Salsa Macha


Salsa Macha is a nutty, garlicky, flavorful and very spicy sauce made with Arbol chiles. Add a few drops of this sauce to Pozole or any other soup, smear some on a torta bun, or a drizzle it on some Flautas or tostadas for a kick of flavor and heat. I substitute this stuff for cayenne in my recipes because it delivers the same heat, but it tastes so much better. I also prefer it over Sudafed for a stuffy nose! It’s potent stuff. I kinda love it.

Bonus: A batch of this stuff lasts a really long time and the flavor only gets better with age. I’ve never seen a salsa macha go rancid. I guess bacteria can’t handle the heat. Can you?

Let’s get spicy.


A generous handful (about a cup) of dried Arbol chiles, stems removed

2 Morita chiles (optional) These add a sweet, smoky flavor.

1 cup olive or vegetable oil

2 cloves of garlic, peeled and halved

1 teaspoon kosher salt


  • You might want to open a window when making salsa macha. It’s very aromatic and very spicy.
  • Heat the oil in a pan over medium heat and add the garlic. Cook 3-4 minutes until soft and very slightly browned. Remove the garlic from the oil with a slotted spoon and reserve.
  • Add the Moritas to the pan and cook, turning often until they puff up and turn a shade or two darker. Be careful not to let them get too dark as they turn intensely bitter when even slightly burnt. Remove the chiles from the oil and reserve.
  • Last but not least add the Arbol chiles to the oil and cook them until they turn dark red/brown and start to release their nutty aroma, stirring constantly about 3 minutes. Remove the chiles from the oil and reserve.
  • Remove the oil from the heat and allow it to cool 10-15 minutes.
  • Once the oil is cool, add it, the chiles, garlic and salt to a blender or food processor and puree until smooth. You’ll probably still some see bits of chile seeds but that’s okay.
  • Pour into a glass or ceramic jar with a lid and allow flavors to develop overnight before first use. Store at room temperature.

Note: Storing in a cool, dark place will keep the color brighter, longer.

Eat with caution.

Enjoy with reckless abandon.


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