Vibrant, fresh homemade salsa with a hint of spice is the perfect condiment for snacking and serving at nearly any get together. This spicy Mexican-style salsa recipe is easy to make with the help of a food processor. Follow my step-by-step instructions and photos to quickly whip up batch of a zesty 5 minute tomato salsa for your next party!
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About this recipe
Who doesn’t love a bowl of tasty fresh salsa on the table? Perfect for scooping with corn tortilla chips or crackers, this classic recipe includes just the right balance of spicy and tangy in every bite. It features juicy ripe tomatoes, flavorful chilies, terrifically pungent onions, and refreshing coriander leaves – plus, I add a bit of fresh lemon juice for a hint of vibrancy that helps keep it super fresh for longer.
Along with my wonderfully sweet and sunny Mango salsa and spicy Sweet Corn Salsa, this tomato salsa is a must-have at any party. Or, easily make a single serving to enjoy as an afternoon snack by yourself!
The homemade salsa recipe as written below is the perfect portion for two, but can be made as a large batch. Just double, triple, quadruple, or increase the ingredients by however many guests you plan to serve.
What’s the difference between salsa and pico de gallo?
While a traditional pico de gallo and salsa are made with the same ingredients – tomatoes, onion, chilies, and coriander – when making pico they are chopped and left as fairly large chunks. Salsa, however, is more of a smooth liquid with small bits of fresh ingredients.
How to make Homemade Salsa
I have used green chilies in this homemade salsa recipe, which have a more mild heat. But for a spicer taste, you can use jalapeños instead or add more green chilies. Also, feel free to include fresh garlic cloves for an extra kick of flavor.
1. To make the best and easiest tomato salsa from scratch, first prepare the produce: Rinse and roughly chop 2 medium tomatoes, 1 medium onion, 1 to 2 green chilies and some coriander (cilantro) leaves.
You will need ¾ cup chopped tomatoes, ⅓ cup chopped onions, 1 teaspoon chopped green chillies or jalapeño or serrano pepper and 2 tablespoons chopped coriander leaves.
2. You can remove the seeds from the tomatoes and green chilies if you want a smoother consistency.
Transfer the chopped ingredients to a food processor.
Note: Although I use a food processor to make this a super easy salsa recipe, it can also be made by hand. To do so simply continue to finely chop the produce into a minced pulp, and then transfer to a bowl.
3. Next add ¼ teaspoon cumin powder, ¼ teaspoon black pepper, and salt to taste. For even more spice, feel free to add a bit of cayenne or red chili powder in place of the black pepper.
4. Then add 2 teaspoons of lemon juice, or more if you like a tangier taste.
5. Close the lid and process into a fine, slightly-chunky consistency. The perfect restaurant-style tomato salsa does not have large bits in it, but also isn’t too smooth. I definitely recommend pulsing bit by bit to make sure you don’t over process.
6. Serve homemade salsa immediately or refrigerate in a sealed container to enjoy later.
How to serve Tomato Salsa
You can serve tomato salsa in a bowl with chips and crackers, like tortilla chips or pita crackers, for a delicious and effortless snack.
Use it as a zesty condiment on these Vegetarian Tacos, burritos, enchiladas, quesadillas, or any of your favorite Mexican-inspired dishes.
It’s also great for enjoying on nachos! For easy nachos, simply layer tortilla chips with shredded cheddar cheese on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and bake in a 350 degree preheated oven for 10 minutes until the cheese has melted. Remove from the oven, and serve with salsa and other nacho toppings, like sliced jalapeños, sour cream, and homemade Guacamole.
How long will homemade salsa keep well?
If kept in an airtight container this homemade salsa will stay fresh for up to one week in the refrigerator.
- Tomatoes: To make my homemade salsa recipe you can use any variety of fresh red tomatoes. If your tomato peels are thick, then blanch and peel the skins before processing them. Canned tomatoes also work well in the recipe and can be easily replaced with fresh tomatoes.
- Consistency: A perfect salsa does not have large bits or chunks in it, but it also is not smooth. While processing, I do recommend pulsing bit by bit.
- Sweetness: For a faint sweet taste and to balance the acidity and tang from tomatoes, add ¼ to ½ teaspoon of brown sugar or raw sugar.
- No food processor? No worry: A food processor helps in making salsa super quick, but you can also use a chopping board. To do so, simply continue to finely chop the fresh ingredients into a minced pulp, and then transfer to a bowl.
- Make ahead and storage: Make a large batch of this salsa and refrigerate in an air-tight container for up to one week.
- Scaling: You can easily double or triple this homemade salsa recipe.
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Homemade Salsa | 5 Minute Tomato Salsa
- ¾ cup chopped tomatoes or 2 medium-sized tomatoes
- ⅓ cup chopped onions or 1 medium sized onion
- 1 teaspoon chopped green chillies or serrano peppers or jalapeño
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin (cumin powder)
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper or cayenne pepper or paprika or red chilli powder
- salt as required
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice or add as required
- 2 tablespoons chopped coriander leaves (cilantro)
- Rinse and roughly chop the tomatoes, onion, green chillies and coriander leaves.
- If you want you can remove the seeds from the tomatoes as well as green chilies or serrano peppers.
- Transfer the chopped ingredients to a food processor.
- Add the ground spices and salt as required.
- Add 2 teaspoon lemon juice or more if you prefer a tangier salsa.
- Close the lid and process into a fine, slightly-chunky consistency. I recommend pulsing bit by bit to make sure you don’t over process.
- Serve salsa immediately or refrigerate in a sealed container to enjoy later.
- Serve it with chips or crackers like nachos, pita crackers or tortilla chips.
- You can also use it as a zesty condiment on these Vegetarian Tacos, burritos, enchiladas, quesadillas, Mexican rice or any of your favorite Mexican-inspired dishes.
- Tomatoes: Use good quality fresh red tomatoes of any variety in this salsa recipe. If the tomato peels are thick, blanch the tomatoes and peel the skin before processing them. Canned tomatoes will also work well and can be easily replaced with fresh tomatoes.
- Consistency: The perfect salsa does not have large bits or chunks in it, but also isn’t too smooth. I recommend pulsing bit by bit to make sure you don’t over process.
- Sweetness: For a mild sweet tasting salsa and also to balance the acidity, tanginess from tomatoes, you can add ¼ to ½ teaspoon of brown sugar or raw sugar.
- No food processor? No worries: Although a food processor helps in making salsa super quick, you can also use a chopping board. Simply continue to finely chop the produce into a minced pulp, and then transfer to a bowl.
- Make ahead and storage: Make a large batch and store in an air-tight container for up to one week in the refrigerator.
- Scaling: You can easily double or triple this salsa recipe.
Nutrition Info Approximate values
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This recipe post from the archives (June 2016) has been republished and updated on 6 December 2020 with newer photos, more tips and a better recipe method.