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This easy fresh salsa recipe is one of the best ways to amp up Taco Tuesday (or any Mexican-inspired meal)! Once you learn how to make salsa with fresh tomatoes and cilantro, you might never go back to the jarred stuff. And just like mango salsa, salsa verde, and pineapple salsa, it only takes a few simple, fresh ingredients.
Unlike many salsa recipes that use canned diced tomatoes, this is a fresh tomato salsa recipe that uses whole tomatoes from the produce section. While the canned stuff is convenient, I think fresh tomatoes make the best homemade salsa! This one is blended, so not as chunky as pico de gallo.
Why You’ll Love This Fresh Salsa Recipe
- Zesty, fresh flavor
- Juicy tomato texture with hints of onion, garlic, and jalapeño
- 6 basic ingredients (plus salt)
- Done in 5 minutes
- No cooking needed
- Makes a restaurant-style fresh salsa that pairs with nachos, tacos, quesadillas, burritos, or your favorite Mexican-style dishes
Ingredients & Substitutions
This section explains how to choose the best ingredients for homemade fresh tomato salsa, what each one does in the recipe, and substitution options. For measurements, see the recipe card below.
- Tomatoes – Roma tomatoes are most common for fresh salsa recipes, but any variety will work. Choose ripe yet fairly firm ones that aren’t too large, as very large or overly ripe tomatoes might make the salsa too watery.
- Onion – This recipe uses a white onion, but a yellow onion, red onion, or even green onion will work.
- Cilantro – This gives the most classic flavor, but you could use other fresh herbs if you like. I don’t recommend dried cilantro for fresh salsa recipes.
- Jalapeno – For some heat. Add it without seeds and white parts for less heat, or for extra spice, include both or even add extra peppers.
- Garlic – For best results, coarsely mince your garlic fresh before adding it to your food processor. This ensures that the pieces get small enough without turning your salsa into a paste. You can also use jarred minced garlic for convenience.
- Lime Juice – Optional, but keeps the salsa fresh for longer and adds a bit of tang. Use fresh lime juice if you can for the best flavor, but bottled lime juice or even lemon juice will work.
- Sea Salt – To taste.
How To Make Fresh Salsa
This section shows how to make homemade salsa with fresh tomatoes, with step-by-step photos and details about the technique, to help you visualize it. For full instructions, including amounts and temperatures, see the recipe card below.
- Chop. Cut the tomatoes and onion into large chunks.
- Blend. Add the tomatoes, onions, cilantro, jalapeno, garlic, lime juice, and sea salt to a food processor. (A high-powered blender may also work.) Pulse until the fresh salsa reaches the desired consistency.
- Enjoy! Transfer to a bowl for dipping, or serve with other foods. (See ideas below!)
How to taste for salt:
Taste the salsa to determine if you need to adjust salt a bit before you reach the consistency you want. That way, you can adjust the salt more and pulse again.
Fresh Salsa Recipe Variations
- Swap the peppers – Trade jalapenos for serrano peppers, green chiles, chipotles, or your favorite spicy chilies. You could also add drained canned green chilies.
- Add or change spices – This easy fresh salsa recipe would taste delicious with added cumin, oregano, paprika, cumin, or chili powder.
- Use canned tomatoes – Fresh tomato salsa recipes taste best, but you can also used canned tomatoes if needed. Process other ingredients first and blend these in last.
- Broil or roast for extra flavor – Arrange tomatoes, peppers, and peeled onion skin side up on a sheet pan and broil for 6-8 minutes, or until blistered and slightly blackened. Blend as usual. (This works best with riper tomatoes!)
Store leftovers covered in an airtight container or mason jar.
How Long Does Fresh Salsa Last?
Fresh salsa lasts in the refrigerator for about 1 week. The time can vary a bit depending on how fresh your veggies are. Also, if you include lime juice, it will last a bit longer: The acidity acts as a natural preservative.
Can You Freeze Fresh Salsa?
Yes, you can freeze fresh salsa recipes! Just don’t expect them to taste identical to freshly made. To freeze, simmer the salsa on the stove for 10-20 minutes to bring out extra moisture. Cool completely, then freeze flat in a zip lock bag. After thawing, drain off any excess liquid before serving.
Preserve the ingredients in this fresh tomato salsa recipe with this easy method. It will last 12 months (or even longer)!
- Sterilize the jars. In a large stockpot, submerge mason jars and lids in water. Simmer to sterilize them. (You don’t need to simmer the bands, only the jars and lids.) Keep them simmering until step 3.
- Simmer. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, bring the salsa to a gentle boil. Simmer for about 10 to 15 minutes. (This is necessary for a salsa recipe with fresh tomatoes, like this one, but less critical for versions using canned tomatoes.)
- Fill the jars. Remove the jars from the water and put them on a towel. Fill with salsa, leaving 1/4 inch space at the top. Wipe any salsa from the rim. Remove the lids from the water, one at a time, dry off, and close tightly with the band.
- Process the jars. Place the sealed jars back into the stockpot with boiling water, over medium-high heat, such that they are almost submerged but the tops are above the water. Cover the pot and let it boil for 15 minutes. After that, remove the jars and put them back on the towel to cool, without moving.
- Check the seals. Check the seal after 24 hours — it should not flex when pressed.
What To Serve With Fresh Tomato Salsa
Serve this salsa with all kinds of easy mains and Mexican favorites:
- Chips – Dip into your fresh salsa using your favorite tortilla chips, zucchini chips (either baked zucchini chips or air fryer zucchini chips), plain or seasoned kale chips, or even cheese crisps. For an easy, classic spread, serve the salsa alongside guacamole. Perfection!
- Tacos & burritos – Make burrito bowls or tacos with some flour tortillas, almond flour tortillas, or crunchy cheese taco shells.
- Fish – Spoon this over pan seared salmon, grilled bbq shrimp skewers, or easy baked cod for a zesty upgrade.
- Chicken – Salsa pairs well with shredded chicken, zesty cilantro lime chicken, and classic chicken fajitas. You can also use this fresh salsa recipe to make salsa chicken!
- Salad Or Slaw – Mix into taco salad, or use as a topping for creamy avocado egg salad or zesty taco slaw for another dash of flavor.
- Classic Mexican dishes – Make carne asada (on the grill or using a grill pan inside), beef barbacoa (in the slow cooker), Mexican street corn (multiple options here), savory chile verde, or stuffed poblano peppers (in the oven) to serve with this iconic sauce. Don’t forget the skinny margaritas!
Homemade Salsa Recipe
Homemade Fresh Salsa Recipe (5 Minutes!)
Learn how to make salsa with fresh tomatoes in 5 minutes! This easy fresh salsa recipe is loaded with zesty flavor using 6 ingredients.
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Tap on the times in the instructions below to start a kitchen timer while you cook.
Combine all the ingredients in a food processor.
Pulse until desired consistency is reached. (Check for salt a few pulses before your desired consistency, so that the homemade salsa doesn't get too mushy if you need to adjust salt and pulse again.)
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Serving size: 1/4 cup
- Check the post above for instructions on storing, canning, or freezing homemade salsa.
- The entire fresh salsa recipe makes about 4 cups. Exact volume and number of servings will vary depending on the size of your tomatoes.
Nutrition facts are provided as a courtesy. Have questions about calculations or why you got a different result? Please see our nutrition policy.
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