How to make Tamarillo Salsa in Molcajete

A Journey from Tree to Table
7 January 2024
Rating: 5.00

Forget the usual tomato salsa! This recipe embarks on a vibrant path, using freshly picked tamarillos (tree tomatoes) for a unique and smoky dip. 

For this recipe, I embraced the traditional Mexican molcajete – a mortar and pestle that adds a touch of rustic charm. After charring the ingredients for an extra layer of smoky depth, I crushed them into the molcajete, creating a chunky, flavorful salsa perfect for scooping up with warm pita chips.

Trust me, this tamarillo salsa is a sensory adventure you won’t want to miss!

Check out my other tamarillo creations, like the delectable Tamarillo almond cake, or Tamarillo salsa for even more ways to savor this sunshine fruit.

And if you’re curious about growing your own Tamarillos, head over to my post and discover the magic of transforming seeds into juicy fruits!

Q & A

Q: What is a tamarillo (tree tomato)?

A: Tamarillos, also known as tree tomatoes, are exotic egg-shaped fruits with a vibrant orange or red skin and a tangy, sweet-tart flavor. They grow on small trees native to the Andes mountains in South America.

Q: Can I use regular tomatoes instead of tamarillos in this recipe?

A: Yes, you can substitute regular tomatoes for tamarillos, but the flavor profile will be different. Tomatos offer a sweeter, less complex taste compared to the tangy and fruity notes of tamarillos. So, while your salsa will still be delicious, it’ll lack that unique tamarillo magic.

Q: What’s a molcajete, and can I use a regular pestle instead?

A: A molcajete is a traditional Mexican mortar and pestle made from volcanic rock. It adds a unique texture and earthy flavor to ingredients crushed within its rough surface. You can definitely use a regular pestle and mortar, but you might miss out on the charming authenticity and subtle flavor the molcajete brings.

Q: Do I need to char the ingredients?

Charring adds a smoky depth and complexity to the flavors. It’s optional, but highly recommended for an extra punch of deliciousness.

Q: How can I adjust the spiciness of the salsa?

The amount of jalapenos or chili peppers you use controls the heat. Start with less and add more to taste, ensuring the other flavors shine through.

Q: What else can I serve with this salsa besides pita chips?

Get creative! Try it with grilled fish or chicken, tacos, veggie burgers, scrambled eggs, or even as a topping on salads or soups.

Q: Where can I find tamarillos?

Look for them in specialty grocery stores or online retailers. If you’re lucky, you might even find them at some farmers’ markets during the late summer and fall months.

Q: Can I grow my own tamarillos?

Absolutely! Check out my post on the magic of transforming seeds into juicy fruits. You’ll learn everything you need to know about cultivating your own tamarillo tree and enjoying fresh salsa straight from your backyard.

I hope these answers help you explore the exciting world of tamarillo salsa! Don’t hesitate to ask if you have any other questions or want to share your own tamarillo culinary adventures.

Ingredients for making Tamarillo Salsa in Molcajete

How to make Tamarillo Salsa in Molcajete

5 from 1 vote
This tamarillo salsa ditches the usual red for vibrant, smoky tree tomatoes, crushed in a traditional molcajete for an earthy, fiery dip. Charred onions, jalapeños, and fresh cilantro add depth and zest, perfect for dipping with toasted pita bread or chips.
Servings 2
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes



  • 6-7 tamarillos tree tomatoes
  • 2-3 garlic cloves
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 fresh jalapeño
  • 1 juicy lime or lemon
  • Fresh cilantro
  • Sea salt
  • Olive oil optional


  • Embrace the char: Slice the tamarillos in half and coarsely chop the onion and jalapeño. Toss them with the garlic cloves in a dry pan and cook for 5-7 minutes, letting them char until 60-70% blackened. Stir occasionally to ensure even charring.
  • Unleash the molcajete’s magic: Transfer the charred ingredients to your molcajete. Peel the blackened skin off the tamarillos and then start pounding! Crush everything together, releasing the vibrant flavors and juices with each satisfying thud.
  • Infuse with freshness: Once things are nicely pulverized, stir in the chopped cilantro and squeeze in the lime or lemon juice. Add generous pinches of sea salt to taste. For an extra touch, drizzle in some olive oil for a smoother texture.
  • Dive into the fiery paradise: Grab your favorite toasted pita bread or chips and scoop up this smoky, tangy concoction. Remember, the jalapeño packs a punch, so adjust the amount to suit your spice tolerance.



  • Spice it up, tone it down: For a milder salsa, remove the seeds from the jalapeño before charring. Want it extra fiery? Leave the seeds in or even add a pinch of chili flakes.
  • Go for the ripe ones: Choose ripe tamarillos with soft skin for the sweetest and juiciest salsa.
  • Get creative: Don’t be afraid to experiment! Add other ingredients like chopped avocado, bell peppers, or even mango for a twist on the classic recipe.
  • Embrace the tradition: The molcajete adds a unique earthy flavor to the salsa. If you don’t have one, a mortar and pestle or even a food processor can work in a pinch.
  • Your feedback and comments are invaluable, helping my page thrive. Stay tuned for more exciting recipes and gardening adventures. Happy cooking and gardening!
Author: Marzi
Course: Appetizer, Condiment
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: Charred salsa, Salsa, Tamarillo salsa, Tree tomato

Did you make this recipe?

Please let me know how it turned out for you! Leave a comment below and tag at @marzisgarden on Instagram and hashtag it #Marzis Garden

As an Amazon influencer, I earn a commission through product links at no extra cost to you—your support is appreciated!

Join the Conversation

  1. Roxie Spencer says:

    5 stars
    If I could give this ten stars I would. So delicious, so spicy! Will definitely add this to my recipe book.

    1. Alex Misty says:

      Thanks so much for making this recipe!

  2. loved this vegetarian appetizer and I appreciate the simple recipe.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating

Copyright © 2023 Marzi's Garden.
Popular Search:

Order my Passion Fruit Recipe Book here