Fresh Easy Salsa (with Canned Tomatoes)

Fresh, homemade, easy, canned tomato salsa is the BEST! It takes just a few minutes to throw together in the blender or food processor and it rivals the best restaurant-style salsa!

Salsa canned tomatoes recipe with text overlay.


If you're a fan of scooping up salsa, I think you'll also love Creamy Salsa Dip or amazing, flavor-packed Mango Salsa!

Dare I say it, but chips and salsa are pretty much a religion in Texas. Everyone has their favorite kind. It may be pureed or chunky, smooth or textured, mild or spicy, loaded with goodies or plain and simple. And whether that favorite version comes from a restaurant or a grocery store or your very own kitchen, the truth is that DIY-ing homemade salsa is surprisingly quick and easy, particularly when you start with canned tomatoes. And today's fresh, easy salsa recipe is both versatile and delicious!

Canned Tomato Salsa in white bowl with ingredients in background.

This restaurant-style salsa recipe just so happens to be my (and my family's!) favorite kind of salsa. We prefer a pureed salsa with a bit of texture but no big chunks of veggies, and this recipe results in just that. And it's as effortless as tossing canned tomatoes (plus a few other ingredients) into a blender or food processor and letting 'er rip! Can you say under 5 minutes???


So exactly what ingredients are required? Well, I'm so glad you asked. Let's break down the mechanics, shall we?

Labeled ingredients to make Canned Tomato Salsa Recipe.
  • Tomatoes. While I enjoy making homemade salsa from fresh tomatoes during the summertime -- when I have more tomatoes than I reasonably know what to do with -- the truth is that you can achieve an equally delicious and addictive salsa using  (*gasp*) canned tomatoes! And lucky for us all, canned tomatoes are available year-round.
    • I start with two cans of diced, fire-roasted tomatoes. Plain diced tomatoes will work just fine if that's your preference. But I find that fire-roasted tomatoes have a slight smokiness and deeper flavor that takes a salsa recipe from good to great.
    • And for a perfect consistency, sometimes I drain one of my cans of tomatoes and include the juices from the other can. I find that this results in a salsa that's neither too thick nor too other words, perfect!
  • Onion. Y'all know I don't like onions. However, I make an exception when it comes to fresh, non-chunky, pureed salsa. So while I only add about a quarter of a small white or yellow or red onion to my recipe, for stronger flavor in your version, feel free to increase the amount of onion to your liking.
  • Garlic. My love for garlic is even greater than my loathing for onions. That being said, raw garlic packs quite a punch. I find three large cloves of garlic to be the perfect amount for a salsa that's garlicky but not overpoweringly so. But again, tweak the amount as you see fit.
  • Jalapeño. Here is where we garner both heat and flavor in this recipe.
    • For mild, remove the seeds and membranes from both jalapeños (and/or you can choose to use one jalapeño instead of two).
    • For medium, remove the seeds and membranes from one jalapeño and leave them intact in the other.
    • And for hot, leave the seeds and membranes intact in both jalapeños...or even toss in an extra jalapeño! Have you figured out that most of the heat from a jalapeño is housed in its seeds and membranes??? That being said, all jalapeños vary in their spiciness. So I say err on the side of caution when you first start making homemade salsa. After all, you can always add heat, but it's impossible to take it away!
  • Cilantro. I think cilantro is a critical ingredient in just about any salsa recipe. Because I love the flavor of cilantro, I add a whole, big bunch of the stuff (see all of those flecks of green in these pics?). But for freshness without overpowering flavor, you can choose to add just add a handful of cilantro.
    • Now, I know that a large portion of the population has a strong dislike for cilantro, but y'all still eat salsa made with cilantro, right? As long as too much wasn't added? Or am I totally wrong here?
    • If any cilantro-haters out there think salsa turns out okay with absolutely no cilantro included, please chime in here! As a cilantro lover, I've never had salsa without it and could use your input.
  • Lime Juice. Fresh lime juice is a must! I think half of a lime lends the perfect amount of pucker to this particular canned tomato salsa recipe, but feel free to increase the lime juice as you see fit. Bottled lime juice will work as well, although I recommend using a natural one where lime juice is the only ingredient.
  • Honey. Just a tiny squeeze is all you need to balance the acidity of the tomatoes without making your salsa sweet.
  • Spices. Salt is crucial. Freshly ground black pepper is nice. And I think adding a touch of cumin and chipotle chile pepper powder lends a nice undertone of smokiness. Just remember that chipotle chile pepper powder is also HOT, so add it gradually and sparingly...or add more for extra heat.
Salsa Canned Tomatoes Recipe with tortilla chip.

How to Make Canned Tomato Salsa

(The below photos are intended to be helpful, but please refer to the recipe card at the bottom of this post for FULL DIRECTIONS.)

It's pretty easy, y'all.

  1. Throw everything in the blender or food processor.
Ingredients to make Canned Tomato Salsa Recipe in food processor.
  1. Pulse or puree to your desired consistency.
Canned Tomato Salsa Recipe in food processor.

And wellllll...that's it! Pureeing only takes a minute or two.

Controlling the Consistency

I actually don't like to over-puree salsa because I think it ends up with a consistency more like marinara, which is not my preference. But ultimately, the final consistency is up to you.

In fact, since my family prefers salsa that's not perfectly smooth, I typically first pulse just the onion, garlic, and jalapeño in the food processor until finely chopped.

Then I add the canned tomatoes plus remaining ingredients and pulse a few times until it's pureed but still maintains a decent amount of texture via the tomatoes and bits of cilantro.

Aerial view of Canned Tomato Salsa Recipe in food processor.

After your salsa is done, I highly recommend transferring it to a bowl and popping it in the fridge for at least an hour to chill, which will allow the flavors to blend. But if you absolutely can't wait and find yourself dipping it straight out of the blender, I totally understand and definitely will not judge. 😉

After all, I pretty much polished off this whole bowl of salsa as soon as I got done taking pictures, no refrigeration involved. A food blogger's gotta eat lunch, right?

Scoop of Salsa with Canned Tomatoes on a tortilla chip.

How to Enjoy Canned Tomato Salsa

Salsa with canned tomatoes is going to serve you well for a multitude of salsa-enjoying opportunities, from scooping up with chips, to flavoring other dips, to drizzling over tacos and nachos and enchiladas to so much more!

It's delicious for Taco Tuesday or Cinco de Mayo or any darn day of the week/month/year.

And it's so simple to make, you may never go back to the store-bought jarred stuff!

¡Viva la Salsa!

Canned Tomato Salsa Recipe.

Helpful Tips, Tricks, & Equipment

  • If you're unsure of how loose you like your salsa with canned tomatoes, I recommend draining the liquid from the canned tomatoes into a measuring cup (as opposed to pouring it down the sink). That way, after you blend up all of your ingredients, it's easy to add back some of the tomato liquid if your salsa is too thick.
  • I highly recommend using fire-roasted diced tomatoes. However, plain diced tomatoes work great as well...and if you'd like to use cans of diced tomatoes with green chiles added, feel free!
  • If you have a high-powered blender or food processor, you don't need to worry about pre-chopping your onion or garlic or jalapeños...just toss them in there in big chunks and the pureeing should take care of the rest. (But you'll obviously want to peel the onion/garlic and remove the stem from the jalapeños before adding them to the blender/food processor...)
  • Before adding the cilantro to the blender/food processor, I twist off only the very bottoms of the stems (which may be a bit brown). The majority of the stems I toss into the blender, since they house more flavor and they're going to get all pureed anyway.
  • The chipotle chipe pepper powder is optional but I love the stuff. Adding a little bit adds smokiness...increasing the amount adds heat. In fact, if I don't have enough jalapeños on hand, I use extra chipotle powder instead to bump up the heat.
Canned Tomato Salsa in bowl with chips.

Recipes that Use Canned Tomato Salsa

Aerial view of Canned Tomato Salsa Recipe in bowl.

Fresh Easy Salsa (with Canned Tomatoes)

Fresh, homemade, easy salsa with canned tomatoes is the BEST! It takes just a few minutes to throw together in the blender or food processor and it rivals the best restaurant-style salsa!
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: Mexican
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 16 servings (1 quart = 4 cups)
Calories: 15kcal
Print Pin Rate


  • 2 (14.5-ounce) cans diced fire-roasted tomatoes, one can drained & one can with juices
  • ¼ small onion
  • 3 large cloves garlic
  • 2 jalapeños, with or without seeds & membranes (which add heat)
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro
  • Juice from half of a lime
  • Small squeeze of honey, (about 1 teaspoon)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon chipotle chile pepper powder, optional


  • Add the canned tomatoes, onion, garlic cloves, jalapeños, cilantro, lime juice, honey, salt, pepper, cumin, and chipotle chile pepper powder (if using) to the jar of a blender or bowl of a large food processor. Blend or process until the ingredients are broken down and pureed to your desired smoothness and consistency. Adjust seasonings to taste, adding more salt and pepper, if necessary.
  • Transfer to a tightly sealed container and chill in the refrigerator for at least one hour before serving, to allow the flavors to blend. Or, if you can't wait, serve immediately!

Equipment Needed



  • For a chunkier canned tomato salsa recipe with more texture, start out by pulsing just the garlic and jalapeño until finely diced. Scrape down the sides of the bowl (beware of fumes!), add the canned tomatoes and remaining ingredients, and pulse until your desired salsa consistency is just reached.
  • The honey is included to curb the acidity of the tomatoes -- not add sweetness -- which is why only a small amount is necessary.
  • For spicier salsa, include the seeds/membranes of the jalapeños. You may also add additional jalapeño or additional chipotle chile pepper powder for even more heat.


Calories: 15kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Sodium: 225mg | Potassium: 14mg | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 300IU | Vitamin C: 3.8mg | Calcium: 17mg | Iron: 0.3mg
Made this recipe? I'd love to see on IG!Mention @FiveHeartHome or tag #FiveHeartHome!

Originally published April 30, 2020, and updated May 24, 2020, and April 30, 2023.

You May Also Like

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating


    1. Not a stupid question at all, Jan..."a small squeeze" is not exactly a standard form of measurement. 😉 And if your honey isn't in a squeeze bottle, it doesn't make sense at all! I'll go back and clarify the recipe card, but basically, I just meant that you only need a small amount of honey to curb the acidity of the tomatoes. You don't want your salsa to actually taste sweet. So I would say that 1 teaspoon would be about right. Hope that helps! 🙂

  1. 5 stars
    This was so easy and tasty! I didn't have any cilantro but it still turned out great; next time I'll definitely add the cilantro because I do think it would give it some more freshness. Thank you for the wonderful and easy salsa recipe--no more seeding and dicing tomatoes!

  2. 5 stars
    Really didn't feel like going out to the store to pick up salsa for our beef quesadillas tonight! Thanks for this recipe, I made a half portion as it's only the 2 of us, and no cilantro soap for me Thanks! I didn't have jalopenos, but I had 1 hot pepper from my son's garden left in the freezer. Also no chipolte powder, but some smoked paprika. Fantastic! Now the only problem is trying to stay out of it with the tortilla chips until dinner... should have made a full portion!

  3. 5 stars
    Made this today. Followed recipe exactly ( I always do the first time I try a new recipe). I honestly wouldn't change a thing. It was delicious. My husband liked it better than my homemade Pico de Gallo!

  4. 5 stars
    Fresh, easy to make, and delicious! And I always have canned tomatoes in my pantry. This is my go-to salsa recipe.

  5. 5 stars
    This was so easy to make! We used this salsa roja for our taco night and it was a hit. The consistency was perfect as well as the taste.

    1. Hi Leslie! This salsa should keep in the refrigerator for up to a week. And yes, you can freeze it for up to 3 months. It may have a bit of extra liquid when you thaw it, but if so, you can always drain it off. Hope that helps! 🙂

  6. 5 stars
    JUST made this, only used 1 jalapeño but also added a can (juice removed) of hot rotella tomotoes. Very firey on the first kick, but very citrus-y on the back half (used a full lime rather then half). Kept back alot of the juice, but i like a thicker salsa.

  7. I was looking for a recipe without CILANTRO 🤮. Lol. But I will try this anyways and leave it out. Crazy how people either love or hate it. It taste like dirty dish soap to me. I call it the devils weed. 😂. And, I Might add, I pretty much like ALL foods. Thanks for the recipe.

    1. I found out that a dislike for cilantro is actually a genetic thing. For me I wouldn’t say dish soap but rather chemicals. Like chemicals that taste horrible. I refuse to eat any kind of food with cilantro. I swear I can smell it from a mile away.

  8. I will report back later as I am making this today with freshly-harvested garden tomatoes and jalapenos. You don't give a suggestion for how many fresh tomatoes to dice to make the equivalent of two cans, but I'll figure it out!

  9. 5 stars
    This recipe is great! I just got a whole lot of fresh Jalapenos from the farmer's market near me, and this recipe is just what I needed. As for the cilantro phenomenon; perhaps I can help. Cilantro tastes like soap to me; it's not pleasant even in the smallest amounts. There's actually a genetic link with some folks that causes this strange response to it. Of course I left the cilantro out of this one, but it's still VERY GOOD! Thank you for sharing it!

    1. 5 stars
      Cilantro is NOT okay, even in small amounts, and even in salsa. 😂 We haters leave it out!
      It’s still amazing. Love this recipe!

  10. 5 stars
    I make quite a few of your recipes (corn, tomato and tortellini salad--wow!; Texas lemon sheet cake; slow cooker granola...just to name a few). All of them get rave reviews, but this salsa is the one that everyone asks for the most. I can't take a lot of heat, so I do cut down on the jalapeños, and also cut out the seeds and membranes. I don't have chipotle powder, but it's totally delicious without it. We add a couple splashes of red wine vinegar, and double the lime juice, as well. I can never get enough lime with cilantro! Thank you SO much for posting this recipe. During this lock down, I've made it more often than usual and it just seems to make the day pass better. 🙂

    1. What a sweet comment, Mary. I'm totally with you...I have made a batch of this salsa at last once per week since we've been stuck at home. And we enjoyed it again last night for Cinco de Mayo -- ha. So happy to hear that your family loves it as much as mine does! 🙂

  11. Hello! I love your explanation of worthwhile salsa ingredients; your thoroughness makes experimentation so much less daunting, so thank you. That said, I only like cilantro in very few applications (really only in a certain variation of Caesar salad dressing, made with cilantro and pumpkin seeds, haha), and salsa is definitely not one of them. It is tough to find restaurant style salsa recipes that don't require cilantro. My goal is to make a homemade version of Trader Joe's salsa autentica, so experimentation is in order.

    1. You can totally leave out the cilantro, Amanda...I don't think you'll miss it if you don't like it in the first place! 😉

    2. Amanda, did you ever succeed in a creating a homemade version of TJ's Salsa Autentica?

      I have been searching for a recipe!

  12. 5 stars
    Wow... this was excellent. I made a 1/2 order and did add more chipotle chili powder and garlic but otherwise followed your recipe. Unfortunately, I ate the whole bowl in two sittings and made a second batch the next day. My wife, who doesn't like hot or spicy said it was one of the best salsa mixes she's ever had.