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Dried Pepper Salsa

dried pepper salsa

I discovered this salsa a while ago when I didn't have any tomatoes, but I did have a lot of dried peppers. It is often called salsa roja and is basically like a Mexican ketchup in that you can use it on anything. You can make it from any variety of peppers and the flavor will change based on the pepper, it will also be more or less spicy. And really this salsa is so easy you can whip it up quickly and have it anytime you want to add some zing to your meal.

  • Duration
  • Cook Time
  • Prep Time
  • 1 cup ServingsServings


  • 4-8 dried chili peppers, I like guacjillos or anchos best
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1/2 small onion, chopped
  • 1 plum tomato, diced or 1 tablespoon ketchup


Wipe chiles clean. Briefly toast in an unoiled, heavy skillet over medium-low heat about 30 seconds per side, being careful not to burn. If they burn, throw them out and start again.

When cool enough to handle, remove stem, stringy veins and some or most of the seeds. If you like your salsa on the hot side, leave seeds in.

Put chiles and other ingredients, except water, in a blender and process until everything is roughly chopped. Don’t worry if there are still large pieces of chile. Add 1/2 cup of hot water and process until smooth, adding more water if necessary until you achieve the desired consistency. The salsa should not be so smooth that there are no pieces of chile. It is nice to have some chunky.

Heat skillet with about a tablespoon of oil, any kind is fine. Add salsa to skillet when oil is hot. It should spit and bubble. Stand back and stir to calm the salsa. Simmer for about three minutes. Adjust salt to taste. May be refrigerated for a few days.

Use on everything from tacos to hot dogs.