Spice up your life with this copycat Chipotle Hot Salsa! It’s a tomatillo and red chili salsa that’s easy to make at home and packed with layers of nuanced, spicy flavors. Perfect with tortilla chips, tacos, burrito bowls, and more!
I never skip the tomato red chili salsa when I stop at Chipotle. It’s an addictive hot salsa that enhances my burrito bowls and tacos with its fruity undertones, complex flavors, and bold spice. Sometimes, I’ll ask for extra salsa on the side to dip with tortilla chips!
What’s unique about this red salsa is that it’s made with a base of tomatillos and dried red chili peppers, whereas most salsa recipes, like pico de gallo and chipotle salsa, are tomato based. These bright, vibrant, and spicy ingredients add layers of complexity to every bite.
While I love Chipotle’s red salsa, I love my homemade version even more! This Chipotle Hot Salsa copycat recipe is easy to make at a fraction of the cost of the restaurant version. Broiled and blistered tomatillos are blended with dried chili peppers, tomatoes, spices, and aromatics, leaving you with a homemade salsa you won’t be able to get enough of.
Use it as a source of heat, smoke, and vegetal flavors in your homemade Chipotle-style burrito bowls, taco salads, or quesadillas. Or keep it simple by serving the salsa with a big bowl of tortilla chips!
How spicy is Chipotle hot salsa?
Chipotle’s signature tomatillo-red chili salsa is very spicy because it’s made with dried red chili peppers, seeds and membrane intact. It isn’t for the faint of heart.
What’s great about the homemade copycat version of this salsa is that you’re in complete control of the level of spice and flavor profile. You can make it as spicy and smoky as Chipotle’s version when you use dried árbol chilies and fire-roasted tomatoes, or tone down the heat with dried New Mexico peppers and plain crushed tomatoes.
This recipe uses a handful of fresh and vibrant ingredients, just like the original from Chipotle. Here’s what you need:
- Tomatillos – Tomatillos (meaning “little tomato” in Spanish) look like small, green tomatoes wrapped in a papery husk. These plump green fruits come with a bright, vegetal, and acidic flavor, compared to sweeter red tomatoes. They’re the main ingredient in salsa verde recipes, as well as other sauces, chili, and stews. I even love using them in these Green Bloody Marys!
- Oil – Any neutral vegetable oil or extra virgin olive oil will do.
- Garlic – Fresh garlic cloves are a must!
- Dried chili peppers – Use dried New Mexico chilies or árbol chilies. You should be able to find these at well-stocked grocery stores, Mexican or Latin markets, or online.
- Canned tomatoes – I used fire-roasted tomatoes to give this salsa a hint of extra smokiness. But, you can use plain canned tomatoes instead.
How to make Chipotle hot salsa
Arrange the clean tomatillos on a baking sheet. Place them under the broiler until they start to char.
Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and chilies, then saute until the garlic turns golden and the mixture is very fragrant.
Transfer the broiled tomatillos to a blender, along with the sauteed chilies and garlic, canned tomatoes, cumin, and salt. Blend until smooth.
Give the salsa a taste, then blend in more salt or cumin as needed.
Pour the spicy salsa into a container and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving. Enjoy!
- Less spicy – Stick with New Mexico chili peppers (Anaheim or California chilies) as they aren’t as spicy as árbol chilies.
- Extra spicy – This salsa is already spicy but you can kick the heat up a notch with dried árbol chili peppers. They’re the star of my Salsa Taquera recipe, bringing plenty of bold heat to each bite!
- Too thick – You can thin out the salsa by blending in a splash of water or extra juices from the canned tomatoes.
- Instead of dry peppers – If you can’t find dried chili peppers, try broiling fresh Anaheim, jalapeno, and/or red chili peppers instead.
- Air Fryer Quesadillas
- Quinoa Burrito Bowls
- Pork Carnitas Tacos
- Mexican Street Corn Tacos
- Fish Taco Bowls
- Sweet Potato Tacos
- Taco Zucchini Boats
The blended salsa will stay fresh when it’s stored in an airtight container in the fridge for about 1 week. It also freezes well for 3 to 4 months.
More homemade salsa recipes
More copycat recipes
- Bistro Boxes (Starbucks Copycat)
- Cranberry Bliss Bars (Starbucks Copycat)
- PF Chang’s Lettuce Wraps Recipe
- Orange Julius Recipe
- Boston Market Meatloaf Copycat Recipe
- Din Tai Fung Cucumber Salad
Did you make Chipotle spicy salsa?
If you loved this tomatillo red chili salsa, I would appreciate it so much if you would give it a star review! Also, be sure to snap a picture of your finished dish and share it with me on Instagram using the hashtag #platingsandpairing and tag me @platingsandpairings.
Chipotle Hot Salsa (Copycat Recipe)
- Preheat broiler to high.
- Arrange tomatillos on a baking sheet. Broil, about 4-inches from the heating element, for about 10-15 minutes, until beginning to char.
- Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and chiles and saute for 4-5 minutes, until fragrant and the garlic turns light golden.
- Add the tomatillos, chiles, garlic, tomatoes, cumin and salt to a blender or food processor.
- Process until smooth.
- Season with additional salt, to taste.
- Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and enjoy!