Chipotle Red Salsa

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Tortilla chips alongside a dish filled with our Creamy Blended Red Salsa recipe

Being in the kitchen all day often leaves me in takeout mood come dinner time.

“Hi. My name is Dana and I’m a food blogger who doesn’t cook dinner.”

“Hi, Dana.”

Sautéing onions and carrots for our Spicy Chipotle Red Salsa recipe

OK, it’s not that severe. It’s just that with blog recipes and recipes for our (print!) cookbook (due out this fall!), I have a full plate, sometimes attempting three recipes a day! So is it any wonder when John asks me what’s for dinner I consistently vote for Mexican food? No, no it’s not.

Origins of Salsa

Salsa is thought to have originated in Central America from the Incas, Aztecs, and Mayans. It dates back as far as the 1500s where it was used as a condiment to add flavor and spice.

But in the early 1900s, salsa’s popularity spread beyond Mexico and Central America and it began to be commercially manufactured in the US. By 1991, US sales of salsa had surpassed that of ketchup!

There are many different varieties of salsa, including salsa roja, verde, criolla, and more!

Cast iron skillet with ingredients for making homemade Chipotle Blended Red Salsa

Cha Cha Cha – the local restaurant that inspired this Chili Lime Mango Margarita – also inspired this 30-minute blended salsa. Obviously, they have a good thing going and I’m rather obsessed. Something about chips, salsa and a margarita at the end of a full day just sounds magical.

This salsa – where do I begin?

It’s electric orange-red
It’s savory
It’s subtly spiced
It’s blended

Blender filled with our homemade Red Salsa with Chipotle Peppers

I had to make it at home.

To get that beautiful dark orange huge and some natural sweetness, I opted for carrots! But I also think orange bell peppers would work beautifully here.

For that classic salsa flavor I didn’t neglect the onion, garlic, and tomato. And for some subtle heat I went with a chipotle pepper in adobo sauce – an item easily found in most grocery stores (and nearly all Mexican grocery stores). You can learn more about this magical ingredient and its origins here.

Once everything simmers down, I throw it in the blender for an uber-smooth texture.

Chip, meet salsa.
Salsa, meet chip.
Be friends.

Bowl of our Creamy Blended Red Salsa with Chipotle Peppers served with tortilla chips
Close up shot showing the creamy texture of our Easy Red Salsa recipe

You guys are going to LOVE this salsa! It’s:

Subtly spiced
& Quick

In addition to being chip’s best friend, this salsa would also make the perfect companion for pretty much every Mexican-inspired dish, including nachos, saladssalad cups, chilaquiles, breakfast tacos, panko avocado tacos, and, you get the drift. Make this salsa, put it on everything.

Dipping a tortilla chip into creamy vegan homemade Red Salsa

If you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and – our favorite – take a picture and tag it #minimalistbaker on Instagram so we can see what you come up with! Your photos always make our day. Cheers, friends!

Dish filled with Blended Chipotle Red Salsa for a delicious gluten-free vegan appetizer

Blended Red Salsa

Simple blended red salsa in just 30 minutes! Carrots add natural sweetness and a pop of color, while chipotle peppers bring a touch of heat.
Author Minimalist Baker
White ceramic dish filled with homemade Blended Red Salsa beside tortilla chips, limes, and tomato
4.95 from 19 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 10 (1/4-cup servings)
Course Appetizer, Dip
Cuisine Gluten-Free, Mexican-Inspired, Vegan
Freezer Friendly 1 month
Does it keep? 7-10 Days


  • 1 Tbsp avocado or grape seed oil (or any neutral oil with a high smoke point)
  • 1/2 white onion (diced)
  • 3 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 cup diced carrots (or sub orange or yellow bell pepper!)
  • 1 pinch each salt + pepper (plus more to taste)
  • 1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes (no salt added)
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 small chipotle pepper in adobo sauce (add 1/2 tsp adobo sauce for more heat!)*
  • 1/3 cup vegetable broth (or water)
  • 1-2 Tbsp sweetener of choice (optional // coconut sugar or maple syrup)
  • 1 small lime, juiced


  • Heat a large skillet (cast iron is preferable) over medium heat and prep onion, garlic and carrot.
  • Once hot, add oil, onion, garlic, and carrot and season with a healthy pinch each salt and pepper.
  • Stir to coat and cover – cook for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Remove cover and add diced tomatoes, cumin, chili powder and a healthy pinch more salt and pepper. Stir, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Transfer mixture to a food processor or high speed blender and add chipotle pepper, vegetable stock, sweetener, and lime juice. Blend until creamy and smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
  • Serve warm, at room temperature, or – as I prefer it – refrigerated. Keeps in the fridge for at least 7-10 days.


*Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce can be found in the Mexican sections of most grocery stores, and virtually all Mexican grocery stores. Look for a short can with a picture of dark red peppers!
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate.

Nutrition (1 of 10 servings)

Serving: 1 quarter-cup servings Calories: 25 Carbohydrates: 5.5 g Protein: 0.8 g Fat: 0.3 g Saturated Fat: 0 g Trans Fat: 0 g Cholesterol: 0 mg Sodium: 169 mg Fiber: 1.1 g Sugar: 3.3 g
Series of photos showing the steps for making our healthy vegan Blended Red Salsa

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Reader Interactions

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My Rating:

  1. Toni says

    I just made this! It is really pretty amazing!!

    I mixed it up as an ingredient for your Black Bean Soup recipe, where I will also totally leave a review, (yeah, 👍 5 stars there also!) but I was surprised by how simple and delicious it is just on chips! Mm.

    I left the sweetener out since I found that for my taste buds, it was perfect without it. Thx for this recipe!

  2. Kate says

    This is so good! I’m pretty sensitive to spice. I added half a chipotle, and it was still a little spicy for my palate, so next time I might just skip the chipotle altogether – the rest of the flavors are so bold and delicious that I doubt I’d even miss it! So tasty. Thanks for the recipe!

  3. B says

    So good! Love the history lessons as well! Very grateful for the nourishment and joy you’ve brought to my life over the many years I’ve been blessed.

    The Tortilla Soup I added the salsa to was also a winner indeed!

  4. Angie says

    I love this recipe! Looking to adapt for what I have in my CSA box. I was recently given some Buena Mulata peppers and was wondering if I could use those in place of the chipotle pepper? I was thinking I could dice those up and add to the initial saute of onions/carrots. Thoughts?

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Angie, we aren’t familiar with that variety of pepper, but it sounds like it might be more hot vs. smoky? It could still be delicious, but we’re thinking it might not have the same smoky taste. Let us know if you try it!

  5. Berenice Masciel says

    This is AWESOME !!! I used it alone with chips and also with the Chipotle Black Bean Tortilla soup and they together are OUT OF THIS WORLD. You can make this salsa as spicy or as mild as you want and it just taste delicious. My husband couldn’t stop eating chips with it. It’s so easy to make and the instructions are so easy to follow. This for sure will be part of my rotation. Thank you. Happy New Year 2021.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Whoop! We’re so glad you enjoyed both recipes, Berenice. Thanks so much for sharing and Happy New Year to you as well! xo

  6. Dee says

    I’ve made this twice before and I loved it but it just doesn’t have that kick I like. (I like my mouth to burn!)

    Adding extra chipotles didn’t work for me so I toasted 2 guajillo chills and 5 chili de arbols at 350F for 8 mins and added them to the pan at the same time as the tomatoes.

    Holy, cow! It was so freaking spicy and so freaking good. Thank you for the inspiration, Dana!

  7. Lauren says

    Step #4 says 2-3 min….should it be 20 min? Trying to find the cooking time, but I might be missing it! Thanks for your recipes, I love them!

  8. Jodie says

    This recipe is AWESOME. It says use 1-2 Tbs of coconut sugar; first time I made it I used 1 1/2 and it was almost too much so I’d go with one. The second time I made it I ran out of carrots and subbed in orange bell pepper as suggested for a third of the carrots. This made it SUPER watery so if you use peppers I’d cut down the broth or drain the tomatoes to balance. Overall the best salsa recipe I’ve ever tried.

  9. Michelle says

    This was delicious! I love that carrots are added – bonus nutrition! It’s a bit spicy and salty and just perfect. Will be making this again!

  10. Miranda Siedelmann says

    This is the fifth or so time I’ve made this salsa and it gets tastier every time. I’ve even used it in Dana’s tortilla soup. My whole family loves it as well, and my mom comes downstairs whenever I cook it bc it smells so good! Thanks Dana!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Thanks so much for the lovely review, Miranda! We are so glad you and your family enjoy these recipes! Next time, would you mind leaving a rating with your review? It’s super helpful for us and other readers. Thanks so much! xo

      • Meredith says

        I made this salsa for the purpose of using it in Dana’s black bean tortilla soup the other day. J taste tested it and loved the smokey flavor! I only used 1 TBSP of sweetener (maple syrup) and it was perfect! My hubby isn’t a huge fan of tomato based soups, but he really loved the black bean tortilla soup! It definitely gave the dish more depth and complex flavor. He had it for leftovers the next day and said it tasted even better and thought the smokey flavor was more prevalent. We will for certain make this again!

  11. Jacky Cisneros says

    I love this salsa so much!! serve it as a good dip. There’s just a problem with your pages when I try to print, its different than how it was before.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Jacky! This should be fixed soon, thanks for reaching out and stay tuned.

  12. Cas says

    Just found this recipe and can’t wait to try it with the black bean tortilla soup. I think I will make a double batch as one of your readers did so we can have extra yumminess!!

  13. Margaret says

    I just moved to Mexico and made this at home. I used agave nectar as the sweetener and skipped the stock because the lime I used was super juicy. This is the best salsa I’ve ever had! Great recipe!

  14. Raissa says

    Wow ! Just in time as I thought I wanted to make my own salsa ! I’ve just made it with red peppers and cilantro. One word …. delicious !!!!!! Thank you for the recipe. Keep that cooking juice flowing :-)

  15. Cassandra says

    I made this salsa today because it was recommended for the Black Bean Tortilla Soup recipe (also on this site). I was a little leery because I tend to be a salsa-snob/salsa-addict and I have never been able to find a chipotle salsa that I loved. I also was unsure about the carrots! Anyway, I followed the recipe exactly and it was SUPER easy to make! I decided to make a double batch so that I had enough for the soup and plenty left over for the hubby and I to snack on…. And I am so happy I did! This salsa is so freaking DELICIOUS! It’s absolute perfection! …And now I am beyond excited to try the soup that’s simmering on the stove!

  16. MDSK says

    Yum yum yum yum . It’s finger licking good . Thank you . Will bookmark your site and visit for more such recipes, especially vegetarian .

  17. Rachel says


    Do you reckon this would freeze? It sounds amazing, but I generally only have time to work once every few weeks and then eat out of the freezer (sad me).

  18. Smanders says

    Made this last night to go in your black bean tortilla soup…. The verdict? Nothing short of Amazing!! I loved the addition of carrots… Delicious and budget friendly – win win! My partner tried and looked at me and almost incredously said” You made that?” ( ahem)
    Thank you thank you!

  19. Joe says

    Hey Dana! Is Cha Cha Cha your go-to spot for chips + salsa and margaritas in Portland? Any other recs for Mexican food?

    Love the recipes and photography!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      It is! Either that or Por Que No. We’re publishing a Portland food/activity guide soon, so stay tuned!

  20. SB_London says

    I would never have thought to put carrots in but I suppose they add some sweetness to counter the heat.

    By the way can you recommend a recipe for making your own tortilla chips from cornmeal/polenta? I found some ready made tortilla chips from a supermarket that have just cornmeal/maize, oil and salt as the ingredients. I’ve tried to make some myself and played around with proportions but I don’t really know what I’m doing.

    Thanks in advance!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      I’ve never tried making my own chips from polenta! Sorry I can’t recommend anything!

  21. Ana @ Ana's Rocket Ship says

    Am I allowed to make this salsa and put it on a spoon- and then put that spoon straight into my mouth?

  22. CJ says

    I just made this tonight for supper (served it warm because couldn’t wait for it to chill) and it was AMAZING! Thanks for this :)

  23. krystal says

    This salsa is delicious and just the right level of spicy. I did a mix of red bell peppers and carrots which I found meant I didn’t really need to add much coconut sugar.

    Blended salsa, always > chunky. I think this would make a a great enchilada sauce as well.

  24. Nicholas Naclerio says

    Hey Dana! What type of food processor do you have? I’m trying to find a good one that is reliable and doesn’t take 30 minutes to make one nut butter! Thanks.

  25. Jennifer Harmon {Peppers and Peaches} says

    There is no such thing as too much Mexican. It actually made me feel normal reading through this post and the comments. Apparently, I am not alone in my undying love for salsa, margaritas, and all things corn based. And beans, tomatoes…you see where I’m going with this. Anyways…THIS salsa recipe looks spot on. Love the use of carrots, they are not my favorite of all the veggies (I LIKE them but don’t LOVE them) so I try to find different ways to throw them into recipes. This one is a winner!

  26. Katie says

    This was delicious. I only had whole peeled tomatoes (I smooshed them up a bit in the skillet with my spatula) but it didn’t matter since it’s all going in the blender.

    It was a bit touch and go trying to get the mixture from the cast iron skillet to the blender without making a massive mess (gym time, I guess…) but things came out great.

  27. wendy says

    I made this last night for part of my nacho dinner. it was very good. my boyfriend and his friend agreed. the only addition I made was 2 tablespoons of toasted pumpkin seeds. thanks for another great recipe. I plan on making banana nut pancakes for breakfast tomorrow! I can’t wait.

  28. Monica says

    This looks fantastic!! I seriously love all of your recipes and none of them have failed me! Thank you for sharing your amazing recipes!

    On a side note, those look like Juanita’s chips!! YUM!

  29. Karen says

    Very tasty, in spite of an unexpected variation. I discovered too late that my small can of sliced tomatoes was actually a small can of sliced beets. (oops!). I was too far along in the process, so beets were substituted for tomatoes. I added a little balsamic vinegar to add some acid (in lieu of my missing tomatoes). The salsa turned out delicious – it makes a perfect compliment for my meatless hamburgers. Am looking forward to trying the recipe with tomatoes next time!

  30. Mel @ The Refreshanista says

    Ohhh! I love chipotle peppers, they add such a delicious smoky flavour :) can’t wait to try this salsa!

  31. Sarah | Broma Bakery says

    OK, story of my life. I’m in the kitchen all afternoon and by dinner time, I’m exhausted and just want Chipotle. I’ve heard from so many chefs that this happens regularly in the food world. So weird, isn’t it? Then again, if I was in the kitchen making this all afternoon, I’d probably ruin my appetite for dinner anyways :)

  32. Alexa [] says

    Ha! This TOTALLY sounds like my roommate and me. We’re obsessed with Mexican food; in fact, we went an entire week by just eating Mexican food for dinner…best week ever.
    Our favorite Mexican restaurant in Pittsburgh, Verde, serves a kick-butt chipotle salsa that we just adore. I definitely want to try this recipe and see if it’s similar in flavor! Pinned!

    • Tom ~ Raise Your Garden says

      This is the first blended salsa I’ve seen in a long, long time. The color is eye-popping red. Like the diced carrots in here and am considering just added a little orange and yellow pepper as well? Going to the local Mexican Restaurant is one of our favorite pastimes. The decor in there alone is worth it. They have these shoes straight from Mexico (souvenir) that are like 10 feet long. And we laugh every. time. we. see. them!