Restaurant-Style Salsa

Enjoy chips and salsa at home that are as good (or even better!) that your favorite restaurant with this restaurant-style salsa recipe. It's fresh, delicious, and SUPER easy to make!

Restaurant-Style Salsa Recipe |

Alright friends — time for a Very Important Pop Quiz:

1) Who of you out there are obsessed with big fans of chips and salsa?

2) Who of you out there always end up asking for a second round of chips and salsa when you’re out at Mexican restaurants??

3) Who of you out there basically end up making chips and salsa your main course when you’re out at Mexican restaurants, taking those quesadillas or tacos you ordered home as leftovers???

(Ahem.)  I’m not guilty of any of those.

Just kidding.  One peek at my Instagram feed and anyone will know that chips and salsa are a mega importante part of my life.  Partly because they are my total version of comfort food.  Partly because chips and salsa usually mean that good friends and margaritas are nearby.  And partly because they are just so crazy, irresistibly, good.

So today I thought I’d join the ranks of other bloggers who have shared their favorite restaurant-style salsa recipes, and offer you my personal favorite.  If you search this site, you’ll see that there are plenty of other salsa recipes on here that I highly recommend.  But if you’re looking for a classic, fresh, milder, and super easy to make version that is akin to what you receive in restaurants, today’s your lucky day.



Restaurant-Style Salsa Recipe |

It probably comes to no surprise to you that I’m a big of a salsa snob.  Good salsa is an absolute must at Mexican restaurants.

To me, it’s kind of like the egg drop soup test at Chinese restaurants.  If the egg drop soup is good, almost always the main dishes that follow will be stellar as well.  The same goes for salsa.  If the salsa at a restaurant is fresh and well-seasoned and addictive, then chances are the rest of their food will be as well.  If it falls flat, ooooh baby, it’s bad news bears with me.


Restaurant-Style Salsa Recipe |

I admit I’m kind of a harsh critic when it comes to salsa, but mostly because it is so darn easy to make!!  (And hard to mess up!)  So there’s really no excuse why it fresh salsa shouldn’t rock everyone’s socks off.  And then have them dipping and double-dipping to get more.

Or…you know…making basically an entire meal out of it.  ;)

(And then mega-tipping your waitress/waiter for their awesomeness in refilling that bowl of chips — also very important.)

Restaurant-Style Salsa Recipe |

Most of the time when I’m out at Mexican restaurants, I always ask for the “hot” salsa, and spend most of my meal sweating it out from the spicy heat.  But I also definitely appreciate a good and milder fresh salsa.  So that’s what we’re focusing on today.

Restaurant-Style Salsa Recipe |

I have been making essentially this classic recipe for years and years and years.  And even though there are no funky extra ingredients in it, this salsa recipe always receives rave reviews from my friends.  So here’s the how-to, so that you can make it for your friends.  Pronto.

Restaurant-Style Salsa Recipe |

First, a quick word about the tomatoes.  I think one of the biggest hesitations people have about homemade salsa is that they need to make it with fresh tomatoes.  Not true!!!  First of all, fresh tomatoes are only in season in the Midwest for about 2 months of the year.  (Otherwise they are basically bland and watery.)  But by contrast, canned tomatoes are canned at their peak of freshness, they are super inexpensive and easy to buy year-round, and you don’t have to mess with seeding them.  Sure, you can go with fresh tomatoes if you really want.  But there is zero shame in picking up those pretty cans.

On that note, though, I am a big fan of using fire-roasted tomatoes in my salsa.  That extra roasted touch goes a long way in terms of extra flavor, so pick up those cans if they’re available.  Otherwise, regular canned tomatoes will work just fine.

Feel free to also adjust the “heat” to taste with the jalapenos.  If you’re worried about it being too spicy, just add in half of the (seeded) jalapeno to start.  If you like more heat, add in the entire jalapeno with the seeds.  (Or do what I like to do, and add two!!)  I also usually like to throw in a chipotle in adobo sauce or two, but that probably doesn’t count as classic “restaurant-style” salsa.

Restaurant-Style Salsa Recipe |

Still, this salsa is about as easy as it gets.  No roasting, drying, or molcajete (mortar/pestle) workouts required.  Just toss all of the ingredients in a food processor or blender and pulse until combined.  For this specific salsa, I like to pulse until it reaches a consistency that is smooth but still slightly chunky.  But it’s up to you — you can go smoother or chunkier.  Whatever’s best.

If your salsa happens to be super water-y, you can also drain some of the extra liquid off.  (Or better yet, drain your canned tomatoes before adding them.)  I actually don’t mind this salsa recipe being a little runny.  It will make the salsa chicken recipe coming tomorrow all the better too… :)

Restaurant-Style Salsa Recipe |

Once you have the salsa nice and blended, pop it in a serving bowl and dive in.  And then enjoy every last bite.

If you’re a canner, this recipe is also awesome for canning.  But mine always disappears immediately.  ;)

Happy chips and salsaing, friends!

Restaurant-Style Salsa Recipe |

Restaurant-Style Salsa

This restaurant-style salsa recipe is easy to make, and full of amazing fresh flavor.


  • 2 (14-ounce) cans fire-roasted tomatoes, drained if you like a thicker salsa
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 (4 oz.) can diced green chiles
  • 1 bunch (about 2 cups loosely-packed) fresh cilantro
  • 1 cup diced white onion
  • 1 jalapeno, stem removed (and seeded, if you want less heat)
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper


Pulse all ingredients together in a food processor or blender until smooth, or your desired consistency is reached. Season with additional salt and pepper if needed.

Serve immediately, or refrigerate in a sealed container for up to 3 days.

(Optional modifications: If you're worried about the salsa being too spicy, just add in half of a (seeded) jalapeno to start, and then see if you want to add more. If you want more heat, add in the entire jalapeno with seeds, or even add in two jalapenos. If you want it extra "smoky", add in 1-2 chipotles in adobo sauce.)

**I am not a canning expert, but do believe this recipe can be canned successfully.**

If you make this recipe, be sure to snap a photo and hashtag it #gimmesomeoven. I'd love to see what you cook!

Restaurant-Style Salsa Recipe |

Leave a Comment:


  1. Courtney — July 29, 2014 @ 10:14 pm (#)

    I can not wait to try this – homemade salsa is an absolute favorite of mine!! :) Looks delicious!

  2. Justin Adair — July 30, 2014 @ 7:49 am (#)

    With canning, you must reach a certain (5%) acidity to create shelf stable salsa. If you want, play around with lemon/lime juice, or apple cider vinegar. For big batches where you are using 10ish cups of chopped tomatoes (canned or fresh/peeled/unseeded) it equals about 1 cup acidic juice of your choice. Also thicken with tomato paste. The juice had all the flavor so don’t drain it. My thoughts. :)

  3. Kay — August 4, 2014 @ 5:06 pm (#)

    Hi Ali! I’m a cilantro hater…is there something else I can substitute for that? I’m also a huge wimp when it comes to anything spicy, so I think the onion and can of green chiles will be plenty of spice for me. Thanks!

    • Ali — August 4th, 2014 @ 6:32 pm

      If you’re not a fan of cilantro, you can totally just leave it out. The salsa will still taste good without it. :)

  4. Suman Manning — August 16, 2014 @ 2:15 pm (#)

    Hi I love the look of this. one question, what are green chiles?


    • Ali — August 27th, 2014 @ 10:29 pm

      Hi Su,

      The green chiles in this recipe are available at the grocery store in the canned foods section, either near the canned vegetables and/or by the Mexican foods. They are very mild, but add a lot of flavor!


  5. Barbara — August 27, 2014 @ 2:07 pm (#)

    This salsa sounds delicious–plan to buy ingredients today. Now, I need the recipe that is promised tomorrow. Thank you for posting this!

  6. Anastasia — September 10, 2014 @ 10:12 am (#)

    If you are canning, extra acid needs to incorporated. The tomatoes we have today (store bought, garden fresh, heirloom, etc) do not reliably have the acidity level needed to can. This can be done through white vingar, apple cider vinegar, lime juice, etc. Definitely do your canning research first, add-in can drop your acidity level as well (peppers, onikns, etc). Just be safe, you don’t want to see anyone get I’ll – botulism is very serious.

  7. Kara — November 7, 2014 @ 2:27 pm (#)

    Is the sugar in this recipe absolutely necessary? I am on the Whole 30 diet and wanted to make your salsa chicken, but added sugar is a no-no. What exactly does the sugar do for this recipe – would such a small amount affect the taste?  Thanks! 

    • Ali — November 7th, 2014 @ 5:41 pm

      Hey Kara!

      It just cuts the acid in the tomatoes a bit, but you can definitely leave it out. Enjoy, and good luck with Whole 30! :)

  8. Kelle — November 11, 2014 @ 7:02 am (#)

    I made this salsa last night in my new Ninja and it is the best me or my roommate has ever had. I added lime, and I’m going to eat the entire second half for lunch today. Thanks for the awesome recipes! 

  9. Andrea — January 5, 2015 @ 1:43 pm (#)

    My husband and I are ADDICTED to this type of salsa! The photos are gorgeous and the recipe looks so so yummy! Very similar to the one that I use, although I think I may try yours soon! :)

  10. Josh — February 9, 2015 @ 8:59 am (#)

    Looks heaps nice. Just to clarify, did you say is best to use canned whole tomatoes or fresh tomatoes deseeded and fire roasted?thanks

    • Ali — March 19th, 2015 @ 2:48 pm

      I typically used canned tomatoes for this recipe, but fresh tomatoes (especially when they’re in season!) would also be great. :)

  11. Jaclyn — February 10, 2015 @ 8:33 pm (#)

    I made this salsa today & addded the adobe verde chipotles like suggested. It tasted awesome & will definitely be the staple salsa at my house from now on. I am curious how I can make mine appear a darker/brighter red, like the salsa in the pictures. My salsa child wasn’t nearly as vibrant appearance wise. Any tips would be appreciated. Thank you! 

  12. Brigette — April 11, 2015 @ 11:17 am (#)

    Oh my gosh, fantastic Salsa. Thank you for sharing!

  13. Charlotte — April 12, 2015 @ 12:05 pm (#)

    Just made this –  delicious! Love a one-step recipe. Def keeping this one handy for the summer :)

    • Ali — April 12th, 2015 @ 2:19 pm

      Thanks Charlotte, so glad you liked it!

  14. Adam — April 24, 2015 @ 3:58 pm (#)

    What kind of tomatoes did you use? Diced? Whole peeled? How did you get such a chunky yet lots of liquid dish?

    • Ali — May 11th, 2015 @ 10:17 am

      I used fire-roasted diced tomatoes. They come with quite a bit of juice that you can either leave in or drain out.

  15. Nicole — May 5, 2015 @ 12:13 pm (#)

    Just made this and it was amazing! So, so easy and delicious. I absolutely love salsa, and have tried countless ‘restaurant-style’ recipes, and by far this is the most successful and yummiest! Thank you!

    • Ali — May 5th, 2015 @ 9:20 pm

      Thanks Nicole, I’m glad to hear that!

  16. The Kentucky Gent — May 6, 2015 @ 11:44 am (#)

    Definitely adding this to the roster to give a go – there’s nothing better than that real, authentic restaurant style salsa in my opinion. 

    Josh – The Kentucky Gent

  17. Joanna — May 11, 2015 @ 12:42 pm (#)

    Made this over the weekend and it was perfection, thank you for sharing! Question, where did you get those chips? I am on the hunt for the perfect tortilla chip and these look SO good!

  18. Richard — May 30, 2015 @ 2:57 pm (#)

    Outstanding salsa, thank you for the recipe!

    • Ali — June 1st, 2015 @ 9:50 am

      Thanks, Richard, so glad you like it!

  19. amber tegeler — June 9, 2015 @ 5:52 pm (#)

    I loved this recipe! Next time I may pulse my ingredients with half the tomatoes and stir in the other half (just because I like a bit of chunk in my salsa). Overall, it tastes amazing and was a wonderful way to try out my first batch of cilantro and jalapeños from my garden. I’ll be making this again with fresh tomatoes once mine have grown and ripened. Thank you so much! This recipe is bookmarked. :)

    • Hayley — June 9th, 2015 @ 8:11 pm

      Thanks, Amanda, we’re glad you liked it! And that’s so cool that you’re growing your own cilantro, jalapeños and tomatoes!

  20. Meredith Wroblski — July 5, 2015 @ 11:39 am (#)

    Dear Ali, 
    You could have been describing me!! I adore salsa. Would prob be my last meal!! I made this for our 4th of July celebration yesterday and got tons of compliments on it!!! It shall become my go to recipe for salsa! Thank you so much! I’m fairly new to Pinterest! Love it! I have started following you!! PS I used the fire roasted tomatoes and I cut the recipe in half because i have a small processor. 

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — July 6th, 2015 @ 10:17 am

      Thanks Meredith, we’re so happy to hear the salsa was a hit the other day! Thanks for following! : )

  21. Crystal — August 8, 2015 @ 11:27 pm (#)

    Hello Ali. Thanks for sharing this great recipe. I did 1/2 a lug of tomatoes worth (9 pints), and roasted them along with the jslepenos. Fantastic! To add to your “canning” comment – yes, you can preserve, just be sure to add 1/2 tsp lemon or lime (I used lime for this recipe) to each pint and stir in. This helps to reduce chances of this deliciousness to spoil, and to help maintain color. 
    Again-great recipe and thanks for sharing!

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — August 12th, 2015 @ 3:46 pm

      Hey Crystal! You’re welcome, and thank you for your canning/preserving info – great to know! We are so glad you enjoyed the recipe. :)

  22. Holly Martin — August 11, 2015 @ 5:08 am (#)

    best salsa recipe ever ……..its my go to …….no other salsa will do now !!  Delicious , thank you so much for blogging it :) 

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — August 13th, 2015 @ 12:53 pm

      Thanks Holly, that’s so sweet of you – we’re glad you love the recipe so much!

  23. Stephanie — September 1, 2015 @ 8:24 am (#)

    How many fresh tomatoes would I use as a substitute for the canned? 

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — September 8th, 2015 @ 9:50 am

      Hi Stephanie! We’d recommend using about 2 lbs of fresh tomatoes. We hope you enjoy!

  24. Ishrat Hyatt — September 4, 2015 @ 12:50 am (#)

    We have a similar recipe in Pakistan and make this concoction fresh in summer to eat with white rice; lentils and yogurt. Will try your recipe today

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — September 7th, 2015 @ 1:29 pm

      Very cool Ishrat, what is it called? We hope you enjoy the recipe!

  25. SandyToes — September 8, 2015 @ 12:03 pm (#)

    Terrific salsa, thank you! And so much easier than my usual recipe made with fresh tomatoes. Because I’m not a fan of smoky salsas, I flipped things around using plain diced tomatoes and fire-roasted chiles. A few pulses in the food processor gave me just the right texture. I also want to thank you for getting the salt just right. I always add salt after letting it chill for an hour and usually find that tasting it with the chips I’m serving it with means I only need to add about half the salt specified. Your recipe is spot-on for salt. I did add about a teaspoon of lime juice to give it a little more bite. Salsa perfection!

    Some of it is in my slow cooker right now with a chicken breast for your 2-Ingredient Slow Cooker Salsa Chicken. It’s already begun to scent my kitchen in a most delicious way. I can hardly wait for dinner time!

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — September 9th, 2015 @ 10:07 pm

      Thank you, we’re happy you liked it! We hope you enjoyed the slow cooker salsa chicken as well! : )

  26. Nikki — September 10, 2015 @ 1:54 pm (#)

    Do you always use canned tomato’s? I’d like to use fresh tomato’s from my garden.

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — September 10th, 2015 @ 4:35 pm

      It depends, fresh in the summer when we can! :)

  27. Holly Martin — September 13, 2015 @ 4:48 pm (#)

    This is the best recipe ever, I don’t make any other salsa recipe now – this is the holy grail of salsa 

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — September 14th, 2015 @ 8:03 am

      That’s so sweet of you to say Holly! We’re happy you enjoy it so much! :)

  28. Jennifer — September 27, 2015 @ 4:02 pm (#)

    My boyfriend is a bit of a salsa addict, so I’ve been looking for a good recipe so I won’t have to keep buying expensive (usually disappointing) jars of salsa every week.  I have to say this salsa turned out fresh and delicious.  We like a little more spice in our salsa, so I used serrano peppers rather than jalapeños, but I know it would turn out perfect either way.  Thank you!

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — October 1st, 2015 @ 9:11 am

      We’re glad to hear that Jennifer, thanks for sharing!

  29. Martha — October 5, 2015 @ 12:05 pm (#)

    Could you please give me the procedure needed to can this salsa? WE LOVE IT!

    • Ali — November 4th, 2015 @ 4:46 pm

      Wish I could! Unfortunately I don’t know much about canning, but I’ve been told that this recipe works well for canning. If you give it a try, I’d love to hear how it turns out!

  30. Ashlea @ Glamour Coastal Living — October 11, 2015 @ 5:57 pm (#)

    This looks amazing – I am making this with your slow cooker chicken recipe for pulled chicken tonight. Yum! I have never thought to make my own salsa and it looks so easy. 
    Your photos are so good too btw, great quality and shots! :)

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — October 11th, 2015 @ 7:20 pm

      Thanks for your sweet words Ashlea, and we hope you enjoy both the chicken and the salsa! :)

  31. Kathy Harris — February 6, 2016 @ 4:09 am (#)

    Totally and absolutely delicious. No changes of any sort needed here! YUMMY!!!!!!

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — February 8th, 2016 @ 7:43 am

      Thanks Kathy — we’re glad you enjoyed this! :)


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