Learn About Chile de Árbol

Author: Chef Sydney

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What is Chile de Árbol?

Chile de árbol is a type of pepper originating from Mexico.  It is small, thin, and somewhat banana-shaped.  The chile has red waxy skin and a bright green stem at the top.  Chile de árbol may come fresh, dried, or powdered.

What Does Chile de Árbol Taste Like?

Chile de árbol has a strong spicy flavor, similar to a fresh cayenne pepper, with hints of smokiness.  When dried, its flavor intensifies.

dried chiles de arbol
Dried chiles de árbol in a wooden bowl.

How Do You Eat Chile de Árbol?

Eat chile de árbol raw or cooked.  Create spicy salsas, marinades, or sauces with the chile.  Make homemade hot sauce using a chile de árbol as the main component.  Use the spicy peppers with creamy ingredients such as avocado or cheese to cool down the dish.  Add chile de árbol to tacos, chicken, pasta, and vegetables such as green beans or corn.  Create chile powder by grinding down dried peppers and use this to flavor soups, stews, and sauces.  You can also pickle these chiles.

Where Can You Buy Chile de Árbol?

You may have difficulty finding fresh chiles de árbol.  Look for fresh chiles in the produce section of international grocery stores or Mexican food stores.  Find dried chiles de árbol in the international aisle of a well-stocked grocery store, or find them in international grocery stores or Mexican food stores.  Look for powdered chile de árbol in the spice aisle of the grocery store.

How Do You Store Chile de Árbol?

Store fresh, dried, and powdered chiles de árbol in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.

Fun Facts About Chile de Árbol

People use dried chile de árbol as decorations! Some common decoration uses include strung through garlands and wreaths.

Did You Know?

Even after dehydration, these chiles still maintain their bright red color.

Recipes Using Chile de Árbol

Chile de Árbol Salsa

Start by adding chiles de árbol and chopped tomatoes to a saucepan with garlic and sugar. Allow ingredients to simmer and soften. Use a hand blender to puree ingredients to desired salsa consistency. Transfer mixture to a bowl and stir in fresh lime juice and cilantro. Allow the salsa to chill in the refrigerator before serving.

Easy Marinade

In a large bowl, combine chile de árbol powder, lime juice, garlic, olive oil, red wine vinegar, paprika, and sugar. Use this marinade for chicken and allow meat to soak for several hours or overnight.

Spicy Guacamole

Serve up a spicy guacamole as a delicious dip. Combine mashed avocados, salt, fresh cilantro, lime juice, and dried chopped chiles de árbol in a bowl. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

Spicy Marinara

Add chiles de árbol to marinara sauce for a kick. Prepare marinara sauce as normal and add in powdered chile de árbol with the other spices. Allow sauce to simmer until cooked. Serve over your pasta of choice. Top with fresh parmesan cheese.

Chili Powder Mix

Make your own blend of chili powder. In a bowl, combine powdered chile de árbol, salt, pepper, smoked paprika, garlic powder, and onion powder. Pour ingredients into a spice jar.


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