Homemade Salsa

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This restaurant-style homemade salsa is incredibly easy to prepare and features a chunky texture with fresh, delicious ingredients that make it a thousand times better than any store bought versions. It only takes a few minutes to whip up and tastes absolutely amazing!

Homemade Salsa served in a bowl and garnished with diced peppers and red onions.


Just last week, I found myself in the beautiful and sunny Punta Cana, exploring the island’s culinary deliciousness—from tangy salsas and savory tacos to sweet coconuts and juicy mangoes! Inspired by the vibrant flavors I experienced there, I came home and perfected my ultimate homemade salsa recipe. I had to do it while it was all fresh in my mind and on my taste buds.

This recipe captures the essence of the restaurant-style salsa I enjoyed by the beach, and it has quickly become a staple in my kitchen. Whether paired with crispy tortilla chips or as a zesty topping for tacos and burritos, this salsa brings a taste of my travels to every dish.

Close-up photo of tomato salsa topped with diced green peppers and onions.

Ingredients You’ll Need

To create this delicious salsa at home, you’ll need some fresh ingredients that come together beautifully for a vibrant, homemade taste. Gather everything from the tomatoes to crisp peppers and fresh cilantro to make this flavorful and fresh salsa.

  • Canned Whole Peeled Plum Tomatoes – Feel free to use Roma tomatoes, fresh tomatoes, or fire-roasted tomatoes, too.
  • Ground Cumin & Salt – To enhance the flavors, and add a warm, earthy note to the salsa.
  • Sugar – Helps to balance the acidity of the tomatoes.
  • Fresh Cilantro – To add a bright, herbal freshness to the salsa.
  • Garlic Cloves, Minced – Substitute garlic powder for convenience.
  • Lime Juice – Provides acidity and freshness, brightening up the entire dish.
  • Red Onion, Finely Diced – Gives a sharp bite and texture to the salsa. You could also use a white onion for a slightly sweeter taste.
  • Jalapeno Peppers, Finely Diced – Adds a spicy kick.
  • Banana Pepper, Finely Diced – Offers a mild, tangy spice, but you could also use a bell pepper.
  • Chopped Fresh Cilantro for Garnish – Adds an extra layer of fresh, herbal notes.
  • Tortilla Chips – Can’t have salsa without the crispy chips! My homemade wonton chips would be a great alternative.

How To Make Salsa

I’ve had my fair share of encounters with great restaurant-style salsa. I’ve found some decent jarred versions, too, but they never hit the mark until I jazzed them up with my own mix of ingredients. What I like about this particular restaurant-style salsa recipe is that you can prepare the tomato mixture ahead of time and add all the fixings a few hours before you’re ready to serve.

  1. Blend the ingredients. Combine the tomatoes, cumin, salt, sugar, cilantro, garlic, and lime juice in a blender or food processor and pulse until the mixture reaches a desired consistency.
  2. Refrigerate. Transfer the salsa to jars or containers with airtight lids and refrigerate to meld the flavors.
  3. Add the veggies. When ready to serve, stir in half of the diced onions, jalapenos, and banana pepper.
  4. Let it rest. Allow the salsa to sit in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours to enhance the flavors.
  5. Garnish and serve. Garnish with the remaining onions, peppers, and cilantro before serving alongside tortilla chips.
Fresh tomato salsa served in a bowl with tortilla chips arranged around it.

Recipe Tips

  • Use Fresh Ingredients: The quality of your salsa heavily relies on the freshness of the ingredients used.
  • Canned Tomatoes: High-quality canned tomatoes can provide a rich and deep tomato base for your salsa.
  • Retain Some Texture: Avoid over-processing your salsa in the blender. A few quick pulses are enough to combine the ingredients while keeping the salsa chunky.
  • Marinate: Letting your salsa sit in the refrigerator for a few hours or, ideally, overnight, allows the flavors to meld together beautifully.
  • Make it Yours: Feel free to experiment with substitutions to tailor the flavor to your taste preferences!

Serving Suggestions

Chips and salsa is a given, but salsa is versatile and can be used in various ways! For example, it can be used as a topping for dishes, making baked salsa chicken, incorporating it into dips and migas, or even as a dressing for grain-heavy salads. I like to add a couple of tablespoons of salsa to this quinoa southwestern salad and to baked potatoes!

Dipping tortilla chips in salsa.

How To Store

Store salsa in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 7 days. Since game day is this Sunday, I have a jar sitting in my fridge, almost ready to be gobbled up in just a few days.


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Homemade Salsa

This restaurant-style homemade salsa is incredibly easy to prepare and features a chunky texture with delicious, fresh ingredients.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Refrigeration Time: 3 hours
Total Time: 3 hours 10 minutes
Servings: 16


  • 28 ounces canned Whole Peeled Plum Tomatoes
  • ¼ to ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon sugar
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • 2 cloves garlic,, minced
  • juice of 1 whole lime
  • 1 small red onion,, finely diced, divided
  • 1 to 2 jalapeno peppers,, finely diced, divided
  • 1 banana pepper or small bell pepper,, finely diced, divided
  • chopped fresh cilantro,, for garnish
  • tortilla chips,, for serving
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  • Combine tomatoes, cumin, salt, sugar, cilantro, garlic and lime in a blender; pulse a few times, or until mixture is well combined and chunky. Taste for seasonings and adjust accordingly.
  • Pour into jars or plastic containers with airtight lids and refrigerate until ready to use.
  • When ready to serve, stir in half of the diced onions, half of the diced jalapenos, and half of the diced banana pepper; cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours.
  • Remove from fridge and pour into a serving bowl.
  • Garnish with remaining onions, peppers, and cilantro.
  • Serve with tortilla chips.


Calories: 12kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 0g | Fat: 0g | Saturated Fat: 0g | Cholesterol: 0mg | Sodium: 107mg | Potassium: 103mg | Fiber: 0g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 85IU | Vitamin C: 7.4mg | Calcium: 18mg | Iron: 0.5mg

Nutritional info is an estimate and provided as courtesy. Values may vary according to the ingredients and tools used. Please use your preferred nutritional calculator for more detailed info.

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  1. Gustavo Woltmann says:

    Mama always knows best! 🙂 It is also always for the best to start each recipe with the simplest ingredients possible, that’s why a canned-tomato base turnt out to be so good.

  2. Sabrina says:

    There’s just something special in restaurant salsa that you can’t get in store-bought! Yum!

  3. Maryanne | the little epicurean says:

    I’m a big salsa fan! I need a gallon of this tomorrow for the Super Bowl 🙂