Restaurant-Style Salsa

This Restaurant-Style Salsa recipe only takes about 10 minutes to make, it’s easy to customize (to make it extra spicy, smoky or tangy if you’d like), and it’s SO irresistibly delicious.

Happy Dos De Mayo!

Which also means…happy birthday to me! 🎉 🎉 🎉

My birthday feels a little extra-special this year because it also happens to mark exactly one more month until my wedding. (Agghhh…can’t wait!) But every year, my birthday also happens to conveniently fall on the week of Cinco De Mayo, which I must say I couldn’t have planned better myself. Mexican food on my birthday for life!! (Literally.)

Last year for my birthday, I had all of my friends over for an epic chips-and-salsa-a-thon, which was downright dreamy. Instead of cooking, Barclay and I drove around town all afternoon and picked up a dozen or so different salsas from our favorite Mexican restaurants. And then we whipped up an enormous batch of my classic margaritas, opened up a zillion bags of chips, and had all of our friends over for the most delicious taste test ever. Totally my kind of birthday.

This year’s plans are TBD, thanks to my sweet fiancé who knows how much I love a good surprise. But I did go ahead and whip up a batch of this salsa recipe to have on hand for my bday and Cinco De Mayo this week, which I’ve already been putting to good use. And hey — since I don’t eat many sweets or crave a traditional birthday cake anymore — this seemed like my kind of birthday treat recipe to share on the blog today. 💛

Alright, so about this salsa recipe!

It’s actually one that I shared on the blog a few years ago. But — like many of the recipes around here lately while I’ve been busy with wedding planning — it’s one that I recently re-photographed and updated to share with those of you who might have missed it the first time around, because I’m convinced that everyone needs this recipe in their lives.

Seriously, it’s been my go-to homemade salsa recipe for years. And for someone who makes homemade salsa nearly once a week, that’s sayin’ something. 😍

But the best part? It’s incredibly quick and easy to make! Also, since it uses canned fire-roasted tomatoes (gotta use the fire-roasted), it’s a really accessible recipe to make year-round, even beyond your regional tomato season.

To make it, simply toss all of your ingredients together in a food processor or blender…

…puree until the salsa reaches your desired texture…

…then taste and season as needed.

If you’d like a smokier salsa, I strongly recommend adding in a chipotle pepper or two in adobo sauce. If you’d like a spicier salsa, you can add in an extra jalapeño (or just add in the seeds from the original one). If you’d like a tangier salsa, you can’t go wrong with extra lime juice in my opinion. And as always, don’t be afraid to add in extra salt to kick up the flavor if needed!

Then, once your salsa is all seasoned and ready to go, partay like it’s yo birthday and DIVE IN.

Seriously, I’ve made this recipe probably hundreds of times, and still never grow tired of it. So if you need some chips and salsa in your life this week — as I believe everyone always does — I can’t recommend it enough.

Enjoy, amigos!

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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-ounce) can diced green chiles
  • 1 bunch (about 2 cups loosely-packed) fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1 cup diced white onion
  • 1 jalapeno, stem removed (and seeded, if you want less heat)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar (optional)
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper


  1. 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.
  2. Serve immediately, or refrigerate in a sealed container for up to 3 days.

Optional modifications:

  • If you want it extra spicy, add in the entire jalapeño with seeds, or even add in two jalapeños.  (Or if you want it less spicy, you can leave out the jalapeño seeds, or omit the jalapeño entirely.)
  • If you want it extra smoky, add in 1-2 chipotles in adobo sauce.
  • If you want it extra fresh and tangy, add in extra lime juice.
All images and text ©

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

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163 comments on “Restaurant-Style Salsa”

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  4. Love this salsa! Always a crowd pleaser 👍🏻

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  6. Delicious! I’ve been thinking of making my own salsa for a while and your recipes are always great.

    Charmaine Ng

  7. Happy birthday, salsa lover!

  8. Yes please! Sounds delicious and happy birthday!

  9. Happy Birthday! A salsa Party sounds like a fun idea!

    This salsa sounds incredible. Can’t wait to try it! :)

  10. Happy birthday to you! Also, this looks so yummy – must make soon! And, I know what you mean about the Mexican food on your birthday for life – my birthday is May 5th.

  11. Happy birthday! Can’t wait to get my Cinco on with this recipe!

  12. Looks like a great salsa; can’t wait to try it out. I’ve made SO MANY of your recipes and truly love them all—so glad I found your site. :) Hope you have a very happy Birthday!

  13. Omg this salsa looks AMAZING!!! The texture of it reminds me of my favorite brand EVER that tastes like restaurant…Mateos.  I eat it with a spoon.  I’ll definitely have to try this :-D

  14. The new pictures look so fresh and vibrant red color. Also, I love the ending of the video, very original and fun. Thank you,

  15. Your salsa idea sounds salsa n chips !What I really would like to know is how do you not crave sweets or birthday cake anymore I would love to kick my sugar addiction

  16. Hey there! Just made this and it’s beyond delicious! I do add a squeeze of lemon juice to mine. Thanks for posting this easy recipe.

  17. PS. I forgot to wish you a very Happy Birthday —-may you have many memories.

  18. Wow! I looked back and saw that I first made this on Sept 8, 2015! It’s been my go-to salsa ever since. Thanks again for sharing it with us, and Feliz tardio cumpleaños. 

  19. This is a good basic salsa recipe upon which to build. Jalapeños are notoriously unpredictable in their level of heat.  For a milder and more consistently spiced chilies, use Serranos.  All chilies have extra heat in the membranes and seeds.  Roasting/charring diminishes the heat a little.  

    If you like fire, use a red jalapeño. Want more?  Add a habanero to that. After that move up to a ghost (bhut jolokia or red naga) and really spice up your life.

    There are several chilies that give salsa its characteristic flavor. They being either mild poblanos, Anaheims, or the spicier, jalapeños or Serranos but NOT a bell pepper.  The base must be that of a chili pepper.

    For an authentic, smoky taste, char some or all of the vegetables, except the cilantro, preferably over a gas flame, under a hot broiler or in a very hot cast iron skillet. Then follow the recipe above.  Remember to save and add back in all liquid or charred bits.

    One word of caution, do not process the cilantro. Coarse chop it by hand then mix it in.  If you are making more than you plan on using that day, add it into or garnish what is in the serving bow only.   Stirred in and left, it gets very bitter overnight and ruins the salsa.  Around here, overnight is a rarity.

    Finished salsa, on its own, should be a little on the salty side to make the flavors really pop. This will taste less so after adding to food. 

    Yes, I have lots of Mexican friends who constantly teach me their methods.  Salsas are personal.  Make one your own. :-)~

  20. Oh, happy birthday kid.  Congrats on your upcoming wedding. 

  21. Love your post 😊 Happy Birthday! We actually have something in common. My birthday is on Cinco de Mayo. As a kid my mom would throw a fiesta every year. Homemade chile verde was my absolute fave!  I make  restaurant style salsa too sometimes. Especially when tomatoes aren’t in season. It’s so simple and tasty. Love the idea of using fire roasted tomatoes. 

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