This addictive salsa morita recipe is made with charred chiles, tomatoes and tomatillos for a spicy and smokey salsa made easy in a blender. Serve with tortilla chips or add it to tacos, burritos, or nachos and so much more!
Why You Will Love This Homemade Salsa Morita Recipe
This morita salsa, also called morita sauce, is smokey, spicy, a little fruity from the guajillo chiles and absolutely addictive.
- Quick and Easy: Homemade salsa can seem like a lot of work, but it is easy to make with three simple steps and ready in under 30 minutes. All you need to do is soak the chiles, char the chiles and vegetables, and then add them to a blender or food processor to puree!
- Authentic: Served with your favorite Mexican dishes, this authentic salsa morita will add an unexpected burst of fruity heat to your meals. Made with a combination of dried chiles and charred tomatoes, it’s the perfect way to bring new life to your breakfast burritos and taco nights.
- Flavorful: Packed with smoky flavors from the charred chiles and vegetables and perfectly balanced from the sprinkle of brown sugar and instant coffee that round out the flavors, this salsa is absolutely packed with flavor! For a smokier sauce, you can also add a chile ancho.
What Is Salsa Morita?
Salsa morita is a traditional Mexican salsa with a deep red hue and smokey, slightly spicy and fruity flavor. While the salsa’s star ingredient is chile morita, it doesn’t mean it’s necessarily used in high quantities. A little goes a long way, with most morita sauce recipes only requiring 3 to 5 chiles. However, it’s not the only kind of chile used in the salsa! In fact, most recipes call for different kinds of dried chiles like guajillo, ancho, or arbol.
Is Chile Morita Spicy?
Chile morita is has about 2,500-8,000 heat units on the Scoville scale, making it a moderately spicy pepper. Chiles morita are made from dried red jalapeños, so they are similar in heat to a fresh jalapeño. For added reference, they’re definitely spicier than bell peppers, but about as much as anaheim or poblano peppers.
Salsa morita is full of red ingredients! Check the recipe card at the bottom of the post for exact amounts.
- Dried Chile Morita: Sometimes referred to as a ‘chipotle morita chile’, dried chiles morita add a smokey mild heat to your salsa.
- Dried Chile Guajillo: Rather than spicy, their flavor profile is actually very fruity (think plums, prunes, and peaches), tart, tangy, and slightly smokey.
- Vegetable Oil: Corn and canola oil work too. Please don’t use olive oil for this.
- Roma Tomatoes: Don’t use heirloom tomatoes, you want to use a meaty tomato.
- Chipotle in Adobo: Feel free to use any chipotle sauce to taste. I recommend 1-2 tablespoons to start, it can get spicy fast!
- Garlic Cloves: Fresh whole garlic cloves will give you the most flavor.
- Instant Coffee: Feel free to skip this, but it helps to round out the flavors.
- Dark Brown Sugar: This does not make the salsa sweet, but helps to balance the heat. You can also use light brown sugar or granulated piloncillo for this.
How to Make Salsa Morita
If you can soak chiles, char veggies, and blend, then this salsa is right up your alley!
- Rehydrate: Cover the chiles with hot water. Let them soak until softened.
- Char: Add the vegetable oil to a griddle, or comal if you have one, over medium-low heat. Add the tomatillos and Roma tomatoes. Cook for 12 to 15 minutes, flipping them until they are charred on all sides.
- Blend: Strain the rehydrated chiles and reserve the soaking liquid. Add them to the blender along with 4 tablespoons of the soaking liquid. Add the chipotle and garlic. Process until you get a smooth mixture. Don’t add the remaining ingredients just yet, otherwise, it’ll be harder to get a smooth salsa.
- Add Veggies: Add the charred tomatoes and tomatillos to the blender. Process until you get a smooth or slightly chunky mixture.
- Season: Add the salt, instant coffee, and dark brown sugar. Process again until well combined. Pour into a serving bowl and enjoy with your favorite tacos, tortilla chips, etc.
Tips & Variations
Adding some texture, or even swapping some chiles, will give you amazing variations of this salsa morita.
- Chunky: Blend the rehydrated chiles really well so it’s smooth. Then add everything else to the blender and pulse repeatedly in short intervals to make the salsa a little chunky.
- Adjust The Heat: Decrease the number of chiles morita to 3 and leave out the chipotles in adobo sauce for a less spicy salsa. If you really love a lot of heat in your salsa, increase the amount of chipotles in adobo sauce. You can add just the adobo sauce or a whole additional chipotle pepper.
- Adjust the Consistency: Add 1 tablespoon of the chile soaking liquid at a time, and mix it in well, to adjust the consistency to your desired taste.
- Use Chile Ancho: For a smokier morita sauce, substitute the chile guajillo for a dried chile ancho.
What to Serve With Morita Sauce
This salsa morita is great with chips or for your favorite Mexican and Tex-Mex dishes like tacos, burritos, nachos, etc.
- With Chips & More Dips: Serve this salsa morita with homemade tortilla chips, or my air fryer tortilla chips, and some more fun dips for a great party appetizer. This salsa goes well alongside my favorite homemade authentic guacamole, cheesy queso fundido, and this frijoles puertcos (Mexican bean dip). A bowl of this fresh strawberry watermelon salsa is also fun in the summer months!
- Chicken: It’s also great swapped out for the salsa verde in this easy salsa verde chicken recipe or in this crockpot salsa chicken for a delicious smokey shredded chicken.
- Add To Tacos and More: It also makes the perfect salsa to drizzle on your carne asada tacos, flank steak tacos or in these easy walking tacos for a party. It’s also great with these chicken taquitos, cheesy beef taquitos, or air fryer taquitos! Or how about inside these Taco Bell grilled cheese burritos or beef taco salad bowls!
How Long Will This Salsa Last?
Once fully cooled, this salsa can be refrigerated for up to 10 days in an airtight container.
This salsa is also great for freezing! Once fully cooled, transfer salsa to an airtight container and freeze for up to 6 months. For best results, transfer salsa to the fridge to thaw for 24 hours before serving.
More Salsa Recipes
Salsa Morita (Morita Sauce)
- 4 dried chiles morita, seeds and stems removed
- 1 dried chile guajillo, seeds and stem removed
- Hot water, for soaking
- ½ tablespoon vegetable oil
- 2 tomatillos
- 3 medium Roma tomatoes
- 4 tablespoons soaking liquid from the chiles
- ½ chipotle in adobo sauce
- 2 large garlic cloves
- ¼ to ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 ½ teaspoons instant coffee
- 3 to 5 teaspoons dark brown sugar, or grated piloncillo
- Place the chile moritas and chile guajillo in a medium-sized bowl. Cover the chiles with hot water. Set them aside to soak for 10 to 15 minutes, until softened.
- While the chiles soak, add the vegetable oil to a griddle, or comal, over medium-low heat. Add the tomatillos and Roma tomatoes. Let them cook for 12 to 15 minutes, flipping them over occasionally until they are charred on all sides. Remove them from the heat and set them aside.
- Strain the rehydrated chiles and reserve the soaking liquid. Add the chiles to the blender along with 4 tablespoons of soaking liquid, the chipotle in adobo sauce and whole garlic cloves. Process until you get a smooth mixture.
- Then add the charred tomatoes and tomatillos to the blender and process until you get a smooth mixture. (For a chunkier salsa, pulse repeatedly in short intervals to make the salsa a little chunky.)
- Add the salt, instant coffee, and dark brown sugar and process again until well combined. Pour into a serving bowl and enjoy with your favorite tacos, tortilla chips, etc.
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