Xnipec is a HOT Habanero Salsa recipe that's popular in Yucatán, Mexico. It's made with classic salsa ingredients of tomatoes, onion and cilantro along with super hot habanero peppers for a pico de gallo-style dip that’s made for those who can handle the heat!
Every once in a while, I enjoy some really spicy food. Like, super spicy.
This easy Habanero Salsa checks all the boxes delivering heat and flavor all in one bite.
It’s great for dipping chips and vegetables or even as a great topping on any type of protein or spooning onto tacos.
Non-spice lovers beware as this salsa isn’t made for those who can’t take the heat.
Originating from Yucatán, the name Xnipec translates to dog’s nose in Mayan which implies you’ll sweat like a dog's nose when you eat it!
And trust me, you will. It's hot, but has that wonderful tropical heat of habaneros so it's an addictive salsa.
After that initial mouth burn you just want more and more!
What is Xnipec?
Xnipec (also known as Xni Pec or Xni-pec) is a salsa popular in Yucatan, Mexico. It's made with tomatoes, onion, fresh habanero peppers, cilantro and orange juice soured with lime. It's very hot and is nicknamed Dog's Nose Salsa because eating it will make you sweat like a dog's nose!
Xni Pec is pronounced: shnee-peck.
The word xnipec translates to dog's nose or dog's snout.
Why You'll Love This Recipe
Xnipec (or Xni Pec) Habanero Salsa is made from simple ingredients that are budget friendly and can be found at any grocery store.
Making it from scratch is a great way to keep the ingredients healthy and fresh.
Xnipec is perfect for Cinco de Mayo parties.
It makes the perfect gift when jarred up to your friends and family that love spicy foods.
The longer it sits, the better the flavor which makes it a great salsa to make ahead of time.
It’s not just for chips! It can be used on your favorite mexican dishes like tacos or burritos as a spicy topping.
Whip up a batch of Xnipec the day before, then bring it to a tailgate, Super Bowl party, picnic or cookout.
Ingredients & Tools
- Habanero Chili Peppers - These spicy peppers are small and orange ore red and can be found in the produce section. Even though they are small, they definitely pack a punch! You can substitute Scotch Bonnet for habaneros.
- Ripe Tomatoes - You’ll need some fresh ripe tomatoes to make this classic salsa.
- Red Onion - This onion is used in salsa because it’s a bit more mild and adds a nice purple color contrast.
- Chopped Cilantro - Adds a fresh herb flavor and taste and brightens the habanero salsa.
- Lime Juice & Orange Juice - These 2 citrus juices add acidity and help balance out the extra spicy flavor of the habanero peppers.
- Salt - A pinch of salt before serving adds a great layer of flavor and garnish.
Step By Step Tutorial
Follow this step-by-step photo tutorial, then scroll down to the recipe card for the full ingredients list and method.
Dice the tomatoes and onions, then chop the cilantro (coriander).
Halve the habaneros, remove the stem, pith/veins and seeds, and dice them finely.
Stir the orange juice and lime juice together.
Add the onion, tomatoes, cilantro and habaneros to a bowl and mix well.
Stir in the dressing and mix well.
Let the Xnipec stand for at least ½ hour for the flavors to combine. Season with a little salt just before serving.
If you have sensitive skin or any cuts on your hands, it’s important that you use disposable gloves to cut the peppers as they can give off a painful burn. And
To make it easier to extract the lime juice, microwave them for 15 seconds or roll them firmly on the counter to soften them before juicing.
When making salsa, it’s important to let the ingredients sit together for at least 30 minutes as the moisture begins to release from the vegetables and blend together for flavor.
Don’t skip the citrus! The lime and orange juices help balance out all the flavors in the salsa making it well-rounded, and classic Yucatan Xnipec Salsa.
There are so many ways to use Xnipec! We tend to scoop it up with salty tortilla chips or some carrot sticks, but it's also great with these:
Use it to top these Mini Lentil Tacos.
Toast up a batch of Naan Bread and use it for dipping.
Drizzle it on to Mexican Street Corn for a spicy kick.
Serve it alongside these Mexican Tortilla Bowls.
Use it as part of a Mexican feast, and don't forget the Xocolatl - Aztec Hot Chocolate.
Instead of orange juice, try grapefruit juice to change it up and add a tart flavor.
Try it with sour orange juice and omit the lime juice.
You can also use scotch bonnet peppers instead of habanero, or a mix of both!
To make a hearty salsa, add in some corn or black beans for a great texture and flavor.
Balance out the heat by adding freshly diced pineapple to make it a Xnipec Pineapple Habanero Salsa.
Make it a Mango Habanero Salsa by adding chopped fresh mangoes.
To Make Gluten Free: The ingredients in this recipe are gluten free as written.
To Make It Vegan: This salsa contains 100% vegan ingredients.
Storing: Homemade Xnipec can be stored in an airtight container or sealed bag in the fridge for 4-5 days.
Freezing: The nature of the vegetables do not hold up well in the freezer, therefore freezing is not recommended.
Yes! In fact, they’ve been measured to be 100 times hotter than jalapeno peppers.
Yes, you can. This recipe is made with raw habanero pepper though they can also be stewed, fried and pickled for more of a mild flavor.
To cool down, grab a drink that contains dairy, some carbs like rice or drink something acidic like lemonade.
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Xnipec Habanero Salsa
- 3 habanero peppers
- 2 large ripe tomatoes diced
- 1 red onion finely diced
- 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro coriander
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- 2 tablespoons orange juice
- Pinch of salt to serve
- Halve the habaneros, remove the stem, pith/veins and seeds, and dice them finely (be careful and use disposable gloves if your hands are sensitive), then add to a mixing bowl.
- Add the tomatoes, onion, cilantro, lime juice and orange juice to the bowl and mix well.
- Tip: to make it easier to extract the lime juice, microwave them for 15 seconds or roll them firmly on the counter to soften them.
- Let the Xnipec stand for at least ½ hour or overnight for the flavors to combine. Season with a little salt just before serving.
The nutritional information provided is approximate and can vary depending on several factors, so is not guaranteed to be accurate. Please see a registered dietician for special diet advice.