There’s more than one way to make salsa roja, but if you want the absolute best possible results with the least amount of effort, this one’s for you. This Mexican Salsa Recipe is not only packed with flavor but it’s extremely quick and easy to make. There’s no roasting, boiling, or cooking involved, and best of all, the prep work couldn’t possibly be more minimal.
You’ll find this authentic, Mexican restaurant-style salsa bright, zesty, and downright addictive thanks to a smart blend of pantry staples like crushed tomatoes and dried spices, alongside fresh additions like jalapeños, onions, and lime juice! Serve it with a basket full of crunchy tortilla chips to cure any snack time hankering or as a topping for tacos, fajitas, and more!
Looking for another dip to add to your recipe lineup? Try our favorite Tex-Mex Queso Recipe!
THERE’S MORE THAN ONE WAY TO SALSA
If you aren’t greeted with a bowl of salsa and tortilla chips before your server even introduces themself, you are not dining in a proper Tex-Mex/Mexican restaurant. In fact, for most Texans, this zesty condiment alone determines where you eat.
Every establishment and Mexican kitchen has their own rendition and both the recipes and cooking methods will vary wildly, but in order for it to be a true Red Mexican Salsa, a few staples must remain:
- Chile Peppers
These are the core ingredients that make up a red salsa.
PICO DE GALLO VS. SALSA
The core ingredients for Mexican Salsa and pico de gallo are identical. The only difference is that pico de gallo is served as a chunky condiment and salsa roja is often pureed and smooth-ish in texture.
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HOW TO MAKE MEXICAN SALSA
- Chop – Nothing needs to be chopped super fine for this Mexican Salsa Recipe, as it’s all going to end up in a blender or food processor. Just a rough chop for the jalapeños, onion, garlic, and cilantro is all you need!
- Blend – Then, you’ll add the remaining ingredients to the blender and puree until the salsa is pureed and smooth to your liking.
WANT TO MAKE IT HOT?
If you like your salsa extra spicy, leave the seeds in one of the jalapeños. If you like it really, really hot, don’t deseed any of the jalapeños at all.
- Canned Tomatoes | Canned, crushed tomatoes pack a ton of flavor, but oftentimes, a metallic flavor is detected if it’s not slowly simmered with other ingredients. Thanks to a special blend of spices, a pinch of sugar, and fresh ingredients, that metallic taste is absolutely nowhere to be found in this salsa! For Mexican Salsa with an extra smoky note, used fire-roasted crushed tomatoes!
- Jalapeños | Jalapeños are a fairly mild chile pepper, readily available, not to mention, easy to work with. However, if you’d prefer, you could sub in serrano or Fresno peppers.
- Onion | This recipe calls for white onion, but you could also use red or yellow in its place if needed.
- Cilantro Leaves
- Fresh Lime Juice
- Spices | The spice blend for this salsa roja is seriously savory and packs a punch of delicious flavor. It is a mix of Kosher salt, black pepper, ground cumin, chili powder, paprika, garlic and onion powder.
- Sugar | Sugar may seem like a strange ingredient in a salsa recipe, but it makes a huge difference. It doesn’t necessarily make your salsa sweet, but it does however round out flavors by cutting both the bitterness and the acidity from the canned tomatoes. Just a couple of teaspoons is all you need.
- Water | Water is used to thin out the consistency of salsa. If your Mexican Salsa is pureed, and you think you’d prefer for it to be a bit thinner still, feel free to add a few tablespoons of water to the salsa and blend again. Do this until you have reached the consistency you desire.
HOW LONG DOES IT LAST?
You can keep this Homemade Mexican Salsa in an airtight container for up to a week. If you’d like to preserve it for any longer than that, freeze it!
CAN I FREEZE IT?
To freeze homemade salsa, add it to a freezer-safe, zip-top bag, seal it tightly, and place it in the freezer. Use it within three months for the best results!
5 MORE ESSENTIAL MEXICAN RECIPES YOU’LL LOVE
This easy, restaurant-style Mexican Salsa recipe comes together incredibly fast! No cooking or boiling necessary. Big flavor is built using a smart combination of canned tomatoes, fresh ingredients, and a perfect blend of spices!
- 3 seeded jalapenos
- 1/2 white onion
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1/2 cup cilantro leaves
- Juice of 3 limes
- 2 (14-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
- 2 1/2 teaspoons Kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 1 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 cup water
Roughly chop the jalapeños, onion, garlic, and cilantro and add it to a blender or a food processor fitted with a blade attachment.
Add all of the remaining ingredients and process until pureed and smooth to your liking. Serve right away or refrigerate for up to one week.