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.

Ingredients:

  • 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

Directions:

  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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183 comments on “Restaurant-Style Salsa”

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

  2. 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. 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!

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

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

    thanks
    Su

    • 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!

      ~Ali

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

  7. 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.

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  9. 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! 

    • 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! :)

  10. 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! 

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  12. 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! :)

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

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

  14. 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! 

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

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

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

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

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  22. 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!

  23. 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
    http://thekentuckygent.com

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  25. 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!

  26. Outstanding salsa, thank you for the recipe!

  27. 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. :)

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

  28. 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. 
    Meredith 

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

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  30. 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!

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

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

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

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

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

  33. 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

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  35. 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!

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

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

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

  38. 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!

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

    • 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!

  41. 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! :)

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

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

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