Chile de árbol is a very spicy, yet incredibly flavorful dried chile. It is small, but elongated and thin. It has a deep and shinny orange-red color and it is used in many, many ways. It is often crushed for very spicy table salsas, though it is also used to add flavor and a bit of heat if not opened when cooking, amongst others.
It goes by other names like bravo because of its heat (aggressive), and pico de paloma (doves peak) or cola de rata (rat’s tale) because of its thin and pointy physique. It is also called Sanjuanero, I have still yet to find out why. It is eaten throughout Mexico and can be found almost anywhere in the US.
28comments inChile de árbol
Hi Pati! Do you have a Chile de Arbol salsa, a red one. Not with tomatillos.
Hola Irene, I have this recipe of a red salsa callejera with chile de arbol. It also has tomatillos but if you don’t like them, just substitute with a couple more tomatoes. Enjoy! https://patijinich.com/salsa-callejera/
This is one of my favorite chilies, and I use it in cooking when I do not have chocolate Habanero chilies on hand. I usually make large batches of chocolate Habanero sauce each year, but last year I did not grow any, and they are difficult to find – I only find them at farmers’ markets.
Anyway, I am planning to make some chili oil with Chile de árbol and will add sesame seeds, garlic, and sesame oil to it. I’ll fry the chilies and garlic in a bit of grape seed oil and then add the sesame oil at the end. I’m not sure whether it needs vinegar or not, but I will probably add some, in addition to salt, to help preserve it.
Have you made chili oil with Chile de árbol? I really like the flavor of these chilies, but I do notice a few fumes when I chop or cut them. At least I know that they will provide me with a bit of heat. I also have some chocolate Habanero chilies that I have dehydrated, but I have not used them yet. I think they would be too hot for chili oil, but I could put them into other dishes, such as grits.
I buy Chile de árbol at a market called Cárdenas in southern California, and they are very fresh and flavorful. I had bought some before that were stale and flavorless, but after hearing you say that they must be fresh, I bought some more at Cárdenas, and I’m very glad that I did. Thank you for that suggestion!
And thanks to you Lars for sharing with us you recipe and your love for Chile de Arbol, un abrazo!
One of my favorite chiles for making salsa de molcajete. I love the smell when it’s roasting in a pan.
Yes Debra, the chile de arbol is amazing, and one of my favorites as well 😉
Hola Pati. Unfortunately I can’t eat garlic because it causes my Lupus to flare up. Are there any salsa recipes that don’t take garlic? I absolutely love your show! Muchas gracias, Luis
There are, Luis! Here are some: https://patijinich.com/pati_2020/salsa-verde-cruda-with-avocado/ https://patijinich.com/pati_2020/pico-de-gallo-salsa/ https://patijinich.com/pati_2020/a_true_mexican_collectible_versatile_summertime_salsas/
And you can always leave the garlic out of other salsa recipes…it will taste different but still great.
Using some of those tonight in the pozole I’m cooking!
Sounds yum, Caroline!
How do chiles de árbol compare with chiles japoneses?
Oh they look very similar, but the chiles de arbol has a bit more heat.
We love rehydrating chiles de árbol in our tomatillo salsa. I didn’t know about them at all until after I watched some of your shows a couple years ago. Thanks you!
Yum! And thank you for tuning in, Justin.
Hola Pati, quisiera saber por que la salsa de chile de arbol me sale últimamente sin picar. Que le podría agregar para que salga con buen sabor?
Uy yo creo que tal vez tus chiles de árbol ya no están buenos… trata de comprar unos nuevos o se otra marca! Aquí te van unas recetas: https://patijinich.com/pati_2020/es/recipe/salsita-verde/ https://patijinich.com/pati_2020/es/recipe/ensalada-de-camaron-y-pina-a-la-parrilla-con-vinagreta-de-chile-de-arbol-y-vainilla/ https://patijinich.com/pati_2020/es/recipe/mermelada-de-jitomate/
Pati, I would like to make your Roasted Broccoli & Cauliflower with Queso Cotija Dressing. It sounds so good!
Excuse my ignorance, but the chiles de arbol are purchased as dried chiles? And in this recipe are they simply chopped dry, without doing anything to reconstitute the chiles in liquid? And finally, if my family prefers a heat level somewhere between mild and medium, would you recommend using one less chile, or would that compromise the flavor?
Can’t wait to try this! Thanks for your help!
The chiles de arbol in this recipe don’t need to be rehydrated. You use them like you would red pepper flakes…small chopped up flakes for an added kick. You can absolutely adjust the amount you use to your family’s taste. I hope they enjoy it!
Hi Pati! My husband and I LOOOVE authentic Mexican food, especially anything with dried chile peppers in it. I was wondering what you would suggest as a good “go to” dried chile pepper to keep on hand for frequent use in cooking? I’d be looking for one with just a little kick, not too hot. I was thinking of the Ancho Chile but I’m not sure how hot that one is. Thoughts? Thanks! 🙂
The ancho chile would be a good pick! It has a little less heat than others…
Would you have a recipe to make a chile de arbol salsa? Thanks. Gary zelazny
You can make a salsa verde or salsa roja using Chile de Arbol instead of a jalapeño. Give this one a try http://patijinich.com/pati_2020/2009/04/cooked_salsa_verde/
Lil’ place by my work serves tiny containers of this bright red, very watery salsa with their food. I finally asked what was in it and they said it was just chile de arbol. I don’t even think they roast the chiles since its still bright red and not a dark brown like some I’ve roasted at home. I would LOVE to figure out the recipe. Nothing else dark red or green in the salsa. I’m hoping you might know of recipe Ü Love your website! So many of our favorite Mexican recipe come from you! Thanks so much!
Hola Tracy, I will have to test one! Sounds delicious…
Here in Kansas the Mexican Restaurants serve a version called Salsa Picosa. It is a orange color also with very little seeds in it. They tell me it is made from Chili de Arbol’s and Tomitalla’s. I have yet to duplicate it. Every time I try to duplicate it turns out more green than orange with lots of the seeds from the Tomitalla’s and peppers, when I increase the peppers it just seems to make it hotter and still greenish.
Randy in Kansas
Oh you can give these Salsa Verde recipes a try, and just substitute jalapeños or serranos for chile de arbol: https://patijinich.com/pati_2020/salsa-verde-with-avocado-and-queso-fresco/ https://patijinich.com/pati_2020/salsa-verde/ https://patijinich.com/pati_2020/salsa-verde-cruda-with-avocado/
I would love a recipe of a base chili sauce using this chili.
Hola Alice, I will be sure to post one soon. I know of a delicious one made with peanuts!