Mexican salsas with traditional ingredients

A good salsa is a poem behind any taco or Mexican food. It is actually said that “the secret lies in the sauce”, so it’s almost impossible to conceive a taco de barbacoa (lamb meat) without a salsa borracha (drunken sauce), or a taco de carnitas (pork meat) without a red-hot sauce!

There are as many types of sauces in Mexican cuisine as Mexican antojitos are, and everything is based on the combination of four main ingredients: Green tomato or tomatoes, serrano chili, onion, and garlic —serrano chili can be switched for any other variant of fresh or dried chilies. There is an array of preparation methods depending on the flavor aimed for the ingredients: roasted, raw, boiled, fried, ground or chopped, and any change in the process alters the result completely. Options are endless!

Now, let’s get to the point about the quintessential symbol of Mexican gastronomy:


Mexican molcajete utensil made or volcanic rock

This utensil was designed and created in the pre-Hispanic era, specifically in Mesoamerica between 7,000 and 5,000 BC. It resembles a mortar with three short legs, made of volcanic stone or mud, which gives a very special flavor to food due to the minerals contained in the rock.

The use of molcajete is still very common in traditional Mexican cuisine, especially to make sauces and to grind ingredients. In case you are interested in buying one, the first step is to “cure” the stone. This means you must follow a procedure to avoid stone remains to adhere to food, and soften the surface of the utensil.

So… how do you cure a molcajete?

There are many ways to cure a molcajete, but we recommend the following:

  • Add dry corn and grind it to powder with the help of temolote (the stone mallet that is used to crush); this will make the surface smoother. Try to cover the entire area, and repeat this process 2 or 3 times.
  • Then, grind grains of rice, which are finer than corn. This will polish the molcajete in another way. Repeat the process 3-4 times.
  • Now grind the rice again but wet. The remaining mass made of rice and water will remove the dirt present in the pores of the stone.
  • When you’re done, wash the molcajete thoroughly with soap and water and it’s ready to be used!

As you may already know, Mexican food is always accompanied by a sauce, and that’s why we show you how to prepare the best salsas (whether in molcajete or not), so that include them in your daily basis or surprise your guests on special occasions.

Molcajete sauce

Mexican Molcajete sauce recipe


  • 4 big tomatoes or 6 medium-size
  • 6 serrano chilies
  • Salt to taste

Preparation: Grill the tomatoes and chilies on a comal or metal hotplate and, once cold, peel them leaving a little skin to make the sauce for an appetizing look. Ground the chilies very well in the molcajete, add salt, and then add the tomato. If necessary, add a little water.

Morita chili salsa

Mexican morita chili sauce recipe


  • 15 morita chilies, first roasted on a comal and then soaked in boiling water
  • 1 garlic clove
  • Salt to taste

Preparation: Blend all the ingredients.

Green salsa

Mexican Green salsa or salsa verde recipe
mexican salsa verde in traditional stone molcajete


  • 18 oz. (500 g) green tomatoes
  • 8 serrano chilies (adjust to taste)
  • 1 garlic clove
  • Salt to taste

Preparation: Cook the tomatoes and chilies with the garlic and salt. Allow the ingredients to cool and blend.

Tomato salsa

Mexican tomato salsa recipe
Set of homemade sauces – ketchup, mayonnaise, mustard soy sauce, bbq sauce, chimichurri, mustard grains.


  • 1 big tomato, peeled, seedless, and chopped
  • 1/2 medium-size onion, chopped
  • 2 fresh árbol chilies, chopped
  • Salt to taste

Preparation: Blend all the ingredients.

Salsa borracha (Drunken sauce)

Mexican salsal borracha recipe drunken sauce


  • 10 green tomatoes, cooked
  • 6 pasilla chilies, grilled, deveined, and soaked in hot water
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 tbsp. oil
  • 1 tbsp. vinegar 
  • 1/2 cup of pulque
  • 1 tsp. salt 
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 3.5 oz. (100 g) crumbled aged cheese

Preparation: Grind the tomatoes together with the pasilla chilies, garlic, oil, vinegar, pulque, bay leaves, and salt. Pour into a sauceboat, add the cheese, and mix.

Pico de gallo

Mexican pico de gallo salsa recipe


  • 3 medium-size tomatoes, seedless
  • 1 medium-size onion
  • 6 serrano chilies
  • 1/2 cup of coriander
  • Lime juice to taste 
  • Salt to taste

Preparation: Dice the tomatoes, onion, and chilies, and finely chop the coriander. Mix everything with the lemon juice and salt. You can add a little olive oil.

Salsa tamulada or Habanero chili salsa

Habanero chili sauce recipe


  • 20 habanero chilies, roasted in a comal
  • 1 tbsp. salt, or to taste
  • Sour orange or sweet orange juice, or vinegar

Preparation: Grind the chilies with the salt in the molcajete, and add the orange juice little by little until you get the desired consistency.

What sauce are you going to make today?