spicy dried red chile salsa

dried chile salsa recipe

This is a smoky, spicy, brightly flavored, and infinitely adaptable dried chile salsa. It gets better in the fridge and is the best make-ahead appetizer!


  • 2 guajillo chiles, wiped clean
  • 1 chipotle chile (such as morita), wiped clean
  • 2 pasilla chiles, wiped clean
  • 2 chiles de arbol
  • 1 garlic clove, unpeeled
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 3/4 tsp kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/4 of white onion, finely chopped
  • 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes


  1. Heat an un-greased skillet over medium heat. Add chiles and garlic and cook, turning often to prevent burning, until garlic softens and chiles are fragrant (they shouldn’t darken much), about 2 minutes. Set aside until cool enough to handle.
  2. Remove the stems from the chiles, discard about half the seeds and break up into the blender (see note). Peel garlic and add it to the blender, along with water and salt. Blend on high speed until peppers are pureed, 1- 2 minutes. 
  3. Add onion and tomatoes and blend again until mostly smooth (some texture is good). Taste and add more salt, if needed. Serve with tortilla chips.


  • Discard all of the seeds for a more mild salsa, and keep all of the seeds for a very hot salsa. If you’re unsure of how much to add, set the seeds aside and blend in a spoonful at a time until you reach your desired heat level.
  • If you can’t find dried chipotle peppers, you can use canned instead. Add it to the blender along with the peppers and garlic in step 2.
  • Salsa will keep, covered and refrigerated, for up to 4 days.


Keywords: dried chile salsa