Consider making this fresh red salsa in a molcajete! A classic in Mexican cuisine, red molcajete salsa is made using basic ingredients such as tomatoes, onions, garlic, and jalapeño peppers. It's very easy to make and adapt as your own!
Salsa in Molcajete is a salsa ground by hand using the Mexican basalt-stone pestle & mortar called Molcajete (pestle in Spanish is Tejolote).
Nowadays, cooks prefer to use blenders or food processors to make salsas, but a salsa made in the molcajete will always have a special place in Mexican cuisine. It evokes the meals made by grandmothers, in rural places where people prefer the flavors of hand-ground salsas.
The little effort needed to grind the salsa in the molcajete by hand makes this red salsa an easy and special treat. People still prepare it to go alongside:
And, you can't forget the tortilla chips!
Frequently asked questions about Mexican red salsa de molcajete
Before I share my salsa recipe, here are a few questions I've been asked and I wanted to answer.
What can I use in place of jalapeno peppers?
I've found that serrano peppers are a great substitution for jalapeño peppers. You can also use other types of peppers like Habanero peppers, bird peppers, dried arbol peppers, or chipotle peppers.
Do I have to roast the ingredients before blending?
No, you don't. I just prefer to roast them because it brings out the flavors and makes the salsa taste really delicious. Salsa Molcajeteada can be made with roasted or raw ingredients. The name "Molcajeteada comes from making the sauce using the Molcajete.
Can I roast the veggies in the oven?
Yes! To do so, place the tomatoes, peppers, onions, and garlic on a baking sheet under your broiler to roast. Roast for about 6-8 minutes. Turning once to have an even roasting.
What if I don't have a molcajete?
If you don’t own a Mexican mortar, you can use a food processor or blender. Just make sure you are using quick bursts at a low speed to get that coarse texture.
Red molcajete salsa recipe
Here is a list of ingredients you will need to make this homemade red salsa recipe...
- Tomatoes, make sure they are deep red ripe tomatoes.
- Jalapeño pepper
- Garlic cloves
- White onion (finely chopped)
- Cilantro (finely chopped)
- Salt (to taste)
Please note: For exact measurements of the ingredients listed above, scroll down to the recipe card located at the bottom of this post!
How to make salsa de molcajete: Step by step tutorial
To make things easier for you, I am going to break down the directions to this recipe into sections.
Roast the ingredients
- Place tomato, pepper, and garlic on a hot griddle. Turn to roast evenly.
- Remove garlic clove promptly since it roasts sooner and, if burnt, will taste bitter. Remove the garlic peel.
Tip: This step will take about 8 minutes. To know if they are ready, the tomato will be soft and the skin is peeling off.
Make the salsa
- Grind the garlic clove in the molcajete until it forms a paste.
- Cut the tomato and pepper into small cubes to fit inside the mortar and for easy grinding.
- Add the roasted jalapeño pepper to the mortar and proceed to grind followed by the roasted tomato with the skin removed.
- Keep grinding all of the ingredients until you have a nice red salsa. Salsa made this way taste even better since the crushing of the ingredients releases their natural oils. that otherwise, you won't have if make in a blender or food processor.
Tip: You can grind to the texture of your liking, either coarse or very fine.
Season and serve!
- Season the salsa molcajete with salt and stir in the chopped onion, cilantro, and diced avocado.
- Serve and enjoy!
What to serve with Mexican molcajete salsa
This red molcajete salsa is also served at some Mexican restaurants, where they’re sometimes prepared tableside and taste the best with homemade tortilla chips. I love to eat it that way at home too! I highly recommend serving this salsa as a snack or party appetizer.
You can also top off the red salsa with lime juice and seeds like sesame and pumpkin.
More authentic Mexican recipes to enjoy
If you enjoyed this recipe for red salsa, take a look at some of these other authentic Mexican recipes:
- Cherry Tomatoes Salsa
- Taqueria-Style Salsa
- Salsa Verde Recipe
- Pineapple Pico De Gallo Salsa
- Creamy Jalapeño Salsa Recipe
I hope you make this Mexican molcajete salsa! If this recipe was of any help to you, come back to let me know your experience. Please leave us a comment done below and tell us all about it!
Red Salsa en Molcajete
- 1 tomato about 8 oz
- 1 Jalapeno pepper or 2 Serrano peppers
- 1 clove garlic
- ¼ of a medium size white onion finely chopped
- ½ avocado diced just before serving.
- 2 tablespoons of cilantro finely chopped
- Salt to taste
- Place tomato, pepper, and garlic on a hot griddle to roast. Turn to roast evenly. Remove garlic clove promptly, since it roasts sooner and if burnt, will taste bitter. This step will take about 8 minutes until the tomato is soft and the skins are peeling out.
- Grind the garlic clove until it forms a paste. Cut the tomato and pepper into small cubes to fit the mortar and for easy grinding. Add the pepper to the mortar and proceed to grind. Continue with the roasted tomato, skins removed. Keep grinding until you have a nice salsa. You can grind to the texture of your liking, either coarse or very fine.
- Season with salt and stir in the chopped onion, cilantro, and diced avocado.
Now, let’s get some chips!
- You can either roast the ingredients on the griddle or place them on a baking sheet under your broiler to roast.
- You can use Serrano peppers instead of jalapeños, or other types of peppers like Habanero, Brid Peppers (Piquin), or chipotles.
- For better results, make sure your tomatoes are well ripe. Let them ripe on your kitchen counter when you bring them from the store until they are deep red.
- If you do not have a Molcajete, you can use a blender or a Food Processor. The texture of the salsa should be coarse.