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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.
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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.
- 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
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
- vegetable oil (or any other neutral flavored oil)
- 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.
- Now add peppers in the same oil until they soften a bit.
- 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.
- 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:
- Fish Tacos
- Breakfast Tostada
- Enchiladas Verde
- Mexican Goat Stew
- Pozole Verde
- Chiles Relleno
- Goat Birria Consome
However, a Nacho Bar at your next party is incomplete without Salsa Macha.
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!
These nachos are absolutely delicious with all the flavors going on!
Salsa Macha Recipe
- 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
- 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.
Remove the seeds from the dried chilies for a milder Macha Sauce.
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!
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.
I couldn’t agree with you more. Yes just a small amount of salsa macha to soups immediately elevates the flavor.
love this salsa recipe! so flavorful and perfect with everything!
so glad you enjoyed it!
This is exactly the salsa recipe I’ve been looking for!! I can not wait to make this for Cinco de Mayo!
Salsa Macha is perfect for the holiday!
This salsa brings a whole new flavor to any dish! Loved it on top of a chicken bowl.
Yes it adds such a great spicy kick to whatever it is added to
This salsa is perfect for my family!
Definitely if you like things spicy!
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.
I’m sure you are going to love it!
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!
yes when you need to add a little oomph to any dish, it does the trick!
This salsa recipe is awesome! It was so good!
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 am sure it is going to add such great flavor to your tacos
I love authentic mexican salsas. I love the blends of different nuts used here with a hint of spicyness!
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.
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.
Yes this is perfect as you can keep the main dish mild and just leave the Salsa Macha on the side for those who prefer more spice.
I love this salsa! I have been using it for so many dishes since I made it!
I am so happy you are enjoying it!
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!
I am so happy you liked it!
Salsa Macha sounds absolutely fantastic. I want to put it on everything!
I think it will add flavor to anything it is added to.
Lovely. This is my kind of a dish. I love such spicy salsas. I would love to make it if I find these chilli varieties. Any substitute for them ?
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
oh yes – these would be so good with pakoras!
What is mexican salt? Is that Tajin or more like kosher, sea or iodized? Thanks.
Mexican Salt is much coarser than even coarse salt we buy and it has a unique flavor profile of its own. However if you cannot source Mexican salt, you can just use any coarse salt