Anjie‘s Red Salsa with Serrano Chiles

Pico de gallo no filter Anjie Familia Kitchen

This red salsa with serrano chiles is one of Anjie Villalobos’ two to three red go-to salsa recipes. Regularly found in her fridge, it’s pretty much always ready to be drizzled on her family’s favorite dishes—including her two taco go-tos: carne asado tacos and garlicky shrimp tacos.

Serrano is the favorite chile of Anjie, one of our favorite traditional Mexican-food cocineras, and this red salsa uses its sophisticated flavor and heat to great effect.

Anjie reports she’s tinkered with this salsa recipe over the years to perfect the ratio and amounts of ingredients. Of note is her barely-there use of the spice cumin: just 1/8 teaspoon. ”I didn’t always add cumin, because I’m not a big fan of cumin if it’s predominant. But what I found through time is that it’s an important spice in Mexican cooking. And that is if you add just enough, not too much, but just enough, it really adds a nice of depth of flavor and smokiness to it,” she explains.

Her family loves to join her in the kitchen to learn her traditional recipes. “Charlee, my granddaughter, loves to make salsa with me,” says Anjie. ”And my nephew who says I make the best salsa on the planet called me about 3 months ago to ask me how to make this one. I haven’t had a chance to taste his, but I am told he is doing a darn good job!”

To try more of Anjie’s family-famous Mexican and southwestern recipes, check out her green chile chicken pozoleMexican frijoles de olla or refried beans, and handmade corn tortillas (see her step-by-step on how to make them).

Ready to Make Anjie’s Red Salsa with Serrano Chiles?

Anjie’s Red Salsa with Serrano Chiles

Recipe by Anjie Villalobos Cuisine: Mexican

4 to 6

Prep time


Cooking time




  • 4 to 6 4 to 6 tomatoes, medium

  • 2 to 3 2 to 3 serrano chiles, deseeded to your taste

  • 1 clove 1 garlic

  • 2 tsp 2 salt, use more or less to taste

  • 1/8 tsp 1/8 cumin

  • 1 1 lime, freshly juiced

  • 1 1 bunch cilantro

  • 1/2 large 1/2 onion or 1 small onion, either white or yellow


  • Preheat oven to 400°.
  • Line a baking pan with foil or parchment paper. Place the tomatoes and serrano chiles on the lined pan. Roast in the heated oven for 10 to 15 minutes, until slightly blackened.
  • Remove from the oven and let rest until the tomatoes and chiles reach room temperature.
  • Place the cooled tomatoes and serrano chiles, garlic, salt, cumin and lime juice into a blender or food processor and pulse on low until blended. (If heat is a concern, add one serrano chile at a time until desired heat tolerance has been reached).
  • Add the cilantro and onion to the blender and pulse until the salsa reaches desired texture.
  • Serve with chips or on tacos, burritos, meats, eggs or any of your favorite Mexican dishes. This will keep in the refrigerator for up to a week.


  • If you would like to reduce the heat, remove seeds from the serrano chiles before blending.
Green pozole charlee serrano
Anjie’s granddaughter Charlee loves to help her make this serrano chile red salsa.
Pico de gallo no filter Anjie Familia Kitchen
Anjie and her granddauther Charlee recommend making your own corn tortillas, frying them and cutting them into triangles to make your own chips to enjoy with this salsa.

Salsa Photo: Michelle Ezratty Murphy

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