Simple Homemade Salsa Recipe

05/02/2013. This post may contain affiliate links. Read my Disclosure Policy.

Fresh Cilantro Lime Salsa Recipe Homemade Salsa Recipe

My husband has a friend called Drew and Drew makes the most amazing homemade salsa and tortilla chips I have ever had.  He gets this perfect crispiness to the chips and he is generous with the salt.  The salsa is an amazing mix of flavors and is always the exact right blend of spicy kick.

Since we moved from Seattle we don’t get to see Drew anymore but I still think of his salsa.  We used to always invite Drew to every party- (mostly in the hopes that he would bring a jar of salsa and a bag of hot tortilla chips.)

That recipe he would never share- (I doubt his wife even knows the recipe).  And the ingredients from the store he was even secretive about!  I tried sneaking up on him to get a peak a few times to no avail.  Boo!

So anyway one thing I learned from Drew is that homemade salsa is always the right answer.  There is just no comparison to what you buy at the store and what you make at home.

This is an absolute PERFECT hostess gift year round really.  I like to bake cookies and such (which are welcome gifts) but one thing I have found is that no one can pass up delicious chips and salsa.  This will appeal to the masses and you can’t really have enough of it- so if you have never tried making your own at home, give this a whirl!

I promise it is crazy easy and the best part is that you can completely customize to your tastes.   I bought all my ingredients at fancy pantsy Whole Foods and I even got organic produce and the total cost was still less then what I normally pay for a big jar of salsa at the store. 

Here are your basic ingredients:

salsa recipe homemade salsa recipe

This is really about making your salsa to taste so here is a very simple recipe to get you going and you can swank it up with whatever you like.  I am not a spicy girl but rather a salty-lime girl so I tend to amp up those flavors.

Oh and might as well grab those chips out of the pantry because you want to taste, taste, taste as you go.  (I won’t tell.)

Oh and a BIG note here- the tomatoes will make or break this recipe.  If you find yucky mealy tomatoes at the grocery store, your salsa will have a very bland flavor.  I try to use garden fresh or Farmer’s Market fresh tomatoes.  You really won’t believe the difference in flavor.  (Whole Foods in a pinch but I am always disappointed when I use regular tomatoes from my grocery store- they just don’t have the same vibrant flavor.)

5.0 from 9 reviews

Simple Homemade Salsa Recipe
Recipe type: Condiment
Cuisine: Mexican Food
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
Super simple salsa recipe- perfect hostess gift and so easy to make.
  • 6 fresh tomatoes (I used roma tomatoes)
  • ⅓ onion- sweet or red- roughly chopped
  • bunch of cilantro
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1 jalepeno or serrano pepper
  • lime
  • salt
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  1. You just want to roughly chop the tomato and place in a food processor or a blender.
  2. Add the onion and cilantro and garlic.
  3. Give the mixture a quick few chops in your mixer.
  4. Slice one lime and squeeze the juice on top as well as a few pinches of salt and a pinch or two of cayenne pepper.
  5. Add the pepper(s) and blend.
  6. For a chucky salsa you want to just do a few quick pulses in the food processer.

So again the key here is to use what you really like. If you want more of a kick you might add more jalapeno or serrano peppers and even a few squirts of tabasco.  I suggest going light on the onion- this is a celebration of tomato and if you go too heavy on onion you won’t get the pretty deep red color.  (And no one will want to talk to you at the party.) You can always add more so start with about 1/3 of an onion and you can always add more.

salsa recipe salsa recipe

I am a mild kind of girl so I add one jalepeno that I slice and remove all the seeds/membrane.  If your tastebuds aren’t as wimpy as mine just chop that bad boy up and add it in- or add two in for super kick.

I tend to squeeze a bit more lime juice on top before serving plus add another pinch of salt to the top. I also like a more pureed texture to my salsa and you can get the same consistency in just seconds in a good blender or food processor.

If you don’t see lovely tomatoes at the store you can always use canned tomatos. I am a fresh tomato kind of girl but if you do used canned tomato- grab a 28 oz can of whole tomato and from what I understand Rotel brand is the way to go.  You can use smaller cans of tomatoes and mix and match flavors to keep things exciting.

Fresh Homemade Salsa Recipe salsa recipe

And this will last for awhile in the fridge although I have to say it doesn’t last very long in our house.  Just pop this in a mason jar or a weck jar to take it to your next party and I bet you become as popular as Drew is.

And if you want to make some glorious nachos to celebrate your salsa- I like to use a few kinds of cheese.  Really whatever I have on hand- today was a smoked jack, colby jack and cheddar kind of day.  Pepperjack or chipotle jack is really good too.

I lay the chips out on a piece of foil and top with cheese.  Bake at 350 degrees until melted and gooey (about 5 minutes).

Chop up a little avocado and mix that with the salsa and you really can’t go wrong.

Yum, yum!

And here are a few other recipes you might enjoy:

Does anyone else have something else they do to make amazing salsa?

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{ 34 comments… read them below or add one }

Rachel May 2, 2013 at 6:49 PM

Made this tonight! I think I added a BIT too much cilantro, and my blender made it a bit frothy LOL, but after letting it sit a bit and tossing a bit more cayenne pepper in, it was delish!

Charlene May 2, 2013 at 8:42 PM

Oh I am so glad Rachel!

Dina May 3, 2013 at 12:00 PM

We like to roast our tomatoes, half of the onions, & the pepper. We cut the tomatoes in half and use light oil & salt. Roast until they have a little color. Yum.

Charlene May 3, 2013 at 12:01 PM

Dina you know I tried a version with roasted tomatoes and didn’t notice much difference in flavor. I didn’t use any oil though so maybe that makes the difference.

Lacey May 24, 2013 at 7:02 AM

So glad I found this. I love fresh tomato salsa. Pioneer Woman has a recipe, but she uses canned tomatoes which to me is a mortal sin. How can you live on a farm and not use fresh tomatoes?

Charlene May 24, 2013 at 9:06 AM


I saw a lot of recipes with canned tomato too. I guess in winter or in a pinch I would try that but it seems odd to me too :). Pioneer Woman knows what she is doing though so I’ll have to try her recipe.

Lacey May 27, 2013 at 2:48 PM

I made this today. I used tomatoes from our garden and it is so good. I imagine after it sits a while and the favors come out more it will be even better. I also made Pioneer Woman’s carrot cake. Can’t wait to taste it.

Nicole July 12, 2013 at 9:28 AM

I have made this recipe twice now, and it is so yummy. I am making it right now for a huge family BBQ. Thanks for the great recipe!

Vivika July 18, 2013 at 1:35 PM

This looks yummy. I will try this with my tomatoes this year.

KimnCharleston July 25, 2013 at 4:22 PM

So yummy! just made a batch today with garden fresh tomatoes. Had some leftover chili with beans to make nachos, too. The salsa was delish! I used a splash of chipotle tabasco sauce & gave it just a hint of smokey.
Thanks for posting & I loved your step by step photos.

Carole Shelnut August 4, 2013 at 1:00 PM

I am going to try this recipe today since I just picked a bunch of tomatoes from our garden. Can you can this recipe? Thanks.

Ralph Englehart August 8, 2013 at 4:33 PM

EASY!!! just how i like things, especially food! & it tasted GREAT:)

Charlene August 9, 2013 at 8:00 AM

So glad Ralph! I find the tomatoes can make or break the recipe but right now is a great time to get amazing tomatoes :)

Kari August 22, 2013 at 9:32 AM

Can I use this recipe and can it? I have a ton of romas from my garden and need other things to make with all of them! :)

Charlene August 22, 2013 at 9:39 AM


I am not a canner so I have no idea :P. It works perfectly in the freezer so I would think so. Have you made salsa yet? It is only good with amazing fresh tomatoes and this is my favorite recipe:


Bill Hickey August 24, 2013 at 1:57 PM

After mixing everything togrther does it have to be cooked?

Charlene August 24, 2013 at 2:04 PM

No Bill- just mix. You want it nice and fresh so definitely don’t cook :)

Jess Stevens September 9, 2013 at 3:19 AM

I’m so excited I found this recipe for Homemade Salsa!!!! I can’t wait to make it for my Babe, he loves when I make all kind of stuff by scratch!!! ;)

Steve September 21, 2013 at 4:21 PM

Good stuff. Was looking for a way to use late season tomatoes and pepppers from the garden and I definitely found it. Great recipe! Added a few more jalepenos for a little extra kick. Thanks for posting it.

Charlene September 21, 2013 at 4:22 PM

So glad Steve!

Colleen October 5, 2013 at 11:04 AM

Do you need tp peel and seed tomatoes ?

Colleen October 5, 2013 at 11:05 AM

Do you need to peel and seed tomatoes?

Charlene October 5, 2013 at 1:53 PM

Colleen- I just chop them up :). If you have super juicy tomatoes I find it gets a tiny frothy right after you blend but just put the jar in the fridge for like 5 minutes and it settles down and looks beautiful.

Brenda October 16, 2013 at 3:42 AM

We are having a party Saturday night and I just got excited and made this Wednesday night (I hope thats ok in the fridge?!) My jalapeno was not spicy at all once I deseeded it – is that unusual? The grocer had rather dull tomatoes so I used some romas and some little grape tomatoes too because they were a much brighter red. I’m so very pleased with this – THANK YOU!

Charlene October 16, 2013 at 8:19 AM

Brenda, I deseed my japapenos. It is just a matter of preference. If you leave the seeds you get the extra heat.

Tiffany January 23, 2014 at 12:18 PM

I can’t wait to try this SALSA! My daughter’s 13th is coming up and she wanted Tacos for her close Besties and our family. We love fresh salso and never tried it! I agree, Lime and garlic are awesome…not so much cilantro, but just enough. Thanks for taking the time to write this recipe!

Charlene January 23, 2014 at 12:38 PM

Oh I hope she likes it Tiffany! I will cross my fingers you are blessed with perfect tomatoes ;)

billy buzzard February 18, 2014 at 8:05 AM

Best carrion I ever et!

Adrienne March 19, 2014 at 9:34 AM

I know this may sound weird- but I learned this from my BFF Heidi who makes the best salsa ever- and her secret is that she adds finely chopped cabbage to her salsa. She uses the same ingredients as your recipe, in addition to 1 bunch of sliced green onions and cabbage, and it is SO good! We live in Arizona and are picky when it comes to our salsa- but the cabbage somehow adds so much flavor to the salsa!

Charlene March 19, 2014 at 9:40 AM

Thanks for the tip Adrienne!

Vince Fuess June 14, 2014 at 1:31 PM

I’ve been using this basic formua for years, witha few “tweaks” here and there according to my mood. As listed, it’s a bit wimpy on the heat scale… I use three peppers generally and chili powder in lieu of the cayenne. A dash of cumin and a shot of paprika, and aplash of wine vinegar reallt sip up the flavors as well. You can briefly cook it to “meld” the flavors too.

My current batch uses one chipotle, one jalapeno, and one serrano pepper and it is fabulous.

Kelley Rohr July 30, 2014 at 5:28 PM

Do you think I could freeze this in sealed jars to give as Christmas presents?

Charlene July 30, 2014 at 5:40 PM

Hmm. Kelly I assume you are trying to capture the gorgeous summer tomatoes… I don’t know. Maybe someone else can help but I never have luck freezing things and not having them turn into watery messes. I have tried with soups many times and it never works for me. Maybe someone else will have a great tip for you :)

Andrea August 31, 2014 at 1:40 PM

I made this recipe last month and the salsa was delicious. I added a small amount of green pepper and a dash of cumin and sugar. I made extra batches and froze them in large freezer bags. Once thawed they taste great, and you can freeze them for 3-4 months. Maybe longer in a deep freezer.

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