Piquin Pepper Salsa

Piquin Pepper Salsa Recipe

If you like spicy salsas, then this salsa recipe is for you! Piquin peppers are a small pepper, but they carry a lot of heat for their size, and are even hotter than Jalapeño peppers. Also known as Pequin, Tepin, or Bird peppers here in the States, Piquin peppers can be found in Mexico, Central America, and the southern U.S. states of Texas, Arizona, and New Mexico.

In the northern Mexican state of Nuevo Leon, it is common to find the plant in the wild as well as in household gardens. In large cities, some people will have a large pot outside their kitchens with a plant of Piquin peppers, that way they have it handy for when they’re cooking their salsas. Some people will also eat them raw, and just go outside their kitchens to cut some to enjoy with their meals. When I'm cooking chorizo, I like to add a few of these peppers. 

 This recipe idea is courtesy of Mexican Chef Adrian Herrera


  • 2 tablespoons Piquín pepper*
  • ¼ teaspoon cumin seeds
  • ½ teaspoon Mexican oregano
  • 4 kernels of black pepper
  • 1/3 of a small white onion, sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, sliced
  • 1-tablespoon vegetable or olive oil
  • ½ tablespoon of white or apple cider vinegar
  • 6 tablespoons of water
  • Salt to taste

Piquin Pepper Salsa Recipe

  • If you don’t find Piquín pepper, you can use árbol pepper.
  • You can double the amount of ingredients to make a larger batch; this salsa lasts several days in the fridge.


Piquin Pepper Salsa Recipe

1. Toast the peppers in a hot pan for about 45 seconds, shaking the pan during the process to avoid burning the peppers. Place peppers into the mortar.
2. Slightly toast the cumin seeds and black peppers for 30 seconds in the hot pan, and add them to the mortar.
3. Grind the piquin peppers, cumin, black pepper, and the oregano until you have a very fine texture.

Piquin Pepper Salsa Recipe

4. Heat the oil in a pan. Once the oil is hot, stir in the onion and garlic. Sauté until they start to get a golden color around the edges.
5. Add the onion and garlic to the mortar, and keep grinding until it has a fine texture. Mix in the vinegar and water. Season with salt and enjoy!

Piquin Pepper Salsa Recipe

Mely Martínez

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  1. I have to take issue with one of your statements - piquin and tepin are NOT the same pepper! They are cousins but are different. The tepin has an intense heat that goes away quickly unlike the piquin

    1. Hello The Real Dan,
      As I mentioned above, these peppers are "known" as piquin, tepin, and many other names like chiltepin, chile de monte, amashito, chiltepec, mash, japones, and other local names. To be true, it is NOT always the same pepper, but several types with very similar size that grow in different parts of the country, and people tend to name them all with the generic name of "Piquin or tepin", depending on the area when they are in their dried from.

      Happy cooking!

  2. Hi Mely, Thank you for the recipe,I used it as a marinate for my chicken wings and they were delicious and hot. I used bonnet chili which is just as hot as your piquin. We can't get piquin in London.


  3. Love the quality and simplicity of all your recipes! Thank you so much for posting. I am going to try this very soon <3

  4. I am a chef i love mexican food ,in my country very dificult to finding mexican ingredients and mex chile


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