Spicy Serrano Salsa

Looking to add some fire to your favorite foods? This Spicy Serrano Salsa has the perfect fresh flavor while packing some serious heat.

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Serrano peppers, limes, white onion, cilantro, olive oil, and salt

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My husband loves spicy food. On any given day we have no less than twelve hot sauces in our refrigerator. Every now and then I try my hand at creating the perfect salsa for him. The first time I made this Spicy Serrano Salsa he couldn’t stop raving, and honestly hasn’t stopped since.


  • Serrano peppers: these peppers can range from medium heat to spicy! They come in between jalapeños and cayenne peppers on the Scoville scale at 10,000 to 23,000 units. Reduce the heat a little by reducing half jalapeños and half serranos.
  • Roasted garlic: make the roasted garlic in advance to prep ahead. Roasting the garlic brings out a sweetness that is a nice balance for the heat.
  • White onion: other onions such as sweet onions, brown onions, or red onions can be used instead.
  • White vinegar: white wine vinegar or even apple cider can be used instead, but the flavor will change.
  • Water
  • Lime: you need both the fresh lime juice and zest. Do yourself a favor and zest before cutting and juicing!
  • Pinch of salt

How To Make Serrano Salsa

First things first, at any point after coming in contact with the serranos, make sure to wash your hands before touching anything! The oils can burn your skin, eyes, or other unmentionables.

Now that you’ve been cautioned, let’s get started! Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. While the oven is preheating, wash and dry your peppers and arrange them on a baking sheet covered in foil. Drizzle the serranos in olive oil and bake them in the oven for about 30 minutes.

Serrano peppers on a baking sheet drizzled with olive oil

You will want them to be slightly blackened and to look wilted or somewhat shriveled. Let the serranos rest at room temperature for about 15 minutes, or until they are cool enough to handle.

roasted serrano peppers

Gently peel the skin and stems off of the peppers. They should slough off easily, if they don’t you haven’t roasted them long enough. This salsa will be hot no matter what, but if you want it EXTREMELY hot leave the seeds in the peppers. If you want to take it down a notch remove the seeds along with the skin and stems.

Add the serranos to a mini food processor along with roasted garlic (you can use my recipe here), chopped white onion, vinegar, salt, water, lime juice and zest. I use a Microplane zester for the lime zest.

serrano peppers, roasted garlic, onions, vinegar, olive oil in a mini food processor

Blend all of the ingredients until the consistency is smooth. Now you’re ready to light your mouth on fire!

What Food Goes With Serrano Salsa?

This salsa would be excellent on pollo asado tacos, carnitas burritos, or on my Street Taco Pizza! I definitely suggest using it as a condiment on food, but if you’re a sucker for major heat, go ahead and enjoy it as a dip.

How Do I Store Serrano Salsa?

Store your salsa in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It should keep for one week.

spicy serrano salsa with chips
serrano salsa with chips

Spicy Serrano Salsa

Sarah Dougall Shorter
Looking to add some fire to your favorite foods? This Spicy Serrano Salsa has the perfect fresh flavor while packing some serious heat.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Course Condiment, Salsa
Cuisine Mexican
Calories 79 kcal


  • 8 Serrano Peppers
  • 5 Cloves Roasted Garlic
  • 1/4 C Chopped White Onion
  • 1 T White Vinegar
  • 2 T Water
  • 2 T Lime Juice (Fresh is best!)
  • Lime Zest
  • Pinch of Salt


  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Wash and dry peppers.
  • Arrange peppers on a cookie sheet covered in foil. Drizzle with olive oil.
  • Roast in oven for 30 minutes, until blackened.
  • Remove stems, skin, and seeds from the serranos. (Leave seeds for extra heat.)
  • Blend serranos, onions, garlic, vinegar, water, salt, lime juice and zest in a mini processor until smooth. Recipe makes approximately 1/2 cup of salsa.
  • Keep chilled in the refrigerator until ready to serve, up to one week.


**The oil from the peppers can burn your skin and eyes, use caution and wash your hands after handling peppers. 
Keyword easy, homemade, Salsa, Spicy

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