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.
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.
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.
How To Make Salsa
In just five minutes, you’ll have restaurant quality salsa ready to serve.
- Drain the tomato juice from the can (you don’t want super watery salsa).
- Add the onion, garlic, and jalapeño to the food processor first, to be finely chopped.
- Then, add the drained tomatoes, green chilies, cilantro, lime juice, and salt to the food processor.
- Pulse in one second increments, until the salsa is smooth but still a little chunky. If you prefer a more liquid texture, pulse more.
- Season to taste with additional salt, lime juice, or garlic.
- You’re ready to serve! Or store it in the fridge for later.
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.
More Mexican Recipe Favorites
Need a few more ideas to get the party started? You can’t go wrong with these reader favorites.
- Best Ever Guacamole
- Mango Salsa
- Carne Asada Fries
- Citrus Shrimp Ceviche
- Strawberry Margarita
- Agua Fresca
Best Salsa Recipe (Easy Restaurant-Style)
- 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
- 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.
- Makes approximately 4 cups of salsa, which is perfect for a party.
- I store the leftover salsa in these glass jars.