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Ancho Chili Salsa Roja

1½ cups

15 minutes

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We use ancho chilies, with their earthy, smoky flavor, to up the flavor of a simple salsa. Deep-red anchos are dried ripe poblano chilies. The chilies are harvested green to use fresh, but to make anchos, they're left to ripen until red, developing a sweetness that balances their moderate heat. Left alone, anchos can taste a bit like prunes, but combining them with fresh tomato, garlic and shallot balances their sweetness. The brightness of the raw ingredients emphasizes the chilies' smoky notes. Use this salsa as a dip for tortilla chips, spooned onto tacos or in a marinade for beef, pork or chicken.


15 minutes


  • 3

    medium ancho chilies, stemmed, seeded and torn into pieces

  • Boiling water


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Ravi S.

I tried this. It ended up being bitter (even though it was flavorful). Not sure why.

Nilo N.

Fresh or dried chilis?

Janelle C.

Hi Nilo,

Dried chilis. As per the text, "Deep-red anchos are dried ripe poblano chilies." Hope this helps.

The Milk Street Team

Michele R.

So many uses for this delicious sauce. One of our fave ways to use it is similar to a local Mexican eatery where the owner / chef is from Michoacan and he offers small corn tortillas cut in half moons and made crispy with a spicy salsa similar to this to spread on them to eat. Using his concept and this recipe we've had great home outcome. Also we think this is great drizzled over slices of fresh avocado that are laid on a warm tortilla then topped with a few thin slices of radish to eat as a taco. But, really, it is so good we lick the spoon.

Victoria C.

Most salsas with dried chilies are cooked after puréed. Why not this one?

Janelle C.


The chilies are toasted and hydrated here so it provided texture and taste we wanted for this recipe.

The Milk Street Team

Denise K.

Amazing!! During this "stay at home" time, we're using a lot on hand. So instead of fresh tomatoes I used half a can of diced roasted canned tomatoes and feeeze dried shallots. Delicious!!!

Scott M.

Made this and think it lacked a bit of brightness and was a bit bitter (similar to commentor above). I used fresh ingredients and a beautiful summer tomato. Maybe I'll add a splash of vinegar and sugar to amp it up a bit. Texture was slightly watery which could have been because I didn't drain the ancho's well enough from the water (I picked them up with a fork and put them straight in a the blender). Will eat it all I'm sure, but will seed the tomatoes and cut back on water next time and add a splash of vinegar. :)

Jennifer W.

I also thought the salsa was bitter, and a little too earthy. It also lacked punch on the front end, but I definitely got a strong ancho taste on the back end. While I followed the directions perfectly, I'm wondering if I did something wrong like not letting the anchos soak long enough, or not draining the anchos enough. I tried adding a touch of vinegar, and then a fresh serano for more kick on the front end, but it didn't do much.