Homemade Restaurant Style Salsa

The first time I went to a truly authentic Mexican restaurant, I got my socks knocked off when the customary bowl of chips and salsa arrived at the table. The salsa was so… different. Different, of course, from all of the jarred salsas that I had ever known. The chunks weren’t as big, it had more heat, and you could clearly taste the tomatoes, lime, and cilantro. This was quite near the opposite of any salsa I had grown up eating from a jar. And I love, love, loved it! I couldn’t get enough. I may have had to box up the majority of my meal because I filled up on an obscene amount of chips and salsa. (Okay, so I still do that.) So what took me so long to make this type of restaurant-style salsa at home? I don’t have a good answer, but the important thing is that I have made it, and I am 100% positive I will never, ever buy a jar of salsa again!

Not only is this salsa bursting with tons of fresh flavors, but it couldn’t be easier or quicker to make. Seriously. You just dump everything into a food processor (I think a blender would work too), and then you pulse to your desired consistency.

And then you sit down with an entire bag of tortilla chips, a bowl of this salsa, and watch them both disappear. It’s amazing how quickly that can happen right? Or you layer together some cream cheese and cheddar cheese, melt it in the microwave a bit, then pour this salsa over, and dig in (that is one of my all-time favorite, guilty indulgence snacks!). Basically, if you like salsa at all, you will be in love with this! And it makes a ton, so make sure you keep a steady supply of tortilla chips in the house!

You know how after you make spaghetti sauce your fingers smell like garlic and basil? And you know that it means kitchen success? (Or lack of an odor-neutralizing soap?) Well, when I was done making this, my fingers smelled like lime and cilantro. Major success.

One year ago: Pecan Sandies
Three years ago: Vanilla Cake with Chocolate Hazelnut Filling & Chocolate Frosting
Four years ago: Pepperoni Bread

Homemade Restaurant Style Salsa

Yield: About 6 cups (a.k.a. a ginormous batch)

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients:

28-ounce can whole tomatoes (peeled) with juice
2 10-ounce cans Rotel (diced tomatoes with green chilies)
¼ cup chopped onion
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 jalepeño, quartered and sliced thin
½ cup cilantro
Juice from ½ a fresh lime
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon ground cumin

Directions:

Add all ingredients to a food processor. Pulse until you get desired consistency (was about 10 pulses for me). Refrigerate for at least one hour, and then serve with your favorite tortilla chips.

*Note 1: This makes a large quantity so use at least an 11-cup food processor, or work in batches.

*Note 2: If you prefer a milder salsa, remove the seeds and membrane from the jalapeno before adding it to the food processor.

(Recipe adapted from The Pioneer Woman)

Share This Post...



132 Responses to “Homemade Restaurant Style Salsa”

Comment Pages 1 2 3
  1. Katrina on May 3, 2011 at 12:18 am

    This salsa sounds wonderful! I can’t wait to try :)

    Reply

  2. Jen of My Tiny Oven on May 3, 2011 at 12:20 am

    If you have too much feel free to send me a jar! I will supply my own chips! LOL! Looks so good!

    Reply

  3. Maree on May 3, 2011 at 3:32 am

    I love homemade salsas, and am on a search for the perfect recipe. I will definitely have to try this one soon. How long can you store it and how? I know it’ll take us a WHILE to get through 6 cups worth! Can you freeze it or will that ruin the texture?

    Reply

    • Brian on August 22nd, 2011 at 9:19 pm

      Buy some half pint mason jars and can them. You can store them up to a year if you do that

      Reply

      • ANDREA on May 1st, 2013 at 7:29 pm

        OR….Better yet just make 1/2 a batch. 1 – 14 oz can tomatoes, 1 can rotel…etc. I do it ALL the time.

        Reply

      • Jan Brazell on June 26th, 2013 at 4:07 pm

        Can you tell me how to go about canning this hot sauce? Is it different than canning fresh tomatoes? Do you have to boil it. If so, how long? Thanks for the info.

        Reply

  4. Estela @ Weekly Bite on May 3, 2011 at 6:37 am

    Nothing is better than a bowl of fresh salsa! Yum :)

    Reply

  5. Melissa on May 3, 2011 at 7:27 am

    Wow, that looks fantastic! I want to dive into a bowl of it right now–and I haven’t even had breakfast yet! ;)

    Reply

  6. Patricia on May 3, 2011 at 7:56 am

    This looks delish! I’m thinking of using this as the base for my next Mexican style chicken paella dish—perhaps minus the lime. ;-) I think it will give it an interesting, fresh twist.

    Reply

  7. Sarah @ The Pajama Chef on May 3, 2011 at 9:19 am

    mmm, sounds like a salsa i just made over the weekend. but i used fire roasted tomatoes, i’d love to try your version too!

    Reply

    • dion on October 19th, 2011 at 1:22 am

      I spend a lot of time in Mexico, I saw them fire roast tomatoes, I cannot find the plate the used on the stove to roast tomatoes, I make my own special salsa I learned when I was in Mexico, I need help please.

      Reply

  8. Chelsea on May 3, 2011 at 9:55 am

    I’m having a big group of hungry boys as house guests this weekend and was planning to make lots of Mexican fare. Looks like I will have to make this instead of the jar of salsa I was planning to buy…

    Reply

    • Chelsea on May 3rd, 2011 at 8:28 pm

      Couldn’t even wait until the weekend, made it today. FANTASTIC! I hope it lasts until the weekend!

      Reply

  9. Audrey Ellen on May 3, 2011 at 10:20 am

    Looks fresh and so tasty!

    Reply

  10. Erin on May 3, 2011 at 10:34 am

    Mmm the chips and salsa brought to the table immediately upon arriving at a Mexican restaurant is one of my favorite things about going there. I sometimes only eat half my meal cause I eat too much of it! And now I can have it at home? I will never cook again O:-)

    Reply

  11. Janice on May 3, 2011 at 11:21 am

    Homemade Salsa freezes well too. Thanks for providing an exact measurement of ingredients. I usually wander out to the garden to harvest most of these ingredients and just toss them together randomly. The result is still tasty but, I like the road map that you have provided. Also, I encourage everyone to grow their own food, especially the cilantro. Fresh cilantro from home makes the difference.

    Reply

  12. Alli on May 3, 2011 at 12:06 pm

    I absolutely LOVE this recipe and so does everyone else I share it with. The HUGE batch doesn’t seem to last very long. I just wanted to give you (or anyone else reading this) a little tip. I tried using Trader Joe’s can of tomatoes & green chiles since they don’t sell the Rotel brand. Sounds silly, but it really did make all the difference.

    Reply

  13. Angie on May 3, 2011 at 12:40 pm

    I’ve been making this since I first saw it on The Pioneer Woman and it is always a huge hit, so delicious. It is hands down the best salsa recipe ever. I’m glad you commented about the food processor size, the first time I made it I started dumping everything in and I had quite a mess so I learned the hard way to make it in two batches :)

    Reply

  14. Heather on May 3, 2011 at 2:01 pm

    This is similar to the salsa I make – you should try throwing a peach in there, or even a mango or pineapple. It adds a nice little kick! And I’d go for red onion over yellow, it gives it a better bite.

    And now I want salsa.

    Reply

  15. Erin @My Wooden Spoon on May 3, 2011 at 2:59 pm

    I just made PW’s pico de gallo. She’s a magician! Great pictures!!

    Reply

  16. Katie on May 3, 2011 at 3:24 pm

    I love how easy this recipe is. Going to try it for Cinco.

    Reply

  17. Ruth on May 3, 2011 at 3:34 pm

    I must confess that while I always make my own guacamole and other sauces, I hardly ever make salsa. This recipe should change that, though! I’ve bookmarked it!

    Reply

  18. heather on May 3, 2011 at 3:40 pm

    Oh homemade salsa (and restaurant salsa) is my weakness. I think I had my husband go out to our local mexican restaurant once a week while I was pregnant.

    Reply

  19. Jessica @ Dishin' About Nutrition on May 3, 2011 at 5:21 pm

    You are talkin’ to a salsa fanatic!! If my mother in law didn’t make salsa (and would get VERY offended if I ate anyone else’s salsa but her’s…) I would definitely try this!

    Reply

    • Jan Brazell on June 26th, 2013 at 4:09 pm

      Sneak around, unless she lives with you.

      Reply

  20. Erica on May 3, 2011 at 5:35 pm

    mmmm. Sounds sooo good!!! I have never made homemade salsa because it always seemed so complicated and time consuming, but this recipe sounds so quick and easy PLUS the bonus of tasting like restaruant salsa, GENIUS!!!!!!!!!!!! Am so going to make this tonight and present my sons teacher with a jar of it tomorrow for her teacher appreciation gift, much better than the store bought jar i was gonna buy her, plus i can prettify it!!! :)

    Reply

  21. Ems on May 3, 2011 at 6:49 pm

    mmm! This would be super good with fresh tomatoes once tomato season rolls around!

    Reply

  22. Lisa on May 3, 2011 at 7:04 pm

    I’m so excited…I HATE chunky tomatoes so this salsa is right up my alley. I just had some awesome salsa at a local Mexican restaurant (I’m from the ‘Burgh, too!) and this looks just like it. Can’t wait to try it.

    Reply

    • Michelle on May 3rd, 2011 at 9:25 pm

      Hey Lisa! Which restaurant were you at?

      Reply

      • Lisa on May 4th, 2011 at 6:46 am

        Hi Michelle! El Campesino in Monroeville. I know they have several locations now.

        Reply

        • Michelle on May 4th, 2011 at 9:48 pm

          Nice! I haven’t been there, but my boyfriend has raved about it, I’m sure we’ll get there eventually!

          Reply

  23. Jill on May 3, 2011 at 8:01 pm

    I just made this, after seeing the recipe posted on facebook. I absolutely LOVE salsa and despise the store bought stuff. I thought I had already found the perfect salsa recipe until this one! WOW! I made it for my boyfriend and myself….huge bowl but I am positive it will not last long….I’ve already ate my weight in chips and salsa now, haha. Thanks for posting, it’s awesome!

    Reply

  24. Lindsey at Burn Me Not on May 3, 2011 at 8:08 pm

    This salsa recipe looks insanely delicious… and authentic! I can’t wait to try this recipe!!

    Reply

  25. jaclyn@lifeoftodayslady on May 3, 2011 at 8:36 pm

    YES!!!! I love this style of salsa!!!! I have yet to make it myself though but really, what am I waiting for ?! I usually buy fresh salsa from the grocery store and doctor it up with lime juice and cilantro but it’s still not the same. Next time I make mexican food, I’m definitely making this!!!

    Reply

  26. Dana on May 3, 2011 at 9:28 pm

    You just made me so hungry! I could live off of salsa and now I don’t want a real dinner. I want this salsa. This post is probably one of the best posts ever. You officially have my heart. Thank you for sharing this!

    dana
    danalovestobake.blogspot.com

    Reply

  27. Skyler on May 3, 2011 at 9:52 pm

    thats very similar to the salsa i make! i looove it! just wait til summer comes & you can use fresh out of the garden tomatoes! Their freshness makes the salsa wonderful!

    Reply

  28. Mariel on May 3, 2011 at 10:01 pm

    I love Mexican food too and am also from Pittsburgh. What’s your favorite Mexican restaurant around here?

    Reply

    • Michelle on May 4th, 2011 at 10:00 pm

      Hi Mariel! Mad Mex is usually my favorite. I’ve been to Mexico City on Wood Street, which was good – I like the hand-smashed guacamole right at the table!

      Reply

      • Lisa on May 5th, 2011 at 7:41 am

        OMG–Mad Mex!!! The mole sauce is so darn good. If you like margaritas, don’t miss their mango version.

        Reply

        • Michelle on May 5th, 2011 at 3:23 pm

          Oooh I have not had their mango margarita – I will definitely try it the next time I’m there!

          Reply

  29. Sues on May 4, 2011 at 10:51 am

    Yum! There’s nothing better than restaurant salsa and chips :) Though I am a huge fan of Paul Newman’s salsa (except the hot is not nearly hot enough!). Your salsa looks SO delicious!

    Reply

  30. penandra on May 4, 2011 at 11:34 am

    “You know how after you make spaghetti sauce your fingers smell like garlic and basil? And you know that it means kitchen success? (Or lack of an odor-neutralizing soap?)”

    If you don’t have an odor-neutralizing soap, the other thing that works well is to rub your fingers with stainless steel under warm water — some kitchen stores sell soap-shaped blocks of stainless steel . . . . I just grab a large spoon out of the dishwasher (or usually the sink, if I’ve just finished making something) . . . . it really works!

    Reply

  31. Cookin' Canuck on May 4, 2011 at 12:04 pm

    This is my favorite kind of salsa – ground fine and full of cilantro and heat. Love it, Michelle.

    Reply

  32. Maria on May 4, 2011 at 1:03 pm

    One of my favorite snacks!

    Reply

  33. Amanda on May 4, 2011 at 1:09 pm

    How perfect is this recipe for summer! Love fresh, homemade salsa :)

    Reply

  34. Lori @ RecipeGirl on May 4, 2011 at 1:18 pm

    When I worked for a caterer, we made a very similar recipe… that stuff gets gobbled up around here in Southern California like there’s no tomorrow. Looks perfect.

    Reply

  35. Maja on May 5, 2011 at 2:41 am

    Mmmm, chips and salsa, my favorite part of a meal. If only I could find rotel cans here in Holland.

    Reply

  36. Liz on May 5, 2011 at 6:38 am

    These are the same ingredients I use to make salsa…SO yummy!!!!

    Reply

  37. Emily @ Life On Food on May 5, 2011 at 6:44 am

    I love chips and salsa too. It is my favorite snack and I am notorious for eating the whole basket of chips and salsa at Mexican restaurants only to have two bites of my actual meal. This is a great recipe. Have you ever tried the pure green salsas that have strong flavor of cilantro?

    Reply

    • Michelle on May 5th, 2011 at 3:22 pm

      Hi Emily, I have never had (or even seen!) this very green type of salsa. I like cilantro, but I’m not sure I love it enough for that ;-)

      Reply

  38. Tiffany on May 5, 2011 at 8:07 am

    PERFECT for Cinco de Mayo! And I love that you included cumin! :D

    Reply

  39. Angela@RecipesFromMyMom on May 5, 2011 at 8:42 am

    Minus the cilantro, I’m digging it. Or maybe I could just do a little less cilantro ’cause my hubby & daughter don’t hate it like I do. Wouldn’t mind my fingers smelling like lime and cumin.

    Reply

  40. Joy on May 5, 2011 at 10:57 am

    Hmmm salsa. that looks great.

    Reply

  41. Candi on May 5, 2011 at 4:34 pm

    OMG!! This was SO easy and it is absolutely delicious!!! I love the tanginess of the lime juice. I made it without the jalapeño, because I didn’t have one, but it was spicy enough with the Rotel. Thank you for this recipe. My husband it going to love it! Oh, I also left out the cilantro, because I am not a fan. I have tried to like it, but it just doesn’t agree with my taste buds. Oh well! This salsa is still delicious! Thank you again!

    Reply

  42. Paula on May 5, 2011 at 5:10 pm

    I made this today for a friend who judges Mexican restaurants by her salsa. She said that she would come back to this restaurant, so the salsa is a WIN! I’ll be posting this on http://www.dishingthedivine.com soon (with, of course, credit to you, Michelle!)

    Reply

  43. Tracy on May 5, 2011 at 6:00 pm

    I love how easy this sounds! I made salsa once last year to can it, but I’ve never made it “just because.” I need to try this!

    Reply

  44. Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction on May 5, 2011 at 9:05 pm

    Oh, I just LOVE the salsa at *good* Mexican restaurants. You’re right, it blows jarred salsa from the store completely out of the water. I’ve never actually made it myself, but I’ve got to give this a try. Yum!

    Reply

  45. Lindsey@Lindselicious on May 6, 2011 at 1:11 pm

    My mouth literally watered looking at this! yum I am craving salsa and chips now!

    Reply

  46. MelissaM on May 8, 2011 at 11:17 am

    I have been making this version for about a year now. When I make it I put it in a 2 quart pitcher – makes for easier serving. I do have to report my family likes additional heat so I use the whole jalepeno (or 2) including the seeds and sometimes a few drops of Dave’s Insanity Sauce, but than I have a husband with an iron stomach and a 17 year old son who prides himself on being on the wall of fame at the local BBQ joint for eating a ghost pepper. Said son also does not eat much in the way of vegetables, so I am very happy to make this often as a way of getting some form of vegetable into him.

    Reply

  47. Michele (also a brown eyed baker) on May 9, 2011 at 10:17 am

    My boys thought that this was the BEST!!! We ate the entire batch in less than 24 hrs! Thank goodness I had a house full of HS seniors or I would REALLY be feeling “pigish”! Now I have to go try Mexico City on Wood Street. I’m not a big fan of El Camps. Our favorite is Compadres up in Meadville (they also have a location right by the Grove City Outlets). Their salsa tastes JUST like YOURS!

    Reply

  48. Pam on May 9, 2011 at 9:51 pm

    Salsa is one of my favorite foods. Especially with lots of cilantro. The best salsa I ever had was when every ingredient came out of my friend’s garden last summer. This recipe looks scrumptious even with store-bought tomatoes, etc. Yum.

    Reply

  49. Erica on May 10, 2011 at 3:50 pm

    Made the salsa and it was perfect!! His teacher LOVED it and so did the class and other parents at the party!!! :D My hubby thought it was a little spicy so i halved the recipe and made a half batch and mixed the remaining in with it and he is happy! :) Thanks So Much Michelle!!!!

    Reply

  50. Marie @ Chocolate & Wine on May 12, 2011 at 11:01 am

    I made this for last weekend when my sister and cousin were over with wholemade corn chips.. it was AMAZING but a tad on the spicy side!!! I think next time I’ll leave the jalapeno out!

    xo – Marie
    Chocolate & Wine

    Reply

Comment Pages 1 2 3

Leave a Comment





(Your comment may need to be approved before it will appear on the site. Thanks for your patience! If it is your first time commenting you may want to review the Comment Guidelines.)