Homemade Mexican Salsa Recipe photo by Taste of Home

Homemade Mexican Salsa

Total Time
Prep: 40 min.
If you like salsa from a jar, wait till you try this homemade Mexican salsa recipe! It's really easy to make, and it's so much tastier than the jarred variety.

Updated: May 27, 2024

Homemade Mexican salsa is mouthwateringly delicious on a hot day, or any day. This recipe is about as easy as pushing a (blender) button, yet its flavor is so much brighter and fresher than salsa from a jar. Enjoy it as a snack or with a meal—you just may never go back to store-bought salsa.

Ingredients for Homemade Mexican Salsa

  • Jalapeño peppers: These spicy salsa staples bring the heat in this recipe.
  • Onion: Onion adds texture and a bit of a bite to any salsa. White onions are ideal, as they’re mild and visually stand out in this Mexican salsa recipe.
  • Garlic: Fresh garlic adds new levels of deliciousness to the salsa.
  • Tomatoes: Canned tomatoes cut the preparation time to make this Mexican salsa recipe even easier.
  • Cilantro: Cilantro will add an extra element of freshness to the salsa.
  • Tortilla chips: Tortilla chips provide the crunch—and the means for getting the salsa from the bowl to your mouth.


Step 1: Blister the jalapeños

Warm an ungreased cast-iron skillet over high heat. Pierce the jalapeños with a sharp knife, then place them in the hot skillet. Cook them for 15 to 20 minutes until they’re blistered and blackened, occasionally turning them.

Editor’s Tip: Avoid touching your eyes after handling jalapeños.

Step 2:  Prepare the peppers

Immediately place the jalapeños in a small bowl and cover it for 20 minutes. Peel and discard the charred pepper skins, then remove the stems, seed and seed membrane from the peppers.

Editor’s Tip: The jalapeño’s real heat is in the seed membrane, or pith; it’s the white part that the seeds touch, which is why the seeds have a little heat too. Scrape out the seeds and pith to keep the salsa mild; leave in a small amount to retain some spicy heat.

Step 3: Blend the salsa

Pulse the onion and garlic together four times in a food processor with the lid intact. Add the tomatoes, cilantro, salt and jalapeños, place the lid back on the food processor and pulse or blend until the salsa reaches the desired consistency.

Step 4: Chill and serve

Transfer the salsa to a bowl or storage container with a lid, and refrigerate it, covered, for an hour, or until serving time. The chilling time unites the flavors a bit. Serve the salsa with tortilla chips.

Homemade Mexican Salsa Variations

  • Use raw jalapeños instead: If you’d rather not mess with charring the jalapeños, you don’t have to. Simply chop them and remove the seeds, then pulse the peppers in the food processor along with the other salsa ingredients.
  • Add lime juice: Lime juice adds a fresh citrusy note to Mexican salsa that makes the flavor bright and lively.
  • Try it with cumin: Cumin adds a smoky earthiness to the salsa. Add a little at a time, to taste.
  • Sprinkle in some sugar: A little sugar sweetens the deal by balancing the acidity of the other ingredients. Stir in just a pinch at a time to avoid oversweetening the salsa.
  • Add peaches: Use fresh peaches in place of some of the tomatoes for a fantastic fruity flavor.

How to Store Homemade Mexican Salsa

Store the salsa in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Wide-mouthed jars work great, but any container with an airtight lid will do.

How long does homemade Mexican salsa last?

Homemade Mexican salsa lasts three to five days in the refrigerator. Freshen it up a bit after a day or two by squirting lime juice atop it before serving.

Can you make homemade Mexican salsa ahead of time?

Yes, you can make it ahead of time, but not too far ahead of time. Make it early on the day you plan to use it, or at most, the night before. This ensures the freshest flavor.

Can you freeze homemade Mexican salsa?

It’s best to enjoy this salsa fresh. Salsas that freeze well usually involve cooking the salsa first, which cooks off most of the liquid. This freezer-worthy salsa is one recipe that does work well for freezing.

Mexican Salsa Recipe Tips

How do you thicken homemade Mexican salsa?

The nice thing about this Mexican salsa recipe is you can make it as thick or thin as you like. If it’s too thin, drain some of the liquid. If you’ve processed it too much, add chopped tomatoes, garlic, onions and jalapeño peppers, and let the flavors marinate together for an hour or so in the fridge before enjoying.

Can I make Mexican salsa without a food processor?

Yes, this salsa can be made without a food processor. Use a blender or a handheld immersion blender until the salsa reaches the desired thickness. Another option is to use canned (or fresh) diced tomatoes in place of whole tomatoes and dice the other ingredients by hand rather than blending them.

What should I serve with Mexican salsa?

Thick, crunchy tortilla chips are salsa-worthy, as they won’t fall apart when you dip them. Scoop-shaped tortilla chips maximize the amount of salsa per chip while minimizing drips. This salsa also tastes great on fish tacos or atop grilled fish dishes.

Watch how to Make Homemade Mexican Salsa

Homemade Mexican Salsa

Prep Time 25 min
Cook Time 15 min
Yield 14 servings (3-1/2 cups)


  • 3 jalapeno peppers
  • 1 medium onion, quartered
  • 1 garlic clove, halved
  • 2 cans (one 28 ounces, one 14-1/2 ounces) whole tomatoes, drained
  • 4 fresh cilantro sprigs
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Tortilla chips


  1. Heat a small ungreased cast-iron skillet over high heat. With a small sharp knife, pierce jalapenos; add to hot skillet. Cook until peppers are blistered and blackened, 15-20 minutes, turning occasionally.
  2. Immediately place jalapenos in a small bowl; cover and let stand for 20 minutes. Peel off and discard charred skins. Remove stems and seeds.
  3. Place onion and garlic in a food processor; cover and pulse 4 times. Add the tomatoes, cilantro, salt and jalapenos. Cover and process until salsa reaches desired consistency. Chill until serving. Serve with chips.

Nutrition Facts

1/4 cup: 23 calories, 0 fat (0 saturated fat), 0 cholesterol, 241mg sodium, 5g carbohydrate (3g sugars, 1g fiber), 1g protein.

In the summertime, I love to make this easy, zippy homemade salsa recipe with fresh tomatoes from my garden. I even have a special pan for roasting the peppers. —Roger Stenman, Batavia, Illinois
Recipe Creator