Homemade Salsa

Break out the tortilla chips! This homemade salsa recipe is zesty, fresh, and super easy to make. Enjoy it as a dip, or pile it onto tacos, nachos, and more.

homemade salsa

If I learned one thing from living in Austin, it’s that homemade salsa is infinitely better than any kind you can find in a jar. I loved sampling salsas at restaurants and taco trucks. Each one was different – some were made with roasted ingredients, others got a smoky, spicy kick from dried chiles, and still others were nice and fresh.

This variety inspired me to start experimenting with making homemade salsa. I might pull out dried chiles in the winter, when good tomatoes are hard to find, or roast tomatillos if I see them at the farmers market. But on hot summer days, this fresh tomato salsa recipe is the one I crave. It’s super simple to make (no cooking required!), and it’s zesty, spicy, and bright. It keeps for 3 days in the fridge, but around here, it never lasts that long. Set it out with your favorite tortilla chips, and it’ll disappear in a snap!

Fresh salsa recipe ingredients

Homemade Salsa Recipe Ingredients

You only need a few basic ingredients to make this easy salsa recipe:

  • Fresh tomatoes, of course! I like to use Roma tomatoes here because they’re meatier and less watery than salad tomatoes. If you can’t find Roma tomatoes, another variety of small plum tomatoes would work too.
  • Onion and garlic – For sharp depth of flavor! Rinse the onion before adding it to the food processor to mellow its pungent taste.
  • Lime juice and zest – They make this recipe zesty and bright.
  • Jalapeño – For heat! If you’re sensitive to spice, make sure to remove the seeds.
  • Cilantro – It adds fresh flavor and pretty flecks of green.
  • Cumin – Its earthy flavor adds complexity to the zesty sauce.
  • Sugar – Just a pinch! It really brings this recipe together, taming the sharp, acidic flavors of the other ingredients.
  • Salt – To make all the flavors pop!

Find the complete recipe with measurements below.

Tomatoes, onion, lime, jalapeño, cilantro, and spices

How to Make Salsa

Once you learn how to make salsa at home, you’ll never buy it in a jar again! Here’s what you need to do:

Start with the onion and garlic. Rinse the onion under cold running water, and add it to the food processor along with a garlic clove. Process until they’re well-chopped.

Tomatoes, jalapeño, lime, and cilantro in a food processor

Next, add the other ingredients. Toss in the diced tomatoes, jalapeño, cilantro, lime juice and zest, cumin, salt, and sugar. Pulse until everything is combined but not pureed. The texture should be chunky. Season to taste, and enjoy!

Store any leftover salsa in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Homemade salsa in a food processor

Fresh Salsa Recipe Tips

  • Spice to your level. I like my salsa to have a spicy kick, so I use an entire jalapeño in this recipe. If you’re sensitive to spice, start with half a chile, and remove the seeds. Taste before serving. If you want it spicier, blend in more of the jalapeño to taste!
  • Pulse the onion and garlic first. It’s easy to over-process homemade salsa. Then, instead of getting chunky salsa, you’ll end up with a gazpacho-like puree…not what we’re going for here! To help everything process evenly, pulse the onion and garlic in the food processor separately before adding the other ingredients. With the onion and garlic already chopped, you’ll only need to process the tomatoes for a little bit, so you can achieve a nice chunky texture.
  • You might want to strain it. The consistency of this salsa varies depending on the water content of the tomatoes. If it’s too watery, strain half to remove some of the liquid. Combine the chunky strained mixture with the remaining salsa. If you still prefer a chunkier texture, strain out more of the liquid to reach your desired consistency.

Easy homemade salsa in a bowl

Serving Suggestions

If you’re anything like me, you’ll end up eating half your homemade salsa straight from the food processor. Served with tortilla chips, it’s an addictive dip! But of course, there are other delicious ways to enjoy it too. Here are a few of my favorites:

How do you like to enjoy homemade salsa? Let me know in the comments!

Fresh salsa roja

More Zesty Dips and Sauces

If you love this recipe, try one of these tasty dips or sauces next:

Homemade Salsa

rate this recipe:
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time: 10 mins
Serves 4
This fresh salsa recipe is super zesty and bright! Serve it as a dip with tortilla chips, or pile it onto tacos, burritos, and more. Find more serving suggestions in the post above.

Ingredients

  • ¼ white onion, rinsed, dried, and coarsely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 1 pound Roma or other small tomatoes, cut into large chunks
  • 1 jalapeño, chopped (seeds removed, optional)
  • ¼ cup cilantro
  • Juice and zest of 1 lime
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon cumin
  • Pinch of sugar

Instructions

  • In a food processor, combine the onion and garlic. Pulse until well chopped.
  • Add the tomatoes, jalapeno, cilantro, lime juice, lime zest, salt, cumin, and sugar. Pulse until combined but still chunky.
  • The consistency of this salsa varies depending on the water content of the tomatoes. If it’s too watery, strain half to remove some of the liquid. Combine the chunky strained mixture with the remaining salsa. If you still prefer a chunkier texture, strain out more of the liquid to reach your desired consistency.

2 comments

Leave a comment:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. Rose
    09.03.2020

    Hi here, this looks fantastic! Do you think it would freeze well? I often freeze store bought jarred salsa and it freezes well, so just wondering about this. Thanks so much!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      09.03.2020

      I haven’t tried, but I think this one is probably best fresh (it might get watery thawing and freezing).

A food blog with fresh, zesty recipes.
Photograph of Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Mathews in their kitchen

Hello, we're Jeanine and Jack.

We love to eat, travel, cook, and eat some more! We create & photograph vegetarian recipes from our home in Chicago, while our shiba pups eat the kale stems that fall on the kitchen floor.