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
3.62 from 257 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.
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  • 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
    Tricia @ Saving Room for Dessert
    August 16, 2017 at 11:30 am

    5 stars
    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
    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
    Chris Scheuer
    August 16, 2017 at 10:09 am

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

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

    5 stars
    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
    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
    Lisa | Garlic & Zest
    August 16, 2017 at 6:21 am

    5 stars
    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

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

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

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