Restaurant-style Mexican Salsa

restaurant style mexican salsa recipe homemade fresh canning

It’s National Tortilla Chip Day!  Who knew there was such a thing?  Well there is, and what better way to enjoy the crunchy tortilla chip than with a bowl of homemade salsa?

Crunchy tortilla “chips” originated in Mexico in the form of tostados.  But the famous triangle-shaped tortilla chip is credited to, or at least was popularized by, Rebecca Webb Carranza several decades ago in Los Angeles.  She and her husband owned a tortilla factory and their automated machines would discard any misshapen tortilla shells.  Rather than throw them away, Rebecca discovered that cutting these corn tortilla shells into triangles an then frying them made a fantastic snack.  Tortilla chips began to be mass produced in the 1940’s and their popularity spread outside of California and across the U.S. in the 1970’s.  Years later she received the Golden Tortilla Award for her contribution to the Mexican food industry.

Here is a tasty homemade salsa to accompany your crispy tortilla chips.  Many salsa recipes call for canned tomatoes and chilies (i.e., already cooked).  I find that using fresh ingredients, and then cooking the salsa briefly, yields the best flavor.  It sweetens the tomatoes and brings out their flavor.  (Note, canned tomatoes have also been semi-cooked)  The other purpose cooking it serves is to bring the mixture up to the required temperature for canning.

This recipe is ideal for canning so you can always have some salsa on hand for dipping and for any Mexican recipes calling for salsa.

Restaurant Style Mexican Salsa

Let’s get started!

There always a debate as to which kinds of tomatoes are the best for making salsa.  The answer is simply this:  The best tomatoes are ripe tomatoes.  Whichever ones you can find that have the most flavor.  If they happen to have a higher water content, that’s fine.  We’ll drain them.

Salsa prep 1

The best way to peel tomatoes is to get a large pot of water boiling and then place the tomatoes in the boiling water for 30 seconds.  (Some suggest placing them in ice water next, but that isn’t necessary for this recipe)  When you remove the tomatoes from the boiling water their skins will start to split (you may need to assist them by piercing them with the tip of a knife) and they can then be easily peeled.

Salsa prep 2

Squeeze the seeds out of each tomato and place the tomatoes in a colander to drain.

Salsa prep 3

Finely chop the tomatoes.  I prefer to do it by hand, but you can also use a food processor.

Salsa prep 4

Place the chopped tomatoes in a large stock pot.

Salsa prep 5

Chop the onions and mince the garlic.

Salsa prep

Chop the jalapeno peppers.  If you like your salsa hot, leave the white pith/membranes.  Contrary to popular belief, it’s not the seeds that are hot, it’s the white pith that surrounds them.  It’s always recommended that you use gloves while handling chili peppers.

Salsa prep 6

Wash and chop the cilantro.

Salsa prep 7

You’ll want about a cup of chopped jalapenos.

Salsa prep 8

Add the vinegar to the tomatoes.

Salsa prep 9

Add all remaining ingredients.

Salsa prep 10

Stir to combine the ingredients, bring it to a boil, reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 20 minutes.

Salsa prep 11

Follow standard canning instructions to sterilize the jars and lids.  Ladle the hot salsa into the hot jars, leaving about 1/4 inch head space.  Close the lids and place the jars in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes.  Remove the jars and let them rest, undisturbed, for 24 hours before moving them.

Salsa prep 12restaurant style Mexican salsa recipe homemade fresh

Restaurant-style Mexican Salsa
Serves: 5-6 pints
  • 8 pounds ripe tomatoes (about 13 cups chopped)
  • 5 large jalapeno peppers, seeds removed, chopped (leave white pith/membranes if you like your salsa hot)
  • 3 cups chopped yellow onions
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 4 large cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ cup white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  1. Bring a large pot of water to a rapid boil. Carefully drop the tomatoes in the boiling water for 30 seconds them remove. Peel the skins and squeeze the seeds to remove them along with excess water. Place the tomatoes in a colander to drain. Chop the tomatoes.
  2. Place the tomatoes in a large stock pot along with the vinegar. Add all remaining ingredients. Stir to combine, bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium and simmer uncovered for 20 minutes.
  3. While the salsa is simmering, follow standard canning procedure to sterilize the jars and lids.
  4. Use a ladle to fill the hot jars with the hot salsa, leaving ¼ inch head space. Close the lids and place the jars in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes. Make sure the jars are fully submerged under water with several inches of water above them. Remove the jars and let them rest undisturbed for 24 hours before moving them.
  5. Store in a cool, dark place. For optimal flavor, use within 6 months but the salsa will keep up to a year.


13 Responses

  1. wrote on

    Ooh, this looks sooo delicious! The idea of canning has always kinda freaked me out b/c I’m super paranoid of giving my fam botulism or something :P But! This looks super easy so you may have twisted my arm and now I’ll give it a try. :)

    • The Daring Gourmet

      wrote on

      Haha! I can totally relate to that. This last Summer I canned up a STORM. It was my first time canning and even though I was excited about all of the jars full of different goodies, I was kind of nervous about actually eating and of it! So, in a streak of paranoia, I had my husband consult a colleague of his who is a pathologist. I figured since he is an expert on germs he ought to know about the safety of eating canned goods. The pathologist said that as long as the lid hasn’t popped it’s completely safe and he wouldn’t hesitate to eat it or feed it to his own kids. That made me feel a whole lot better :) We’ve been enjoying all the jams, relishes, pickles, apple sauce, and salsas since and…we’re still breathing! Go for it, Tori!

      • wrote on

        Thank you for sharing that! It seriously makes me feel so much better about attempting to can my own foods. . .botulism has been the only thing holding me back! :) Thanks Kimberly!

  2. wrote on

    You did forget one important detail however in the sanitizing.. YOU HAVE TO SANITIZE THE LIDS, and do not touch the rubber part of the lid as your oils in your skin will cause it to be unusable. I have canned for years, as does my mother in law.. I would not hesitate to can ANYTHING, meat or veggie.. :) Just remember to sanitize the jars and lids!!

    • Kimberly @ The Daring Gourmet

      wrote on

      Hi Jeri Lou! I mentioned that step in the pictured instructions but left it out in the recipe box – it’s now added :) There has been a lot of discussion about canning and bacteria in some of my other canning posts. The fact of the matter is, bacteria cannot survive or form in an airtight space. Still, it never hurts to take extra precautions.

  3. Trina

    wrote on

    great recipe, have made 2 batches. thanks!

    • Kimberly @ The Daring Gourmet

      wrote on

      Wonderful, thanks so much for your feedback, Trina!

  4. Sean

    wrote on

    This salsa is amazing. Have canned about 16 jars of it with garden tomatoes onions jalapeño and I added 1 red and 1 yellow pepper. Good use of my garden this year.

    • Kimberly @ The Daring Gourmet

      wrote on

      That’s fantastic, Sean, I’m so glad you like it! We’re big fans of it, too, and it’s so gratifying making your own and seeing all those jars stacked in your pantry. Now, if only our garden had been as successful this year…crossing our fingers for next year!

  5. Anonymous

    wrote on

    I know you need an acid in the ingredients for canning, but I really hate vinegar. Can I substitute lime juice instead and would it be the same amount?

    • Kimberly @ The Daring Gourmet

      wrote on

      Using fresh lime or lemon juice for canning is generally discouraged but you can use the bottled kind, yes.

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