Mango Habanero Salsa Recipe

A Pairing Made in Heaven: Mango Habanero Salsa Mango habanero salsa is a bit of an enigma. What does it pair with? Does the spiciness override the flavor? Questions aside, if you are a salsa lover, you are going to want to try it. Easy to make and diverse in its pairings, mango habanero salsa is a delight for eaters who enjoy a walk on the wild (read: hot) side.

Whether you are making Mexican rice, a simple meat dish, or scooping it up with your favorite tortilla chips, it pairs nicely with just about anything. It is also super easy to make.

Who puts fruit with spicy peppers?

Fruit salsa is a relative newcomer to the food game. But the spicy habanero peppers mixed with sweet flavors creates a perfect combination. Celebrity chefs from Gordon Ramsay to Bobby Flay have it as a mainstay in their restaurants.

Too hot for you?

For some, even the thought of a mango habanero salsa may be a bit intimidating. However, you just might find this highly spicy and intensely sweet mixture addictive. If you are worried about trying it, remember that this recipe can be modified using jalapeno peppers instead of habaneros. For reference, habaneros rate between 100,000 and 350,000 on the Scoville Scale, while a jalapeno ranges from 4,000 to 8,500. In other words, a habanero is roughly 140 times spicier than a jalapeno.

The ingredients below should be available at your local grocery store. Use fresh ingredients for the best results.

Necessary Ingredients

  • 2 cups of ripe mangoes (not too overripe or soft), diced small into 1/4 inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup of red onion, diced small (or yellow or white onion for less acidity)
  • 1/2 cup of fresh cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1-2 habanero peppers, diced small
  • 2-4 tablespoons of fresh lime juice
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Optional Ingredients

  • 1 cup of red bell pepper, diced medium to small, though any bell peppers with some sweetness will do
  • 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 cup of fresh pineapple, diced small
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, diced small (if you are not using habaneros) or serrano peppers if you want a little more kick
  • a dash of ground cumin

Safety Precautions

1. Make sure you wear gloves when handling hot peppers. Put on two pairs of latex or one pair of heavy kitchen gloves. For latex, use two gloves for each hand. This will partially shield your skin from the capsaicin. If you start to feel tingling in your hands, replace the gloves with new ones.
2. If you do get habanero on your bare hands, rub them thoroughly with lemon juice for 30 seconds then rinse them. This will keep you from getting pepper in your eyes if you touch your face.


1. Chop your ingredients (see above). Alternatively, you can use a food processor. If you want a chunky mango habanero salsa, use a low pulse setting. If you want more of a hot sauce consistency, use the puree option and blend away!
2. Put the diced mango, onion, habanero and cilantro in a large bowl.
3. Stir in salt, pepper, and lime juice. With the salt and pepper, start with a small pinch and taste. If you do not want the unadulterated spiciness, you can wait to add some or all of the habanero.

So, is mango habanero salsa spicy?

Yes, this salsa can be incredibly spicy. If you don’t want a super spicy dish, adjust your ratios by adding more mango. Food scientists have shown that sweetness helps counteract the burn of spicy flavors. To take the spiciness down a few notches, you can use fewer habaneros, or you can take out most or all of the seeds, pith (the whitish part that holds the seeds), and ribs (the light, raised area on the inside of the pepper). This will cut down on the heat, since the chemical that creates that spicy burn (capsaicin) is contained mainly in the pith and rib of the pepper, which transfer capsaicin to the surface of seeds through physical contact.

The reason you do not want an overly ripe mango is they get soft as they age. For an excellent texture of salsa, go with ripe but fairly firm.

What do you eat with habanero salsa?

Of the many options, fish is the star character in this pairing. Some of the lighter-tasty (less fishy) fish definitely benefit. Salmon, mahi-mahi, whitefish, and tilapia are each delicious with this condiment. If you want to riff on a traditional Mexican dish, consider fish tacos topped with this spicy salsa.

How do you char habanero?
Because the smoke and steam from cooking will release eye-watering capsaicin into the air around you, it is best to char them on a grill outdoors. Otherwise, a couple of careful minutes in an oven on broil will work. Turn on your exhaust fan, though.

What flavor is mango habanero?
Habaneros provide a sweet heat, which makes mango a great partner. Many chefs have noted that the spiciness tends to “sneak up” on you. So, start small and enjoy!

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