Best Salsa Recipe

There are lots of ways to make a homemade salsa recipe, but this one’s our favorite, featuring fresh ripe tomatoes, cilantro, and lots of lime.

Salsa Recipe

What is the best salsa recipe? That’s a loaded question, of course! There are a myriad of variations — and as avid salsa lovers, Alex and I are fans of all of them. We’ve made just about every type of salsa imaginable: fresh salsa, red salsa, tomatillo salsa, salse verde, pineapple salsa, peach salsa: you name it! This one we’ll share here, though, is our best homemade salsa recipe: fresh garden tomatoes, cilantro, and lots of lime. We’ve also got an FAQ on just about everything you might need to know about salsa. Ready to get started?

Related: 15 Best Fresh Tomato Recipes

Best homemade salsa recipe

What is salsa?

First of all: what is salsa? Salsa simply means “sauce” in Spanish, and refers to a wide variety of sauces that can be made with or without tomatoes. The most popular one is a red tomato salsa recipe: the kind that you’ve seen canned in stores. Sometimes the tomatoes are cooked, other times they are used raw, like in our fresh garden salsa recipe below. And there are all sorts of other variations on salsa without tomatoes, too.

Here are some popular salsas:

  • Red salsa (salsa roja): A sauce made with cooked or canned tomatoes, onion, garlic, and hot peppers
  • Fresh salsa / salsa fresca / pico de gallo: A tomato salsa using fresh tomatoes, onion, garlic, and jalapenos. See Salsa Fresca and Pico de Gallo.
  • Green salsa / salsa verde / tomatillo salsa: A salsa made using tomatillos, a variety of small green tomatoes with a tart flavor (usually cooked, but also served raw)
  • Non tomato based salsas: Salsa can be made with many different fruits and vegetables; some popular non tomato salsas are: Peach salsa, Mango salsa, Corn salsa, and Pineapple salsa

The Best Homemade Salsa recipe we’ve shared below is a basic salsa using fresh tomatoes; it’s also a mild salsa where you can customize the heat level. Keep reading for how to make it!

How to make salsa

How to make salsa

You’ve seen it in jars and containers at the store, but why not try to make your own salsa recipe at home? Of course with all the different varieties and flavors, there are multiple ways of how to make homemade salsa. This time around, we’ll show you how to make salsa dip using raw, ripe garden tomatoes, fresh lime, and lots of cilantro. While many fresh salsa recipes require chopping by hand, we used our food processor to make it easy and to get a uniform texture.

Here’s how to make fresh salsa in a food processor (scroll down for the full recipe):

  1. Toss an onion, garlic clove, jalapeño pepper and a handful of cilantro into a food processor and process until chopped.
  2. Add chunks of ripe tomato, cumin, lime juice, and salt. Pulse until a uniform chunky texture forms.
  3. Strain the salsa to remove extra liquid (it will reduce quite a bit). Pour into a serving bowl and add the final lime juice and salt.

The main issue when making a fresh salsa recipe is too much extra liquid from the raw tomatoes. Straining the salsa removes the soupy quality, and adding back some lime after straining makes sure it’s perfectly tangy! It turns into the most fresh, zesty salsa for chips and to throw onto tacos, and one of our best vegetarian Mexican recipes to date.

Let us know what you think of this method in the comments below (and scroll down to the recipe for the exact quantities).

Best homemade salsa recipe

Salsa FAQ

There are so many different recipes and methods: but we hope you love our best homemade salsa recipe (below)! Before we get to the recipe, one final thing: FAQ! Here are some frequently asked questions about salsa. Let us know if we’ve missed any and we’ll add them!

Can you freeze salsa? How to freeze salsa a recipe?

It depends on the type of salsa. A fresh salsa should never be frozen; the raw vegetables lose their texture and flavor after freezing. A cooked salsa or a salsa made with canned tomatoes can be frozen. Simply place it in a sealed container in the freezer. After defrosting, drain off any extra liquid before serving.

How long does salsa last?

A fresh salsa made with raw tomatoes lasts for about 5 days in the refrigerator. A cooked salsa or a salsa made with canned tomatoes lasts about 2 weeks refrigerated.

Is salsa good for you?

Yes! Salsa is straight up veggies, so you get to enjoy the vitamins and nutritional benefits of tomatoes, onions, garlic, and peppers!

Do you have a fresh garden salsa recipe?

Yes, we developed the Best Homemade Salsa recipe below just for fresh, juicy garden tomatoes. (If you’d rather use canned, go for our Roasted Tomato Salsa.)

What’s your best quick salsa recipe?

Our Best Homemade Salsa recipe takes just 10 minutes to whip up (see below); it’s the one we’d recommend for a quick salsa as well.

Is salsa keto?

Yes! However, if you’re eating a strict keto diet, you’ll want to eat minimal amounts of tomatoes and onions.

Do you have a cilantro salsa recipe?

The Best Homemade Salsa recipe below features fresh cilantro, as do most of our salsa recipes! However, if you’d like a green cilantro salsa, we’d recommend our Verde Cilantro Dip.

How to make salsa less spicy?

Ooops, did you put in too many jalapeño seeds? To make salsa less spicy, you can add in more tomatoes and onions to spread out the heat.

How to thicken salsa?

When you make a fresh tomato salsa recipe, you’ll notice that there’s a lot of extra liquid. That’s ok: you can simply strain it off using a strainer and discard the extra liquid.

How to can a homemade salsa recipe?

Our Best Homemade Salsa recipe below is not intended for canning: you’d need to use a cooked salsa for that. Try this Canned Salsa recipe for preserving your salsa.

Looking for party appetizer recipes?

Outside of this salsa recipe, here are some of our favorite party appetizer recipes:

This salsa recipe is…

Vegetarian, gluten-free, vegan, plant-based, and dairy-free.

Salsa Recipe

Best Salsa Recipe

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (10 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 2 1/2 cups 1x


There are lots of ways to make a homemade salsa recipe, but this one’s our favorite, featuring fresh ripe tomatoes, cilantro, and lots of lime. 



  • 2 pounds fresh tomatoes (6 medium)
  • 1/2 white onion
  • 1 medium garlic clove
  • 1 to 2 jalapeño peppers, seeds removed (depending on your spice tolerance)
  • 1 large handful cilantro
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice, divided
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided


  1. Cut the tomatoes into wedges and remove the white part of the core; then cut the wedges in half. Cut the onion into chunks. Peel the garlic. Remove the seeds from the jalapeño peppers.
  2. Place the onion, garlic, jalapeño peppers and cilantro in the bowl of the food processor. Add the tomatoes, cumin, 2 tablespoons lime juice and 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt. Pulse until a chunky texture forms. Taste, and if you’d like extra heat, add seeds from the jalapeños.
  3. Strain the mixture to remove excess liquid (the volume will decrease by almost half). Place the salsa in a serving dish and stir in the remaining 1 tablespoon lime juice and 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt. Serve immediately or refrigerate for up to 3 days.

  • Category: Dip
  • Method: Food Processor
  • Cuisine: Mexican

Keywords: Salsa Recipe, How to make salsa, How to make homemade salsa

Best Salsa Recipes

There are lots of ways to make a great salsa! Here are all our favorite methods, from fresh tomato to tomatillo to peach salsa.

Salsa Fresca

Ready for what we might contend is our best salsa recipe? Meet this salsa fresca, a “fresh salsa” made with ripe, juicy tomatoes. If you have access to some legit good fresh tomatoes, we recommend you consider making up a batch stat. It’s super tangy from the lime, a little sweet from the tomato, and has a back-end heat from the jalapeño. Yes, it’s everything you’d want in a fresh salsa recipe!

Best Pico de Gallo Recipe

Pico de gallo translates literally to “beak of the rooster” in Spanish. It’s a type of chunky fresh salsa made with fresh tomatoes; and the name perhaps refers to the bird feed-like texture (no one seems to know the true origin!). This pico de gallo recipe features tomatoes, onion, peppers, cilantro, and fresh squeezed lime juice: it's tangy and oh so refreshing! Use it as a salsa with tortilla chips, use it on top of grilled or broiled salmon, or of course, throw it into a taco.

Roasted Tomato Salsa

Roasted tomato salsa sounds like you’d have to roast tomatoes for hours, right? Not for this roasted tomato salsa recipe! Here we’ve used canned fire-roasted tomatoes. The fire-roasted tomatoes have a sweeter, more developed flavor than straight up tomatoes from the can.

Peach Salsa Recipe

Have you ever tried a peach salsa recipe? If not, you’re in for a treat! Not only is the blend of the sweet juicy peaches with the spicy red onions incredibly delicious, but it’s quite versatile. You could serve it with chips or crackers as an appetizer. It’s the perfect peach salsa for fish, or in a burrito or taco.

Black Bean Salsa

Black bean salsa recipe is made with fresh tomatoes – it’s also called “salsa fresca.” It features black beans, of course, along with tomatoes, onion, chili peppers, cilantro, and fresh lime juice. Use it to dip tortilla chips, spoon it into a burrito or quesadilla, or as a topping on tacos, baked potatoes, or grilled avocado!

Heirloom Tomato Salsa Cruda

Salsa cruda is a fresh tomato salsa recipe, using the best ripe tomatoes of the season. Find multi-colored heirloom tomatoes for a vibrant, confetti-like look! This one also uses fresh corn and cilantro.

Easy Mango Salsa Recipe

This easy mango salsa recipe uses only a few ingredients and tastes amazing with fish, veggie tacos, or with tortilla chips. It’s tangy, sweet, salty and spicy all at once, and always goes over well with a crowd!

Restaurant-Style Salsa

Easily customized to your own taste, this restaurant-style salsa recipe pairs perfectly with chips, scrambled eggs, enchiladas, and more! This one has a lightly sweet and smoky flavor. The great thing about salsa is that you can easily customize it – just add the amount of ingredients to your own liking.

Homemade Tomatillo Salsa

This fresh tomatillo salsa highlights the tomatillo flavor: sour, sweet, and earthy. Delicious! Adding a bit of sugar gives just the right amount of balance to the sourness of the tomatillos.

Black Bean and Corn Salsa

This black bean and corn salsa is a salsa fresca—a fresh salsa—and embodies everything that’s good about summer. It features lightly roasted corn, black beans, garden cherry tomatoes, and a bit of lime and cumin.

Roasted Tomatillo Salsa (Salsa Verde)

Why make roasted tomatillo salsa at home when you can easily buy it at the store? Because it’s . It’s tangy, garlicky, smoky, and a little spicy, perfect for dipping endless mountains of tortilla chips. And makes you feel like, “Yeah, I made this!”.

Pineapple Salsa

This tangy pineapple salsa has just the right balance of sweet, tangy and savory, featuring fresh pineapple, red onion, and cilantro. It's perfect for topping tacos!

Subscribe for free weekly recipes & more!

About the Authors

Sonja Overhiser

Cookbook Author and writer

Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.

Alex Overhiser

Cookbook Author and photographer

Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.

1 Comment

  • Reply
    June 27, 2019 at 9:09 am

    This definitely goes to the ‘must make again ‘ list and I love that you put in other salsas to try

  • Leave a Reply

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.