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
3.48 from 233 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
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.
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.
e book

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  • 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.

  • Reply
    November 11, 2020 at 7:17 pm

    5 stars
    I never comment on recipes but this one is just so good I gotta!! I’ve made it twice now and it’s amazing. I like eating it with beans, fried polenta, and whatever veggies I got on hand. Or just with chips. Soooo good

    • Reply
      November 12, 2020 at 5:48 am

      Thanks Rachel, I love to see comments on this recipe because I love it too!

  • Reply
    September 9, 2020 at 8:42 am

    We are growing some black cobra peppers and I came across this recipe while looking for something to do with them…can’t wait to try it! Have you ever used these peppers? And how hot are they anyway! Thank you!

    • Reply
      September 9, 2020 at 9:20 am

      I haven’t tried cobra peppers (they sound hot!) but I think they’d be perfect in this salsa!

  • Reply
    April 11, 2020 at 1:40 pm

    Havent tried yet but I will, I just did some googling regarding the pasilla and poblano chilis, according to this
    there is a lot of confusion about these peppers, but first off, a pasilla is a dried chilaca, but then the whole article is about how they are mislabeled everywhere, anyways, just a source of confusion, either way it doesnt really matter, im sure they might taste a bit different but both good.

    • Reply
      April 11, 2020 at 1:44 pm

      Thanks for the info Mike, peppers can definitely be so confusing.

  • Reply
    September 23, 2019 at 5:01 pm

    Do you peel the tomatoes and peppers?

    • Reply
      September 23, 2019 at 5:14 pm

      No, the skins stay on.

  • Reply
    June 16, 2019 at 11:13 am

    Hi sue! I’m just coming across this recipe and it looks amazing! After roasting the peppers and the tomatoes, do you peel them? Or leave the skins on while puréeing?

    • Reply
      June 16, 2019 at 11:39 am

      I leave them on Hunter, but you can peel them if you like, or partially peel them. You’ll get a different flavor and color depending on how you do it. The true dark color comes from the blackened peels.

  • Reply
    latina t newsome-taylor
    May 16, 2019 at 6:56 am

    5 stars
    So glad I came upon your recipe and then reading the comments I noticed someone else from Chicago comparing yours to la pasadita restaurant. That is what brought me here I have to try this but I think I will change the tomatoes to tomatillo’s instead. I will also char the onion and garlic as well. Thanks so much for this.

    • Reply
      May 16, 2019 at 7:23 am

      Enjoy and report back if you can!

  • Reply
    April 24, 2019 at 4:25 pm

    My favorite Black Salsa comes from La Pasadita in Chicago. I haven’t been there in years, yet crave this with everything, including fries. I look at your photos and recipe and can’t help but salivate. Can’t wait try yours.
    Btw, Hatch Chili’s or don’t bother. I don’t know what it is, but they make the salsa.

    • Reply
      April 24, 2019 at 7:42 pm

      With fries? Have mercy!

  • Reply
    April 13, 2019 at 10:46 pm

    I’ve never added worcestershire sauce to my salsas. I have celiacs so I stay away from worcestershire sauce since it has gluten. Will the recipe still shine without it?

    • Reply
      April 14, 2019 at 7:25 am

      This salsa has so much flavor going on you can leave the Worcestershire sauce out, but if you want a replacement you might try Tamari soy sauce, its gluten free.

    • Reply
      April 2, 2020 at 4:00 pm

      There is a Worcestershire sauce that is gluten free it’s called lea&perrins my daughter has the same celiac disease and so this is perfect for it

  • Reply
    March 16, 2019 at 5:18 pm

    Have you ever had the red sauce (burnt red) at baja fresh? How do I make that one?

    • Reply
      March 16, 2019 at 7:15 pm

      Hey Mike, this is my version of the dark sauce at Baja Fresh, not sure if we’re talking about the same one, but I think so. If you want it more red, I would just char the vegetables less.

  • Reply
    M. Griffice
    December 20, 2018 at 6:24 pm

    5 stars
    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!!! From CA to NY to TX and back to Cali again, I am so grateful to have your recipe! My special holiday meals will be so much better this year because of you! Thank you!
    I think the blend of fresh peppers and dried is the key. I used all my hatch peppers on my last mediocre batch with another recipe, so this time it’s poblanos. But it’s so good still. My hubby will come home to a house full of delicious warm scents!

    • Reply
      December 21, 2018 at 7:35 am

      I’m just grinning reading this because that’s just what I wanted to achieve, have a wonderful rest of the season and enjoy that salsa 🙂

  • Reply
    November 13, 2018 at 6:18 pm

    Question – when I tried to do this my kitchen ended up smelling awful because of the burn! isn’t there another way to do this? Did I broil them to slowly maybe? Have you ever tried it on the grill?

    • Reply
      November 14, 2018 at 5:24 am

      You can blacken the veggies any way you want, the grill works great. I get them right close to the flame so it blackens pretty quickly.

  • Reply
    November 7, 2018 at 10:37 am

    This is great. Try serving it very warm instead of chilled. Opens up all the flavor profiles!

    • Reply
      November 7, 2018 at 10:52 am

      Wow, never thought of that, and it really sounds intriguing. You just made me think that it would make a great enchilada sauce, too.

  • Reply
    October 4, 2018 at 9:17 pm

    5 stars
    This salsa is amazing. Very close to Baja Fresh’s. I could drink this. Maybe not my first batch. Due to a miscommunication I put in a bunch of ghost peppers, thinking they were some weak red pepper. So tasty.

    • Reply
      October 4, 2018 at 9:31 pm

      Oh my gosh, I bet your first batch was powerful!

  • Reply
    July 21, 2018 at 6:31 pm

    Have you ever canned this recipe? Wondering if water bath canning would be okay, or if it would need pressure canning.

    • Reply
      July 22, 2018 at 8:25 am

      I haven’t tested this recipe for water bath canning, Michelle, and since it doesn’t have a lot of acidic vinegar or citrus in it, I wouldn’t recommend it. The ph has to be 4.5 or lower for safe water bath canning. You can freeze it, though.

  • Reply
    November 7, 2017 at 1:36 pm

    5 stars
    I fell in love with black salsa earlier this year and now to have your recipe is the bomb!! You mentioned ushmana in one of the comments – what is that?

    • Reply
      November 7, 2017 at 2:04 pm

      I was answering the commenter by name, her name was Ushmana 🙂 I hope you enjoy this!

  • Reply
    Lydia D
    September 14, 2017 at 7:14 pm

    Like 100 years ago, I used to be a clerk at a porn shop. I know, I know, not my proudest moment. My mother was ready to make a flying leap into the grave when she heard. Gee, Ma, it’s not like I’m IN the porn, I’m just making change, they were the only callback out of many applications I filled out. Anyhoo, one of the only things I miss about that job was a nearby taco shack: Casita Taco. That’s where I first learned of salsa negra. Holy hell, it was a rite of passage in my life! The rest of their food was good, but their salsa negra and chips alone was worth a thousand mile journey…ON FOOT! I could make a meal out of their salsa negra & chips, at times, I did. Unfortunately, the only thing I’ve found harder than finding salsa negra is salsa negra DONE RIGHT! Just because it’s got black speckles in it doesn’t make it salsa negra. It’s gotta look ugly to be good. Casita’s looked downright nasty, like engine sludge! My favorite local salsa brand, Homeboy, made a good one that got me by for a while, but it just can’t be found these days. It’s been a few years, so it’s safe to assume at this point it’s been discontinued (maybe people found the appearance off putting, the ignorant fools!)… so I set out to make my own. I can tell just by looking at your recipe that it is a close match to the flavor profile of Casita’s salsa negra. I can’t wait to try it when I come home! Thanks so much for sharing this recipe!

    • Reply
      September 15, 2017 at 5:07 am

      Thanks for the laugh, and I hope this salsa lives up to your memories, Lydia, let me know!

    • Reply
      November 3, 2018 at 7:50 am

      If in Los ANgeles, try the Salsa Negra at Pachanga’s—located in Rosecrans Ave in Manhattan Beach.

  • Reply
    August 19, 2017 at 4:20 pm

    I always reach for this salsa in a restaurant. Now, thanks to this recipe, I don’t have to reach so far. GREG

    • Reply
      January 7, 2018 at 8:29 am

      I always ask for seconds and thirds!

  • Reply
    August 17, 2017 at 5:05 pm

    Sue, this looks wonderful! This is my favorite kind of salsa – will have to find a place to char the peppers:) Thank you ~Bijouxs

    • Reply
      Leonard Sullivan
      January 6, 2018 at 4:11 pm

      Easy, there are many many ways to char a pepper. Easiest being (for fresh peppers) put em on a tray and broil them in your oven. To toast dried peppers, the all-time standard way it to dry toast them in a pan with nothing in it at all. Heat a bare pan to medium/medium-high cut open the pepper do you can lay it flat. Then press it inside side down onto the bare pan and push down on it with a spatula. Now, You only do this for maybe 5-15 seconds, depending on the pepper, or you WILL burn it.
      Then you take it and transfer it to a bowl of hot tap water to soak and rehydrate. This is what every Mexican…ever…does with their dried chilis lol. For some reason sh3 does this backwards but trust me, this is the method!

      P.S., if you don’t have an 9ven to broil fresh peppers, you can char them in a bare pan lined with tin foil! Many Mexicans do this too. Just line a bare pan with a little foil on the bottom heat to medium high and rattle your peppers every five minutes until charred all around!


      • Reply
        January 7, 2018 at 8:31 am

        Thanks Leonard, great tips!

  • Reply
    Danielle @ Follow My Gut
    August 17, 2017 at 12:16 pm

    That salsa sounds so good and it looks so deep and powerful. Love the way you made it because it sounds amazing!!


  • Reply
    Ushmana Palmo Rai
    August 17, 2017 at 7:56 am

    Greetings from Nepal,Sue!
    Coming from a land of spices , anything with a little bit of spice is right up my alley! I wish I could just smell the smoky flavor from here. I am definitely trying this on my own this weekend!
    But I got to ask, Are there any substitutes for the Worcestershire sauce? Markets around here don’t sell those 🙁

    • Reply
      August 17, 2017 at 8:27 am

      You can use balsamic vinegar, Ushmana, and really, you can leave it out, it was just a last minute thought on my part to add it. Good luck, and let us know how yours turns out ~ I love that we’re cooking together from across the globe :))

  • Reply
    Tricia @ Saving Room for Dessert
    August 16, 2017 at 11:30 am

    I’ve never had anything like this but want it so badly! You rocked this gorgeous salsa Sue – this is a must try! Sharing and pinning cause I LOVE it!

  • Reply
    August 16, 2017 at 10:45 am

    Completely new level of salsa to me, I must say. Will do. Thank you !

    • Reply
      August 16, 2017 at 1:01 pm

      Love that ~ it took salsa to a new level for me too 🙂

  • Reply
    Chris Scheuer
    August 16, 2017 at 10:09 am

    Wow, this salsa is so unique and sounds so good! You’ve got me in the mood for Tex Mex!

  • Reply
    John/Kitchen Riffs
    August 16, 2017 at 9:21 am

    I make plenty of different salsas, but almost never salsa negra for some reason. Don’t know why not — LOVE its flavor. This looks terrific — thanks.

    • Reply
      August 16, 2017 at 9:28 am

      I was in the same boat, and I’m so glad I finally did this, it’s a new fave 🙂

  • Reply
    Suzy | The Mediterranean Dish
    August 16, 2017 at 7:45 am

    This I simply have to try! My mouth is watering!

    • Reply
      August 16, 2017 at 9:12 am

      Then I’ve done my job Suzy 🙂

  • Reply
    Elaine @ Dishes Delish
    August 16, 2017 at 7:39 am

    Mmmm. This black bean salsa looks fabulous!! I also get annoyed at the Halloween candy in the stores. It seems to be arriving earlier and earlier! It’s so easy to forget that Summer lasts until September 22nd because of back to school and such. So, I’m going to drown my sorrows by making your salsa because I know I’m going to love it!!

    • Reply
      August 16, 2017 at 9:11 am

      Really, there’s weeks and WEEKS of summer left!

  • Reply
    Lisa | Garlic & Zest
    August 16, 2017 at 6:21 am

    I will bring the margaritas and tortilla chips — you bring this AWESOME salsa! it’s a party!

    • Reply
      August 16, 2017 at 6:30 am

      You’re on!

  • Reply
    [email protected]'s Recipes
    August 16, 2017 at 5:41 am

    I have never had black salsa…so tempting with that gorgeous colour and the flavour!

    • Reply
      August 16, 2017 at 6:09 am

      I’m glad you think the color is gorgeous, Angie, I do too. You can really see all those layers of flavor!

  • Reply
    Felesha Bell
    August 16, 2017 at 5:31 am

    Sue if I could just get my tortilla chip through this screen!! Looks spectacular!!

    • Reply
      August 16, 2017 at 6:19 am

      The first time I served this Felesha the chips were flying!

  • Reply
    Amy | The Cook Report
    August 16, 2017 at 5:27 am

    Wow, I’ve never seen a salsa like this, looks amazing!

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