Fire Roasted Salsa Negra (black salsa)

A bowl of Salsa Negra with cilantro.

Fire Roasted Salsa Negra is an intense Mexican black salsa is made with roasted tomatoes and peppers for a deep dark color and a gutsy flavor. Caution, this recipe involves playing with fire, and a whole lot of smoky spice  ~ it’s not for the timid!

Fire Roasted Salsa Negra ~ this intense salsa is made with roasted tomatoes and peppers for a deep dark color and a gutsy flavor. Caution, this salsa involves playing with fire, and a whole lot of smoky spice ~ it's not for the timid!

fire roasted salsa negra is smokey, bold, and delicious!

My inspiration comes from Baja Fresh, one of my favorite Tex-Mex fast food chains…they have a similar dark salsa on their salsa bar, and I’ve been meaning to recreate it for years!

Fire Roasted Salsa Negra ~ this intense salsa is made with roasted tomatoes and peppers for a deep dark color and a gutsy flavor. Caution, this salsa involves playing with fire, and a whole lot of smoky spice ~ it's not for the timid!

most of the salsas I make are light, colorful, and fruity

You might have tried my Strawberry Jalapeño Salsa or this summer’s Peach Jalapeño Salsa. One of my personal favorites is my mixed Spicy Fruit Salsa, it’s bursting with color. Did you know I’ve made salsa with everything from cantaloupe and mushrooms to papaya and  pomegranate? This one is a real departure from all that, for sure! The deep ‘black’ color comes from charring the tomatoes and peppers before they’re pureed. The blackened skin not only adds color, it adds tons of smoky flavor.

Tomatoes for making Fire Roasted Salsa Negra

how to fire roast tomatoes and peppers 3 ways

  • You can roast your peppers on an outdoor grill, just lay them directly on the grates and wait until they blacken.
  • Under the broiler ~ you can arrange your veggies in a single layer on a baking sheet and place on the highest slot, closest to your broiler flame. Check on them frequently and turn to blacken on all sides.
  • You can do this right on your stove top if you have gas burners. Hold the peppers with a long pair of tongs to hold them safely and securely while you blacken them. Note: this is not a job for kids.
  • Use caution when blackening peppers over an open flame, they can briefly catch fire.
  • Tomatoes are best done under the broiler because of their juiciness.

do you remove the skins after roasting?

No, leave the blackened parts alone, they will blend up and give this salsa its distinctive flavor and color.

Roasted tomatoes for Fire Roasted Salsa Negra

To roast dried peppers

  • Soak them first in hot water to soften their skins.
  • Then you can roast them as above.
Dried chile pods for Fire Roasted Salsa Negra
Roasted chiles for Fire Roasted Salsa Negra, Mexican black salsa

which peppers to use for salsa negra

I used both dried Hatch chiles, (above) and fresh green pasillo chiles, as well as a couple of jalapenos. Dried chile pods can be found in most large supermarkets, but you might have to ask, they tend to be in odd spots. Once you’ve soaked your dried chilies in boiling water until soft, you can blacken them the same way you do with the fresh vegetables. I just held mine with tongs over the gas flame on my stove top, they blacken instantly.

Making Fire Roasted Salsa Negra, Mexican Black Salsa

The world of chiles and peppers is a complex one, and my advice is, don’t get too hung up on which exact one you use ~ go with what you can get your hands on. Be adventurous, the results will be great.

Hatch Chile Peppers

Hatch chiles are the famous New Mexican variety with a cult following.

I’ve used them before in my Slow Cooked hatch Pepper Chili and my Cheesy Hatch Green Chile Dip. Fresh hatch chile season runs from August through the end of September, but even if you miss that you can buy them in cans, or better yet, frozen for use all year long.

Fire Roasted Salsa Negra ~ this intense salsa is made with roasted tomatoes and peppers for a deep dark color and a gutsy flavor. Caution, this salsa involves playing with fire, and a whole lot of smoky spice ~ it's not for the timid!

This salsa negra got rave reviews from friends and family, but more importantly, I love it, and it’s going into my personal recipe hall of fame, and I’ll be making it over and over again.

tips for making fire roasted salsa

  • One interesting thing about making this salsa negra is that because you’re going to be roasting them, you want to start with relatively hard tomatoes, you can save the ripe ones for your salads.
  • Don’t be shy about blackening your veggies, that’s where all the flavor comes from.
  • If you want a milder fire roasted effect, you can peel the vegetables after blackening. Just cover them with plastic and let them sit until cool enough to handle. The skins can be removed easily.

“I have made at least two dozen different recipes for roasted salsa, I’ve talked to waiters and chefs trying to get it right… and this is the closest I’ve come to restaurant quality roasted salsa! Thank you so much!”

~ Malia
A bowl of Salsa Negra with cilantro
3.63 from 259 votes

Fire Roasted Salsa Negra (black salsa)

Fire Roasted Salsa Negra ~ this intense Mexican black salsa is made with roasted tomatoes and peppers for a deep dark color and a gutsy flavor.
Course Appetizer, Sauce
Cuisine Mexican
Total Time 30 minutes
Yield 15 servings
Calories 35kcal
Author Sue Moran


  • 4-5 dried red Hatch or other large red chile peppers
  • 2 pounds firm red tomatoes
  • 2 jalapeno peppers
  • 2 fresh pasilla chile peppers about 10 ounces (substitute poblano if you can’t find them)
  • 1 medium red onion peeled and rough chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic smashed and peeled
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp fresh cracked black pepper
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1-2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil


  • fresh cilantro leaves


  • Cover the dried chiles with boiling water and let soak for 30 minutes. Make sure they are covered by the water.
  • While the chiles soak, turn your broiler on high, and set the rack at the highest setting. Line a baking sheet with foil and arrange the tomatoes on it. Broil for about 15 minutes, turning occasionally, until the tomatoes are blackened all over. Set aside.
  • Do the same with the pasilla and jalapeno peppers, leave them whole, don’t chop. When they are blackened all over, remove and set aside.
  • Repeat the procedure with the soaked peppers.
  • Put the onion and the garlic in the food processor and pulse until finely minced. Turn into a large bowl. Add the salt, pepper, spices, lime juice and Worcestershire sauce.
  • Chop the blackened tomatoes in quarters, and puree, in the food processor, working in batches if necessary. Add the puree to the bowl with the onions and spices.
  • Remove and discard the stems from all the peppers and chop them in half. Puree them in the processor, and then add to the bowl. Note: I did not remove the seeds from the peppers.
  • Add the olive oil to the bowl and blend everything together. Cover and refrigerate until chilled, or until ready to serve. Be sure to taste the salsa prior to serving to adjust any of the seasonings. Note, this is a relatively thick salsa.

Cook’s notes

  • I garnished with cilantro, but didn’t put any in the salsa, feel free to puree a handful in if you like.
  • This Salsa Negra would make a great sauce for grilled chicken, or on tacos.


Calories: 35kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 0.2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 214mg | Potassium: 234mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 725IU | Vitamin C: 31mg | Calcium: 19mg | Iron: 1mg
The nutritional information for recipes on this site is provided as a courtesy and although tries to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.
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  • Reply
    December 6, 2021 at 9:00 am

    A few years ago, I searched for a Baja Fresh copycat recipe (missing it from our time in San Diego). I came across your recipe and have been making this ever since. It’s my favorite and everyone I make it for LOves it! The strange thing is, it has never been black. Always a dark red. I use red Chile peppers instead of hatch and poblano instead of Padilla (as you suggest). Any idea why it is never black? I roast veggies in a broiler and get them pretty charred.

    • Reply
      Sue Moran
      December 6, 2021 at 3:00 pm

      Hmmm, that’s funny. Make sure you don’t peel away the char, but otherwise, maybe the red peppers are contributing the color?

  • Reply
    Sheryl H
    July 24, 2021 at 7:45 pm

    5 stars
    I didn’t know Black Salsa existed until my daughter sent me a picture last week of some they had while in TX. Since we have lots of tomatoes thought I’d give it a try. I went by the recipe, but tripled it so I could can a few pints! Very good salsa! Next time I won’t cut the tops off the tomatoes before broiling, (I’ll do it after), because I think they were too moist to get dark all over. I put about 1/2 the seeds from the peppers! Pretty warm, but not as hot as I expected (thankfully). Will definitely make more! Thanks for sharing.

  • Reply
    January 11, 2021 at 8:05 am

    5 stars
    This salsa is truly outstanding! After a lengthy build process, I also freaked out with the initial taste. Sadden by the dry pepper after taste, I put the salsa in the fridge for a day. I came back to it and was totally blown away by the favor development!!! Patience is what this salsa needs in order to appreciate it. Glad I gave it some time to get there. Upon initial taste, I also added canned chipotle peppers, a tablespoon of sugar and lime juice. Then simply wait a day. Enjoy!

  • Reply
    November 25, 2020 at 5:18 pm

    3 stars
    I made this and it didn’t turn out good for me. It came out a deep red rather than black, and it tastes super bitter. I tried adjusting it with sugar, salt, and lime juice. It’s edible now but the bitter taste is still overpowering. I think the issue is the dried peppers I used. The bag said new mexico chiles, which was the closest thing I could find to dried hatch chiles. Also the tomatoes took a lot longer than 15 minutes to blacken, so they kind of cooked under the broiler. I’m not sure if that’s an issue though.

    • Reply
      November 25, 2020 at 6:30 pm

      Hey Matt ~ there is a natural ‘bitterness’ to blackened salsa, but it shouldn’t be unpleasant or overpowering. I’m not sure what happened with yours, but one way to subdue the flavor of this salsa would be to remove some or most of the blackened parts from the veggies.

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