Canarian Mojo Picón

In the Canary Islands, this is the secret sauce.

Mojo Picon sauce
There are as many varieties of mojo as there are households on the Canary Islands, but they all start with the same base made from the chili peppers that grow wild in the region. Monica R. Goya

Picón peppers are medium-hot, thin-fleshed chiles grown all over the Canary Islands. If you can’t track them down, use red jalapeños or Fresno chiles instead.


Canarian Mojo Picón
In the Canary Islands, savory, oil-based sauces known as "mojos" are an essential part of the cuisine. This fiery version, made from fresh and dried red chiles, is king.
Yield: makes About 1 cup
Time: 10 minutes


  • 5 picón peppers, stemmed, seeded, and coarsely chopped
  • 1 dried cayenne chile, or ¼-½ tsp. ground cayenne pepper
  • 7 medium garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced (about 2 Tbsp.)
  • 1¼ tsp. kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 tsp. cumin seed
  • 12 tsp. sweet smoked Spanish paprik
  • 2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • 1 cup sunflower oil


  1. Using a mortar and pestle or a small food processor, grind the picón peppers, cayenne chile, garlic, salt, and cumin to a fine paste. Add the paprika, and continue grinding until smooth and integrated. Transfer to a medium bowl and stir in the vinegar, then drizzle in the oil, a little at a time, as you blend the sauce. Season to taste with additional salt, then transfer the sauce to an airtight container and refrigerate for at least 3 hours and up to 3 days.