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In-Season Recipe Connection: Katie’s Canned Salsa

My homemade canned salsa recipe has been a huge hit in our house. I figured out how to make my homemade salsa taste like the restaurant. I hope your family also enjoys my recipe for canned salsa. 

Mexican Restaurant Canned Salsa, salsa for 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. When my daughter was two she would eat it with her spoon if we told her she’d been cut off on tortillas chips.

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.

Why Can Salsa?

We didn’t like lacto-fermented salsa. If nobody eats it, it’s not healthy. My jars of lacto-fermented 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, HERE is a free download to get you started.)

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By canning my own salsa 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)
Assorted Peppers

Tips for Canning Salsa:

  • 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. Do not drain the liquid off or add any thickeners, as that’s not safe for canning.
  • Be sure to use fresh produce, washed, with no moldy spots.
  • 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 (no substitutions), 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 Canned Salsa

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Mexican Restaurant Canned Salsa Recipe

  • Author: Katie Kimball
  • Yield: 6 pints 1x
  • Category: Snacks


  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 3/4 c. onion
  • 2 c. green peppers (~1-4)
  • 1 c. hot peppers (~5 jalapenos)
  • 6 c. Roma tomatoes (~15-20)
  • 2 tsp. cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. dried cilantro
  • 1 tsp. dried or 1 Tbs. fresh oregano
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 Tbs. sugar
  • 1 c. + 2 Tbs. white vinegar (5% acidity)
  • 6 oz. can tomato paste

ship kroger


  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 (in glass jars, no 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!
  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 in my post about 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.


Homemade Canned Salsa Nutrition Info


  • Serving Size: 1/4 cup
  • Calories: 18
  • Sugar: 2.5g
  • Sodium: 81mg
  • Fat: .2g
  • Saturated Fat: 0g
  • Carbohydrates: 3.8g
  • Fiber: .9g
  • Protein: .8g
  • Cholesterol: 0mg
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Salsa 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.

The directions with this salsa recipe state: Process 35 minutes. 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.

That said, I continue to can salsa year after year and each time we fully enjoy the finished product!

Keep a dishcloth handy when you make salsa…

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.

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

Mexican Restaurant Canned Salsa Recipe, recipe for canning salsa

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!

Do you feel as passionately about good salsa as my family does? What do you think of this recipe?

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!

Mexican Restaurant Style Homemade Salsa. Easy Recipe and Canning Instructions.
Unless otherwise credited, photos are owned by the author or used with a license from Canva or Deposit Photos.

About The Author

72 thoughts on “In-Season Recipe Connection: Katie’s Canned Salsa”

  1. When canning tomato products, it’s a good idea to add 1/4 to 1/2 tsp of citric acid per quart. It’s a good natural preservative and won’t change the taste.

  2. Elisa Van Dyk

    How can I incorporate lime into this? Either with fresh lime juice or crystalized lime (citric acid) true lime powder? Can I sub out some or all of the white vinegar?

    1. Carolyn @ Kitchen Stewardship

      If you’re planning to can it then you need to use store-bought lime juice that is 5% acidity and you can use that to substitute some or all of the vinegar. You just need to keep the level and amount of acid the same. If you’re not canning, but just planning to eat it right away then you can use fresh lime juice or the powder.

    1. Carolyn @ Kitchen Stewardship

      Hi Ann, the texture will be a bit different, but you can make the recipe to eat fresh with canned tomatoes. It generally isn’t recommended to can something made with previously canned food though. So I wouldn’t make it with canned tomatoes if you plan to can it again. I hope that helps!

  3. You reference going to the article on how to can the salsa. That article on canning tells you to add salt to each jar. Is that needed, or do you can normally as this Recipe contains everything you need in the jars? Thank you! Can’t wait to try it!

    1. Carolyn @ Kitchen Stewardship

      Hi Mary, this recipe contains everything you need already. It’s just the instructions for doing the sealing of the jars you need for this recipe. Sorry for the confusion!

        1. Carolyn @ Kitchen Stewardship

          Hi Hannah, Katie doesn’t usually peel her tomatoes and doesn’t mind little bits of tomato skin, but you can definitely do so if you wish to before beginning the recipe. Hope that helps!

  4. Excellent tasting salsa! I left out the cilantro as I don’t like cilantro and is delicious!

  5. This salsa turned out perfect! We have made salsa for years (just throwing stuff together) and it always is just “not right”! My husband and I both prefer restaurant style salsa as we neither care for chunks of tomato in anything. This is very similar to our favorite restaurant salsa! Thanks for sharing!

  6. Leslie Buettgenbach

    My tomatoes aren’t ripening all at the same time. I have frozen some of the early over achievers. Since we are putting them through the food processor, would it be okay to use frozen tomatoes to make up what I don’t have fresh?

  7. Michelle Alisa

    Just a quick question. Does this recipe work best with roma tomatoes or can I use another type? I have a case if local tomatoes and they are not romas but want to try this salsa today.

    1. Carolyn @ Kitchen Stewardship

      Paste tomatoes (like Romas) are best for salsa because they have less juice and seeds and more “meat” than other types of tomatoes. You can use other types, but it will make the salsa a bit more watery. You could scoop out some of the seed pulp if you want to avoid too many seeds.

  8. Quite possibly the best salsa I’ve ever had! I used minced garlic because that’s what I had on hand and then I didn’t have to process it. Roma tomatoes from the local farmer’s market. Two very large green peppers. I seeded and demembraned all the jalapenos, my stomach doesn’t like heat, even if I do. One yellow and one large red onion. Substituted some lime juice for vinegar. Processed for 15 minutes. I’m confident in my canning skills, have been canning since I was a child. Made five pints. Gave away two jars and have eaten almost a whole jar by myself! Guess I’ll be making more!

    1. Carolyn @ Kitchen Stewardship

      Glad you enjoyed it Stephanie! Thanks for sharing your experience and changes!

  9. I like the sounds of this recipe!! I do have a few questions so I get it right. Do you give the tomatoes a hot bath a take the skin off before dicing or food processing? Or do you just dice and put in a pot to cook with the other ingredients? Also, when you say process for 35 minutes, are you taking about in the big canning pan, so after you have the salsa in the jars and lids on and you give them a hot bath to seal the lids, is that process done for 35 minutes? Thank you for your help, this recipe sounds great!!

    1. Carolyn @ Kitchen Stewardship

      Hi Londa, Katie doesn’t usually peel her tomatoes, but you can definitely do so if you wish to before beginning the recipe. The 35 minutes processing time is in the water bath. Hope that helps, enjoy!

  10. Kathleen Savoie

    In an effort to keep home canning safe, I am bringing this peer-reviewed research article to your attention. Please contact me for additional assistance as we all share a passion for preserving and desire to help people learn the best practices for safety and success.

    1. Thank you for sharing this, Kathleen! I went through and added a few notes to both this post and the tomato canning post, but I was pleased to note that on almost every metric you measured, I was already compliant. I’m doing the math on the ratio of vinegar to onions and peppers, and your report says a recipe needs 4.66 T vinegar for each cup vegetables. My recipe includes a total of 3 3/4 cups peppers and onions, so it should have 17.5 T vinegar, which is 1.5 T over a cup. Close! I’ll add that amount to the recipe but wanted to confirm with you that my figuring is correct (i.e. no additional vinegar needed for tomatoes since they are already acidic).

      Thank you again for reaching out and for doing the study in the first place!

  11. Hi Katie.
    Thank you for the recipe and all of you helpful info.
    I am getting ready to try this recipe and I was wondering if I can use fresh cilantro and if I could add cayenne pepper.

    1. Carolyn @ Kitchen Stewardship

      Hi Pam,

      You can certainly use fresh cilantro if you wish, and if you want a bit more kick then go for it with the cayenne pepper! Just adjust the amount of cilantro so you’re using about 3 times as much since dried is more potent than fresh.


  12. Okay, do I add the vinegar, spices and paste to the processor or to the pot first? It was confusing but probably just to me lol. And do I do 20 minutes or 35 for pints? I saw a couple different opinions on the timing. Thanks! I’m excited to try it!

    1. Carolyn @ Kitchen Stewardship

      Hi Jessica, vinegar, spices and tomato paste into the pot, then the next ingredients in the food processor first to chop them up! Katie does 35 minutes for pints. Enjoy!

  13. This recipe is wonderful. I do add bigger jalapenos or a hotter pepper because we like it HOT. The recipe is easy and makes a great salsa. My family and friend always agree. Thank you for a great recipe.

  14. 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!

    1. 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.

  15. 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?

    1. Katie @ Kitchen Stewardship

      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

  16. Pingback: 40 Pounds of Tomatoes: Canning Salsa | The Encouraged Homemaker

  17. 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.

  18. 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!!

  19. 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

  20. Pingback: My Favorite Salsa Just Got Easier - An Oregon Cottage | An Oregon Cottage

  21. 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

  22. 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.

    1. Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship

      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

  23. 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

  24. 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!

  25. 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!

    1. Nicole,
      I’ve so done that before! I knew I should wear gloves but thought I could “not really” touch them…big oops!
      🙂 Katie

  26. 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!

  27. 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 =-.

    1. Holly,
      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

  28. Katie,
    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!

  29. 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?

    1. Vicki,
      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

      1. 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.

  30. Jami @ An Oregon Cottage

    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!

    1. Jami,
      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

  31. Terri (Simply Basic)

    I’m sorry I had to chuckle, but Donielle’s cherry tomato salsa ISN”T cherries and tomatoes… is cherry tomatoes (small tomatoes). So it is a good bet your husband would approve!
    .-= Terri (Simply Basic)´s last blog ..Am I Gluten Sensitive Maybe… =-.

    1. Terri,
      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

  32. This recipe comes at the perfect time. My tomatoes are just about ripe and I was just looking in my canning cookbooks tonight for a salsa recipe and didn’t find one I liked. Can’t wait to try this one!
    .-= Andi´s last blog ..A tourist in your own town =-.

  33. Just want to personally thank you for showing the aftermath. Reminds us that we’re all normal…
    .-= melanie´s last blog ..Leahs 6th Birthday Party =-.

  34. 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 =-.

  35. I would like to make this, although we just finished off a jar of LF (roasted) salsa and it was REAL good. The only problem would be getting tomatoes in winter, so this homemade salsa would be great. Thanks.
    .-= Melynda´s last blog ..Wednesday and wandering- and our favorite corn bread recipe =-.

  36. Wendy (The Local Cook)

    OK this is too funny – I posted a canned salsa recipe today too! I’ll have to give your recipe a try because I have a ton of tomatoes and peppers left.
    .-= Wendy (The Local Cook)´s last blog ..Favorite Canned Salsa =-.

  37. 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 =-.

  38. 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 🙂

  39. Really – you didn’t like LF salsa? Did you use the NT recipe? I didn’t like it either. But I have my own recipe now, which I posted last week, that we LOVE. It tastes just like my fresh salsa, but with more of a zing. So good.
    .-= Shannon´s last blog ..Putting Food By Focus- Canning Tomatoes =-.

    1. Shannon,
      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

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