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Home > Restaurants > Recipes > Salsa de Árbol

Salsa de Árbol

Provided by: Chef Alex Stupak
Served at: Empellón al Pastor

  • Type of Dish: Condiments/Sauces
  • Servings: 1½ cups
  • Cuisine: Mexican
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1/8 tsp. cumin seeds

6 allspice berries

3 cloves

½ tsp. dried Mexican oregano

40 Árbol chiles

4 garlic cloves, skin on

1/4 cup sesame seeds, hulled and raw

1/4 cut pumpkin seeds, hulled, raw, unsalted

1 tsp. kosher salt

1 tbs. sugar

1 cup cider vinegar


Preheat a cast-iron skillet over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Add the cumin, allspice, cloves, and oregano, and toast briefly until fragrant. Transfer to a spice grinder, and grind to a fine powder. Remove the stems from the chiles, and place in a food processor, pulsing 2 to 3 times to break them open. Transfer to a colander to sift out the seeds, discarding them. In the skillet, toast the chile pieces, shaking the pan from time to time until the first wisp of smoke, about 30 seconds. Transfer the chiles to a bowl, cover with hot tap water, and place a heavy plate over the chiles to keep them submerged. Soak for 30 minutes. In the skillet, roast the garlic cloves, turning them from time to time until softened slightly and blackened in spots, about 6 minutes. When cool, peel the garlic. In the skillet, toast the sesame seeds until dark golden brown, shaking the pan constantly to prevent them from burning, for 15 seconds. Add to the bowl with the ground spices. Repeat with the pumpkin seeds, toasting them for 2 to 3 minutes, and add to the spices. Drain the chiles, place in a blender with the roasted garlic, spices, sesame and pumpkin seeds, salt, sugar, and vinegar, and purée on high speed until completely smooth. Transfer to a container and refrigerate. (Published 2014)