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You’re really going to enjoy this smoky, chunky, and spicy salsa ranchera recipe. Made with roasted tomatoes, serrano chiles, onions, and garlic, this sauce is a delicious topping for tofu scrambles, tamales, burritos, and so much more.

Let’s do this!

Salsa Ranchera in a Bowl With Tortilla Chips
Salsa ranchera goes well with so many foods

📖 About

Salsa ranchera is quick to make and utilizes simple ingredients to create a delicious sauce. It’s great to pair with tortilla chips, add to tacos, or serve on quesadillas.

What is salsa ranchera?

Many North Americans and Europeans know salsa as a red-colored condiment that typically comes in a jar.

But here in Mexico, there are many varieties of salsa ranging from smooth salsa taquera, chunky salsa fresca, fruit-based salsa, and green tomato salsa (and that’s just scratching the surface).

Salsa ranchera is made from Roma tomatoes, green chiles, onions, garlic, and cilantro. It’s actually very similar to a classic salsa roja with a few key differences.

To start, salsa ranchera is always roasted. It’s also commonly mixed with Worcestershire sauce, making it smoky with hints of umami flavor.


Although the origins are vague, salsa can at least be traced back hundreds of years to pre-hispanic times.

Whether it was the Mayans, Incas, or Aztecs who came up with the first recipe, they all had some variation of tomatoes, chiles, and vegetables crushed up together.

This sauce would typically be served over different dishes like meat, seafood, and tortillas.

The word “salsa” didn’t come into the picture until Alonso de Molina used the term in the 1500s. Now, salsa has become an incredibly popular condiment enjoyed all across the globe.


We encourage you to wait at least 3-4 hours (or overnight if possible) to let the flavors meld together for the ultimate experience.

But if you have little time to waste, salsa ranchera is also great to eat immediately with recipes like:

Honestly, salsa ranchera goes well with anything though. Let us know your favorite meals and snacks to pair this sauce with!

Tomatoes, Cilantro, Onions, Garlic, Tamari, and Serrano
A simple salsa made from simple ingredients

🍲 Key ingredients

For a complete ingredient list and step-by-step guide, scroll down to our recipe card.

Roma tomatoes

Taste: a salsa ranchera wouldn’t be a salsa ranchera without tangy, acidic, and juicyu Roma tomatoes. Once roasted, they provide a rich, smoky, and hearty flavor to this salsa.

Health: tomatoes are great sources of vitamin C, K, potassium, and folate. But we’d really like to share some facts about lycopene — an antioxidant found in tomatoes. This powerful compound has been linked to a lower risk of diseases such as cancer and heart disease.


Taste: pungent, zesty, and slightly sweet (especially when roasted), white onion is crucial for a tasty salsa ranchera. We sauté ours with garlic and skip the blending to keep just enough texture in this salsa.

Health: surprisingly, onions contain loads of antioxidants that promote heart health. How? By reducing inflammation, decreasing bad cholesterol, and lowering triglycerides.

Salsa Ranchera with Tortilla Chips
Enjoy the health benefits of eating homemade salsa

Serrano chiles

Taste: with a very bright, fresh flavor, serrano chiles can pack some pretty serious heat as well. Serranos are almost 10x hotter than jalapeños! But once roasted, they become smoky, slightly sweet, and tamed down.

Health: green chiles like serranos and jalapeños are low in calories, but they also have many health benefits. For instance, spicy green chiles are high in vitamin B6 and C, which keep your skin looking young and healthy.

Worcestershire sauce

Taste: a common ingredient used in salsa ranchera is Worcestershire sauce for its savoury, umami flavor. In Mexico, it’s called salsa inglesa. In both cases, this sauce is not vegan. Replace it with vegan Worcestershire or tamari to emulate similar flavors.

Fun fact: many people make the mistake of thinking Worcestershire sauce is vegan, but it actually contains anchovies. Make sure you always read the ingredient list!

Roasted Tomatoes and Serranos in a Cast-Iron Skillet
Roast the tomatoes and chiles

🔪 Instructions

If you have questions about this salsa ranchera recipe, don’t forget to check out our FAQ section at the bottom of this post.

Step 1: pan roast the Roma tomatoes and serranos in a cast-iron skillet until the skins are blackened and the insides are soft.

Sautéed Onion and Garlic in a Cast-Iron Skillet
Sauté the onions and garlic

Step 2: sauté the onions and garlic in a little olive oil until translucent and fragrant. Remove from heat.

Tomatoes and Serranos in a Blender
Add the chiles and tomatoes to a blender

Step 3: de-stem the roasted serranos, and add them to a blender or food processor with tomatoes and Worcestershire sauce. Pulse until the consistency is slightly chunky.

Pulsed Tomatoes and Chiles in a Blender
Pulse the tomatoes and chiles, but keep some small chunks

Step 4: season the salsa in a saucepan with a little more olive oil until it’s thickened to your liking. With a few minutes left, add the garlic and onions.

Salsa Ranchera in a Saucepan
Simmer the salsa, then add minced cilantro

Step 5: stir in the minced cilantro, then taste it and season with salt to taste. Enjoy your salsa immediately while warm, or let it chill for a few hours in your fridge. Happy eating!

🌡️ Storage

You won’t catch our fridge without a container full of salsa ranchera. Follow these tips so you can always keep some on hand too!


This red salsa lasts for about a week in the fridge. We like to keep it in airtight glass containers so there’s less flavor leakage.


Fortunately for you, salsa ranchera also keeps in the freezer for up to 6 months. Allow it to cool, then transfer it to a freezer-safe container or bag before freezing it.

Hand Dipping Tortilla Chip in Salsa Ranchera
You are going to love this salsa!

💭 Pro tips

We’d like to share some tips and tricks we learned while experimenting with this salsa ranchera recipe:

  • Make it extra spicy. If you’re a spice junky, try adding habanero in place of serrano (or use both).
  • Change the consistency. If you don’t want your salsa to be chunky, throw everything in your blender and mix until smooth.
  • Add more flavor. Try adding in cumin or Mexican oregano to give this salsa even more layers.
  • Skip the Worcestershire sauce. If you don’t have any or don’t like it, then skip the sauce. It’s not 100% necessary!
  • Add a little tang. Try adding a squeeze of lime or apple cider vinegar after you finish seasoning this salsa for a zesty variation.

🍴 Tasting notes

You will seriously love how easy and delicious this recipe is. It’s:

  • Chunky
  • Spicy
  • Smoky
  • Flavorful
  • Versatile

If you try this salsa ranchera, please rate it and leave us a comment below! Want to stay up-to-date with new recipes? Subscribe to our newsletter or connect with Broke Bank Vegan on social media. Happy eating!

Hand Dipping Tortilla Chip in Salsa Ranchera

Salsa Ranchera

Mitch and Justine
Roasted tomatoes, serrano chiles, onions, and garlic make up the base of this salsa ranchera. You'll end up with a smoky, chunky, and spicy, salsa perfect for chips, tacos, burritos, and more.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Course Dips, Sauce
Cuisine Gluten-Free, Mexican, Vegan
Servings 14 servings
Calories 16 kcal


  • Knife & cutting board
  • Cast-iron skillet
  • Saucepan
  • Blender or food processor


  • 5 Roma tomatoes ($0.79)
  • 2-3 serranos ($0.06)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil ($0.11)
  • ½ white onion, diced ($0.12)
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced ($0.08)
  • ½ teaspoon vegan Worcestershire sauce ($0.08)
  • ¼ cup cilantro, minced ($0.06)
  • Salt to taste ($0.01)


  • Preheat a cast-iron skillet over medium. Once hot, pan roast the whole tomatoes and serranos for 5 minutes on the first side. Flip and cook for another 5 minutes, or until the skins are blackened and the insides are soft.
  • Heat ½ tablespoon olive oil in a separate skillet over medium. Add diced onion and sauté until translucent, about 2-3 minutes. Add the minced garlic and cook for another 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat.
  • De-stem the serranos, and add them to a blender or food processor with the tomatoes and Worcestershire sauce. Pulse until just combined (it should still be slightly chunky).
  • Heat the rest of the olive oil in a saucepan over medium. Pour the blended tomato mixture in and simmer for 12-15 minutes. With a few minutes left, add the garlic and onions.
  • Remove from heat and stir in the minced cilantro. Taste and season with salt to your liking. Enjoy your salsa immediately while warm, or let it chill for a few hours in the fridge. Happy eating!


YouTube video


  • If you don’t have Worcestershire sauce, replace it with soy sauce or tamari instead.
  • Optional ingredients are not reflected in the price or calories of our recipes.
  • We calculate nutritional information for our recipes with Cronometer.
  • Recipe cost calculations are based on ingredients local to us and may vary from recipe-to-recipe.
  • All prices are in USD.


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 16kcal | Carbohydrates: 1.4g | Protein: 0.3g | Fat: 1.1g | Saturated Fat: 0.2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.6g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.2g | Trans Fat: 0g | Cholesterol: 0mg | Sodium: 1.6mg | Potassium: 64mg | Fiber: 0.4g | Sugar: 0.8g | Vitamin A: 211.9IU | Vitamin C: 3.9mg | Calcium: 4.2mg | Iron: 0.1mg
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♻️ Similar recipes

For more tasty Mexican salsas, check out our:

  • Salsa taquera to see how much spice you can tolerate with this salsa made from a base of arbol chiles.
  • Salsa roja for a classic red table salsa that only uses 5 ingredients and is so easy to make.
  • Salsa verde for a tomatillo-based salsa that is spicy, zesty, and addicting.
  • Mango pico de gallo for creamy mangoes mixed with fresh, chunky vegetables. It’s a match made in heaven!


How spicy is salsa ranchera?

If you use 3 serranos as we do, it’s about a 6/10 on our very subjective spice scale. If you know you’re sensitive to heat, opt for jalapeños or use fewer chiles.

Is salsa ranchera vegan?

You may think salsa ranchera is vegan, but many recipes use Worcestershire sauce that contains anchovies. However, this recipe is vegan-friendly.

Do I have to season salsa ranchera?

While not 100% necessary, seasoning really helps deepen and round out the overall taste of this salsa.

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