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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
- On nachos. Make your own with vegan cheese, black beans, guacamole or avocado, pickled jalapeños, and pickled red onions, or try these Sheet Pan Nachos.
- On a burrito bowl. Top it onto this Vegan Burrito Bowl, or make your own bowl with cilantro lime rice, black beans, fajita veggies, corn salsa, and guacamole.
- On tacos. It’d taste great on any of these 11 Best Vegetarian Taco Recipes, and I love it with my Homemade Taquitos, too!
- On breakfast tacos or in a breakfast burrito. Find my go-to breakfast tacos here and the ultimate breakfast burrito here.
- On stuffed peppers or a stuffed sweet potato. Pile it onto these zesty stuffed peppers, these stuffed poblanos, or my burrito-inspired sweet potato!
How do you like to enjoy homemade salsa? Let me know in the comments!
More Zesty Dips and Sauces
If you love this recipe, try one of these tasty dips or sauces next:
- 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
- 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.