This Homemade Salsa recipe comes together in 5 minutes with the simplest, healthy ingredients. This Texas Mexican restaurant style salsa has the perfect consistency that’s not too chunky and not too thin- perfect for dipping chips, serving on tacos, or using in your other favorite Tex-Mex recipes!
Mexican restaurants in Texas do salsa really well. It flows freely (both in quantity and the fact that it costs nothing!) with fresh tortilla chips. It’s always packed with fresh flavor and has the perfect consistency.
So here’s how to make your over own Texas restaurant-style red salsa in only 5 minutes with the help of a food processor!
This recipe uses canned whole tomatoes, rather than fresh. It’s a shortcut that doesn’t skimp on flavor and, in my opinion, is actually better than using fresh tomatoes.
You can enjoy this low calorie, healthy, fat free salsa with tortilla chips, on tacos, in burritos, spooned on top of scrambled eggs… or any other way you use salsa!
Ingredients and substitutions
- Canned whole, peeled tomatoes – you may substitute diced in a pinch (drain them first as indicated in the recipe) but I think whole are best for the texture of this salsa. I recommend high-quality San Marzano tomatoes.
- Onion- I used a yellow onion, but you can use any kind- red, sweet, or white. You can even use shallots if you want.
- Garlic- I recommend a fresh clove of garlic for the best flavor, but refrigerated minced garlic will work in a pinch.
- Fresh cilantro- this really is essential for that authentic flavor, but if you REALLY don’t like cilantro, you can omit it or use other herbs like mint, basil, parsley, and/or chives.
- Jalapeño Pepper- you can use serrano or another chile pepper of your preference.
- Lime juice and zest- again, for the most authentic flavor, lime is key. But you can use lemon in a pinch.
- Optional: sugar or honey- this will add a hint of sweetness that brings out some of the sweetness of the tomatoes, but if you’re using high quality canned tomatoes you shouldn’t need it.
How to make homemade salsa
- First, drain the canned tomatoes. Place a colander over a bowl and allow the juices to fall into the bowl. Save the juices for now- you might need them!
- Chop everything else in the food processor. Add onion, garlic, cilantro, lime zest and juice, jalapeño, salt, and sugar if using. Turn on for about 10 seconds or until everything is finely chopped.
- Add the tomatoes to the food processor and pulse 5-10 times, or until desired consistency is reached. It shouldn’t be too chunky, but also not puréed to smithereens.
- Finally, if the salsa seems too thick, you can add a little of the tomato juice to it and pulse once or twice to combine. I didn’t need to do this, but your results may vary. Discard the remainder of the juice or use it for another purpose.
How to store it
You can store this homemade salsa in an airtight container or jar in the fridge for up to a week.
You can also freeze it for up to 6 months in an airtight container or jar- make sure to leave a little room at the top for expansion.
How to serve it
This homemade salsa is best served a couple of hours after making it, or even overnight. Let the flavors marinate in your fridge for the best flavor! But if you’re in a hurry, it can be served immediately, too.
Here are some ideas for how to serve it and cook with it:
- Serve it as a dip with tortilla chips and guacamole
- Serve it on breakfast tacos, chicken tacos, fajitas, burritos
- Use it in recipes, such as this one pot cheesy taco pasta or Mexican lasagna
- No enchilada sauce? Use salsa as a sauce instead, like in these vegetarian enchiladas.
- Spoon it on top of scrambled eggs or huevos rancheros
Other homemade salsa recipes
I like to spoon any of these homemade salsas on top of grilled chicken or fish. What’s your favorite way to use salsa?
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Homemade Texas Salsa
- 28 oz. canned whole peeled tomatoes
- 1 small onion or 1/2 large onion, quartered (any kind- I used yellow)
- 1 clove garlic smashed
- 1 large jalapeño pepper or 2 small, halved (see notes)
- 1/2 cup packed cilantro leaves and small stems
- juice and zest of one lime
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt more if needed
- 1/4 teaspoon sugar or honey optional
- Drain the canned tomatoes in a colander placed over a large bowl, allowing the juice to collect in the bowl below. Set aside.
- Add the quartered onion, the smashed clove of garlic, the jalapeño, the cilantro (1/2 cup), the lime juice and zest, the kosher salt (1/2 teaspoon), and the sugar, if using (1/4 teaspoon) to a food processor. Press on for about 10 seconds, or until all the ingredients are very finely chopped.
- Add tomatoes, reserving juice.
- Pulse until 5-10 times, until your desired consistency (I like a few chunks, but not too many!). If it's thick, you can a little bit of the reserved tomato juice until the desired thickness (use any remainder for another purpose or discard).
- For the best flavor, allow to refrigerate in an airtight container, jar, or covered bowl for a couple of hours or overnight. Serve with tacos, tortilla chips, or in your favorite recipe that requires salsa.
- For a spicy salsa, leave all or some of the seeds and ribs in the jalapeño. For a mild salsa, remove the seeds and ribs. I use a spoon to scoop them out of a halved pepper, being careful not to touch them with my hands (you can wear gloves to be extra cautious if you like).
- Make ahead: This salsa tastes best when chilled overnight in the fridge, allowing the flavors to marry, before serving. Store in a jar or airtight container, and use within a week.
Estimated Nutrition Information
This post originally appeared on Bowl of Delicious in January, 2014. It has been republished with new photos, improved recipe instructions, and more pertinent information. A special thank you to my Mother-in-Law, Lisa, for the inspiration for this recipe!