As easy to make roasted tomato salsa recipe using canned tomatoes. Skip the store-bought salsa and instead make this easy blender salsa. This is a smooth salsa, just like you get at your favorite Mexican restaurant. It is great for game day, party day, or any day!
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Chips and salsa are the quintessential party snack. But we tend to eat it all the time in my house, not just at parties. And with fresh tomatoes only being in season for a few months a year canned tomatoes yield a more delicious salsa the rest of the time.
📖Why This Recipe Works
Our smoky salsa recipe is quick to make. we use fire-roasted tomatoes (without or without green chilies) to add extra flavor.
Roasting the hot peppers, garlic, and onions adds a depth of flavor while only taking a few extra minutes.
And while we love fresh chunky salsa or Pico de Gallo in the summer, blending it is what gives us the perfect smooth restaurant-style salsa that everyone loves.
This tomato salsa recipe has all the usual fresh ingredients, but canned tomatoes are the star.
Fire-Roasted Tomatoes- I used canned fire-roasted tomatoes in this recipe. Regular canned diced tomatoes can be substituted but the salsa may lack a depth of flavor.
This recipe uses one 28-ounce can or two 14-ounce cans of tomatoes.
If you have in-season tomatoes and want to substitute you will need 1 pound of Roma or paste tomatoes. Cut in half and place flesh side down on a baking sheet. Place under a broiler for 7 minutes. the skins should be charred black. You can read more about working with out-of-season tomatoes in our roasted tomatoes post.
Onion- Use a white onion, red onion, or yellow onion. I do not recommend sweet onions or green onions in this recipe.
The recipe calls for one medium onion. If all you have is a large onion use ¾ of it and save the rest. You will want to remove the skin and cut it into large wedges or ½-inch rounds.
Garlic- Fresh garlic cloves with the skins on so they don't burn while roasting. Jarred garlic can be substituted in a pinch, skip the roasting and add directly to the food processor.
I do not recommend substituting garlic powder or onion powder in this recipe. Because this is fresh salsa and not cooked neither would be a good substitute here.
Jalapeno- Jalapenos are the classic hot pepper for any salsa recipe. Jalapenos range from barely peppery to really hot. I recommend either tasting the pepper before adding it to the blender, although this takes some courage.
Or add a small amount at a time until you get the heat level you like. If you are a hot pepper person and want a spicier salsa I recommend you experiment with chipotles, habaneros, or even serrano peppers. They all have unique flavors that pair well with this recipe.
Lime- We roast our lime in this recipe! It may sound strange but it really amps up the salsa. Also, when the lime is warm it is way easier to squeeze all the juice out.
You can substitute bottled lime juice but note that you will be missing out on a bit of the smokiness that comes with a roasted salsa recipe.
Cilantro- The quintessential salsa herb. See our variations below to make this salsa recipe without cilantro.
For seasoning, we add dried cumin and kosher salt. See the recipe card for exact quantities.
⏲️How To Make Restaurant Style Salsa
This recipe has an extra step of broiling the veggies but we promise it is no-fuss and worth the extra flavor.
Step 1- Roast the Vegetables and Aromatics
Place the sliced onion, the fresh garlic cloves with the skin still on, the lime halves, and the jalapeno under the broiler for 7 minutes. You can also grill them. The goal is to get a nice char on the outside.
This is a dry roast, no oil or other seasoning is needed. Allow the roasted vegetables to cool for a few minutes. If you can't pick up the lime to squeeze out the juice with your bare hands then the veggies are still too hot.
Step 3- Blend the Salsa
I prefer a food processor for a chunkier salsa and a blender when I want it smoother. Either work and it is a matter of convenience and preference.
Remove the garlic cloves from their skin and place them in the blender. Squeeze in the juice of the limes and add the onion, jalapeno, cumin, and salt.
Blending the aromatics first breaks up the chunks and ensures the tomatoes aren't totally pulverized. Blending them all at once results in tomato soup!
Add the tomatoes and cilantro, and pulse for 30 seconds to combine.
Season to taste. Salsa is one of those foods that is really a matter of personal preference. So go light on the aromatics (salt, cumin, mint, garlic, jalapeno) and add a little at a time until you get your perfect version.
🥗What to Serve with Salsa
Enjoy this salsa on all your favorite Mexican foods.
For parties, serve on a chip and dip platter with this favorite baked buffalo chicken dip and the best super spicy salsa ever, our mango and habanero pepper salsa. And fresh cucumber chutney is always a crowd-pleaser.
👩🏻🍳 Expert Tips
- Do not add sugar to this recipe. The canned tomatoes are picked and roasted at peak ripeness so no additional sugar should be added.
- If using whole canned or fresh tomatoes you can add them to the food processor with the whole veggies for a one-step recipe.
- Don't be afraid of the char on veggies, this is what gives roasted salsas their unique flavor.
- To reduce the heat, use only half the jalapeno or remove seeds and veins. The membrane, or vein, is the hottest part. not the seeds.
💭 How to Make Salsa without Cilantro
If you are a cilantro lover, you may be wondering why we would ever make salsa without cilantro. I get it, I love cilantro too. But you may have heard people say it tastes like soap.
Mint flavors can vary greatly from plant to plant. The mint flavor will become more pronounced as the salsa sits. If making for same-day use, add mint to taste- usually a ⅓ cup total. For advanced preparation we recommend starting with a ¼ cup of mint and testing for flavor right before serving, add additional chopped mint if needed.
Personally, I think this is the best salsa recipe, which means unless I make a double batch there are unlikely to be leftovers.
However, if you want to make the salsa in advance or on rare occasions have some leftovers store them in an airtight container in the fridge.
This easy homemade salsa recipe will last 5 to 7 days when properly stored. Do not freeze.
More Easy Snack Recipes
💬Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, you can make salsa from store-bought or home-canned tomatoes.
Salsa made with canned tomatoes will last for 5 to 7 days unless it contains oil. In that case, the salsa will break down faster and should be consumed in 3 to 4 days.
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Salsa with Canned Tomatoes
- Position oven rack in top ⅓ of the oven. Preheat broiler. Place onion wedges, garlic cloves (with skins on), lime and jalapeno on a baking tray. Broil for 7 minutes, turning onions and jalapeno halfway through.1 medium white onion, 6 cloves garlic, 1 lime, 1 jalapeno
- Allow the aromatics to cool for 15 minutes. Remove garlic cloves from their skin and juice the lime.
- Place onion, peeled garlic cloves, lime juice, jalapeno, salt, and cumin to a food processor. Pulse for 10-15 seconds.½ teaspoon cumin
- Add the tomatoes and ¼ cup of the cilantro, pulse for 30-45 seconds to combine. Taste for flavor, add additional salt or mint if needed.1 28 oz can fire-roasted tomatoes, ⅓-½ cup fresh cilantro, 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- To reduce heat use only half the jalapeno or remove seeds and veins.
- How to Make Salsa without Cilantro- substitute fresh mint or 50/50 mint and fresh parsley.