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1 1/2 cups
Prep time:
10 minutes
Cooking time:
25 minutes


3 dried chiles de árbol (omit for mild salsa or see Notes)

3 medium tomatoes, stems removed

1/4 medium onion, cut into big chunks

3 serrano peppers (use 1/4 to 1/2 bell pepper for mild salsa)

1 clove garlic, unpeeled

1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper

2 Tablespoons chopped cilantro


  1. Wash hands with soap and water.
  2. On a dry skillet on medium heat, grill chiles de árbol until lightly toasted, about 2 to 3 minutes on each side.
  3. In a blender, grind the toasted chiles until pieces are small.
  4. Place vegetables and garlic on the skillet. Grill on medium heat until soft, about 10 minutes. Move around a few times to brown all edges. 
  5. Remove peel from garlic. Add garlic, vegetables, salt and pepper to the blender. Pulse 4 to 5 times, to a thickness you like.
  6. Move salsa to a bowl. Stir in cilantro and serve.
  7. Refrigerate leftovers within 2 hours.


  • You can substitute the chile de árbol (dry) for 1/4 teaspoon of ground chile de árbol.
  • To reduce the spiciness, use less (or no) chile de árbol.
  • No serrano peppers? Use jalapeño peppers or other hot peppers.
  • The spiciness of the peppers can vary depending on the growing conditions. Peppers usually have a higher level of heat during hot summer months.
  • Chop the leaves and stems of cilantro; all parts are flavorful.
  • No blender? Use a knife or grind with a stone, mortar or molcajete.
  • Store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.