Yucatán-Style Hot Dried-Chili Salsa (K'uut Bi Ik) Recipe

Photograph: J. Kenji López-Alt

Why This Recipe Works

  • Toasting the chilies in the microwave gives them more complex flavor, without requiring you to heat up the oven or use a hot skillet.
  • A combination of lime, orange, and grapefruit juice replaces bitter and aromatic Seville orange juice.

With minimal preparation, you can have an intensely smoky, fruity, fiery salsa on the table to heat up any taco night (or anything else you want spicier, really).

Recipe Details

Yucatán-Style Hot Dried-Chili Salsa (K'uut Bi Ik) Recipe

Active 5 mins
Total 20 mins
Serves 8 servings


  • 1 ounce dried chiles de árbol (30g; about 25 dried chiles) (see notes)

  • 1 ounce dried chiles pasillas (30g; 3 to 4 whole chiles) (see notes)

  • 1/4 cup fresh juice from 4 to 5 limes (2 ounces; 60ml) (see notes)

  • 1/4 cup fresh juice from 1 grapefruit (2 ounces; 60ml) (see notes)

  • 1/4 cup fresh juice from 1 orange (2 ounces; 60ml) (see notes)

  • Salt


  1. Use kitchen shears to trim stems from all chilies. Discard stems. Place chilies on a microwave-safe plate and microwave on high power until fragrant and pliable, about 20 seconds total, adding time in 5-second increments if chilies do not smell toasted after the initial 20.

  2. Combine chilies, lime juice, grapefruit juice, and orange juice in the jar of a blender with a small pinch of salt. Blend at high speed until smooth. Transfer to a bowl, let rest for 15 to 20 minutes, then stir in more salt to taste. Salsa can be stored in a sealed container in the refrigerator for several weeks.

Special equipment



This salsa is typically made with chiles país, which are not widely available outside of the Yucatán. I use a combination of chiles de árbol and chiles pasillas in their place. If you can find bitter oranges (Seville oranges), use 3/4 cup fresh bitter-orange juice in place of the lime, orange, and grapefruit juice combo.

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Nutrition Facts (per serving)
32 Calories
1g Fat
6g Carbs
1g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8
Amount per serving
Calories 32
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 1g 1%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 152mg 7%
Total Carbohydrate 6g 2%
Dietary Fiber 2g 7%
Total Sugars 2g
Protein 1g
Vitamin C 10mg 51%
Calcium 8mg 1%
Iron 1mg 3%
Potassium 181mg 4%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)