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How to Make Salsa

Updated February 26, 2020
If you’ve never tried fresh, homemade salsa before, you’re in for a spicy treat.

How Do You Make Salsa from Scratch?

If you're looking to learn how to make salsa, the freshest of ingredients are a must. Salsa isn't just tomatoes and onions. If you use your imagination, you can add color to your salsa, find out how to store it and even discover some low-calorie dipping essentials your entire family will love if you want to skip the tortilla chips.

Mild or Hot—Make it How You Like

The word salsa, all alone, sounds hot and making a traditional salsa means skipping the jarred versions and creating something awesome. If you ever visit New Mexico, take a trip to any mom and pop restaurant and you’ll be asked if you want red, green or Christmas (meaning both types of chili sauce).

Let your imagination run wild. You can add anything from shrimp to pork or for a low calorie treat, to the most popular ingredients—tomatoes, green onions, chopped cilantro, garlic, jalapeños and lime juice. And the must? Red or green chilies. Mix it up a little by adding fresh guacamole.

Most say green chilies are hotter than the red and if you’re combining jalapeños with chilies for your salsa, start with the red. If you want the hottest of the hot, add some green chilies. The red of the tomatoes stands out, but don’t let that fool you, those jalapeños and chilies sneak in with loads of flavor. Want some more color? Add some corn to your salsa.

Chop, Chop, Chop

Fresh salsa means you have to chop the ingredients, so it takes a little more time than buying the prepared offerings in the supermarket. Make sure to use a great chopping knife and a sturdy surface or cutting board for the best results.

Blender salsa may sound easy, but it lacks the chunkiness of fresh homemade salsa and it’s just not that pretty. Real salsa lovers like to see chunks of onions and tomatoes blended in with other ingredients making each bite unique.

One benefit to learning how to make salsa is you can use the same cutting board for all the ingredients.

Dipping Essentials

The most favorite dipping essential has to be tortilla chips—although it may not be the healthiest of choices. Veggies like broccoli, carrots, red or green peppers and even celery sticks are great choices for dipping that skip the unwanted calories.

You can go low cal by slicing some kale and popping it in a hot oven for about five minutes for tasty kale chips. Crackers or pita chips—low in sodium and fat—are also great dipping alternatives.

No matter what ingredients you use to make your own salsa, make sure they’re fresh and chopped in chunks you can see—no one wants a mushy salsa and the bigger they’re chopped, the longer they’ll stay fresh.

Salsa stores well in the refrigerator for up to five days so it can be enjoyed at any meal, as an appetizer or as a snack during family game night.

The key to making a great homemade salsa is using your taste buds as a measure and providing both mild and hot creations that will satisfy any crowd.

How Long Does Homemade Salsa Last?

If you store your homemade salsa in an air-tight container in your refrigerator, you can safely enjoy your spicy snack for up to a week.

More Salsa Recipes

Here are some spicy ideas for your salsa satisfaction: