This homemade salsa recipe is the best! It comes together in just 10 minutes and tastes like it came straight from your favorite Mexican restaurant. The fresh flavors of tomato, lime, and cilantro will require multiple chip refills and with no leftovers!
The first time I ate at an authentic Mexican restaurant, I was blown away when the customary bowl of chips and salsa arrived at the table. The salsa was so… different. Different 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. To say that I loved it would be a massive understatement; I could have easily made a meal of just fresh tortilla chips and that salsa.
It took me awhile, but I eventually found the absolute best recipe for restaurant style salsa so that I could make it at home. I’ve been making this recipe for nearly 10 years now, and it is by far my favorite salsa, ever.
What Makes This Salsa the Best
There are approximately 378573627364 salsa recipes out there, but this is why you’re going to love, love, LOVE this one.
A simple ingredient list.
Big, bright, and fresh flavors.
A medium heat level that you can ramp up or down.
Low maintenance prep (no finely chopping!).
Ready in just 10 minutes.
Makes a HUGE batch, perfect for parties.
If you’ve tried countless jars of store-bought salsa but just can’t find your salsa soulmate, pretty please give this recipe a try.
Ingredients in Homemade Salsa
The best salsa recipe has a simple list of ingredients that allow the flavors to shine bright.
Canned Whole Tomatoes: The first building block in any salsa recipe.
Rotel: The canned combination of diced tomatoes with green chiles give the salsa a little kick (you can buy it in varying heat levels to suit your taste.)
Onion + Garlic: Classic flavors that contribute to that classic salsa flavor.
Jalapeño: More flavor and another kick of heat (be sure to remove the seeds and membranes if you prefer a mild flavor; leave them in if you want it hot hot HOT!).
Cilantro: A cornerstone of Mexican recipes, cilantro is loaded with aroma and flavor, similar to a mixture of parsley and citrus, which means it always pairs well with our next ingredient…
Lime Juice: A freshly squeezed lime balances out the heavier ingredients and brightens up the flavor of the salsa.
Salt + Sugar + Cumin: The final seasoning comes from salt and sugar, which help to draw out the other flavors, and cumin, which adds a touch of smoky flavor.
You might want to adjust a few of these depending on your heat tolerance or personal preference, but after trying dozens of homemade salsa recipes, I’m convinced that this combination of ingredients makes the absolute BEST salsa!
How to Make This Homemade Salsa
Okay, are you ready? Pay close attention.
Add ingredients to the blender. All of them, throw ’em in!
Pulse to your desired consistency – less for chunkier salsa, more for a finer consistency.
BOOM! You’re done!
Seriously, that’s it. So, so easy. I do prefer to pop it in the refrigerator for about an hour so all of the flavors can meld together, but it’s not absolutely necessary if you want to serve it right away.
Sit down with an entire bag of tortilla chips, a bowl of this salsa, and watch them both disappear. Or make one of my favorite quick snacks (one of my mom’s late-night specialties): spread a little bit of cream cheese on a plate, top with shredded cheddar and microwave until the cheese is melted. Top with salsa and dig in!
Add all ingredients to a food processor. Pulse until it reaches your desired consistency (less for a chunkier salsa, more for a thinner one - my salsa pictured above was 8 to 10 pulses).
Refrigerate for at least one hour, then serve with your favorite tortilla chips. This salsa can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
Rotel is a common canned product found in the U.S. - it is a mixture of diced tomatoes and green chiles. If you cannot find it, feel free to substitute an equal amount of canned diced tomatoes and green chiles.
This makes a large quantity, so if you are using a food processor with less than an 11-cup capacity, work in batches.
Update Notes: This recipe was originally published in May 2011; it was updated in April 2016 with new photos and refreshed again in May 2019 with more new photos, a video, and more recipe success tips.