In-Season Recipe Connection: Katie’s Canned Salsa

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Restaurant Style Salsa and Canning Recipe

Is it conceited if I say we’re kind of salsa connoisseurs around here? I suppose it’s not even that we have particularly trained palates, but more because of a deep love of spicy, Mexican foods that makes us qualified.

That and the massive quantity of salsa we consume.

On taco night, my husband polishes off half of a 16 oz. jar of “HOT” salsa all by himself. My daughter eats it with her spoon if we tell her she’s cut off on tortillas chips. Did I mention she’s only two years old?

My husband’s favorite restaurant, naturally, is a local Mexican bar: “…famous Mexican cafe. It’s the great taste of Mexico right in your neighborhood.” (Can you just hear the corny commercial jingle?) It’s not exactly in our neighborhood, but it’s worth the 20-minute drive. They have a wet burrito that enables you to skip looking at the menu altogether.

I tried two different homemade salsa recipes last summer, both directly from good friends. They were both yummy, but the one I want to share today received the husband review:

“It tastes just like it!”

Oh yes. He meant “the restaurant’s” salsa.

I think the trick might be the cumin. Use heaping teaspoons. Popping a few Anaheim peppers in the green pepper category won’t hurt either.

Homemade Canned Mexican Salsa Recipe

Why do I can Salsa?

We didn’t like lacto-fermenting. If nobody eats it, it’s not healthy. My jars of LF salsa last year were pretty much only used in…cooking. Ironic, I know. I killed all the probiotics in there anyway.

Plus, tomatoes, at least, are healthier when cooked because heat releases the lycopene. So I’m more than happy to preserve fresh produce in my canner when it’s salsa, of which we can never have too much. (If you’d like to know more about fermentation, however, HERE is an amazing eCourse on the subject with almost 2 dozen multimedia lessons.)

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I can avoid:

  • BPA in cans (although I’d usually buy salsa in glass jars…so I guess this only applies to canned tomatoes)
  • Note: Did you know regular canning lids are lined with BPA-laden plastic? If you’re looking for an alternative, try Tattler reusable, BPA-free lids.
  • most pesticides (my farmers aren’t 100% organic, but many use as few chemicals as possible)
  • refined sugar (use sucanat or another unrefined sweetener, or none)
  • table salt (use Celtic or Real Salt)


  • When you slice jalapenos, smart people should wear gloves. I know you’re wise like that. You probably won’t just “try” to not touch the seeds and then make this your mantra for the rest of the night: “Don’t touch your eyes. Don’t touch your eyes. Don’t touch your eyes.”
  • On food processing for salsa: Make short layers instead of trying to pack it full. It’s easier to get larger pieces that way instead of mush. Also, use the pulse instead of just turning it on. The impact of gravity between each pulse also avoids mush.
  • On adjusting recipes: I know you want to “make this your own,” but with canning recipes you can only do so much. It’s important for food safety to have the proper ratio of acidic to non-acidic foods. The tomatoes are acidic, but the peppers, onions, and garlic are not. That’s why you must add the vinegar, and you can’t really mess with the amounts of peppers.You could, however, fiddle with green peppers and colored bells, or sub some of the jalapenos out for a milder pepper if you don’t like it so spicy. Just don’t be too generous with your helpings and overdo the amounts. That’s one thing I love about this recipe – it gives quantities in cups, rather than forcing me to scratch my head and wonder which onion is “small” and which green pepper fits the “medium” category.See this article on Modifying Canning Recipes and Food Safety for more details.
  • On adjusting the heat: You can use seeds in part or all of your jalapenos. Seeds add heat; I leave them in about half the peppers. That’s for “hot” salsa! Also, you can seek out hot peppers with more stripes or “cracks” if you like spicy, as they naturally carry a zing.

Finally, without further rambling, I give you:

The Recipe: Mexican Restaurant Salsa

Makes about 6 pints


You could spend all day with a knife and cutting board to chop these many ingredients for a few jars of salsa, or you could form a new relationship with your food processor. Or maybe a neighbor who owns a food processor. Truly. Food process for salsa. It’s not going to be pretty anyway.

Basically, everything is going to go into a big pot to be cooked. It doesn’t really matter in what order the ingredients go into the pot, but I do like to food process from smallest to largest as far as ending size of the pieces. I tend to put the vinegar, tomato paste (in glass jars to avoid BPA!) and spices in first, if only because I’m afraid I’ll forget them at the end and have an incredibly boring (and unsafe) batch of salsa!

Moving on to the food processor, I start with the garlic because you really want that minced well. Pulse thoroughly, then add onion. Adding some or all red onion is just lovely, and tastes great too:Homemade Canned Mexican Salsa Recipe

Before I get started with those, I soak all my peppers in a sink full of water with a squirt of Biokleen produce wash (see my review here). The peppers were too floaty, so I sunk them with the tomatoes, thus multitasking my sink anyway.

Homemade Canned Mexican Salsa Recipe

The peppers come next. After a good scrub, I cut out the seeds, quarter them, and toss them into the food processor. Pulse until they look about like this:

Homemade Canned Mexican Salsa Recipe

I like to switch up the green a little and mix red peppers in, and sometimes even bananas or Anaheims if I have them.

Homemade Canned Mexican Salsa RecipeHomemade Canned Mexican Salsa Recipe

Homemade Canned Mexican Salsa Recipe

The tomatoes come last, just because I want to be the most gentle with them, but I guess it’s not all that important. Everything thus far goes from the food processor to the 4-cup measuring cup, then into the pot.

If you want your salsa to have a shot at looking pretty, go ahead and dice the Romas. I’m a dyed-in-wool food processor girl.

The Finish

Cook the salsa until it’s nice and hot (boiling), and then follow the instructions I posted yesterday for canning tomatoes to fill and process the jars. If it seems too juicy, you can always boil off some of the water first.

The directions with this salsa recipe state: Process 35 minutes. Now that I’ve updated yesterday’s canning tomatoes post with correct, safe information (you should check it out for sure), I would recommend finding a board-approved salsa recipe online and using their processing times. For me, I’m going to process 35 minutes for pints and 40 for quarts and call it good, but I’m crazy like that.

If you have a little bit of salsa left over but not enough to fill a jar, just put it in the fridge and eat it within a few weeks. Yum!

Some of our ultimate favorite Mexican burritos and beans and rice side dishes are found in The Everything Beans Book, 30 recipes that I access probably once a week in our meal planning.

Print This Recipe

Mexican Restaurant Canned Salsa Recipe
Note: Ingredients often use affiliate links to Amazon and Tropical Traditions, but obviously you should shop for the best price and try to keep your dollars local when you can.
Recipe type: Snacks
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • ¾ c. onion
  • 2 c. green peppers (~1-4)
  • 1 c. hot peppers (~5 jalapenos)
  • 6 c. Roma tomatoes (~15-20)
  • 2 tsp. cumin
  • ½ tsp. dried cilantro
  • 1 tsp. dried or 1 Tbs. fresh oregano
  • 1½ tsp. salt
  • 1 Tbs. sugar
  • 1 c. white vinegar
  • 6 oz. can tomato paste
  1. Use the food processor for salsa. It’s not going to be pretty anyway.
  2. Basically, everything is going to go into a big pot to be cooked. It doesn’t really matter in what order the ingredients go into the pot. I tend to put the vinegar, tomato paste and spices in first, if only because I’m afraid I’ll forget them at the end and have an incredibly boring (and unsafe) batch of salsa!
  3. Moving on to the food processor, I start with the garlic because you really want that minced well, then onion. Adding some or all red onion is just lovely, and tastes great too.
  4. The peppers come next. After a good scrub, I cut out the seeds, quarter them, and toss them into the food processor. Pulse.
  5. I like to switch up the green a little and definitely mix red peppers, and sometimes even bananas or Anaheims if I have them.
  6. If you want your salsa to have a shot at looking pretty, go ahead and dice the Romas. Otherwise food process gently.
  7. Cook the salsa until it’s nice and hot (boiling), and then follow the instructions I posted yesterday for canning tomatoes (it's important to clean and fill jars correctly if you've not canned before!). If it seems too juicy, you can always boil off some of the water.
  8. Process 35 minutes for pints and 40 minutes for quarts.
  9. Makes about 6 pints.


Canning Safety

I am still a little scared of canning, enough so that I left a question at this post about headspace in canning jars (for salsa, I think you should leave about 1/2-1 inch, in other words, fill until you reach the bottom of the jar band), and I think you should probably read the canning and food safety post as well.
That said, I’ll be canning salsa again this weekend and intend to fully enjoy the finished product! Try making your own sourdough tortilla chips via the instructions at the GNOWFGLINS eCourse on sourdough (yum!).

Keep a dishcloth handy…

Lest you think I have it all together, please observe the aftermath:

Homemade Canned Mexican Salsa Recipe

Sigh. Maybe we should plan to go out for Mexican food after I can another double batch this weekend. I’m sure my husband would have no complaints!

And something different: My husband probably wouldn’t let me try this one, because it’s fruit with savory and he doesn’t go for that kind of thing, but Donielle’s cherry tomato salsa looks so intriguing!


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42 Bites of Conversation So Far

    • Katie says

      I think our recipe was from another blog, but it’s just that carbonated tomatoes thing that I can’t get into. Didn’t really like LF pickles, either. I’m sticking with yogurt for my probiotics, I guess! :) Katie

  1. Lori H. says

    Thanks! I have a bunch of stuff in the garden that will need to be transformed soon into delicious salsa.
    Oh, and now I’ve got that jingle running through my head all day. Ha! I think I’ll be making Mexican for dinner tonight :)

  2. says

    I tried some too this week- the LF salsa – husband wanted to know what I did to the tomatoes….. :-) I like it though. Need to try some other recipes though cause he is the one who really likes salsa!
    Luckily I only made a qt & a half!
    .-= Jen´s last blog ..Savor the Season =-.

  3. says

    I’m paying attention to all these canned salsa recipes. I tried two (similar) recipes this year and I don’t much like either of them. I will eat them, but they’re just not what I wanted. So next year I’ll need a new one to try! (I already have 12 pts. so it is what it is.)
    .-= Kate´s last blog ..Favorite Smoothie =-.

    • Katie says

      Ha! That’s too funny! Sometimes I just see the perfect related post title from a friend and don’t even check it out b/c I know all their stuff is great. I wonder if Donielle got more or less visits b/c people though it was an odd salsa? Whoops! Glad I could give you a chuckle, anyway!
      :) Katie

  4. says

    Katie, a 35 minute processing time is TOO long for salsa- the reason your canned tomatoes need that long is because you don’t add a cup of vinegar. Do a quick Google search to find that all the reputable salsa recipes call for 15 minute processing time (extension services, and the Ball Blue Book are two)- even for the recipes that have tomato paste added. I know you said it will make you feel better to go longer, but there are good reasons not to: energy costs and over-cooking the salsa are two good ones.

    I’m off to try your recipe, though with the shorter processing time, as I have less tomatoes coming in this year and this a a good, smaller recipe- thanks!

    • Katie says

      I feel like a C+ student in canning, which is a strange feeling for me. Although I’m well used to carving out a massive slice of humble pie, so…

      This actually is the exact recipe I received from the friend. I wouldn’t change processing times without mentioning it. The other recipe I used processed for 30 minutes. ??? The salsa was great last year, not overcooked at all! Strange. I’ll have to look up some other recipes to decide if I want to shorten the time. I’m all nervous about some aspects of canning now! Thanks for the note, and the resources. :) Katie

  5. Vicki says

    Did you peel the tomatoes? If not, did you notice bits of tomato peel in the salsa?

    Also, I’m wondering why you would use a recipe that calls for canned tomato paste when one of the reasons you gave for canning salsa was to avoid the BPA from the cans?

    • Katie says

      I did not peel them, but after food processing I didn’t think the peels were a problem. The farmer I purchased the Romas from cringed when I said I didn’t peel them. “Unsightly” he said. I don’t mind!

      I also use tomato paste from Bionature, in glass jars, or I add an amount of tomato powder from my dehydrated tomatoes. Sometimes I have to use regular BPA laden cans, but I try not to when I can!
      Thanks for helping me point that out – :) Katie

      • Vicki says

        Thanks! I have never seen tomato paste in glass jars around here – didn’t know it existed! I just found some online and will be ordering it so I can try this salsa.

  6. Christy J says

    This recipe is hands-down my favorite salsa! I had 1/2 pint leftover, so I put that in the fridge & had to try it right away. So yummy!! I definitely plan on making more of this! Kids & hubby loved it too! Thanks for posting!

  7. says

    This recipe looks great, thanks! Do you think it could be done without the garlic and still get the acid-alkaline ratio right?

    Also, for those who are too lazy to put on gloves to cut chile peppers, you can always use a fork and knife, as if you were cutting them to eat them. That’s how they do it in Mexico. Just a note: they don’t even cut them with their bare hands down there, so don’t try it at home!
    .-= Holly´s last blog ..So I Want to Be a Writer =-.

    • Katie says

      Just a wild guess, but I would think the amount of garlic would be so small that it would be insignificant. Plus, garlic isn’t going to add acid which is the important part. Good tip about hot peppers! :) Katie

  8. michelle says

    Hahaha, we haven’t been to the Beltline Bar in forever. Mostly we don’t like the hour long wait time! We have been going to El Arriero on 28th st near Woodland Mall. My son loves the salsa and he has eaten salsa with a spoon too!

  9. says

    Just made this Salsa with all our garden Tomatoes! Yummy! We are going to try it with Chicken Fajitas tonight for Dinner!
    Yummy! Do be careful NOT to touch your eyes after cutting Jalapeno’s I did and ouch did that hurt and my hands are burning too!
    Ouch! Use gloves!
    Thanks Katie for a yummy recipe!

    • Katie says

      I’ve so done that before! I knew I should wear gloves but thought I could “not really” touch them…big oops!
      :) Katie

  10. Sally says

    I love your post here. (you sound kinda like me and how I operate) :-) Looks like you have a blog that I should check out. I like the way you write and found myself reading every word. Now, I’m off to try this recipe!

  11. Mary says

    I just made a double batch. I liked the look of the recipe, and just jumped in! We grow heirloom tomatoes, so I used green zebras, sunny orange ane black plums. Since they are much jucier than Romas, I drained off a lot of liquid and boiled it down, then added it at the end. Worked great. Thanks Katie

    • Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship says

      Sounds like my kind of canning – finishing in the wee hours of the morning and then realizing I forgot something. 😉

      Sugar is added to many spaghetti sauce and salsa recipes to cut the acidic taste of the tomatoes. It won’t make the canning “bad” like forgetting the vinegar would, so as long as you like the flavor – and I bet it will work out just fine – you’re golden! :) Katie

  12. Emily says

    When you say 6 Cups of tomatoes and 2 Cups of Green Peppers… Is that 6 Cups of Processed tomatoes or 6 cups of quartered tomatoes.
    Hope that makes sense. The Salsa is in the pot boiling at this moment, it smells great! Hope it turns out. I put fresh Cilantro in, hope that doesn’t mess with the mix.

  13. Cheryl says

    Thanks for sharing. I too plan to add fresh cilantro, it’s so readily available I have never even purchased dried. I would not consider canning small jars for more than 20 minutes. Cheers

  14. Clare says

    This recipe is perfect! I used all sweet peppers so my whole family can eat it and they all love it. I’ve made 35 quarts of it so far this summer :) thanks for sharing

  15. Tammy says

    I tried this and loved it! I used one banana pepper, one large jalepinio (sp) and topped the rest of the cup with yellow peppers. I don’t care for green peppers so I just used one cup of them and the second cup of a mix of yellow and orange. I love garlic, so a added 4 cloves total. I used fresh cilantro and oragano. I chopped my tomatoes and tried to remove seeds and extra juice as I went along. It turned out fantastic. This recipe is a keeper. Thank you so much for sharing it!! 5 stars!!

  16. Carley says

    I am making this recipe! I was curious if I chop and measure the 2 c of green peppers first or puree it in the food processor and then measure it for the 2 c.

  17. Laura says

    Made this last night and doubled the recipe. It only made 9 pints instead of 12. That’s not my concern though, it was the strong vinegar flavor. Does this dissipate after canning/setting for a period of time? Should I have added more sugar to modify prior to canning? I just didn’t want to have a sweet salsa either.

    Anyone else have this trouble?

    • says

      Hmmmm…I’ve never minded the vinegar flavor if it was evident, but maybe it was just different for me. ?? Is it possible that the peppers and tomatoes were measured before chopping finely instead of after? That would explain both the low quantity and the high vinegar, wrong ratio.

      It’s important not to modify canning recipes too much, so I’m not really sure what to tell you, but I’d be curious to know if it “cures” a little or not after you open some in a month or two.

      Hope it’s still tasty!
      :) Katie

  18. Renita says

    I would like to try your salsa this year. However, I am not a big fan of vinegar in salsa. I successfully substituted lime juice in the recipe I canned last year. Do you think that would work in this one as we’ll? Thanks!

    • says

      Hi Renita,

      I think so, but maybe see if the Ball Blue Book or another official canning resource has a recipe using lemon/lime juice as the acid is critical for safe canning! I do know that you should use bottled juice and not fresh, as the acid is a known quantity.

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