Easy Restaurant-Style Salsa Recipe

5 from 1 vote

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This simple restaurant-style salsa recipe comes together with vibrant, fresh ingredients and a food processor for a quick and easy at-home chip dip!

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I think I’ve mentioned once or twice (or 34 times) my affinity for Mexican food… And by affinity, I mean I could basically eat it every day. Every Mexican or Tex-Mex dish (steak carnitas, burrito bowls, grilled chicken tacos…) needs a great basic salsa to throw on top or have on the side with some chips, too. And with this salsa? You’ll be ready to ditch the store-bought stuff and just make a big batch of easy restaurant-style salsa at home for all your spicy chip dip needs.

Between the canned whole tomatoes, cilantro, onion, garlic, and jalapeno, plus some delectable choice spices, this is just a classic, really amazing, and fresh salsa that everybody will love. The best part is that you can throw it together in the food processor (or blender, if you don’t have a food processor) in about five minutes — but be sure to let it sit while you prep other stuff for about an hour so all the flavors have a chance to mix and meld. It’ll be sure to remind you of a salsa at your favorite Mexican restaurant, and I know you’ll be as obsessed as I am!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • Quick and Easy: It’s one of those super simple dump everything in and blend recipes so it takes no time at all.
  • Customizable Heat Level: If you are super sensitive to spice or one of those people who loves it extra hot, you can control the intensity by adding just a little or a whole lot of jalapeno.
  • Budget-Friendly: All of the ingredients are super budget friendly so you can enjoy homemade salsa all the time.
  • Make-Ahead Convenience: One of the great things about homemade salsa is that the longer you let it sit, the more delicious and flavorful it gets. You can make it the morning of or even the day before you plan to eat it.


  • Cilantro: Use fresh cilantro or if you’re a cilantro hater, any fresh parsley is good substitute.
  • Onion
  • Garlic: use a whole, peeled clove
  • Jalapeno
  • One Can Whole Tomatoes: this is the large can or sub a quart of home canned tomatoes
  • Sugar
  • Salt
  • Ground Cumin
  • Lime
  • One Can Diced Tomatoes with Green Chiles: these are the little 10 oz can that many people call Rotel but you can often find this size and combo in the store brand too.

See the recipe card below for full information on ingredients and quantities 

How to Make Easy Restaurant-Style Salsa

Step #1. Combine the cilantro, jalapeno, onion, and garlic in the food processor and process for about 30 seconds to chop.

Step #3. Add the diced tomatoes and pulse a couple times. Taste the salsa on a tortilla chip and adjust any seasonings as needed.

Step #2. Add the whole tomatoes, sugar, cumin, salt, and lime and pulse until you get a salsa-like consistency.

Step #4. Let the salsa rest for at least one hour before serving. (It’s especially delicious with homemade tortilla chips.)

Recipe FAQs

What’s in easy restaurant-style salsa?

This recipe couldn’t be simpler or fresher! You’ll just need some cilantro, onion, garlic, jalapeno, a can of whole tomatoes, a little sugar, salt, cumin, lime juice, and a can of diced tomatoes with green chiles. It makes a beautiful and delicious combination.

Do I peel tomatoes for salsa?

You don’t have to with this recipe! Y’all know I love hacks to make cooking quicker and easier, so using canned tomatoes will help immensely and you won’t have to mess with peeling.

Should I seed tomatoes for salsa?

Nope! Once again, canned tomatoes to the rescue! They are so low maintenance and still taste fresh.

How do I thicken up my homemade salsa?

This salsa is super easy to customize… If you like a thicker salsa, don’t process it quite as much. The chunky veggies will keep it a nice, thicker consistency. You can also add a bit more jalapeno or onion to add more chunkiness.

How long does homemade salsa last?

The great thing about salsa is there are so many natural preservatives in it, like lime juice and salt. This homemade restaurant-style salsa lasts well in the fridge for up to 1 to 2 weeks.

Expert Tips

  • Control the level of heat by adjusting the number of jalapenos you use and also by the limiting or increasing the amount of seeds and membranes from each that you leave in. More = hotter, less = milder.
  • You can make the salsa chunkier by pulsing less or smoother by pulsing more. Play around with it until it’s just right for you.
  • If you don’t love the flavor of raw onions or end up with an extra strong one, soak it in cold water for 10-15 minutes before making your salsa. It will mellow out the flavor but still leave them crunchy to get the right texture.
  • Most of the time, when you need to adjust the taste of your salsa at the end, you need to adjust the salt or the lime juice or both.

How to Store Easy Restaurant-Style Salsa

  • Place it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 1-2 weeks. Just give it a quick stir before serving and eating to reincorporate any liquid that’s separated out.
  • You can also freeze salsa in a freezer container for 1-2 months. It will taste great but may have a little extra liquid from being frozen. Just stir it and enjoy!

More Dip Recipes to Consider

blue and yellow corn tortilla chips around a small white bowl of red salsa
5 from 1 vote

Restaurant-Style Salsa

This simple restaurant style salsa comes together with vibrant, fresh ingredients and a food processor for a quick and easy at-home dip!
Prep: 5 minutes
Optional Resting Time: 1 hour
Total: 1 hour
Servings: 5 cups


  • 1/2 cup cilantro, more to taste
  • 1/4 onion, about 1/2 cup
  • 1 clove garlic, outer skin removed
  • 1 whole jalapeno, halved (I take the seeds out)
  • 1 can whole tomatoes, 28 ounce or 1 quart home-canned whole tomatoes, undrained
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 lime, juiced
  • 1 can diced tomatoes with green chiles, 10 ounce
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  • Combine cilantro, onion, garlic, and jalapeno in a food processor. Process until all of the veggies are chopped, about 30 seconds.
  • Add the whole undrained tomatoes, sugar, salt, cumin, and lime juice, and pulse a few times, until you get the salsa consistency that you like (10-15 pulses).
  • Add the diced tomatoes, and pulse one or two times to combine. Test the seasonings on a tortilla chip, and adjust accordingly.
  • The salsa is much better when it has time to sit. Let it rest for at least an hour before serving with warm tortilla chips or any other Mexican dish.
  • And if you missed it, this is amazing with homemade baked tortilla chips!


  • Control the level of heat by adjusting the amount of jalapeno, including the membranes and seeds you add.
  • Salt and lime juice at the two most common adjustments needed at the end. Don’t be afraid to play with it until it’s just right.
  • This salsa is especially good with my homemade baked tortilla chips.
  • Adjust the chunkiness or smoothness for decreasing or increasing how many times you pulse your food processor.


Serving: 1 of 5 cups, Calories: 25kcal, Carbohydrates: 6g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 0.2g, Saturated Fat: 0.03g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 0.1g, Sodium: 243mg, Potassium: 200mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 3g, Vitamin A: 239IU, Vitamin C: 13mg, Calcium: 34mg, Iron: 1mg
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This post was originally published in 2012 and has been updated and rephotographed in August 2019.

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