Skip to Content

Best Chili’s salsa recipe (Copycat version)

Best Chili’s salsa recipe (Copycat version)

One of my favorite things to do in this world is to go and eat Chili’s salsa. This is why we had to find a way to create our own version of the Chili’s salsa recipe copycat version.

AND we’ve done it!

Now, while I still couldn’t replicate their chips, which are equally as delicious, I’m halfway there with this salsa recipe. 

Every year for my birthday, I meet with my friends for lunch. Each lunch is at Chili’s, and each time, I order the same thing. I order chicken enchiladas with chips and salsa on the side. 

Oh man, I’m so hungry right now! OK, on to the recipe though. 

One more thing that we should discuss before we dive into this Chili’s salsa recipe – I’m not too fond of spicy food! Yes, I LOVE Mexican food, but I need it to be mild. 

The mild sauce from Taco Bell makes me sweat. 

So, I only use ¼ of the jalapeno in this recipe. Without it, the flavor isn’t right. It tastes weird without it, or I would leave it out. Now, most people prefer the recipe with ½ of a jalapeno. So you make your own life choices with this.

Also, you can use lime juice from a container but don’t. Yes, I have strong feelings on this issue. Will the recipe be fine and dandy? Yes! But don’t!

Ingredients in Chili’s copycat salsa recipe

One can of whole peeled tomatoes – Don’t drain the can. We want that tomato juice. It’s easy to misread the can, but the tomato peels will mess with the texture of this recipe.

One can of Rotel tomatoes with green chilies – Be sure to get the kind with green chilis. There are also spicy levels to these sometimes, so keep an eye out for that when shopping. If you prefer spicy salsa, then you could get the hot version.

Jalapeno – How much of this pepper that you use is entirely up to you. If you’re feeling extra, you can also try a ghost pepper.

Yellow onion – I don’t recommend deviating to a different kind of onion in this recipe. This kind of onion has been proven to be essential to the flavor.

Garlic salt – Yes, I add two types of garlic to this recipe. Garlic salt adds a unique flavor profile that gives this recipe that extra kick.

Garlic clove – This is my personal addition to this recipe. I also think that Chili’s should add it to theirs too.

Cumin – Is it possible to make salsa without cumin? Yes, ok it is, and I have, but in this recipe, you need it.

Sugar – Yes, they put sugar in the recipe. You can leave it out, but I strongly recommend that you put it in there.

Lime juice – A freshly squeezed lime is your best option here. It is just better.

How to store homemade salsa?

Yes, you can store homemade salsa in the fridge. Salsa is usually better the next day. To keep salsa, place it in a container with a lid and place it in the fridge. 

It’s better if the container isn’t too big. Try not to have too much air space left in the container. 

How long will this recipe last?

This Chili’s restaurant salsa recipe will last up to a week in the fridge. However, I think that it tastes best within the first three days of making it.

Tips from the Pros

  • Allow the salsa to chill in the fridge before serving. This salsa is best if you allow the flavors to meld in the fridge for about 3 hours.
  • When cutting the jalapeno pepper use a separate knife and cutting board. Be sure to wash your hands when you are done and whatever you do, don’t touch your eyes.
  • Don’t puree this salsa. It is ok if there are a few chunks in the salsa. Just remember you aren’t making tomato soup.
  • This is a runny salsa. Don’t feel tempted to thicken it up.

How to make Chili’s salsa recipe

This is our overview of how to make this recipe. Below is the recipe card you will find instructions that include measurements.

Step 1: Juice the lime. Set aside the lime juice. 

Step 2: Slice of one-fourth of the jalapeno. Save the remaining portion of the jalapeno for a different recipe. If you want to use more pepper in the recipe, feel free to add more. So slice off your preferred amount.

Step 3: Remove any seeds from the jalapeno.

Step 4: Peel the yellow onion. Then slice off about one-third of it. Save the remaining onion for a different recipe.

Step 5: Add your portions of the jalapeno, onion, and garlic clove to the food processor.

Step 6: Pulse the mixture to chop it. This should only take about 10 to 15 seconds.

Step 7: Add in the can of peeled tomatoes with their juices, can of Rotel with green chilies, garlic salt, salt, cumin, juice of the lime, and the sugar.

Step 8: Mix to process. Be careful not to puree the ingredients here. You want to mix it well and get rid of the big chunks. Take this process slow and be deliberate. It’s ok to have a few chunks in the salsa.

Step 9: Transfer the salsa to a container with a lid and place it in the fridge for 3 hours.

Chili’s salsa recipe

Chili’s salsa recipe

Yield: 10 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes

This is our favorite way to make Chili’s salsa recipe at home. We have experimented with it, and this is as close to their recipe as we have gotten. We love it.


  • 1 15 oz can of whole peeled tomatoes
  • 1 can of rotel tomatoes with green chilies
  • ¼ jalapeno
  • ⅓ small yellow onion
  • 1 ½ t garlic salt
  • ¾ t salt
  • 1 garlic clove
  • ½ t cumin
  • ½ t sugar
  • 1 lime


  1. Juice the lime
  2. Add the jalapeno, onion and garlic to a food processor. Pulse for 10 seconds. 
  3. Add in all other ingredients and process to mix. Do not puree. It is OK to have a slightly chunky salsa. 
  4. Pour into a container with a lid and chill in the fridge.
  5. Serve with your favorite tortilla chips.


If you don’t have a food processor, you can use a blender instead.

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Pinterest

The bottom line

There are variations of this Chili’s salsa recipe that you can play around with to spice it up. If you like your salsa hot, you can get crazy and add in a ghost pepper. 

Personally, the spice that I want in my Chili’s salsa is extra garlic. It provides that much-needed kick. The only real question: what kind of chips will you dip in your salsa?


Friday 18th of December 2020

With one can of tomatoes and a can or rotel - I'd use 3 to 4 jalepenos, seeds and all. LOL I like it spicy!

Skip to Recipe