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Fresh Homemade Restaurant Style Salsa Recipe

This Fresh Homemade Salsa is quick, easy, and packed with flavor! Made with ripe tomatoes, crisp onions, jalapenos, fresh cilantro, and tangy lime juice, it’s perfect for dipping tortilla chips, topping tacos, or enhancing any Mexican-inspired dish.

A fresh homemade restaurant-style salsa served in a bowl with corn chips

What is salsa?

Salsa, the quintessential Mexican dip and condiment, is made from fresh ingredients such as tomatoes, onions, jalapeños, cilantro, and lime juice.

It can elevate any dish with its vibrant flavors and zesty kick. If you’ve been settling for store-bought salsa, it’s time to switch things up and embrace the world of homemade goodness.

Salsa is a versatile condiment that can be smooth or chunky with varying spice levels. It can be enjoyed with tortilla chips or used as a topping for tacos, grilled meats, and eggs.

I absolutely love salsa – it’s one of my favorite condiments! It reminds me of the delicious tastes of East African Kachumbari – a traditional salad that graces the tables of countless homes across East Africa. Kachumbari is similar to salsa, as it combines diced tomatoes, onions, cilantro, and chili peppers to create a medley of taste and texture. Salsa and Kachumbari are not only similar in appearance but also bring a burst of freshness and zest to any meal.

Why Homemade Salsa?

Sure, store-bought salsa might seem convenient, but once you taste the freshness and authenticity of homemade salsa, there’s no going back. The beauty of making your own salsa lies in the ability to customize it to your taste preferences. Adjust the level of heat, experiment with different types of tomatoes, and control the texture to achieve your perfect salsa.

Our Fresh Homemade Salsa Recipe shines in its simplicity and offers a healthier alternative to processed dips or dressings. For another fantastic dip recipe, try our Homemade Ranch Dressing Recipe for a creamy, delicious pairing.

Freshly made restaurant-style salsa in a food processor

What tomatoes are best for salsa?

You can make salsa with any type of tomato you like, as long as they are fresh and firm. However, roma tomatoes are my favorite kind to use for making salsa. This is because they are firm, meaty, and have fewer seeds and juice. They retain their shape and hold up well in salsa. At the same time, their slightly sweet and acidic taste complements garlic, onion, and jalapeño peppers for a chunky, flavorful, and well-balanced salsa.

Ingredients for Homemade salsa

  • Ripe Tomatoes: The foundation of the salsa, providing juiciness and a hint of sweetness. Avoid soft ones and use fresh and firm tomatoes.
  • Red Onion: This brings flavor and texture to the recipe. You can also use yellow onions.
  • Jalapeño Peppers: This gives the dish a nice and spicy kick. You can add and adjust to your heat preferences. You can also use chili peppers. 
  • Garlic: This is optional but will add a ton of flavors to your meals
  • Cilantro: Brings a burst of freshness and an earthy note. Do not skip! 
  • Lime juice: For the tangy flavors of the dish. Use freshly squeezed lime juice.
  • Salt (to taste)  

How to make salsa

  • Attach the processor’s blade.
  • Add tomatoes, onion, garlic, jalapeño, cilantro, lime juice, cumin, salt, pepper, and sugar (optional) to the processor.
  • Pulse until finely chopped, ensuring some texture.
  • Adjust seasoning after tasting, then refrigerate the salsa for at least an hour before serving.

Different ways you can enjoy Salsa

Frequently Asked Questions

What is in salsa?

Salsa is usually made with fresh ingredients such as tomatoes, onions, jalapenos (or chili peppers), lime juice, garlic and cilantro as well as salt to taste. 

What does salsa taste like?

Salsa tastes tangy and savory, with a mix of flavors from fresh ingredients used. It can also range from mildly hot to very hot. The taste can vary depending on the specific ingredients and proportions used.

Can I make this salsa ahead of time?

Absolutely! In fact, we recommend refrigerating the salsa for at least an hour to let the flavors marry. You can make it a day or two ahead and store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator to save time or let the flavors develop even more.

Are there any substitutes I can use for some ingredients?

Yes! If you can’t find Roma tomatoes, use other types of ripe, red tomatoes instead. You can also substitute serrano peppers or mild green chiles for jalapeños for a different heat level, while still enjoying the same flavor profile.

What food goes well with salsa? 

  • Tortilla Chips: Tortilla chips are a classic pairing with salsa. The salty and crunchy texture of the chips complements the tangy and savory flavors of the salsa.
  • Tacos: Salsa as a topping on tacos adds a burst of flavor and freshness to the dish.
  • Quesadillas: these are often served with a side of salsa for dipping. The tangy and spicy flavors of salsa complement the cheesy and savory flavors of the quesadilla.
  • Grilled Meats: Salsa can be used as a marinade or topping for grilled meats like chicken, steak, or shrimp. The acidity and spice of the salsa help to tenderize and flavor the meat.
  • Eggs: Salsa adds bursts of flavor to breakfast dishes like scrambled eggs or omelets. It adds a fresh and spicy kick to the dish, making it a great way to start the day.

Can salsa be eaten raw?

Yes, salsa can be eaten raw as it is typically made from fresh ingredients like tomatoes and onions that are eaten raw. It is important to ensure that the ingredients are fresh and properly washed before consumption.

Tasty and fresh homemade salsa served in a bowl with chips

Variations to try

There are a lot of salsa variations you can make at home. Some of these tasty salsa variations include: 

  • Pico de Gallo: this is a classic Mexican salsa. It is a fresh salsa made with diced tomatoes, onions, jalapeño peppers, and cilantro and lightly seasoned with lime juice and salt. Serve as a topping over tacos.
  • Salsa Roja: A classic red salsa made from tomatoes, onions, garlic, chili peppers, and cilantro. It is usually simmered briefly to combine flavors.
  • Salsa Verde: This is a green salsa made from tomatillos, garlic, chili peppers, onions, and cilantro. It has a tangy, slightly sour taste and is usually served raw.
  • Fruit Salsa: This is made using diced fruit, such as mangoes, pineapples, strawberries, or peaches. It is sweet and is often paired with savory dishes or served as a dip with tortilla chips.
  • Corn Salsa: This is a sweet and slightly tangy salsa made with sweet corn kernels, tomatoes, onions, cilantro, and lime juice. Serve with grilled meats or as a dip.
  • Black Bean Salsa: Switch things up with black beans, corn, red onions, tomatoes, and cilantro and season with lime juice, salt, and spices. This is a great side dish or dip.

Storage Tips 

How long is homemade salsa good for?

Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2-3 days for optimal freshness and taste.

Can I freeze salsa?

Yes, you can freeze salsa. To freeze, place it in an airtight container and store in the freezer for up to six months.


  • For the best flavor and texture, use ripe tomatoes that aren’t too soft nor too firm.
  • Experiment with different types of onions (white or yellow) to see what taste you prefer.
  • Don’t skip the refrigeration step. It’s crucial to let the flavors meld for an incredible salsa experience.

Other delicious Mexican recipes to try

Delicious Restaurant-style salsa

Make this versatile and savory salsa in less than 10 minutes. Serve over your favorite Mexican dish. It’s a truly delightful snack!
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Prep Time: 10 minutes
Resting Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4 cups of salsa
Calories: 45kcal


  • 4 large ripe tomatoes quartered
  • 1/2 red onion roughly chopped
  • 2-3 cloves garlic peeled
  • 1-2 jalapeño peppers seeds and ribs removed, roughly chopped (adjust to taste)
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro stems included
  • 1 Juice of lime
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt or add to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar optional, to balance acidity


  • Attach the food processor’s chopping blade. Place the quartered tomatoes, roughly chopped red onion, peeled garlic cloves, and chopped jalapeño peppers, the fresh cilantro, lime juice, ground cumin, salt, black pepper, and sugar (if using) to the processor.
  • Pulse the food processor in short bursts until the ingredients are finely chopped. Be cautious not to over-process; you want the salsa to retain some texture. Some prefer a chunkier salsa, while others like it smoother.
  • After blending, taste the salsa and adjust the seasoning as needed. Add more salt, lime juice, or sugar to balance the flavors.
  • Transfer the salsa to a bowl, cover it, and refrigerate for at least an hour before serving. This allows the flavors to meld.


  • Control the Heat: Adjust the amount of jalapeño peppers based on your spice preference.
  • Cilantro Stems: Including the cilantro stems in the food processor adds flavor and reduces waste.
  • Consistency Control: For a chunkier salsa, pulse the ingredients fewer times; for a smoother texture, blend a bit longer.


Calories: 45kcal | Carbohydrates: 9.8g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 0.5g | Saturated Fat: 0.1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.1g | Sodium: 301.6mg | Potassium: 477.8mg | Fiber: 2.6g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 1625.7IU | Vitamin C: 30.9mg | Calcium: 28.3mg | Iron: 0.8mg

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