This is the best 5 minute restaurant style homemade salsa recipe! It is fresh, flavorful and easy to make. You’ll never buy salsa again and you might find yourself eating it every night!

A bowl of homemade salsa in which a tortilla chip is being dipped. The salsa is sprinkled with cilantro leaves and has cilantro and roma tomatoes in the background.

Best Homemade Salsa Recipe

This post has been a long time coming. It’s no laughing matter to set out to make the Best Homemade Salsa Recipe. It all started years ago when my friend, Krysta, made the most delicious homemade salsa EVER.

What’s the key? Oh, friend let me tell you…

Restaurant Salsa Recipe

A restaurant salsa is not big and chunky, that’s a pico de gallo. No, this easy salsa recipe is actually more similar to what you’d pour out of a jar with 100% better flavor.

What makes it a restaurant salsa? Two things:

  1. Canned Fire Roasted Tomatoes
  2. Blending versus strictly chopping the ingredients.

Oh Sweet Basil Pro Tip

If you live anywhere like we do, fresh tomatoes might not be super easy to get all year round, however they do make for the best salsa.

Let’s break it down even more so that you can be successful whether at the grocery store or at the farmer’s market.

A blender container filled with tomatoes, cilantro, jalapenos, and spices for salsa.

Which Tomatoes are Best for Salsa?

When making a homemade salsa like our chunky tomato salsa you can use a variety of tomatoes, but for a restaurant style salsa you’re going to want to stick to Roma Tomatoes.

How to Pick Good Tomatoes

  • Tight Skin- Look for tomatoes with really tight, smooth skin, no wrinkles as that’s a sign of withering from age.
  • Coloring- Even coloring without yellow or orange or green marks means it ripened on the vine as it should.
  • Weight- The heavier the tomato the better! This is the most important of all. Pick it up and resist squeezing it. The more often you feel tomatoes the better you’ll get at feeling the weight.

Should You Add Sugar to Salsa?

A dash of sugar is used to balance the acidity of the tomatoes which often comes from using store-bought vs garden tomatoes.

An overhead view of a blender container filled with cilantro, onions, tomatoes, jalapenos, and spices to make salsa.

Salsa Ingredients

While you can use all canned items (not the onion) for salsa, I’ve found that a combination of fresh and canned works the best for a copycat Mexican restaurant salsa recipe. I think that’s because the canned tomatoes add a more thick and saucy salsa versus a pico de gallo like salsa.

Here’s what we use for Mexican Salsa:

  • Tomatoes: Roma tomatoes are the best for this recipe.
  • Cilantro: Fresh, bright green bunch with or without stems.
  • Garlic: Fresh minced garlic cloves.
  • Onions: Red onions have a subtle flavor and add great color.
  • Jalapeno: Add flavor and a little heat. You can use other spicier peppers if preferred, like serrano pepper.
  • Canned Tomatoes: Fire roasted tomatoes pack the best flavor.
  • Salt: Adds flavor
  • Lime Juice: Fresh lime juice is preferred!
  • Sugar: Cut through the acidity of the tomatoes.
  • Seasonings: Chili Powder and Ground Cumin

How to Make Salsa from Scratch

Making salsa at home is really easy. All you need is a blender (a food processor would also work great)!

  1. Chop the tomatoes, onions, cilantro and garlic.
  2. Place all ingredients except the salt in the blender.
  3. Pulse until desired consistency.
  4. Stir in salt to taste and serve.

Oh Sweet Basil Pro Tip!

  • Guess what, this homemade salsa is even better the second day!!!! Make it a day ahead and take half of the work out of Taco Tuesday.
A bowl of fresh, homemade salsa with Roma tomatoes, cilantro and chips in the background.

Our Favorite Recipes to Add this Salsa to:

The truth is that this salsa would go great with any of our Mexican Recipes. Here are just a few of our top recommendations:

Do You Need To Peel Tomatoes For Salsa?

You do not have to peel tomatoes for salsa. In fact, I prefer you not peel them because it adds more texture and flavor to the salsa. Plus, peeling tomatoes is a hassle so be glad you don’t have to.

Should Salsa Be Cooked?

Salsa does not need to be cooked, that’s why we love it so much!  Fresh, uncooked salsa has a bright, refreshing taste and color. If you’re wanting to can the salsa then most people will cook it to be sure there isn’t any bacteria etc.

A close-up picture of fresh salsa with chopped tomatoes, jalapenos, onions, spices and cilantro leaves on top.

How Long Will Fresh Salsa Keep?

Alright, so how long will homemade salsa last? 5-7 days in the refrigerator in an airtight container.

How to Store Salsa

Salsa is best kept in a jar with a tight fitting lid or if you don’t have a jar use a plastic container.

Can Fresh Salsa Be Left Out?

It is only safe to leave fresh salsa out for about 2 hours. After 2 hours bacteria may begin to grow.

A bowl of fresh homemade salsa surrounded by roma tomatoes, cilantro, red onion slices, a lime, an a wooden bowl of tortilla chips.

How Do You Know If Salsa Has Gone Bad?

To tell if salsa has gone bad, look for significant discoloration, and any signs of mold around the edge of the container.

You can also tell by changes in the smell; If salsa has become mushy and has an off odor, it should be thrown away.

Is It Cheaper to Buy or Make Salsa?

You’ll for sure save money by making your own salsa, especially if the vegetables are from your own garden. And homemade salsa is generally healthier than most of the sugary varieties you’ll find in stores.

Craving some fresh and flavorful salsa? Skip the store-bought stuff and try this quick and easy homemade salsa recipe that tastes just like restaurant-style salsa in just 5 minutes! Perfect for dipping, topping, or snacking on its own.

More Homemade Condiment Recipes You’ll Love:

Restaurant Style Salsa

4.29 from 7 votes
Servings: 20
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes


This is the best 5 minute restaurant style homemade salsa recipe! It is fresh, flavorful and easy to make.


  • 6 Tomatoes, Roma, quartered
  • 1-2 Jalapeños, seeded and chopped (I eat mild salsa and still use 2 for flavor)
  • 1/2 Red Onion
  • 1 1/2 Limes, juiced
  • 1/2 teaspoon Chili Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cumin, ground
  • 1/2 Bunch Cilantro
  • Kosher Salt, to taste
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, sliced
  • 1 Can Tomatoes, 14.5 Ounce Can Fire Roasted Diced 
  • 1/2 teaspoon Sugar


  • Place all ingredients in a blender and pulse so that the salsa is slightly chunky in texture. Not as big as pico de gallo but not smooth either.
    6 Tomatoes, 1-2 Jalapeños, 1/2 Red Onion, 1 1/2 Limes, 1/2 teaspoon Chili Powder, 1/2 teaspoon Cumin, 1/2 Bunch Cilantro, Kosher Salt, 2 Cloves Garlic, 1 Can Tomatoes, 1/2 teaspoon Sugar


This salsa can be kept in the refrigerator, covered, for 5-7 days.


Serving: 0.5cupCalories: 11kcalCarbohydrates: 3gProtein: 1gFat: 1gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 3mgPotassium: 103mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 347IUVitamin C: 8mgCalcium: 7mgIron: 1mg
Author: Sweet Basil
Course: 30+ Easy Dip Recipes You Can’t Stop Eating
Cuisine: Mexican

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A bowl of homemade salsa in which a tortilla chip is being dipped. The salsa is sprinkled with cilantro leaves and has cilantro and roma tomatoes in the background.