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Authentic Salsa Roja Recipe

Salsa Roja, or "red sauce," is a staple in Mexican cuisine, known for its rich, bold flavors and versatility. Whether you're using it as a dip for tortilla chips or as a topping for tacos, enchiladas, or grilled meats, this homemade Salsa Roja recipe will elevate your Mexican-inspired dishes to the next level. With a perfect balance of heat and savory notes, it's bound to become a favorite condiment in your kitchen.
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The Story

Salsa Roja is a traditional Mexican red sauce made from tomatoes, chili peppers, onions, garlic, and a blend of spices. It has a slightly smoky, tangy, and spicy flavor profile, making it an excellent accompaniment for a wide range of dishes. This recipe yields a medium-heat salsa, but you can adjust the spice level to your preference.


4 large tomatoes, roasted
2-3 dried guajillo or ancho chili peppers
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 medium white onion, finely chopped
1-2 jalapeño peppers (adjust to taste), seeds removed and chopped
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1 teaspoon salt (adjust to taste)
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped (optional, for garnish)
4 Servings

Prep Time:

0 Hrs 15 Mins

Cook Time:

0 Hrs 20 Mins

Total TIme:

0 Hrs 0 Mins



Place the tomatoes on a hot, dry skillet or griddle and cook, turning occasionally, until the skins are charred and blistered. This should take about 10 minutes. Remove them from the heat and let them cool slightly.


While the tomatoes are roasting, remove the stems and seeds from the dried chili peppers. Heat a dry skillet over medium heat and toast the chilies for a few seconds on each side until they become fragrant. Place the toasted chilies in a bowl, cover them with hot water, and let them soak for about 10 minutes until they become soft.


Drain the soaked chilies and transfer them to a blender. Add the roasted tomatoes, minced garlic, chopped onion, jalapeño peppers, cumin, salt, and black pepper. Blend until smooth. If the mixture is too thick, you can add a little water to achieve your desired consistency.


Heat the vegetable oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Pour the blended mixture into the pan and cook for about 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally. This step helps to meld the flavors and cook out the raw taste of the ingredients.


Taste the salsa and adjust the salt and spice level according to your preference. You can add more salt or jalapeño if needed.


Once the salsa reaches your desired consistency and flavor, remove it from the heat. Let it cool for a few minutes before serving. Garnish with fresh cilantro if desired.

Tips for this recipe

For an even deeper flavor, you can roast the garlic and onions alongside the tomatoes. Simply wrap them in aluminum foil and place them on the griddle or skillet until they become soft and slightly charred. This extra step adds a smoky dimension to your Salsa Roja.

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