About the Árbol Chili

Is it sweet, fruity, smoky, or earthy? Many people think of chilies as having one simple purpose – adding heat. So does it really matter which chili you choose for your dish? The answer is – yes! Chilies are not only valuable for adding heat; they are also great for adding tons of flavor to a dish. Continue to read to learn more about what makes the Árbol Chili a unique chili.

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About the Árbol Chili

About the Árbol Chili

The Árbol chili or "Chile de Árbol" literally translates to “Tree Chili”. It is grown many places around the world now, but it is endemic to the Los Altos region of Jalisco, Mexico. The combination of the soil, altitude, and climate of the region makes the Árbol from this region quite fiery and delicious.

Árbol chilies are widely used for their sharp acidic heat rounded out by natural almost nutty side notes. The árbol chili is quite hot compared to many other chilies, registering 30,000 to 50,000 on the Scoville scale, much like the Cayenne pepper. The drying process really enhances the secondary flavors, adding a complexity not often found in spicy chilies.

Árbol chilies are called the same whether fresh or dry, in contrast to many other Mexican chilies, although they are also known by a less charming name: the Rat’s tail. Its size might provide a hint as to why, given its length of 5-8 cm and a slim, curved, and bright red appearance.

The peppers start out green and turn a bright red color as they mature. Even when dried, the árbol chili maintains it's bright red shade, which is why they are also often used as "ristas" - a decorative wreath made from dried chilies, which is hanged outside of a persons' house to bring good health and luck to those who come in.

Besides their ornamental value, these chilies are heavily featured in many kinds of table salsas, often becoming the centerpiece (for example as the mouthwatering Salsa Macha), but are also used in soups and marinades, and it can even act confidently as the base for a homemade hot sauce.

If you handle this chili raw, be careful to not touch your face, and make sure to wash your hands thoroughly as the oils from this chili can hard to remove.


  • Flavor: Sharp heat with a kick. Earthy notes.
  • Color: Bright Crimson Red almost Orange
  • Heat: Medium to Spicy