Homemade Salsa

4.92 from 46 votes
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Homemade salsa can be made in just minutes so you can skip the store-bought versions. This red salsa combines fire-roasted tomatoes, onions, garlic, jalapenos, cilantro and lime juice for a delicious appetizer.

Photo of a person dipping a tortilla chip into a bowl of red homemade salsa

When a bowl of homemade salsa and chips hits the table at my house, it’s gone within minutes! This recipe is even better than some Mexican restaurants, and it can be prepared with ease! Just seven simple ingredients and a few essential preparation steps, and this tasty salsa recipe can be available at a moment’s notice.

This recipe uses a few key ingredients to maximize flavor. Fire-roasted tomatoes and fresh ingredients like jalapenos, onions, garlic, cilantro and a little bit of lime juice. All you need is a food processor or blender, some crunchy tortilla chips, and this fresh salsa will be ready to devour!

How to make homemade salsa

Do you have moments where you crave chips and salsa? Or need to make a fast and easy recipe for a celebration like Cinco De Mayo? This delicious salsa recipe is inspired by a local Mexican restaurant that my family often visits that I wanted to recreate right at home.

Ingredients for homemade salsa spread out on a table

The canned and diced variety of fire-roasted tomatoes are used in this recipe. Not only are they ripe and sweet, but the surfaces are lightly charred from being pre-cooked. The Maillard reaction is the key to adding depth to the salsa.

Buying canned tomatoes also helps cut down on prep time. I recommend draining the excess juice before processing to prevent the salsa consistency from becoming too watery. The liquid can always be reserved and some added back if desired.

Roasting slices of jalapeno and unpeeled garlic cloves in a small pan

To complement the earthy flavor from the tomatoes, lightly roast sliced jalapenos and unpeeled garlic cloves in a small pan. It takes a few extra minutes, but the enhanced flavors will be worthwhile! The garlic becomes sweet and roasted, cutting out some of the pungent taste of raw garlic. I use this same technique when making pesto sauce.

Homemade salsa ingredients inside a food processor

The trick to making homemade salsa with the right texture is how the ingredients are layered in the processor, the ratio of components and processing time.

I add the garlic and jalapeno in the food processor or blender first to ensure that the blade chops them up fine. Otherwise, there will be more substantial chunks in the sauce. Then add the white onions, drained tomatoes, cilantro, lime, and salt.

Making homemade salsa using a food processor

Pulse the ingredients until the desired consistency is reached. I like to check the taste before it breaks down too much, that way more salt or lime juice can be added without becoming too thin like tomato soup.

The target salsa texture is light and chunky with small tomato bits of similar size that can easily be spooned onto a chip or protein without being too runny.

Large bowl of fresh salsa with tortilla chips and lime wedges

This homemade salsa recipe will be your new go-to when you need a quick dip that requires little effort. If you like a bit more heat, feel free to roast a few extra jalapenos or add in some minced serrano pepper for an extra kick!

More snack recipes

Fresh tomatoes vs. canned for salsa

Canned tomatoes are typically picked at their peak ripeness, which means they will be more flavorful and sweet. They are then processed within hours of being harvested to maintain the best flavor. There are different types of canned tomato products, however, diced or whole for salsas will achieve the proper consistency. Fresh tomatoes can be used in combination to add texture, however, they are much more watery since they have not been cooked to release some of the moisture. They are however excellent for chunkier dips like pico de gallo.

Homemade Salsa

Homemade salsa can be made in just minutes so you can skip the store bought versions. This restaurant style salsa combines fire roasted tomatoes, onions, garlic, jalapenos, cilantro and lime juice for a healthy appetizer.
4.92 from 46 votes
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time6 minutes
Total Time11 minutes
Servings 10 servings
Course Condiment
Cuisine Mexican


  • 1 jalapeño, cut in half lengthwise, steam, seeds and membrane removed
  • 2 cloves garlic, unpeeled
  • 30 ounces diced canned tomatoes, fire-roasted
  • ¾ cup diced white onions, ½-inch dice
  • ½ cup cilantro leaves, packed
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt


  • Heat a small pan over medium-high heat. Add jalapeno skin-side down and unpeeled garlic cloves into the pan.
  • Cook jalapeno until lightly blistered and garlic lightly charred, 4 minutes.
  • Flip over jalapeno and garlic cloves, and cook another 2 minutes.
  • Remove peel from garlic and add to food processor or blender. Add roasted jalapenos to the food processor.
  • Drain the tomatoes in a colander to remove the excess liquid from the can.
  • Add white onions, tomatoes, cilantro, lime juice, and salt.
  • Pulse the salsa about 6 times, scrape down the sides, and taste. Add more salt or lime juice as needed.
  • Pulse the salsa an additonal 2 to 4 times, until the desired consistency is acheived.
  • Immediately serve.

Recipe Video

YouTube video


  • Serving Size: ¼ cup
  • Recipe Yield: 2 ½ cups
  • Store in an airtight container for up to 7 days.
  • MAKE IT WHOLE 30: Substitute sea salt for kosher salt.

Nutrition Facts

Serves: 10 servings
Calories 25kcal (1%)Carbohydrates 5g (2%)Protein 1g (2%)Fat 0.02gSaturated Fat 0.004gPolyunsaturated Fat 0.01gMonounsaturated Fat 0.01gSodium 240mg (10%)Potassium 176mg (5%)Fiber 1g (4%)Sugar 3g (3%)Vitamin A 400IU (8%)Vitamin C 14.9mg (18%)Calcium 20mg (2%)Iron 0.5mg (3%)

Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000-calorie diet. All nutritional information is based on estimated third-party calculations. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods, and portion sizes per household.

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Jessica Gavin

I'm a culinary school graduate, cookbook author, and a mom who loves croissants! My passion is creating recipes and sharing the science behind cooking to help you gain confidence in the kitchen.

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16 Comments Leave a comment or review

  1. Teryn says

    I’ve made this recipe a dozen times, and I’ve stopped buying store bought salsa all together. This recipe is so easy! This simple recipe is always a crowd pleaser at parties, tailgates, and gatherings. Thanks, Jessica!

  2. anne says

    This recipe looks amazing, and it reminds me of one I had in Mexico. I can’t wait to try it. Karen, You have to be really careful with the acidity of foods when canning. It’s like a chemistry project. Believe it or not, tomatoes are not acidic enough. Adding the onions and garlic further lowers the acidity. You wouldn’t want to get sick, so I say if looking to can salsa, use a proven recipe for canning salsa from the Ball Canning website. Otherwise just keep this in the refrigerator.

  3. Ernest Contreras says

    Jessica I simply put love your site it is so informative, I been a chef for over 40 years and still find some very interesting information, hence the phrase teaching a old dog knew tricks you certainly have. I also have a food blog with mostly keto recipes of mine, I would love to post some of your tips and maybe a image from your site and of course link them back to you so my viewers can get the recipes from you, I highly respect your science tips, that many people would truly find them interesting as I did, glad I found your site. love it.

  4. Wanda Mc Lendon says

    if you make your salsa heat-wise too hot is there any way you can make to where its mild plz let me know thank u

  5. Joni says

    This salsa recipe looks delicious.
    Never thought roasting some ingredients before hand would bring depth to a dish. Absolutely genius.

      • Zeb Koobs says

        I absolutely love chips and salsa. I make this red and tomatillo salsa as well. Thank you for sharing. I’ve always wanted to be a chef and own my own restaurant. Maybe one day….. Thanks again for sharing