Homemade Salsa is so incredibly easy to make! This Restaurant Style Salsa recipe is made with fresh tomatoes and comes together in minutes in the blender. It is easy, fresh, and will satisfy the most intense craving for salsa.
Nothing beats chips and salsa, especially when the salsa is freshly prepared. But don’t just limit this homemade salsa to chips, it is also great to use in Chicken Tacos, or to top Black Beans Tacos or Sweet Potato Nachos with.
Every summer, my mom and my aunt would gather fresh produce from their gardens and set to work perfecting restaurant-style salsa.
It was my job to sit on the kitchen counter and record exactly what they put into the salsa. I called out quantities used in previous years and noted any changes made so we could keep track of what was key to making the best salsa recipe.
Through those experiences, I learned EXACTLY what makes the BEST salsa recipe!
- Fresh Tomatoes: The fresher and riper the tomato, the better the salsa. As to what type of tomatoes you use, I prefer Roma, Heirloom, or vine-ripened tomatoes for the best flavor.
- Onions: Over the years, my family all agreed, that a sweet or Vidalia onion complimented the salsa best, but a red or yellow onion does work as well.
- Jalapeno: Even mild salsas need a bit of jalapeno to add a bit of kick and wake you your taste buds. Use 1/2 jalapeno to 2 jalapenos depending on the level of spice you desire. And I recommend removing the seeds and ribs of the jalapeno, or you may have REALLY spicy salsa.
- Cilantro: You either love cilantro or hate it. If you hate it, by all means, omit! If not, it adds a really fresh taste to this salsa recipe.
- Garlic: Fresh garlic will add a bit of kick and flavor. If you are not a fan of garlic, leave it out.
- Lime Juice: Only FRESH lime juice will do for salsa. The lime juice will add acidity and freshness that can not be rivaled. Some people like lemon juice, but just like my recipe for homemade guacamole, I feel that lime juice is superior.
- Salt: I use kosher salt as I feel it has a better taste and it is easier to control the amount of saltiness when using kosher salt than table salt. And the amount of salt will depend on how fresh your tomatoes are and personal preference. Start with 1 teaspoon and adjust after blending.
How to make Fresh Tomato Salsa
Step One: Prepare Tomatoes
Removing skins off the tomatoes is a preference. By removing the skins of the tomatoes, the salsa will have a better consistency.
- Bring a large pot of water to a rapid boil.
- Score the top of the tomatoes by cutting an “X” on the top of the tomato.
- Drop tomatoes into boiling water for 30 seconds to 1 minute. You do NOT want to cook the tomatoes, just heat the skin enough for it to be easily removed.
- Remove tomatoes with a slotted spoon and place into an ice bath.
- Once cool enough to handle, remove tomatoes from the ice bath and peel off the skin.
- Cut tomatoes into quarters and gently squeeze out seeds over the bowl, sink, or garbage. Removing the seeds from the tomatoes not only helps with the final texture of the salsa but also keeps the salsa from being watery and the flavor more intense.
Step Two: Blend
- Place seeded quartered tomatoes in a blender.
- Add in peeled, lightly chopped onion, jalapeno, cilantro, lime juice, and salt.
- Blend on medium speed just until ingredients are broken down, or a bit longer for a smoother consistency. I actually like to use the pulse button a few times to just bring the ingredients together.
- Once blended, give the salsa a taste test. You may need to add a bit more salt depending on the flavor and ripeness of your tomatoes.
- Serve salsa fresh, or refrigerate for 30 minutes for the flavors to develop–which is best!
How to Store Fresh Salsa
This Restaurant Style Salsa is great served immediately, but is even better after refrigeration for at least 30 minutes.
- Fresh Salsa will store in the fridge for up to 5 days.
- Fresh Salsa does not freeze well.
- To preserve salsa for longer than a few days, it is best to can salsa.
What Tomatoes are Best?
I prefer vine-ripened tomatoes for the best flavor in salsa, but Roma tomatoes will work, as will canned tomatoes.
This recipe for salsa uses 4 average size vine-ripened tomatoes. Which is equivalent to:
- about 10 Roma tomatoes, peeled and seeded
- one 28 ounces can of whole tomatoes, drained
How to Control the Heat
One of the great things about making homemade salsa is that you get to control the added ingredients. The amount of salt, sugar added, and the heat level is completely customizable to your palate.
- Only use half of a seeded jalapeno for Mild Salsa.
- Leave the seeds in the jalapeno for Spicy Salsa.
- Increase the amount of jalapeno or use a Serrano pepper for Hot Salsa.
As your salsa sits, the tomatoes will break down and produce excess liquid. Simply strain over a fine mesh strainer.
More Homemade Salsa Recipes
- 2 1/2 pounds fresh tomatoes about 4 average vine-ripened tomatoes
- 1/2 small Vidalia onion roughly chopped
- 1 jalapeno seeds removed and cut in half
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 cup fresh cilantro stems removed
- 1 teaspoon salt
- juice of one lime about ¼ cup fresh lime juice
- Bring a large pot of water to a rapid boil.
- Score the top of the tomatoes by cutting an "X" on the top of the tomato.
- Drop tomatoes into boiling water for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Remove tomatoes with slotted spoon and place into an ice bath.
- Once cool enough to handle, remove tomatoes from ice bath and peel off their skin.
- Cut tomatoes into quarters and gently squeeze out seeds over bowl, sink, or garbage.
- Place seeded, quartered tomatoes in blender. Add in peeled, lightly chopped onion, jalapeno, cilantro, lime juice, and salt.
- Blend on medium speed just until ingredients are broken down, or a bit longer for a smoother consistency.
- Taste and adjust seasonings.
- Serve salsa fresh, or refrigerate for 60 minutes for flavors to develop.
- Fresh salsa keeps in the fridge for up to 5 days.
- As to what type of tomatoes you use, I prefer Roma, Heirloom, or vine-ripened tomatoes for the best flavor. In place of fresh tomatoes, use one 28 ounces can of unsalted whole tomatoes, juices drained, but the flavor will not be as good.
- Feel free to add in more or less jalapenos based on the level of spice you like in salsa. Use 1/2 jalapeno to 2 jalapenos depending on the level of spice you desire. And I recommend removing the seeds and ribs of the jalapeno, or you may have REALLY spicy salsa.
- A sweet or Vidalia onion complimented the salsa best, but a red or yellow onion does work as well.