Homemade Salsa

This Homemade Salsa Recipe is made in your blender, on your table in 5 MINUTES and tastes better than your favorite restaurant or jar!

Homemade Salsa Recipe that tastes better than any restaurant or store-bought?!!!  YES!  You will never want to buy salsa again!   This Easy Salsa recipe allows you to customize the heat, the consistency, saves beautifully, can be made ahead of time and the layers of flavor are out of this world!   Homemade Salsa is delicious as an appetizer with chips or on top of tacos, burritos, quesadillas, tostadas, eggs, etc – it just makes EVERYTHING better!

a chip dipping into the best homemade salsa recipe

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Homemade Salsa Recipe

There are a few Mexican staples that everyone needs such as pico de gallo,  salsa verde, avocado dressing, cilantro lime rice, restaurant style Mexican rice, guacamole and of course – homemade salsa! 

Everybody needs the best salsa recipe to munch on or to smother all their favorite Mexican food in –  and this is it!  Living in Carlsbad, (north San Diego), where Mexican restaurants outnumber any other type of food 20-1,  I have tasted a lot of salsas.  And this homemade salsa recipe, my friends, is as good as the best I’ve ever tasted!

This easy Salsa Recipe is the perfect appetizer for all your potlucks, barbecues, picnics, parties, sports gatherings, movie nights, girls nights, etc..  It also makes everything better from Carne Asada Fries to Barbacoa Beef Bowls, to Baja Fish Tacos, Chicken Fajitas, Steak Fajitas and on and on.

And now, I gift you with being able to make and therefore EAT your very own Homemade Salsa in 5 minutes!

Here’s what you’ll need:

HOMEMADE SALSA RECIPE INGREDIENTS:

  • fire roasted diced tomatoes: canned fire roasted diced tomatoes make all the difference in this Homemade Salsa recipe – please do NOT use regular tomatoes.   Fire roasted tomatoes are located next to the traditional diced tomatoes.  I also love using canned tomatoes because that means you can make this salsa recipe year round beyond tomato season AND you can keep them stocked in your pantry to make salsa at a moments notice.
  • garlic:  4 peeled garlic cloves will do the trick.  Add more or less to taste.  You don’t need to mince them because they will be chopped in the blender. 
  • onion: you will want one yellow onion. Peel and cut the onion into chunks and let the blender do the rest of the work.
  • cilantro:  we want one cup packed cilantro-you can include the stems too. Please don’t skip – it adds crucial zippy flavor.
  • jalapeno:  remove the seeds and the veins from the jalapeno because they carry the most fiery heat, but don’t discard the seeds.  You can add the seeds if you want a spicier salsa.  
  • mild chopped green chiles:  you will use half a can of mild chopped green chiles – of course, you can always taste the salsa and add more if desired.  You can freeze the rest of the chiles or use them in Cilantro Lime Rice, or my easy Mexican Chicken recipe.   Make sure you purchase mild green chiles – I have accidentally used the hot chilies before and they are HOT!  Mild green chiles, however are more tangy than hot so you don’t have to worry about them making your homemade salsa spicy.
  • lime juice:  fresh or bottled work great and enlivens the entire salsa recipe.
  • seasonings:  ground cumin, chili powder, salt, pepper, oregano
a green bowl of the best salsa recipe garnished with cilantro

What Tomatoes are Best for Homemade Salsa? (Canned vs Fresh)

You can use fresh or canned tomatoes for homemade salsa but the key is that they are ROASTED.  

  • FIRE ROASTED canned diced tomatoes: I prefer canned tomatoes because the tomatoes are picked and canned at their peak ripeness, which means they are more flavorful and sweet AND they make this salsa recipe super easy to make any time of the year.  Fire roasted diced tomatoes have been gently roasted over an open flame which gives them a a great complex smoky flavor which enhances the sweetness and mellows the acidity (fire roasted doesn’t mean spicy).   They are less tangy than traditional tomatoes with more rounded flavor – you can TASTE the difference.
  • Fresh tomatoes:  Fresh tomatoes are not always perfectly ripe which means they are less flavorful.  They are also more watery so they will need to be roasted to release some of the moisture and enhance their flavor.   If using fresh tomatoes, you will want about 8 Roma tomatoes.  Slice them in half and place them on a lightly greased baking dish.  Roast at 350 F degrees for 15 minutes or until the tomatoes begin to char.  Let the tomatoes cool for about 5 minutes before adding them to your blender.

How do I make homemade salsa?

You will LOVE how easy it is to make homemade salsa!  All you need is a blender or food processor and you can be dipping into this salsa in minutes!  

To make homemade salsa, simply add the ingredients in two stages, and pulse a few times until it reaches desired consistency.  Here’s a step-by-step breakdown of how to make salsa with photos: 

  1. Add part of the ingredients to blender. Add onions, garlic, jalapeno, fresh cilantro, ground cumin, chili powder, salt, pepper, oregano and lime juice to your blender.  We want this easy salsa full of aromatics and seasoning so it doesn’t just taste like tomatoes!
showing how to make homemade salsa by adding garlic onions, jalapenos, cilantro to a blender

2.  Chop ingredients:  Pulse these ingredients until chopped.

showing how to make homemade salsa by blending onions, garlic, jalapeno, cilantro until chunky

3. Add your canned fire roasted tomatoes and green chilies.  We use canned fire roasted tomatoes which are a huge shortcut from roasting your own tomatoes and much more flavorful than fresh tomatoes.  

showing how to make homemade salsa by adding fire roasted tomatoes and green chiles to blender

4.  Pulse.  Pulse a few more times to reach desired consistency.

showing how to make homemade salsa by blending tomatoes and green chils until smooth

And that’s it!  In 5 minutes you have the tastiest restaurant quality homemade salsa recipe in town!  And believe me, I know my salsas!

Tips for Homemade Salsa recipe:  

  • Add ingredients in correct order.  It is important to follow the recipe and add the ingredients in the order listed, starting with garlic, jalapeno and onions, blending and then adding the tomatoes.  This ensures the aromatics get diced without leaving big chunks and allows you to customize the consistency of the tomatoes.
  • Use pulse setting: whether you make your homemade salsa in your blender or food processor, you will want to use the pulse setting.  This allows you to control the consistency, otherwise it is easy to end up with pureed salsa – we want some texture!  
  • Add jalapeno to taste. I always separate my jalapeno seeds but don’t toss them.  That way, you can taste your finished salsa and add jalapeno seeds a little at a time if you would like spicier salsa.  
  • Adjust to taste.  The beauty about Homemade Salsa, is you can make it the BEST salsa for YOU!  Make it thinner, chunkier, spicier, tangier, etc.  See my tips and tricks how to customize your salsa below.
  • Let salsa rest.   This Homemade Salsa recipe is very best if NOT served right away.  Instead, let the salsa rest in the refrigerator for about one hour before servings to let the flavors build and meld.   

Homemade Salsa Recipe Variations

What I especially love about this Homemade Salsa Recipe is you can completely control the consistency and flavor:

  • For a finer salsa, simply chop/blend  more
  • For a chunky salsa, chop/blend less
  • For a thinner salsa, add juice from the fire roasted tomato cans
  • For a spicier salsa, add some or all of the jalapeno seeds – stirring in a little at a time until it reaches your desired heat level OR start with  habanero or serrano chiles
  • For a more garlicky salsa, add more garlic
  • For more “tomato-y” use more tomatoes
  • For a smoky salsa, swap the jalapeno for chipotle pepper to taste

There is no right or wrong with this easy salsa recipe.  I recommend trying this Homemade Salsa Recipe as written and then you can customize it for ever after until it is absolutely perfect FOR YOU!

What should I serve with Homemade Salsa?

Homemade Salsa isn’t just for chips!  It is meant for all your favorite Mexican foods such as:

side view of a homemade salsa recipes surrounded by chips

How long will salsa last? 

Homemade  salsa should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.  When stored correctly, it should last for 5-7 days.  The longer it sits, the more mellow the acidity will become so you may want to add a fresh squeeze of lime juice to taste.  

Can I freeze Homemade Salsa?

Absolutely!  Freezing is a great option if you have leftover salsa, want to double the batch or make some for later.  To freeze, add salsa to a freezer safe, airtight container and freeze for up to 3 months.  Defrost in the refrigerator before servings. 

IS Salsa HEALTHY? 

YES!  While many of my Mexican favorites can be classified as “comfort food,” salsa is nothing but guilt-free freshness. Its comprised of vegetables so it is low calories and contains zero fat so EAT away! And keep on eating.

What is the difference between salsa and pico de gallo?

I think everyone needs a stellar homemade salsa AND pico de gallo recipe.  While they both use similar ingredients, mainly tomatoes, onions, garlic, jalapenos, cilantro and lime juice, the difference mainly comes in the consistency. 

  • Salsa is more liquid-y because the ingredients are blended together.  Even chunky salsa is still somewhat blended and more runny than pico de gallo. 
  • Pico de gallo, on the other hand, is also known as salsa fresca (fresh salsa), salsa cruda (raw salsa), salsa huevona (lazy salsa) because it consists of freshly chopped ingredients all tossed together without being blended. 

I hope you enjoy my 5 Minute Easy Salsa Recipe that will completely transport you to your favorite Mexican restaurant –  that is, if your favorite Mexican restaurant even serves salsa this good!

Looking for more Salsa Recipes? 

dipping a chip in the best homemade salsa recipe

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Homemade Salsa Recipe (5 Minutes!)

This Homemade Salsa Recipe is made in your blender, on your table in 5 MINUTES and tastes better than your favorite restaurant or jar!  This Easy Salsa recipe allows you to customize the heat, the consistency, saves beautifully, can be made ahead of time and the layers of flavor are out of this world!   
Servings: 4 cups
Prep Time: 5 minutes

Ingredients

  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 jalapeno, stem removed and seeds divided
  • 1 small onion, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro, packed
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt plus more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, plus more to taste
  • 1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano (may sub. regular oregano)
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice (optional)

ADD LATER

  • 2 14 oz. cans fire-roasted tomatoes (drained for thicker salsa)
  • 2 oz. mild diced green chilies (½ of 4 oz. can)

Instructions

  • Add all of the ingredients EXCEPT the tomatoes and green chilies to the blender in the order listed (reserving jalapeno seeds). Blend until evenly chopped, scraping down the sides as needed. Add tomatoes and chilies and process until desired consistency is reached. Taste and add additional, salt and pepper if desired. For more heat, add in desired amount of jalapeno seeds.
  • Refrigerate for up to 2 weeks. May also be frozen.

Notes

How to Customize Your Salsa
  • For a finer salsa, simply chop/blend  more
  • For a thinner Salsa, add juice from the fire roasted tomato cans
  • For a spicier salsa, add some or all of the jalapeno seeds - stirring in a little at a time until it reaches your desired heat level.
  • For a more garlicky salsa, add more garlic
  • For more "tomato-y" use more tomatoes
There is no right or wrong with this easy salsa.  I recommend trying this Homemade Salsa Recipe as written and then you can customize it for ever after until it is absolutely perfect FOR YOU!

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38 Comments

  1. Kungphoo says

    5 minute spicy salsa.. i like that.. I am a dipper, so this works good for me.

    • Jen says

      LOL! I am a dipper too! Everything is better dipped!

  2. Melissa Smith says

    I love restaurant style salsa but for some reason never make it at home. But this one being only 5 min., I’m sure I can handle that. Thanks for sharing!

    • Jen says

      I was the same way forever Melissa! Once i figured out I could make salsa in a blender, I was sold! I’m excited for you to try this!

  3. Paula Parker says

    I love this recipe. I love that is fast and fun. Great for parties! Yay

    • Jen says

      So great for parties! And for a last minute idea to bring to parties too! Thanks Paula!

    • Jen says

      Thanks so much Janette! Its a keeper!

  4. FamiGami says

    A good salsa is very hard to find, let a lone make. Your recipe shall be tested!

    • Jen says

      Can’t wait to hear what you think!

    • Jen says

      Thanks so much Dan! Enjoy!

    • Jen says

      Thanks Serena! No need to go to your favorite restaurant anymore for salsa :)!

    • Jen says

      Thanks Katerina! You will love it 🙂

    • Jen says

      Thank you Elayna! I hope you can eat it soon – like in 5 minutes 🙂

  5. Kim says

    This looks just like my husbands favorite restaurants salsa. Trying this today but a question. How much would the flavor change if I used my garden tomatoes? And how many? I have heirloom beefsteaks, Roma, Amish paste and Juliet minis. Thank you

    • Jen says

      Hi Kim, that’s so great to be able to use your own tomatoes! Fire roasting tomatoes brings out their natural sweetness and adds a little smokiness, so that’s the subtle flavor you would be missing but you could always fire roast your own tomatoes on your grill (you should be able to google how). Or you could add a little liquid smoke and may need a dash of sugar. As far as how many, you would want 29 oz. worth, which is a little over 3 1/2 cups. Also, you would want to add some water to your preferred consistency because the cans of tomatoes have water. Hope this helps and I can’t wait to hear how it turns out!

  6. Kim says

    Great, thanks for the input. I will look up the fire roasting of tomatoes. But if that does not work out I do have liquid smoke.

  7. Ashley says

    I made this salsa about an hour ago, and let just say that I don’t think it will last a week. I’ve been obsessed with salsa lately, and this homemade one is better than any that I’ve had! So good!!!

    • Jen says

      YAY! I am so happy you love this salsa! I am obsessed with salsa as well so I find excuses to put in all sorts of things. I even put it in a cheese sauce for a pasta last time I made it – I highly recommend it 🙂

  8. Judy says

    Made this over the weekend it was soooo good. So that is 5 recipes I have made from this site and they were all excellent. The only suggestion I could make for this site is create an app. Lol. Seriously all of your recipes are very good. I would love to see an app or cookbook. I am making the sticky ginger lemon chicken for supper. I thought the chicken was suppose to be marinated in buttermilk and had already poured it out so it will be the ginger chicken that has been marinated. Thanks again for the work you put in this site. Your site is becoming to my first stop when I am looking for a recipe.

    • Jen says

      You are so sweet Judy, thank you for all your kind words! I love to hear that you are enjoying my recipes as they are like my babies as I put so much thought and effort into each one, so THANK YOU! I might do an E-book sometime in the future but it will be a ways out as it is quite a project to tackle 🙂 I hope you continue to find more recipes to love here.
      And your marinated chicken will be even better than the original 🙂

  9. Megan says

    I’ve been making Pioneer Woman’s restaurant-style salsa religiously for the past few years and it’s always a huge hit. When I saw this recipe though, I knew I had to try it. I’m so glad I did. It is so, SO good. I think this is going to be my new go-to salsa!

    • Jen says

      Awesome Megan, I am so happy you loved it and so flattered it might even become your new go-to! Yay! thanks for letting me know! 🙂

  10. Jenn says

    I love this recipe! Along side of the salsa I smash up an avocado and add a couple of spoonfuls of salsa to it for the perfect guacamole, YUM!

    • Jen says

      Mmmmm! I am going to have to try your guacamole idea – sounds divine! Thanks Jenn, I’m so happy you love this salsa recipe!

  11. Cyndi says

    This is hands down the best salsa EVER. Made it tonight for chicken Baja bowls and my husband was like OMG this is so good I could drink it. Will never buy store bought again. Thanks for sharing your recipe.

    • Jen says

      Wahoo! thanks so much Cyndi! I’m honored this salsa is “drinkable” delicious :)!

  12. Denise MacIsaac says

    This is perfect! I used Rotel Fire Roasted with Green Chilies and drained most of the liquid! So easy, I will not buy jarred salsa anymore! I am making it to go on the Carne Asada Street Tacos tonight.
    It seems that every time I make a recipe from this Carlsbad Cravings website, it is a 5* recipe and people always ask for the recipe!
    You are, by far, my favorite out there and get filed under my FAVORITES board on Pinterest!
    THANK YOU

    • Jen says

      Thank you for your awesome comment Denise, you made my day, my week! xo I’m so happy you loved this homemade salsa recipe and honored my recipes are earning 5 stars in your kitchen!

  13. Jennifer says

    Here in Asia they don’t really sell cans of fire roasted tomatoes. So I roasted mine in the oven. My goodness, I think this is the best salsa I’ve made. All this time and all I had to was roast the tomatoes for 20 mins for restaurant style salsa. Ahhhh so delicious

    • Jen says

      Yay! I’m thrilled this was the best salsa you’ve made and you are brilliant for roasting your own tomatoes – I’m so happy it paid off!