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Best Salsa Recipe

Are you ready for the best salsa recipe? Blended from a handful of easy ingredients, it’s sultry, slightly chunky and the perfect balance of tangy and spicy. Store-bought options are no match for this homemade version.

Salsa recipe in a bowl surrounded by chips, limes and cilantro.

No Mexican meal is complete without freshly made salsa. You can scoop it with tortilla chips, spoon it atop grilled carne asada, dollop it on taco salad, or drizzle it over carne asada tacos or carnitas tacos. It will enhance the flavors of just about anything.

But let me emphasize on the freshly made part. After making this recipe, I bet you’ll never buy store-bought versions again. Why? Because making it from scratch tastes so much fresher, and it only takes five minutes to make.

Homemade Salsa Recipe Video

This recipe comes together fast. Watch how I make it on the video below!

Canned Versus Fresh Tomatoes

The debate between using canned versus fresh tomatoes can go on forever. But in my opinion, I think using canned tomatoes is best for the perfect salsa.

Unlike pico de gallo, restaurant-style salsa has a much smoother consistency and finer texture. Canned tomatoes help with that.

Restaurant-style salsa also tends to have more depth of flavor, compared to pico de gallo. You can get this layered depth from fire-roasted canned tomatoes (my favorite), along with additional herbs, and seasonings.

If you decide to use just fresh tomatoes, I recommend roasting them. This will help add a rich, smoky flavor to salsa.

Salsa ingredients in a food processor.

Salsa Ingredients

You’ll need a few essential ingredients, including…

  • Canned Tomatoes – I prefer fire-roasted tomatoes for extra flavor, but regular canned tomatoes work too.
  • Cilantro – Grab a bundle and chop it up to add freshness.
  • Jalapeño or Serrano Pepper – You can use half or a full pepper, depending on how spicy you’d like your salsa.
  • Green Chilies – One small can boosts that delicious flavor complexity.
  • Onion – You can use a yellow or white onion.
  • Garlic – I’m using two cloves here, but feel free to add more.
  • Lime Juice – For extra zing and tanginess.
  • Salt – To help accentuate all the flavors.

Fresh salsa blended in a food processor.

How To Make Salsa

In just five minutes, you’ll have restaurant quality salsa ready to serve.

  1. Drain the tomato juice from the can (you don’t want super watery salsa).
  2. Add the onion, garlic, and jalapeño to the food processor first, to be finely chopped.
  3. Then, add the drained tomatoes, green chilies, cilantro, lime juice, and salt to the food processor.
  4. Pulse in one second increments, until the salsa is smooth but still a little chunky. If you prefer a more liquid texture, pulse more.
  5. Season to taste with additional salt, lime juice, or garlic.
  6. You’re ready to serve! Or store it in the fridge for later.

A tortilla chip scooping up salsa from a bowl.

Tips For The Perfect Salsa

  • Use a food processor. It’s best to use a food processor to create a smooth yet chunky texture, but you can also use a blender. Just make sure to pulse in short increments and scrape down the sides as you go.
  • Add ingredients in order. I suggest you add the garlic, jalapeño, and onion to the food processor first. Being closer to the blades, these ingredients will get more finely diced so that you won’t bite into any large chunks.
  • Change the spice level. To add more heat, keep some of the seeds in the pepper. For a more mild flavor, remove all the seeds or use only half of the pepper.
  • Add a hint of sweetness. While I don’t add sugar to my salsa, some prefer a small amount. You can always add 1/2 tablespoon of honey to balance out the tomatoes’ acidity.
  • Maximize the flavors. Let the salsa chill for at least an hour for a tastier, more refreshing salsa.

How Long Will This Keep?

This salsa will last for up to 5-7 days if stored in an airtight container in the fridge.

Can you freeze it? You sure can. Store it for up to one month in a freezer safe jar or heavy duty freezer bag. Just note that the flavors might not be as vibrant when thawed.

Two glass jars of salsa ready to be stored.

More Mexican Recipe Favorites

Need a few more ideas to get the party started? You can’t go wrong with these reader favorites.

Salsa recipe in a bowl next to chips, lime slices and cilantro.
5 from 12 votes

Best Salsa Recipe (Easy Restaurant-Style)

Prep Time: 5 mins
Total Time: 5 mins
Servings: 8 servings
Author: Lisa Bryan
Print Recipe Pin Recipe
This restaurant-style salsa is hands down the best salsa recipe. It's easy, takes just five minutes and loaded with flavor!

Ingredients

  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 yellow onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and roughly chopped
  • 2 14-ounce cans fire-roasted diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 4-ounce can green chilies
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, approx 1/2 a bunch
  • 1/2 lime , juiced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, to taste

Instructions

  • Add the onion, garlic and jalapeno to the food processor first. These ingredients will be chopped finer if they're on the bottom.
  • Then add the drained tomatoes, green chilies (no need to drain), cilantro, lime juice and salt.
  • Pulse in one second increments. Keep pulsing until the salsa is well-blended, but still a little chunky.
  • Season to taste with additional salt, or lime juice, if needed.
  • Serve the salsa immediately or store it for later.

Lisa's Tips

  • Makes approximately 4 cups of salsa, which is perfect for a party.
  • I store the leftover salsa in these glass jars.

Nutrition

Calories: 6kcal, Carbohydrates: 2g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 1g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Sodium: 147mg, Potassium: 15mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 86IU, Vitamin C: 4mg, Calcium: 4mg, Iron: 1mg
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: fresh salsa recipe, Mexican Salsa, restaurant style salsa, Salsa Recipe
©Downshiftology. Content and photographs are copyright protected. Sharing of this recipe is both encouraged and appreciated. Copying and/or pasting full recipes to any social media is strictly prohibited.
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29 comments on “Best Salsa Recipe”

  1. How much cilantro paste would you use in place of fresh cilantro?

    Thanks 
    Shirleen 

  2. Excellent recipe! I love how simple yet flavorful this salsa is. A couple extra notes:
    1. The fire roasted tomatoes I used didn’t have much extra juice in the can. I’m glad I thought to drain them over a small bowl, because I ended up adding some of the juice back in to get the perfect consistency.
    2. I used only 1/4 tsp of salt and I think that will be plenty for me. Different canned tomatoes (or beans, or whatever) will have different sodium levels, so just keep that in mind, start small and you can always add more if needed!
    3. After tasting the salsa I did also add about 1/2 tsp of cumin – not at all because it needed it but because I was feeling experimental lol. I think this recipe would lend itself well to whatever customization will suit your tastes, but is absolutely vibrant and flavorful just as written with nothing else added :)

  3. Has anyone tried making this in a Vitamix?  I’m afraid it will puree it too quickly.  Thanks!

    • Hi Tani – This will work better in a food processor. However you can try using a Vitamix and pulse in increments and scrape down the sides as you blend!

  4. This recipe is sooo good and took only 5 min with little clean up. Not sure I’ll go back to buying a jarred version again!

  5. Tonight I had friends with teenagers over so I went for a taco party in the garden with this delicious salsa. Literary done in 3 minutes and so tasty. And I have leftovers, so lucky me!

  6. Home-made salsa is the best for snacks at weekend! :)

  7. Amazing! I often make pico de gallo or use fresh tomatoes to make a salsa. It requires a lot of chopping 😔. Never ever had I thought of using canned fire roasted tomatoes to make my salsa, which I always keep on hand. This recipe is delicious and took me just a few minutes. I didn’t have green chilies in my pantry so I left it out and it was still A++ all around. Can’t wait to make this again with the green chilies.

    • Hi Nik- The canned tomatoes definitely add a delicious rich flavor to it! Can’t wait for you to try it with green chilies next time.

  8. I give this recipe 100/100 points!

  9. I also add 1-2 teaspoons of cumin. It adds to the depth of flavor

  10. Hi Lisa, tried your taco and salsa recipe! Thank you for a quick healthy recipe! The salsa is delicious!

  11. My husband and I love salsa! We can’t wait to give this recipe a try!

  12. It’s avocado season now so this salsa will be PERFECT for my next guac batch! It looks so wholesome, I love it! Thanks for sharing :D

  13. We’re trying it tonight! it already smells amazing!

  14. OMG I am drooling at the pictures! Salsa never looked so good. Yummm

  15. There is nothing better than fresh salsa and this one was so easy with some great tips!