Easy Red Salsa

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White ceramic dish with vibrant homemade Red Salsa

How have I gotten 5 years into writing a food blog and not provided a simple red salsa recipe?

How dare I? How could I? I know. Shame, shame. But I realized this recently and am excited to fill the void with this EASY, 10-minute Red Tomato Salsa! Let’s do it!

Wood plank with tomatoes, cilantro, garlic, jalapenos, red onion, lime, and cumin for making healthy homemade Red Salsa

Origins of Salsa

Salsa is thought to have originated in Central America from the Incas, Aztecs, and Mayans. It dates back as far as the 1500s where it was used as a condiment to add flavor and spice.

But in the early 1900s, salsa’s popularity spread beyond Mexico and Central America and it began to be commercially manufactured in the US. By 1991, US sales of salsa had surpassed that of ketchup!

There are many different varieties including salsa roja, verde, criolla, and more! Our inspired version most closely resembles salsa roja, but is not a traditional preparation. You can find more traditional recipes here and here.

How to Make Red Salsa

I did quite a bit of experimenting for this 10-minute, 8-ingredient, 1- bowl recipe.

The dreamy minimalist in me thought, “Cool. I’ll just throw some tomatoes and onion and a pepper in a blender and ‘voila!’ I’ll have salsa!”

Not quite.

Food processor with ingredients for making our gluten-free vegan Red Salsa recipe

While you can go that route, I find that it yields a watery, flavorless salsa, and I’m obviously not down for that. So, instead, I tested multiple canned-tomato varieties as a base and found fire-roasted tomatoes to be the best fit!

They’re extremely smoky and complex, and they add a rich tomato flavor to this salsa. Supporting ingredients like onion, cilantro, lime, garlic, and jalapeño or serrano pepper round the flavors out to yield the perfect red salsa.

Food processor with freshly blended Perfect Red Salsa

I hope you all LOVE this salsa! It’s:

Fresh
Flavorful
Smoky
Spicy
Quick + Easy
& Delicious

This is the perfect salsa for dipping tortilla chips, Frito chips, or even kale chips! It would also make a delicious addition to things like our Mexican Quinoa Salad Cups, Black Bean Butternut Squash Enchiladas, Best Damn Vegan Nachos, Sweet Potato Kale Chip Nachos, or Plantain Black Bean Tacos.

If you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo #minimalistbaker on Instagram. Cheers, friends!

Dipping a tortilla chip into a bowl of our Perfect Red Salsa recipe

Easy Red Salsa

Easy, 10-minute red salsa with smoky, fire-roasted tomatoes, onion, cilantro, garlic, and fresh lime juice! Flavorful, fresh, and perfect for Mexican night!
Author Minimalist Baker
Print
Ceramic dish filled with a batch of our Easy Red Salsa recipe
4.92 from 23 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 8 (1/4-cup servings)
Course Dip, Sauce
Cuisine Gluten-Free, Mexican-Inspired, Vegan
Freezer Friendly 1 month
Does it keep? 1 Week

Ingredients

  • 2 15-ounce cans diced fire-roasted tomatoes* (slightly drained)
  • 1 medium serrano or jalapeño pepper (more or less depending on preferred spice level // stems and seeds removed)
  • 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro (large stems removed)
  • 1 medium lime, juiced (~3 Tbsp or 45 ml as original recipe is written)
  • 1/2 cup chopped white or red onion (or sub green onion)
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • 1 clove garlic (crushed // or 1 tsp garlic-infused oil per 1 clove garlic)
  • Stevia or cane sugar (optional // to taste)
  • 2-4 Tbsp diced mild green chilies (optional // for extra heat)

Instructions

  • Add tomatoes, pepper, cilantro, lime, onion, cumin, salt, and garlic to food processor or blender and pulse to mix. You're looking for a well-blended but semi-chunky salsa.
  • Taste and adjust flavor as needed, adding more salt for saltiness, lime for acidity, garlic for kick/zing, cilantro for herb flavor, pepper or mild green chilies for heat, or a little stevia or sugar to sweeten/offset heat.
  • Serve immediately with chips of choice, such as DIY Chili Cheeze Fritos, tortilla chips, or kale chips!
  • Store leftovers in a well-sealed container in the refrigerator up to 1 week or in the freezer up to 1 month.

Notes

*If you’d rather, sub 3 cups diced ripe tomatoes (per two 15-ounce or 425 g cans). But the flavor will not be as rich and the salsa will likely be more watery.
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated without stevia, sugar, or green chilies (or chips for serving).
*Recipe makes ~2 cups salsa.

Nutrition (1 of 8 servings)

Serving: 1 quarter-cup servings Calories: 71 Carbohydrates: 18.9 g Protein: 1.9 g Fat: 0.2 g Saturated Fat: 0 g Trans Fat: 0 g Cholesterol: 0 mg Sodium: 375 mg Fiber: 4.1 g Sugar: 8.4 g

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  1. Linsey says

    I’m a little embarrassed to admit that I’ve never made fresh homemade salsa before, but salsa is a big staple in my snack life soooo it was time. This salsa is super easy, fresh, tasty, and quick.

    I couldn’t find the fire roasted tomatoes so I used plain canned chopped tomatoes. I also used a red onion, added extra lime, used a jalapeño (left some seeds), and added extra garlic. I forgot to add the diced green chilis, but I’m not missing it at all. I would recommend draining the tomatoes really well if you’re like me and plan to add extra lime.

    Overall, an excellent, simple recipe. Thanks!

  2. Danielle Stoor says

    Making this with your refried beans for burritos! 😃😎 I will make my own fire roasted tomatoes, our store does not carry😣, by slicing in half, removing seeds, rubbing little oil and putting over gas flame (or under broiler) till charred and smoky! Thanks a bunch🌺🌻🌼!

  3. Kiran says

    Super yummy! I didn’t have fire roasted so used regular whole canned tomatoes and it still turned out so delicious!

  4. Victoria says

    I just made this for dinner and everyone loved it! Where I live I don’t have access to fire roasted tomatoes but normal canned ones worked just fine.

  5. Teri says

    Love the simplicity of your recipes! As we grow oodles of tomatoes, I always prefer to use fresh. To avoid the “watery” texture, don’t add the chopped tomatoes to the food processor or blender; just fold them in after blending the other ingredients. It adds a little extra chunky-ness.

  6. Julie Hynes says

    I just made this and it was super easy and tasty! Had some dying cilantro but it still tastes great. I used roasted tomatoes that already had garlic but also added the clove. I like the consistency of this salsa, in addition to the flavor.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Thanks so much for the lovely review, Julie. We are so glad you enjoyed it! Next time, would you mind leaving a rating with your review? It’s super helpful for us and other readers. Thanks so much! Xo

  7. Sam says

    This is for sure the best salsa recipe on the internet. I’ve been making this recipe for a few years now and I my friends always love it. It’s very fresh and tasty. Thank you for sharing this recipe.

  8. Cheryl says

    In the winter in the Midwest canned tomato is superior in taste to any fresh tomato in the produce section. This recipe makes great use of fire-roasted canned tomatoes. I don’t use sugar or sugar substitutes. I use sweet shredded carrot to sweeten instead. Carrot needs to be pureed and then it blends into the background.

  9. Jordan Kozushka says

    I have never made salsa in my life but have made many things from your recipes. This salsa is probably the best I’ve ever had. It was super easy and is so flavorful and so completely yummy that after every bite I can’t wait to have the next one.
    I did modify it by not adding the chilli’s or the pepper, as my 6-year-old daughter does not like spicy things and she loves salsa but other than that this is a 100% winner!
    Thank you so much for the recipe!

  10. Judith Ellis says

    I made this recipe for friends of mine that are from Mexico and own a successful Mexican Restaurant. The only suggestion they had was to add a little more salt which was my fault because I actually forget to put it in. They said it was as good as any they had in Mexico. Thank you for a great recipe

  11. Vanessa says

    Loved the use of canned tomatoes. I’ve always used whole tomatoes and haven’t been able to keep my salsa not watery. I didn’t change a thing, the recipe was great as is!

      • Sharon Brown says

        I made this with the fire roasted tomatoes and not so impressed. So then I used fresh Roma tomatoes about 5-6
        And added a can of diced tomatoes and it was great. I guess I didn’t like the smoky taste of the fire roasted tomatoes. But your recipe with the fresh tomatoes was great

  12. Cera Torres says

    Omg I’ve been trying to find a salsa recipe and this sounds and looks amazing! Def gonna give it a try.

  13. Megan says

    I have finally made an edible and yummy salsa. Holy cow! Thank you! I’m gonna put this on everything!

  14. Dana says

    My roommates and I just made this and LOVED it! I have been looking for a simple, flavorful, and delicious salsa recipe and this is it! Thank you for this and all your recipes! I am looking forward to making this again and adding some pineapple or mango!

  15. Vocalmama says

    Hi! We just made the salsa and used sweet corn instead of sugar, delicious! I wanted to know if you think this will freeze well? I hope so!! I made a double batch!!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Yes! Store leftovers in a well-sealed container in the refrigerator up to 1 week or in the freezer up to 1 month.

  16. Kimberly F says

    I have used this recipe almost weekly now for a couple months. Very easily the best salsa recipe I have found. SO DELICIOUS!!

  17. Donna says

    I’ve made this several times and it is really good! I took some to work last week and the staff couldn’t get enough of it.

  18. Bre says

    Dana, this recipe is amazing! Tastes better than the Lone Star restaurant chips and salsa we love and half the price! So easy to make too. Those fire roasted tomatoes really made the dish. Any Canadians here – you can find Alymer fire roasted tomatoes at Loblaws/Zehrs

  19. Ashley says

    I have now made this twice, with my husband already asking when I will make it again. We live in Texas, so chips and salsa is pretty much a required appetizer for any social function. I have tried a few different salsa recipes this summer trying to find the perfect one and I’m here to report that this is it! It’s pretty mild on the heat, so you may want to add more peppers depending on how you like it. Thanks so much, Dana!

  20. Kristin says

    This was the best salsa I’ve ever made. Just like the salsa at my favorite Mexican restaurant. I used a jalapeno and took all the seeds out b/c I had a kid eating. Had virtually no heat. Leave the seeds in the peppers if you want heat.

  21. Yummycake says

    Hi Dana, I think this is the best Red Salsa I have ever seen. Easy to cook and looks very tasty. I would say it’s a great job. Keep sharing such tasty recipes with us.

  22. Lily says

    This salsa was quick, easy, and really great! I made it to go with tacos and taco salad. It does make a large amount of salsa though, so I froze half for another time in the future. Thank you!

  23. David Nassief says

    I just want to say your pictures are amazing. It’s almost like watching a cooking video. They are beautiful and instructional. Thanks David

  24. Carol says

    This was super easy and it makes a lot. I’ll be taking this to my next potluck at work for sure.
    PS, I like to eat it with my new favorite tortilla chips called “Cabo Chips”.

  25. Little Cooking Tips says

    We don’t have these fire-roasted tomato cans here in Greece, but we’ll definitely use you awesome salsa adding ripe tomatoes and a bit of smoked paprika for an extra “smokey” flavor:) Does that sound to you like something that could work?:) Amazing post, amazing work Dana. Congrats.
    Mirella and Panos

  26. Debbie says

    I made this tonight to go with enchiladas. This is the best fresh salsa using the fire roasted tomatoes. Great flavors in this salsa! Thanks for the recipe.

  27. Jessie Snyder says

    You are my hero! Keeping this recipe in my back pocket all summer long. Ps. Your photography lately is just slaying me girl, you are so incredible! Hugs!

  28. Tara | Treble in the Kitchen says

    This looks so flavorful! I’m attempting to grow tomatoes and jalapenos in my garden this year in the hopes of delicious and fresh salsa! Thanks for the recipe inspiration! :)

  29. Caroline | RD-Licious says

    Yessss I’ve been needing a good salsa recipe lately! Definitely going to try this, looks amazing Dana!

  30. James | Thyme to Mango says

    I always make salsa as an afterthought and, as you said above, using fresh tomatoes always leaves a watery texture; it’s something I’ve always just shrugged off as a normal salsa “thing”. But with fire roasted tomatoes… Yes! Tomatoes are out of season here at the moment, but I may just try it with red bell peppers as a substitute!

  31. Paul says

    Looks oh so good!! Cankot wait to try.
    I don’t do sugar. Would anyone know if I can substitute honey?
    Thanks!

  32. Susan Ferguson says

    I will now be using your fire-roasted tomatoes tip…I have used the unnamed chili-cilantro sauce as a starter for years, always adding fresh tomatoes and lots of cumin, lime juice and roasted fresh red or yellow pepper. But your recipe allows me to make great salsa all year round – thank you so much!

  33. Hilary says

    I love fire roasted tomatoes! I have used them in so many recipes, they are just the perfect addition with just the right amount of flavor!

  34. travelingwithmarilyn.com says

    that salsa is amazing I will be making that for all my social friends gatherings. thank you

  35. Patricia Tolbert says

    This recipe sounds almost identical to the Fire Roasted Salsa recipe in the Thug Kitchen Cookbook. That is a great recipe so I am sure yours is also. Fire roasted tomatoes are the best!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Patricia! I don’t own their cookbook and came up with this recipe on my own. Hope you enjoy it!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hmm, not sure! You can also roast your own over an open flame until almost charred – same effect!

  36. Leslie | Bessie Bakes says

    I love that you used roasted canned tomatoes as that makes the process sooooo much easier. It lends such a vibrant red color too! Because of the tedious nature of skinning fresh tomatoes, I never make fresh salsa, but I think you’ve changed my mind. Such a peeeerty salsa ?!

  37. Mary Jane says

    My grandma makes the best salsa in the world, nothing has ever come close. We live in California right by the border where there is the best Mexican food. My grandparents crossed as children but always visit Baja and with them they brought home all these amazing techniques. The salsa is just so good, I wish I could bottle it and send it to you! Her tip is she uses dried anchos and guajillos, does some crazy stuff, blends em, and BAM the best salsa in the world. I need to get the recipe and share it with you, what makes it so different is it has no tomatoes. This salsa recipe you have is perfect as I just made your fast vegan Mexican cheese, and a black bean corn mango salsa, I’ll be eating a good lunch today! Tip, roast your own tomatoes for better flavor!

    • Elaine says

      It is probably the “does some crazy stuff” that makes it! Haha. When you figure that out I’d like to know!

    • CA says

      Hi, Mary Jane, I have been searching for the type of salsa that doesn’t use tomatoes. Your description sounds like the salsa I get at my local taco truck. I would love your Gma’s recipe. Hope you’ll post to this site! And, Dana, this is very similar to the salsa I make all the time. The only difference is I put in chipotle and adobo sauce to give it an extra smokiness and kick! Thanks