Make your own Homemade Restaurant Style Salsa in just 5 minutes that’s more delicious than your favorite Mexican joint. You won’t be able to stop eating it!
Homemade Restaurant Style Salsa
We are very picky about salsa at our house. So picky, in fact, that we have yet to find a single salsa at the store that we love as much as the salsa at authentic Mexican restaurants. So I decided to take it upon myself to conjure up a homemade restaurant style salsa recipe to cure our salsa craving when we can’t make it out to a restaurant.
This homemade Restaurant Style Salsa is packed with bright flavors like tangy tomatoes, spicy jalapenos, zesty onions and garlic, and fresh cilantro. It is bold and flavorful and not watered down at all.
I love to put it on EVERYTHING! Chips, eggs, burgers, tacos,… you name it. It’s so good you won’t want to stop eating it!
And that’s how salsa SHOULD be.
This recipe makes a LARGE batch. It will feed a large crowd, probably with some leftover.
If you can’t get all of the ingredients to fit in your food processor at once, you can process in batches, and then stir it together in a large bowl at the end.
And if you don’t have a food processor, you need one. And not just for salsa. Trust me, you’ll love it. They’re incredibly useful in the kitchen, and a very inexpensive appliance. Here’s the one we have for just $30, and we’ve had it for three years, and still going strong!.
Why Don’t You Use Fresh Tomatoes?
There’s this misconception that you need fresh, ripe tomatoes to make amazing salsa, but I’m here to tell you that it’s not necessary.
In fact, it’s often actually way better to use canned, as their tomatoes are always ripe and juicy, whereas if you buy a fresh tomato out of season, you’re likely to get a disappointing, watery one.
If you’re worried about ingredients in canned tomatoes, just look for an organic, low sodium variety, which typically don’t have any unnecessary ingredients added.
Can I Use Fresh Tomatoes?
If you have a surplus of tomatoes from your garden or you’re just dying to try it with fresh instead of canned, you definitely can.
I recommend using plum or Roma tomatoes because they have a rich, sweet, vibrant flavor.
Substitute one pound of tomatoes instead of the canned tomatoes and canned tomatoes and green chiles. You will also want to add an additional can of green chiles (4 ounces), or an extra jalapeno to get back that pepper flavor and heat.
Coarsely chop the tomatoes before adding them to the processor with the rest of the ingredients.
Can You Freeze Homemade Salsa?
The short answer is yes.
The longer answer is that freezing will keep the flavor of the salsa, but will alter the texture to be a bit more watery. If you’re going to freeze salsa, consider using it for cooking purposes only, like these Crockpot Chicken Tacos.
Or you can boil the salsa to get rid of the liquids, while concentrating the flavor.
Bring your salsa to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 45 minutes, stirring often. Allow to cool for an hour before transferring to a freezer container or bag. Freeze for up to 3 months.
Thaw in the refrigerator overnight, and stir before serving.
How to Adjust the Heat Level
Some like it hot, and some like it not! Either way is okay, and here’s how you can adjust this recipe to your precise heat level.
- Always taste your jalapenos! Sometimes they’re just hotter than others. Especially from the grocery store, you just never know what you’re going to get. So do a simple taste test in order to determine how many you want to add.
- Remove jalapeno seeds, if you want a milder flavor. The seeds are the hottest part. If you like your salsa really REALLY hot, you can leave them in. Take out most for a “medium” salsa, or all for a mild salsa. I typically take them all out because seeds can be just as unpredictable as the peppers themselves, and I don’t want to make an entire batch inedible.
- Change the heat level of the canned tomatoes and green chiles. Rotel comes in hot, mild, and original. I usually use hot Rotel to increase the heat level, and their heat level is more consistent and predictable than fresh jalapenos.
More Homemade Mexican Recipes You’ll Love
- Authentic Guacamole – creamy, authentic, and super easy to make. It’s packed with flavor thanks to a simple cooking trick.
- Refried Black Beans – so creamy and rich! Way better than from a can!
- Chipotle Barbacoa – just like your favorite restaurant. Make it in the slow cooker!
- Homemade Tortilla Chips – because homemade is always better! Perfectly crisp and salted.
- Easy Skirt Steak Fajitas – possibly my all-time favorite Mexican food, and so easy to make at home.
- Chipotle Cilantro Lime Rice – a simple recipe just like the restaurant! Great as a side or to whip up some burrito bowls.
Homemade Restaurant Style Salsa
- 1 (15 ounce) can stewed tomatoes undrained
- 1 (10 ounce) cans diced tomatoes and green chiles undrained
- 1/2 cup coarsely chopped onion
- 2 jalapenos sliced with seeds and membrane removed
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon salt or to taste
- Juice from half a lime (about 1.5 tablespoons)
- Combine all ingredients in a large food processor, and pulse until the salsa has reached your desired consistency.
- Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour before serving.
- This recipe is naturally gluten and dairy free.
- Chill your salsa for at least an hour or overnight before digging in. This allows the flavors to marry for a cohesive, extra tasty dip.
- To make it chunkier: pulse onions, garlic, jalapenos, and cilantro in the processor first. Then add the tomatoes and pulse to reach desired consistency. This will break down the tomatoes less.
- Don’t add water to this recipe. It is unnecessary and will just dilute the flavor.
- Serve cold with tortilla chips or as a topping on your favorite Mexican dish, salad, burger, or whatever your heart desires.
- Storage: Store covered in the refrigerator for up to 7 days. I store mine in a quart-sized mason jar.
- Freezer Directions: Bring your salsa to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 45 minutes, stirring often. Allow to cool for an hour before transferring to a freezer container or bag. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight, and stir before serving.
UPDATE INFO: This recipe was originally published in April 2016. It was updated with more helpful tips, new pictures, and a video and republished in June 2020.
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