Chili Pepper Madness

July 27, 2016

Salsa Roja - Mexican Red Table Sauce

Mexican Red Table Sauce - Salsa Roja - Recipe Mexican Red Table Sauce - Salsa Roja - Recipe

A recipe for the red sauce you find in Mexican restaurants in squeeze bottles, perfect for smothering your burritos, for taco sauce, for any type of Mexican food. It's also great as a flavorful salsa.

I've talked about guacamole recipes in Mexican restaurants, how there is a basic form of the recipe, yet every Mexican place does it their own way. The same is true, if not MORE so, for Salsa Roja, or Mexican Red Table Sauce. If you've been to a Mexican restaurant, you've seen it. It's the red stuff that typically comes in a large squeeze bottle, the bottle slightly condensed with moisture because it has just been removed from the refrigerator in the back, most likely freshly made that very morning. So very fresh. It is similar in consistency to a thin salsa, with a bit more processing to give it that sauce like quality that is so perfect for pouring over your burritos, drenching your tacos, dripping over chorizo con juevos, basically ANYTHING they serve at your local Mexican restaurant.

Salsa Roja is one of my favorites.

Mexican Red Table Sauce - Salsa Roja - Recipe

As mentioned, Salsa Roja varies from restaurant to restaurant. We've been to a LOT of Mexican places, as well as Tex-Mex, and while there is a general similarity to MOST of these red sauces, each recipe is unique in flavor. Some of it comes down to an additional ingredient here and there, but mostly it is down to proportions. Some prefer more lime, some more peppers, some more tomato. It depends on the chef cooking that day. I haven't found a Salsa Roja I didn't like. It's hard to go wrong with super fresh ingredients that love to party with one another.

Here is our version that is simple yet highly flavorul. It doesn't take much work at all. Just a bit of processing and simmering to let the fresh flavors develop and mingle with one another. Cool and pour it into a sauce container. I like to serve them up in the same plastic squeeze bottles you find in the Mexican restaurants. Here is a link to the ones I use (NOTE: It's an Amazon Affiliate Link - $$ for me!) - SET OF 2 -- 24 Oz. Condiment Squeeze Bottles. It makes it feel that much more authentic. You can also serve this up as a salsa with some salted tortilla chips. The flavor is the same and honestly, it works as a simple salsa serving. This will easily last a week in the fridge, if you haven't eaten it all.

Get cooking, friends! For your next Taco Tuesday, serve up some Salsa Roja and slather it on!

Mexican Red Table Sauce - Salsa Roja - Recipe

Mexican Red Table Sauce - Salsa Roja - Recipe


  • 2 pounds tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 small white onion, chopped
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, chopped – use Serrano peppers for a bit more heat!
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro
  • Juice from half a lime
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon cumin
  • Salt to taste

Cooking Directions

  1. Add tomatoes, onion, peppers, garlic, cilantro and lime juice to a food processor. Process until fairly smooth.
  2. Heat a large pot to medium heat and add olive oil. Add the salsa and it will sear quickly.
  3. Add cumin and bit of salt.
  4. Bring to a quick boil and reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer for 15-20 minutes.
  5. Season with salt if needed and stir.
  6. Cool and refrigerate until ready to use.
  7. Serve it up in a squeeze bottle like they do in Mexican restaurants for fun!


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  • Comment Link Mary August 25, 2017 posted by Mary

    Does this salsa freeze well?

    REPLY: Mary, yes, salsa typically freezes quite nicely. -- Mike from Chili Pepper Madness.

  • Comment Link Kelly January 31, 2017 posted by Kelly

    When we were in Manzanillo, they served a red sauce daily to put on your omelets or other eggs, it wasn't hot, but soooooo tasty. Wondeer if this is it?

    REPLY: Kelly, could be some sort of variation of this. Hmmm! I wonder! -- Mike from Chili Pepper Madness.

  • Comment Link Marika October 13, 2016 posted by Marika

    Hi! I was wondering if canned tomatoes would work with this recipe. In Finland tomatoes are not very good right now. They are tasteless. I was thinking at least use some canned tomatoes and some fresh.

    REPLY: Marika, yes, you can make this with canned tomatoes. There might be a slight flavor difference, but it will still be good. -- Mike from Chili Pepper Madness.

  • Comment Link Sandra September 30, 2016 posted by Sandra

    Do you remove the skin from the tomatoes or leave them on?

    REPLY: Sandra, I leave them on since it is processed a lot, but you can remove them if you'd like. -- Mike from Chili Pepper Madness.

  • Comment Link Denise Butero August 23, 2016 posted by Denise Butero

    Makes me want some red chili, think it's on the table this weekend!

  • Comment Link Carol August 19, 2016 posted by Carol

    How long will it keep in fridge ?

    REPLY: It should keep a week or so. -- Mike from Chili Pepper Madness.

  • Comment Link Sam July 27, 2016 posted by Sam

    So Good! This is so versatile, and a great way to kick it up! I love the real food ingredients and freshness of this sauce!

  • Comment Link Cynthia Lewis July 27, 2016 posted by Cynthia Lewis

    Wow, can't wait to make this!

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Mike Hultquist of Chili Pepper Madness

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Hi, Everyone! It is nice to meet you. Welcome to Chili Pepper Madness, the food blog run by Mike and Patty Hultquist, a couple of spicy food lovers. Chili Pepper Madness is a special tribute to all things chili peppers, including chili pepper recipes... LEARN MORE ABOUT US


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