Authentic Salsa Macha: Mexican Chile Oil Salsa

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Salsa Macha is one of the most basic salsa recipes found throughout Mexico. Originating from Veracruz, it is a unique salsa recipe made of dried chile peppers, nuts and seeds. It is very hot and spicy and is generally added to soups and stews like Green Pozole for added spice and flavor.

I once read an American publication refer to it as chili infused peanut butter…uh…no. While the recipe does include peanuts, it is far from a peanut butter consistency. It is more an infused oil, as it is sometimes called Salsa de Aceite (sauce of oil), with some peanuts included in the recipe. Not everything has an American translation and this is one of them!

This Mexican Salsa Macha can be added to so many Mexican Recipes. For more ideas, check out this collection of over 20 Mexican Recipes.

bowl of Salsa Macha with a spoon

If Taco Tuesday is a regular occurrence at your house, Salsa Macha is a requirement if you love lots of spice and heat!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is salsa macha made of?

Salsa Macha is essentially a chili oil from Veracruz. It is more of an infused oil than your traditional salsa consistency.

What is salsa macha used for?

Salsa Macha is often added to soups and stews. However it is also drizzled in burritos, tacos, quesadillas and so much more.

What are the best dried red chillies for Salsa Macha?

Chiles de Arbol is required, however any type of additional red chillies can be added for more complex flavor profiles. Pasilla, Guajillo, Ancho, Costeno, Negro and Morita Chiles are a few other dried red chillies that can also be used.

How spicy is Salsa Macha?

This Mexican chile oil is very spicy, however, you can temper the chiles some by removing the seeds from them prior to placing them in the oil. You can also add the fried tortilla variation detailed below.

Variations

  • Salsa Macha Verde – Fresh green chillies like jalapenos and serrano chili peppers are used instead of dried red chillies. Sometimes avocado is also added.
  • Nuts and Seeds – Other nuts and seeds can be added like sesame seeds, sunflower seeds or almonds.
  • Fried Tortilla – For a milder version, a fried corn tortilla can be added to the blender when making macha sauce.

Salsa Macha Uses

The variety of ways you can use salsa macha are wide and varied. Since it is so hot and spicy, it is great when balanced with milder flavors.

Some of the ways you can utilize Salsa Macha include:

  • on sandwiches
  • drizzled in tacos, burritos quesadillas
  • added to soups and stews
  • Nachos Bar Ideas (or Taco Bar Ideas)
  • Avocado Toast
bowl of Salsa Macha with spoon

Chiles for Salsa Macha Recipe

Some people make it simple and use only chile de arbol. However, I find using different chilies gives it a more complex flavor as different chillies have different flavors.

The Scoville meter is the standard used to measure chili pepper heat, so you can judge which peppers you might want to use more of, depending on your chile pepper tolerance.

  • Chile De Arbol – One of the hottest chile peppers – about 15000-30000 on the Scoville meter. These are sweet and spicy!
  • Chile Costeno – These chile peppers have a sweet fruity taste with a medium heat level, registering around 5000-15000 on the Scoville meter.
  • Ancho Chile – Smoky with a mild heat level. These dried and smoked poblano peppers add the smokiness without too much spice, registering only about 1500 on the Scoville meter. Due to the smokiness in these peppers, there is no reason to add any additional spices.

Now, let’s go over the ingredients you are going to need to make Authentic Salsa Macha Recipe.

Salsa Macha Ingredients

Ingredients for Salsa Macha with labels
  • vegetable oil (or any other neutral flavored oil)
  • garlic
  • peanuts
  • pumpkin seeds
  • chilies de arbol
  • chili costeno
  • ancho chile
  • Mexican salt – Mexico has the largest salt factory in the world. Their sea salt is rich in minerals. Use any sea salt, if Mexican salt is not available.

How to Make Salsa Macha Recipe

  • In a large saucepan (or a large skillet), fry the garlic, peanuts and pumpkin seeds separately in the oil until golden brown.
fried garlic for Macha Sauce
fried garlic
  • Now add peppers in the same oil until they soften a bit.
Step by step photos to make receta Salsa Macha
peanuts, pumpkin seeds and chiles
  • Leave everything to cool.
  • Grind the garlic, peanuts and pepitas in the food processor.
  • Process everything in the blender or food processor with the oil and the salt.
Salsa de Aceite made in the blender
  • Store in an airtight jar for up to a month.

This hot oil will immediately add flavor to anything you add it to. Boring food just became delicious and droolworthy once you add some Salsa Macha to it!

What can Salsa Macha be Served with

This flavorful salsa can be added to so many delicious recipes like:

However, a Nacho Bar at your next party is incomplete without Salsa Macha.

side dishes for Nachos Bar or Tacos Bar

Salsa Macha with tortilla chips might be too spicy on its own. However, once you load up your Nachos with Salsa Verde, Mayan Pepitas Salsa (recipe coming soon), guacamole, pickled jicama, shredded cabbage, onions, cilantro and cheese, Salsa Macha is the best compliment to loaded Nachos!

Side dishes for Nachos Bar

These nachos are absolutely delicious with all the flavors going on!

bowl of Loaded Nachos with lime in the background
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bowl of Macha Sauce
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5 from 16 votes
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Salsa Macha Recipe

Salsa Macha Recipe is an infused Mexican hot chile oil with garlic, chillies, peanuts and pumpkin seeds (pepitas).
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Course: Condiments
Cuisine: Mexican
Servings: 8 people
Calories: 72kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 oz. chile de arbol 30 grams
  • 1/2 oz. Costeno chile 5 grams
  • 1 ancho chile 5 grams
  • 2 cups vegetable oil
  • 10 garlic cloves
  • ¼ cup peanuts
  • 1/3 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon Mexican salt

Instructions

  • In a saucepan, combine garlic and oil over medium low heat.
  • As soon as the garlic turns golden brown, remove the garlic from the oil with a slotted spoon or a kitchen spider.
  • Add the peanuts to the oil and cook until golden brown.
  • Remove from the oil with a slotted spoon or a kitchen spider.
  • Reduce the heat to low and add the pumpkin seeds.
  • As soon as the seeds start to change color, remove from the oil.
  • Remove the stems and seeds from the chile peppers.
  • Now add the chiles and fry them in the oil on medium high heat for about 5-10 minutes, until they start to soften.
  • Let the oil, garlic, peanuts and pumpkin seeds cool for 10-15 minutes.
  • Add garlic, peanuts and seeds to a food processor and pulse until the ingredients are well grinded.
  • Add the oil and puree until everything is well combined and smooth.

Notes

Keep a close eye when frying the garlic, peanuts and pepitas. They can burn quickly if you are not careful.
Remove the seeds from the dried chilies for a milder Macha Sauce.

Nutrition

Calories: 72kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 1g | Sodium: 300mg | Potassium: 219mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 2098IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 17mg | Iron: 1mg
Did you try this recipe? Leave a comment below.Please follow me on Instagram @chefmireille or tag me #chefmireille with your pics! I’d love to share them!

Need more culinary inspiration? Check out the Recipe Index with over 1500 Recipes from Around the World with lots of Vegetarian 🥕🍆🍅and Gluten Free Recipes!

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Reader Interactions

Comments

  1. Salsas are so underutilized in American cuisine. I printed this one out…I love the idea of adding it to soups and stews! Thanks for the great recipe.

  2. 5 stars
    Oh, I would love to have some salsa macha to drizzle over my tacos and dip my quesadillas in at dinner time. The chilis and garlic sound so amazing. The pumpkin seeds were a surprise. I can’t wait to try your recipe.

  3. 5 stars
    This is definitely a very interesting recipe and I’m looking forward to making it. I can see its use in so many dishes and it contains ingredients that I love. I particularly like the combination of peanut and garlic which is definitely one that I’ve never put together. I’m making this!

  4. 5 stars
    I am making mushroom tacos tomorrow and was looking for ways to spice it up. This salsa macha sounds perfect. I can wait to bite into the tacos , I can already feel it is yumm.

    • I agree but this one has more than just a hint of spicyness by my palate. It is quite hot and spicy! However, you can always reduce the quantity of chillies if you prefer a milder Salsa Macha.

  5. 5 stars
    I’m always looking for something to add a bit of spice to my Mexican recipes since I usually cook them mild for my kids. This was easy and gave my tacos a nice spicy flavor.

  6. 5 stars
    So happy I came across this. The salsa was amazing and brought such great flavor to the dish I was preparing. I will be using this recipe again!

  7. 5 stars
    As I was reading your recipe, I could visualise eating the salsa with samosas and pakoras. The flavours are perfect to serve as a dip or chutney

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