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Salsa Macha with Cranberries and Pecans

Salsa macha is a Mexican condiment. Though it is a salsa, this chili oil is intended for drizzling-not dipping with tortilla chips.  I must say I think this was the best recipe to come out of our Thanksgiving this year! Similar, but with different flavors this could be compared to a chili crunch or an Asian chili sauce. So, so good!

Salsa Macha is best compared to Chinese chili paste or chili garlic oil.

It is an extraordinary salsa that is best used for adding flavor to food. Just as you would use chili oil, one could use this.

From the area of Veracruz this macha salsa is made with nuts, seeds and chiles.

This version, which I luckily found on Food 52, is made with pecans, garlic, chiles and sesame seeds.

Ordinarily it is made with peanuts, but my guess is most any nut could be used.

Additionally, this recipe adds dried cranberries which help balance out the umami flavors.

Definitely not traditional, this salsa macha recetas is truly the bomb.

You can understand why I was attracted to this for our Thanksgiving table. Pecans. Check! Cranberries. Check! 

And combine those with chiles, garlic and sesame seeds and woohoo! This is the perfect drizzle for a smoked turkey.

salsa macha

An oil based sauce this flavorful concoction is sure to become more popular and I bet it will be used in similar ways as one would use Chinese chili oil.

Filled with lots of crunchy  goop, one could use that, the oil, or both, to drizzle on quesadillas, avocado toast, or just a simple roast chicken.

Hmm. Grilled shrimp or veggies would benefit, too!

Not as spicy as you might guess, this chili oil is sure to please. We used it on our sweet potatoes and smoked turkey!

Since this is now the time for gifting, this addictive sauce would make a perfect gift for most anyone.

Add in some glazed pecans, and you have a gift that anyone would envy.

How do you make Salsa Macha?

Making this salsa macha recipe is as easy as combining oil, garlic and pecans in a large saucepan and cooking over medium heat until the garlic is golden brown and the oil lightly bubbles.

Be careful not to burn the garlic though, so low and slow is the way to go.

Once this step is done, transfer the garlic and nuts to a heat-proof metal bowl.

Add the chiles to the hot oil until they turn slightly red, which only takes about 30-60 seconds.

Remove those and place in the bowl with the nuts and garlic. Pour sesame seeds into the oil and let those sit until you are ready to make your sauce.

From there it’s a matter of adding the chile garlic nut mixture to your food processor bowl along with some salt, bay leaves and oregano and combining those until everything is coarsely chopped.

salsa macha

Then slowly drizzle in the sesame oil through the feed tube until your mixture is more finely chopped. 

Last, but not least, add the cranberries and pulse to combine. Transfer to a jar and store at room temperature for up to 5 days. After that chill in the fridge.

I guarantee this will sit in the real estate in my fridge next to the Chinese garlic chili paste and the Trader Joes chili crunch and I bet this one gets used first. It is that good!

Several recipes add vinegar. Some use olive oil and others use brown sugar. Yes, there are countless ways to make this and I can’t wait to try all of them out.

What chilies should you use in Salsa Macha?

I used guajillo chilies, sometimes labeled chile ristra, in this. They are a mild chile with a hint of sweetness and used in many Mexican dishes.

For heat I used chili arbols, the tiny red chiles that can be seeded if you like less heat.

Could you use anchos or chipotle? Yes, you could.

I’ve also seen cocoa nibs added and since I have some in the pantry, I just may do that next time.

Salsa Macha

No dried cranberries? Not necessary at all and you could use dried blueberries or raisins, though I would use less, since they are sweeter.

Get ready to have fun with this salsa macha recetas, or brave salsa, as one might say this translates too. And though I looked up the meaning of the name, none of them seemed quite clear so I’ll just leave it at that.

Salsa macha is my new favorite condiment. Dipping sauce. Chile crunch. Enjoy.

Need a Few More?

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Comeback Sauce with Ras el Hanout and harissa

3 Toppings for Tacos

pickled red onions

I’d Love It If You’d Follow Me on Pinterest and Pin and Share!

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salsa macha

Salsa Macha with Cranberries and Pecans

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  • Author: Abbe Odenwalder
  • Prep Time: 10 Minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 Minutes
  • Total Time: 20 Minutes
  • Yield: 2 cups 1x
  • Category: Sauce
  • Method: Stove Top
  • Cuisine: Mexican


Salsa Macha is the Mexican alternative to Asian chili sauces. If you like chili sauce, this is one you shouldn’t miss!


Units Scale

1 1/2 c Canola oil

5 peeled garlic cloves

3/4 pecans

8 chilies guajillo, stemmed and seeded

3 chiles de arbol. stemmed and seeded if you don’t want heat

2 T raw white sesame seeds

1 1/2 t Kosher salt

2 dried bay leaves, crumbled

1 t dried oregano, marjoram or thyme

1/2 c dried cranberries, sweetened


Heat 1 1/2 c oil, garlic and pecans in a large saucepan over medium low, until garlic is golden brown and oil slightly bubbly. Remove from heat and use a slotted spoon to transfer garlic and nuts to a heatproof bowl.

With the saucepan off the heat, toss the dried chilies into the oil until the oil turns slightly red and the chilies are fragrant and brick-red colored, about 30 seconds to a minute. Transfer chilies to garlic nut mixture bowl and let cool 5 minutes.

Add sesame seeds to hot oil and let sit until ready to use.

Puree garlic-chile mixture, 1 1/2 t salt, bay leaves and oregano in the food processor until coarsely ground. With motor running, slowly drizzle in sesame  oil mixture until all oil has been added and chilies and nuts are finely chopped.

Add cranberries and pulse to combine. Transfer to a jar, seal and store at room temperature for up to 5 days. After 5 days, chill in the fridge.


Feel free to use different chiles or nuts.




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Sunday 5th of December 2021

Well, this is something I could easily drizzle on chips, some fruits and vegetables, beef, chicken, pizza, tacos, tostadas...did I miss anything? I'll be making this soon! Thanks for sharing.

Chef Mimi

Wednesday 1st of December 2021

I think my comment disappeared! Dammit. Anyway, I am so excited to make this! Thanks!!!


Wednesday 1st of December 2021

I think you will love it! I was so happy to discover the recipe!

Chef Mimi

Wednesday 1st of December 2021

Wow!!!! In all the years I’ve been studying and cooking Mexican food, this is a first! I have Asian chile pepper oil in my fridge, I might as well have Mexican chile pepper oil in there! I am so excited to make this. I love the ingredients!


Wednesday 1st of December 2021

Sounds delicious!! I'd love a little drizzle to spice up my day (and the color is gorgeous!!).


Wednesday 1st of December 2021

Honestly, we've been eating this on almost everything since the day I made it!

John / Kitchen Riffs

Wednesday 1st of December 2021

I need some of this in my life. :-) Super nice recipe -- thanks.