Salsa Macha

Salsa macha.

Tomatoes (and the weak of heart) need not apply.

What Is It?

Say “salsa,” and some iteration of the tomato- or tomatillo-based sauce, an ever-present companion to tortilla chips, springs to mind. Salsa macha is something entirely different. Hailing from Veracruz, Mexico, near Puebla and Oaxaca, salsa macha is made with peanuts and sesame seeds and surrounded by a muddy inferno of dried chiles. Simply put, this salsa inhabits a different planet.

What Do I Do With It?

If you’re as in love with chile-garlic-peanut flavor combinations as I am, you’ll find uses for salsa macha everywhere. Sub out your go-to salsa for salsa macha in virtually any Mexican dish – it’s especially lovely on fish tacos. Toss fried chicken in it for a different hot chicken experience, or simply add it to any and all grilled vegetables for a dramatically dark presentation and a fiery heat sure to delight dinner guests. Drizzle it over soft cheeses like burrata or fried eggs, or thin it out to dress green salads.

I’ll say this about any sauce: Fresh is best, and salsa macha couldn’t be easier to make at home. If you’re looking to buy it, you can find prepared jars of salsa macha on Amazon and through Food52. If you’re up for a little cooking, though, I’ve got the recipe for you: Visit to learn how to make it at home.

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Shannon Weber is the creator, author and photographer behind the award-winning, and her work has appeared on websites such as Bon Appétit, Serious Eats and America’s Test Kitchen.

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