Salsa Negra

Chef Carlos Salgado makes this smoky, spicy, rich salsa negra with black garlic and two types of dried chile. He also uses it to spike rice and beans, but you may want to put it on absolutely everything.

  • Total Time:
  • Servings: Makes 1 cup


  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
  • 3/4 ounces chiles de árbol, stemmed
  • 3/4 ounces guajillo chiles (about 3)—stemmed, seeded and cut into pieces
  • 10 black garlic cloves, peeled and minced (see Note)
  • 10 fresh garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon piloncillo (raw Mexican sugar) or packed light brown sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • Kosher salt

How to make this recipe

  1. In a large saucepan, combine the oil and the chiles and cook over moderate heat, stirring frequently, until fragrant and the chiles are browned 
in spots, about 7 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in both garlics along with the vinegar, sugar, cumin and 1 teaspoon of salt. Cover and let cool.

  2. Transfer the chile mixture to a blender and pulse until a coarse paste forms. Season with salt.

Make Ahead

The salsa negra can be refrigerated for up to 5 days.


Black garlic is available at Trader Joe’s markets and from

Serve With

Grilled chicken legs or steak.

Contributed By Photo © John Kernick Published July 2015

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