Chile de Arbol Hot Sauce

Spicy Chile de Arbol Hot Sauce - Use a dash or two for any dish that needs a bit of spice |


Chile de Arbol Hot Sauce is a great little sauce for when you just need a dash or two to spice up eggs, soup, or a bowl of beans.  Normally, you might grab a bottle of Tabasco or Sriracha. However, with a few ounces of HOT dried chile pods like de arbol chiles, you can make your own hot sauce.  This Chile de Arbol Hot Sauce yields the heat and a unique flavor one wants in a hot sauce, but doesn’t require days or weeks of fermentation. With a little bit of effort and a small amount of time over a three day period, you can create a very spicy hot sauce with the natural smokiness of the de arbol chile.

Excerpt of comment from reader:

“Magnificent recipe and magnificent result. . . The taste was extraordinary, and better than any sauce I have previously made and better than any store bought sauce I purchased in the past…”  (You can read the full comment below.)

Chile de Arbol Hot Sauce

Spicy Chile de Arbol Hot Sauce - A relatively easy process for making hot sauce with excellent results #hotsauce #chiledearbol @mjskitchen

Chile de Arbol Hot Sauce Recipe
A spicy hot sauce to add to soups, stews, eggs, sandwiches, on whatever, whenever your stomach desires.

Prep and Cook Times: (less than 2 hours over 3 days)

Day 1 – 1.5 hours to cook and blend, then a 24 hour rest

Day 2 – 15 minutes to strain, then another 24 hour rest

Day 3 – 30 minutes to cook down (reduce) and bottle

Course: Condiments
Cuisine: Mexican, New Mexico
Yields: 4 cups
Recipe Author: MJ of MJ's Kitchen
  • 6-8 ounces dried chile de arbol*
  • 4 cups or more water
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1 Tbsp salt
Day 1
  1. Wash the chiles and break off any stem tops.
  2. Place chiles in a large saucepan with the garlic. Add 4 cups water, cover, and bring to a boil. Chiles will float so stir them to ensure that all of the chiles are in the water for re-hydration. If the chiles aren’t floating, then add more water until you have just enough for the chile to float and be stirred. Bring back to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cover.
  3. Simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Keep the pan covered to reduce the amount of spiciness that can become airborne. Running the exhaust will help reduce the airborne spiciness as well.
  4. After 30 minutes, remove from heat and let cool for about at least 30 minutes.
  5. Pour into blender and puree’ for 30 seconds.
    After boiling, run the re-hydrated chile de arbol and some of the water through a blender.
  6. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the vinegar, sugar and salt. Stir until sugar and salt have dissolved. Cover tightly. 

  7. Place the covered bowl in a dark corner of the kitchen and let rest for 24 hours.
Day 2
  1. Using a spatula, set a strainer or colander over a large bowl, pour in the pureed chile, and press through the strainer to separate the liquid and finer particles from the seeds and skin. Do not use a fine mesh because the puree' is too coarse and it would take forever.

    Using a rubber spatula, pressed the chile de arbol sauce through a colander or strainer.
  2. Continue to press until you have separated out the liquid and the finer particles. In the strainer, you should end up with a paste of peel and seeds. (See picture below.) The paste you can toss. Don't be tempted to compost it because of the vinegar.

    Continue to press through a strainer until you have a paste.
  3. Tightly cover the bowl with the strained sauce and set in a dark area of the kitchen counter for another 24 hours.
Day 3
  1. You should notice some separation in the hot sauce due to the finer particles separating from the liquid.
  2. To reduce the amount of liquid and to concentrate the heat and flavors, transfer the hot sauce to a saucepan and heat over medium high heat to a low boil. (Don't forget to turn on the exhaust fan.)
  3. Reduce to a simmer and simmer for about 15 - 30 minutes until the sauce thickens to a desired consistency. (I shoot for a medium syrupy consistency where the finer particle stay suspended in the remaining liquid.) The thicker the sauce, the spicier the sauce.
  4. Remove from heat, cool and pour into clean bottles.
  5. Store in the refrigerator indefinitely.
Kitchen Notes

Other chiles you can use include chile pequin, habanero, Scotch Bonnet, cayenne, Thai chile, (any chile over 10,000 Scoville heat units). The chile determines the flavor and the heat of the hot sauce, so each type of chile yields different tasting results. If it's not hot enough, you can cook it longer into a thicker sauce.



Spicy Chile de Arbol Hot Sauce - A relatively easy process for making hot sauce with excellent results #hotsauce #chiledearbol @mjskitchen


  • Use the same way you use other hot sauces.
  • Drizzle over breakfast eggs, rice, tortillas or any food item or dish that you want to add a tasty bit of spiciness.
  • Use as the “hot” in homemade salsa.
  • Top tostadas, tacos, and sandwiches with a few dashes.
  • Use for deviled eggs.
  • Add to any soups, stew, chili, casserole in which you want some heat.
  • Use in marinades.
  • Add to sauces and dressings for salads, grains, Buddha bowls, and stir fries.

If you love this Chile de Arbol Hot Sauce, you should enjoy these other spicy condiments.

Aji Panca Chile Paste

Chile Pequin Pepper Sauce

New Mexico Red Chile Paste

Wanted to purchase some New Mexico de arbol chiles?  Check out these New Mexico suppliers.


Tags: , , , ,

47 Responses to “Chile de Arbol Hot Sauce”

  1. Amy (Savory Moments) April 21, 2017 at 8:41 am #

    This looks really flavorful and fun to use on so many dishes!

    • mj April 23, 2017 at 7:43 pm #

      Thanks Amy!

  2. Sissi April 18, 2017 at 2:32 pm #

    What a gorgeous looking chile sauce! I feel like drinking a glassful! (Just joking!). I almost smell the beautiful aroma…. it reminds me of the dried chile sauce I once made (several times) with your recipe. It was so delicious and different from the sauces we’re used to!

    • mj April 23, 2017 at 7:43 pm #

      Thanks so much Sissi! You probably could drink a glassful. 🙂 Can you get de arbol chile there? They are more of a Mexican chile, so you might be able to find them at a Mexican market, if you have those. Let me know.

  3. Maureen | Orgasmic Chef April 12, 2017 at 4:19 pm #

    We have one type of chilli available dried at our local Asian foodstores and that’s it. I might have to check online because this would be really interesting to make and your directions are always SO easy to follow.

    • mj April 17, 2017 at 8:37 pm #

      Thanks Maureen! The hotter the chile the better, but any would work. Someone made this with NM chile medium and loved it, so your chiles would probably work fine. Hope you enjoy.

  4. Jerry April 10, 2017 at 1:06 pm #

    Magnificent recipe and magnificent result.

    I have made many of my own recipe sauces in the past using my own various home grown chiles and purchased dried Hatch New Mexico chiles. For MJ’s above recipe I used whole dried Red Hatch New Mexico chiles, medium hot, that I purchased about 6 months ago-I had 5 pounds.

    I followed the above recipe to the t, and it can out amazing. The taste was extraordinary, and better than any sauce I have previously made and better than any store bought sauce I purchased in the past. I was surprised at the outcome and the smoothness of the sauce because of the lack of bits of the chile outer skin. The sauce itself had a nice bite at the end, but not overpowering. Great for general use. I still have hotter hatch n.m. chiles which I will try at a later date.

    I did adapt one procedure because I had to add more water the the pot during the cooking of the chiles in order to cover the chiles properly during the boil, After the boil, I did not use all the water in the pot during the processing. If I did, the sauce would be too watery. Although you can, I guess,boil/ simmer the water off during the final simmer. But that would take a long final simmer and may affect the taste and quality.

    • mj April 10, 2017 at 4:45 pm #

      THANKS Jerry for such fabulous feedback!!! You made my month. I am SO glad that you enjoyed this recipe/process and that you ended up with a nice batch of sauce. Now you have me wanting to take my last batch of classic red NM chiles and turn them into this sauce rather than my regular red chile sauce. I’m glad you mentioned that you didn’t use all of the water that was needed for rehydration. I didn’t either, so I need to put that in the recipe. Thank you again for your feedback! I hope you don’t mind, but I’ll be placing an excerpt of your comment into the post. 🙂

      • Jerry April 11, 2017 at 10:48 am #

        Please do place the excerpt.
        This would be a good time for me to thank you for taking the time to create this outstanding site. I have prepared many of your recipes, especially the ones involving oats and grains, sauces, salsas, vegetable sides, and desserts. Your Guest Posts are fun and interesting to read. I also looked at the various photographs offered by Nadalyn Larsen and I will soon be buying several as cards.

        • mj April 12, 2017 at 10:24 am #

          You are MOST welcome Jerry! It is readers like you and these comments that make keeping this website going worth my while. So glad that you are preparing some of my recipes!! And thanks for commenting about the guest posts. I wasn’t sure if people enjoyed them or not. I know I do. 🙂 My sister – Nadalyn – is thrilled that you’ve been viewing her photography. She’s very good isn’t she. 🙂 Thanks again Jerry!

        • Nadalyn April 12, 2017 at 8:31 pm #

          Hello, Jerry! I am so glad that you enjoy MJ’s site as much as I do. She is an amazing and creative cook and an extraordinary food photographer. I have been honored that she has allowed me to share a few of my recipes and feature my photography on her website. I am flattered that you visited my site and liked my work. If you or any of MJ’s followers are interested in purchasing my work please use discount code PZSJFR to receive 25% off of my commission. Unfortunately, I cannot discount the production of the work, only my commission. Thank you for being a loyal follower of MJ’s Kitchen.

  5. Adina April 10, 2017 at 8:42 am #

    Oh, that looks good, I wish I would have so many sorts of chilies here.

    • mj April 10, 2017 at 4:39 pm #

      Thanks Adina! I love having a nice selection of chiles. 🙂

  6. Healthy World Cuisine April 8, 2017 at 6:31 pm #

    Wow doggie! My eyes are burning just reading your post. Good stuff! But waiting 3 days is painful… So many uses for this delicious sauce. Take care

    • mj April 9, 2017 at 7:49 pm #

      Thanks so much! lots of uses…tonight I used it in a remoulade sauce for a shrimp salad. Sooooo good!

  7. Karen (Back Road Journal) April 8, 2017 at 1:37 pm #

    Appreciate the top about using the exhaust, thanks MJ. I know that this sauce will be hot and no since breathing all those fumes.

    • mj April 9, 2017 at 7:47 pm #

      Yep…I’ve learned over the years that the exhaust fan is a must when working with chile. 🙂

  8. susan | the wimpy vegetarian April 8, 2017 at 10:39 am #

    I think I’ll make this sauce this weekend! I have a lot of dried chile de arbol I like to use up, so this is perfect timing 🙂

    • mj April 9, 2017 at 7:46 pm #

      I hope you do Susan! It’s good stuff. Let me know how it turns out. 🙂

  9. Judy Purcell April 7, 2017 at 6:56 am #

    I love making my own condiments! Thanks for this recipe MJ, I know my husband will like this. 🙂

    • mj April 9, 2017 at 7:46 pm #

      Thanks Judy! Bobby sure likes. Of course the first time we used it, we applied a little too much. Talk about a burn. 🙂

  10. Yi April 6, 2017 at 3:43 pm #

    This is the kind of sauce I can drink from, just show me the straw 🙂 But serious, this hot sauce sounds awesome and I am adding to my collection of hot sauce recipes. Thanks for sharing!

    • mj April 9, 2017 at 7:44 pm #

      Thanks so much Yi! The straw sounds like a good idea. 🙂

  11. Peachy @ The Peach Kitchen April 5, 2017 at 5:37 pm #

    I love the idea of homemade hot sauce. This looks so good.

    • mj April 6, 2017 at 9:55 am #

      Thanks so much Peachy!

  12. Linda April 5, 2017 at 5:46 am #

    I love making hot spicy dishes for my family. Taking three days to make this is definitely a labor of love. This will make the whole house spicy!!

    Wishes for tasty dishes,

    • mj April 6, 2017 at 9:54 am #

      Thanks Linda! Even though you don’t bottle it for 3 days, the amount of work really isn’t much especially for the product you end up with. It tastes like you put a lot of work into it. 🙂

  13. Katerina April 5, 2017 at 1:14 am #

    I bet this is hot as hell haha! Perfect for those hot and spicy lovers!

    • mj April 6, 2017 at 9:50 am #

      Yep…that’s one way to describe it. But a tasty hell. 🙂 Thanks Katerina!

  14. Maureen | Orgasmic Chef April 4, 2017 at 6:18 pm #

    Wow, I’ve always bought hot sauce. You did get me with ‘airborne spicyness’. I hadn’t thought about that.

    • mj April 4, 2017 at 8:32 pm #

      Thanks Maureen. I have some issues that make me very sensitive to smells/odors and “spicy” really gets to me. So the exhaust fan really works.

  15. John/Kitchen Riffs April 4, 2017 at 5:35 pm #

    This is hot stuff! For those of us that, well, like hot stuff. 🙂 Good stuff, too — thanks.

    • mj April 4, 2017 at 8:24 pm #

      Thanks so much John! Yep…it is definitely HOT stuff. 🙂

  16. Evelyne CulturEatz April 4, 2017 at 3:26 pm #

    I actually tasted this sauce in a mexican restaurant about a year ago, it is on my recipe bucket list, so freaking good! Thanks for the recipe 😀

    • mj April 4, 2017 at 8:23 pm #

      Thanks Evelyne! de arbol Chile originated in Mexico and is used A LOT there. New Mexico farmers started growing them here generations ago so it’s becoming more and more available and prominent here. Hope you to get around to making it.

  17. Deb|EastofEdenCooking April 4, 2017 at 12:19 pm #

    I really like the idea of making my own hot sauce! What a fabulous recipe!

    • mj April 4, 2017 at 8:20 pm #

      Thanks so much Deb!

  18. Jerry April 4, 2017 at 11:28 am #

    MJ, what an interesting recipe. I do make my own sauces at times, but what I like about this one are the various timing events. I’ll make this this weekend and let you know.

    Being in Los Angeles I have access to a lot of dry chilies. But I especially get the fresh and dry Hatch New Mexico green and reds when they show up locally during weekends in Aug. and Sept. or you can order them at –

    • mj April 4, 2017 at 8:20 pm #

      Thanks so much Jerry! I look forward to hearing how it went. Just as an FYI, the dry Hatch chile probably won’t yield a really HOT sauce because their Scoville units is only about 5000. The flavor should be awesome and the heat level quite spicy, but not really HOT. But then I may be wrong. Please do let me know how it goes. Thanks again.

  19. Norma April 4, 2017 at 11:14 am #

    I personally don’t like hot seasonings, but my husband does, and I can’t wait to try this sauce for him! It sounds like something he will definitely like!

    • mj April 4, 2017 at 8:16 pm #

      Thanks so much Norma! I hope your husband enjoys. Please let me know.

  20. Kelly Mulcair April 4, 2017 at 10:09 am #

    Gorgeous looking chile sauce MJ and I like the flexibility of using different varieties of peppers to make your own (though I must say ‘chile de arbol’ has a certain ring to it ;o). For all of its fame (cult classic) I have never been an overwhelming fan of sriracha and would love to prepare my own batch of hot sauce one of these days. Thank you for the detailed instructions – it looks so good too! Pinning this beauty.

    • mj April 4, 2017 at 8:16 pm #

      Thanks so much Kelly! Have you ever had had de arbol chile before? It really has a unique taste, a natural smoky flavor. So good! I, too, am going to be trying this with other chiles, but right now a couple of batches of de arbol will last me a few months. 🙂

  21. wok with ray April 4, 2017 at 10:01 am #

    Three days of waiting? Ahhh, i’m sure it’s worth it. That chili in the cup looks amazing and I could almost taste the heat. Have a good week, MJ! 🙂

    • mj April 4, 2017 at 8:11 pm #

      Yes…you do have to wait 3 days but it is worth it. 🙂 I can guarantee that it’s as hot as it looks. Thanks Ray!

  22. Angie@Angie's Recipes April 4, 2017 at 6:03 am #

    Awesome! Never thought of making hot chillie sauce, but it sounds definitely worth a try!


  1. Weekly Rays of Sunshine # 223 | Recipes and Ramblings with the Tumbleweed Contessa - April 8, 2017

    […] MJ’s Kitchen: Chile de Arbol Hot Sauce […]

Please comment to mj