and easy recipes that get people back in the kitchen.