Homemade Salsa Secrets Article - Allrecipes.com
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Homemade Salsa Secrets

Learn how to make many varieties of salsa starting with just a few basic ingredients.

Homemade salsa is a summer sensation.

Salsa Basics

Raw salsa is also known as "salsa cruda." Leave your ingredients raw for a salsa with a bright, refreshing taste.

Cook the salsa, and you'll trade a bright, fresh taste for a deeper, sweeter one. Roasting the tomatoes, garlic and/or chiles lends rich, smoky flavors.

The beauty of salsa is its versatility and adaptability. At its most basic, salsa is simply chopped or pureed tomatoes, chiles, onions, and cilantro, flavored with salt and a squeeze of lime juice.

But you can play with as many combinations of fruits and vegetables, chiles and herbs as you can dream up.

  • The herb you'll find in most salsas is cilantro, but don't be afraid to play around. Parsley, mint, basil, and oregano all taste exceptional when mixed with fresh vegetables and fruits.
  • In the chile department, you are only as limited as the selection available at your local grocery store or farmers' market.
  • Set the tomatoes aside and use some other fruit or vegetable instead, like mangoes, melons, peaches, pineapple, or tomatillos.
  • For flavor, color and texture, add bell peppers, jicama, radishes, fresh corn kernels, avocado, black beans.
  • To achieve a balance of sweet, savory, salty, sour, and spicy flavors, add salt, lime juice or vinegar, bottled hot sauce and pinches of sugar, tasting intermittently, until you achieve that perfect mix.

Salsa Shortcuts

Making salsa is a great excuse to put that food processor to work! Use it to puree half or all of the tomatoes in your recipe (many people prefer to keep some of the tomatoes chunky).

  • A food processor can also make short work of herbs and garlic; you should toss these ingredients into the processor before you add the tomatoes.
  • For most other ingredients, chopping by hand gives more control over the size and shape of the pieces--and the finished product will look nicer.
  • Dice the onion by hand: food processors tend to pulverize the onion, releasing so much juice that the flavor becomes overpowering.

Check out our Photo Tutorials on Seeding Tomatoes, Dicing Tomatoes, and Dicing Onions.

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Aug. 18, 2009 10:39 pm
I would like to can salsa. Is there a recipe for that anywhere?
Aug. 22, 2009 8:23 am
Does anyone know if you can freeze fresh salsa without it turning into a watery mess? I don't like canning.
Aug. 31, 2009 2:41 pm
For Holliday, you can 'can' salsa just like anything else. The idea is not to cook it to death. If your jars and lids are sterile and your salsa hot enough (185 degrees at minimum), you will get a good seal without a hot water bath. FDA would not approve though and allrecipes.com's official position is to require a hot water bath at the minimum for recipes appearing on this site. (Based on what I have gathered on other posts.) I can my own salsa and it remains fresh tasting. You can do a hot water bath method which doesn't take but 10 minutes and doesn't alter your salsa much. And it is better to be safe than sorry. IMHO For Lee, I've never had much luck freezing anything tomatoey for regular consumption later. For cooking with or adding to soups, freezing works ok.
Sep. 2, 2009 6:06 pm
My mother-in-law puts her salsa in the top rack of the dishwasher and runs it (with out soap or any dirty dishes of course) and she does get the cans to seal that way I guess. I haven't tried it yet though, I'm here looking for a recipe to try now!
Sep. 10, 2009 3:59 pm
Thanks for all the variety!. . .I/ve been doing the same o same o for years by merely adding additional hot peppers. Time for following a new road.
Sep. 11, 2009 5:38 am
Amish and Russian Communitys place their canned goods in the oven @ 200 and let bake for a hour or so after boiling and sealing in Jars!!! It works!!
Sep. 12, 2009 1:14 pm
I would also like to know if you can freeze salsa. I have alot of tomatoes that need to be used up and I do not really like to can either. Please someone help!!
Sep. 21, 2009 2:18 pm
this salsa is SOOOOOO cool its delicous
Sep. 23, 2009 11:51 am
I would like to know if you can "can" salsa with corn, black beans, and sugar. Will this change the acidity? I will have peppers and tomatoe in there also. If I put a tablespoon of lime juice in each pint jar will that gaurantee the proper acidity level
Oct. 3, 2009 11:11 am
A great change from a dipping salsa is a salsa salad. very refreashing and great addition to a BBQ. instead of dicing, slice and add a little oil with lime and lightly toss.
Jan. 10, 2010 5:38 pm
Can you make cooked salsa from fresh cut salsa? i have no experience making/cooking salsa of any kinda. So, i thought i'd start slow.
Apr. 27, 2010 6:36 am
Hello I'm a newcomer into the wonderful world of cooking. I'd love to try this salsa recipe, but I would really love to know if Krista tried her mother-in-laws method of canning. The strangest things, I've come to learn just might work.
Apr. 29, 2010 4:49 pm
Does anyone have any non-chunky salsa recipes with cilantro? There are plenty of chunky salsas out there, but I prefer the smooth ones.
May 3, 2010 9:18 am
I make a smooth salsa just by adding all the ingredients in a blender. The family loves it this way.
Jun. 21, 2010 9:50 am
I made cooked salsa for canning and froze in plastic containers with screw on lids. When I was ready to use it just thawed in microwave when I was in hurry or set in fridge to thaw on its own either way it was great.
Aug. 26, 2010 8:30 am
I made the basic tomato salsa. I found that the Cilantro can be a little overwhelming. The next time I make it, I might try another herb.
Aug. 27, 2010 9:37 pm
i stay with the basic ingridients in salsa tomatoes serranos onion cilantro garlic salt.fresh grilled or pan rosted all work well
Sep. 5, 2010 4:46 pm
I freeze my home made salsa. I have canned it, but to us it does not taste the same, nor as good.
Sep. 7, 2010 11:09 pm
Found an eay recipe for Indian Relish...Tomatoes-onions-peppers and a little garlic...sugar-vinegar and salt...for amounts cantact me....deliscious...can be used as spaghetti sauce bade...bruschetta topping...salsa and or chip dip....and a flavouring for meat dishes as a marinade..and of course a relish for hamburgs/hotdogs etc,,,,very practical indeed....also, I added Jalapeno/habanero pepper (whole) to the jars for people who love the burn!!
Sep. 12, 2010 11:06 am
I have enjoyed canning homemade salsa for several years. I tried to freeze tomatoes and use them in a purchased can of spaghetti sauce; however, the tomatoes got too "mushy". Now, I am preparing a large pot of homemade salsa using 70 romas, cilantro, garden white onions, jalapenos, cumin, and yellow, red, and green peppers. My salsa has too much liquid. Can anyone tell me if I should drain thru a colander and then can; or add tomato paste and then can???
Sep. 15, 2010 3:13 pm
For a better amount of liquid in canned tomato salsa I chop and mix the ingredients, let them sit for an hour or so, drain, and then pack for canning. I can the drained juice to use in soups.
delta dawn 
Sep. 17, 2010 10:08 am
I have also read that if you remove the seeds portion from the tomoatoes it is less liquidy.
Ney Ney 
Oct. 6, 2010 12:52 pm
I would advise not to put the cilantro in the blender with the rest as it will make your salsa dark and nasty looking. Add it after for better freshness!
Nov. 13, 2010 9:10 am
I have canned salsa for years . Wash jars in dishwasher, put salsa in large pan on stove, bring to boil an keep hot. At sam time put alum. foil om rack in oven. Put clean jars in oven at 200 degrees,maybe for 45 minutes. Take out and fill with hot salsa. Boil, then simmer lids, wipe top of jar, seal. Come out perfect. Need addiional info, contact me.
Jan. 4, 2011 4:24 pm
I have a favorite salsa that is a smooth salsa. It uses canned tomatoes.Other ingredients include onions, garlic, jalapenos, cilantro and spices. Does anyone know if I could freeze this mixture?
Feb. 6, 2011 8:26 am
We grow our own tomatoes and really enjoy salsa. This year we decided to make fruit salsa's (we canned ours). We used canned peaches,mango,pineapple and pears. We mixed and matched the different flavors. Used fruit salsa seasoning mixes and varied the "heat". This style tured out exceptionally well. Depending how much we use or gift we will repeat the style or try a new one. Most important have fun preparing and experimenting with diffent styles. We do, and I look forward to what we'll come up with this year. Can't wait to get all our plants and seeds in the ground!
Jun. 2, 2011 4:20 pm
Thank you for the "salsa shortcuts". I used my food processor for most items, including onions. Now I know why the onion tasted so strong. Thanks!
Jul. 3, 2011 9:53 am
I freeze my cooked salsa all the time. I put spoonfuls into an ice cube container to freeze and then empty the tray into a ziplock bag. The cube sized servings make it easy to grab one or ten depending on what I'm wanting to do with my salsa.
Jul. 3, 2011 6:18 pm
I have been making my own homemade salsa for nearly 20 years for our own use and to give away to friends that ask me to make it for them. I use all fresh ingredients (green onion, garlic, cilantro and jalapenos), however, I use canned tomatoes in addition to one small can of tomato sauce. I make two batches each time I make it. I put everything in the blender with my own seasonings (including the cilantro) and chop until smooth. We all prefer it this way as opposed to being chunky. I pour my salsa into canning jars and do not use a hot water bath. I have never had any problems storing them in my refrigerator or freezer and going bad. We tend to go through one large canning jar per week and again, never has it gone bad during that time frame and none of our friends have ever said they got sick from it either. I guess it's personal preference/experience. And my experience for personal use (we don't sell it or intend to sell it so the FDA isn't an issue with me), is that i
Jul. 10, 2011 7:37 pm
I use Roma tomatoes. They are meatier and have little juice. You could also use a collander and let the juice drain if you have regular tomatoes.
Jul. 11, 2011 12:56 pm
I have canned my own cooked salsa for many years. It's really easy. I have given away and get many great reviews. I make mine spicy. I have also canned cooked tomatoes. (Not the bath water canning)
Jul. 12, 2011 2:54 am
When canning salsa do you have to cook the salsa before putting it into the sterilized canning jars for the water bath?
Sep. 14, 2011 2:24 pm
I love making salsa but no crazy about cilantro. I use cumin powder in place of the cilantro and it works great.
Jan. 26, 2012 8:26 am
Aug. 2, 2012 1:16 pm
will it hurt to not cook the salsa before canning it?
Aug. 11, 2012 3:03 am
I canned salsa using tomatoes, cilantro, hot peppers and mild, onion, salt, and fresh limes squeezed. I'm worried about the lime. I have been reading and it says ONLY lime juice from bottle. I heated my jars lids and added my fresh salsa then water bathed for 15 minutes, all my jars sealed. Just wondering if the fresh lime juice is gonna ruin it since it's not from a bottle???? Someone with experience I need your HELP
Aug. 23, 2012 3:17 pm
I can salsa every year, I mean a TON of it! I cook my salsa for 20 minutes, and boil my jars and lids for the same time. Then put the hot liquid in the hot jars, seal, and turn the jars upside down on the countertop until cool. Then flip them over, and they will have sealed! Tighten the rings again, and store for however long. You'll know if they didn't seal if the lid is raised in the center, but I have been doing this for years, and have yet to have one that didn't seal. Just make sure it pops when you open, and you'll know it was sealed right. Happy canning!
Sep. 11, 2012 7:43 am
I heard of someone making large batches of salsa and cooking it in a nesco ! Has anyone done this ? Also I lost my salsa recipe that I used for years and my family loves it ! Does anyone have a recipe that has vinegar, sugar , cayenne pepper, salt, garlic,tomato, peppers (red, green, and jalepeno) , onion, and tomato paste? My family does not like cilantro and almost every recipe I find has it in it ! Thanks!
Sep. 11, 2012 7:46 am
Also I do my canning by putting in oven at 350 degrees for 20 minutes! Works great!
Nov. 11, 2012 6:49 am
I slow cook my salsa for about 2-3 hours. the flavors explode more for my taste plus after i sterilized my jars, i fill them and let them sit & they self seal as they cool. the longest ive froze them was 6 weeks and it still tastes awesome.
Aug. 11, 2014 2:37 pm
For Donna - When I have too many tomatoes (and don't like to can) I just freeze them whole and then use them liked canned tomatoes. Just run frozen tomato under cold water to remove skins/blossom. Works great!
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