Authentic Mexican Salsa Recipe (Restaurant Salsa Roja)

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The salsa roja served at Mexican restaurants has a delicious flavor that’s easy to replicate at home. With just a handful of simple ingredients, you can make the best, most authentic Mexican Salsa recipe in minutes.

Mexican salsa recipe in a pint sized mason jar by blender.

This delicious salsa tastes just like the dip you love at your local Mexican restaurant. The secret to replicating that flavor and vibrant color is canned tomatoes and a little sugar.

It’s incredibly fast and easy to make too… it takes less time than driving to the grocery store and it always gets rave reviews.

Your family will love dipping tortilla chips in this delicious blender salsa or topping their tacos with it. Best of all, you can adjust this recipe to your family’s tastes with the tips I’ve included after decades of cooking Mexican food.


  • 28 ounce can of diced tomatoes
  • ½ cup of diced onion
  • ½ cup of fresh cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon of minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon of minced jalapeno
  • 2 tablespoons of fresh-squeezed lime juice
  • ½ teaspoon of taco seasoning
  • ½ teaspoon of sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar

By the Numbers: How to Make Authentic Mexican Salsa

Follow these easy step by step instructions to learn how to make your new favorite salsa.

Step 1: Prepare Salsa Ingredients.

The first thing you want to do is prepare and measure out all of the ingredients you’ll need to make salsa. I recommend wearing disposable gloves when handling hot peppers. Remove the chili stems and de-seed them before adding to the blender if you want less heat.

Salsa ingredients: Canned tomatoes, cilantro, red onion, jalapeno, garlic, lime juice, salt, taco seasoning and sugar.

Step 2: Add Ingredients to Blender.

Next, add all of the prepared ingredients to your blender.

Mexican salsa ingredients in blender pitcher.

Step 3: Blend Your Salsa.

Place the lid on your blender and, using the pulse setting, blend the ingredients together until you reach your desired consistency. The longer you blend, the smoother your salsa will be. If you like your salsa to have texture, just pulse a few times.

Mexican salsa blended together in blender pitcher.

Step 4: Transfer Salsa to Jar.

Once you have your desired consistency, pour your salsa into a mason jar and place in the refrigerator to chill for at least an hour before serving. The longer it chills, the more the flavors will meld together.

Mexican salsa in mason jar near blender.

Step 5: Serve Your Mexican Salsa with Chips.

Once it’s been chilled, serve your Mexican Salsa with your favorite tortilla chips.

Tortilla chip being dipped in Mexican salsa.

Tips for Making the Best Homemade Salsa Recipe

Answers to all of your questions about making the best salsa in minutes.

1. How to adjust the spiciness level?

If you want a really spicy salsa, add more jalapeno peppers. If you want a mild salsa, you can omit them completely.

2. Other types of chili peppers to use?

If you don’t want to use jalapeno peppers, serrano peppers are also amazing in homemade salsa recipes. If you prefer a smoky flavor, you can use chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (like what is used to flavor Barbacoa Beef).

3. Can fresh tomatoes be used?

Yes, I frequently make homemade salsa with fresh ripe tomatoes as well. I use a different quantity of the other ingredients when I use fresh tomatoes as they have a different flavor intensity than canned.

If you want to make a salsa with all fresh ingredients, try my Fresh Garden Salsa recipe.

4. Best way to make smooth salsa?

If you want really smooth sauce without chunks, simply blend longer in your blender or food processor. It may get bubbly, but just let those bubbles settle down and you’ll have a delicious smooth table salsa to enjoy with homemade tortilla chips.

5. What is the chunky Mexican salsa called?

If you’re looking for chunky salsa, you’re probably looking for pico de gallo, sometimes called salsa fresca (translated fresh salsa).

6. How to serve salsa?

The most common way to eat salsa is the classic appetizer, tortilla chips and salsa. This restaurant style salsa also pairs really well with most Mexican cuisine main dishes and sides.

Here are some of my favorite gluten free recipes to make:

7. How to store salsa?

Your salsa should be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container like a mason jar.

8. How long does homemade salsa last?

Homemade salsa should last for about 5-7 days if properly stored. Once you’ve dipped into it or left it out of the fridge for any amount of time, it will spoil faster.

9. Can you freeze salsa?

Yes, you can freeze salsa. However, be aware that the texture will change once you defrost it. If you want to try it, check out these tips for freezing salsa.

10. Is it safe to can salsa?

Salsa is typically considered a low acid food, so you usually cannot use the hot water bath canning method. According to the National Center for Home Food Preservation, it’s only safe to can salsa that has a pH below 4.6. The pH of this salsa recipe has not been tested and therefore it should not be canned.

Instead, it’s recommended that you pressure can all low acid foods. If you’re new to pressure canning, read my post on food canning supplies.

11. Other Mexican Condiments?

If you’re looking for more condiments and toppings to serve with your Mexican food, here are some great ideas:

12. Where to Buy Salsa Ingredients?

I do most of my grocery shopping online rather than battling lines at the grocery store. I’ve been ordering most of our produce from Misfits Market. They have a great selection of organic produce, meat and pantry items. If Misfits Market isn’t available in your area yet, check out my list of where to buy produce online.

Closeup of Mexican restaurant style salsa in pint jar.

Authentic Mexican Salsa Recipe (Printable)

Learn how to make the most authentic Mexican Salsa with simple ingredients in this easy recipe. It's quick and easy with a blender!
4.84 from 6 votes
Print Recipe
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Recipe Servings: 8


  • 28 ounces canned diced tomatoes
  • ½ cup onion - diced (any color)
  • ½ cup fresh cilantro - loosely packed
  • 1 teaspoon garlic - minced (about 1-2 garlic cloves)
  • 1 teaspoon jalapeno - minced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • ½ teaspoon taco seasoning - (I use my homemade taco seasoning)
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar


  • Knife
  • Cutting Board
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Blender
  • Quart sized mason jar
  • Disposable gloves


  • Add all of the salsa ingredients to your blender.
    Mexican salsa ingredients in blender pitcher.
  • Place the lid on your blender pulse the ingredients until the salsa reaches your preferred consistency.
    Mexican salsa blended together in blender pitcher.
  • Pour the blender salsa into a mason jar and chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour before serving.
    Mexican salsa in mason jar near blender.
  • Serve with a large bowl of tortilla chips.
    Tortilla chip being dipped in Mexican salsa.

Nutrition Information Per Serving

Calories: 25kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 289mg | Potassium: 214mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 193IU | Vitamin C: 12mg | Calcium: 35mg | Iron: 1mg

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