This is my homemade salsa recipe—it requires no cooking and not even any refrigeration before serving.
It is super easy to make in just a few minutes.
The beauty of this recipe is this: Chop. Blend. Eat.
While you may not think that this is the most sophisticated homemade salsa recipe, I can assure you that it will go toe to toe with lots of store-bought shenanigans.
If I can choose between taking five minutes to make this or opening a jar, I will always choose this recipe.
For me, the advantage of this fresh salsa recipe is that I can control the spice level.
I confess that I can’t handle hot n’ spicy.
The mild sauce at Taco Bell makes me sweat.
With that said, this recipe is easy to adjust to your personal taste.
Full disclosure, this is heavy on the cilantro. If cilantro isn’t your gig, this may not be the right raw salsa recipe for you.
If you like jalapeno peppers, add some peppers to the food processor, or if you like it a bit chunky, chop fine and add after.
Plus, because this recipe calls for all raw, fresh ingredients, and nothing is cooked, make sure everything is washed well before using.
I hope you enjoy my Homemade Raw Salsa Recipe! If you were here, I’d make some for you right now.
- This is a raw, uncooked salsa. We eat it at room temperature. It can be chilled and eaten cold also.
- My recipe as shown adds NO EXTRA SPICE-HEAT than what naturally occurs in the garlic and onion. I’m a wuss. I love Mexican food, but I can’t deal with spicy heat. You CAN add your own, though.
- The consistency is RUNNY, not chunky. It is not thick, like say Pace Chunky Salsa from a jar. It is blended into a thin puree. Sometimes it ends up looking frothy straight out of the blender, but that will settle.
- It has tomatoes, but the ratio means it is not a bright red salsa.
- This recipe is heavy on the cilantro.
- If you don’t use enough salt, the recipe has no flavor. If you taste it and it seems bland, add more salt before you toss it. It may seem garlic heavy or cilantro heavy, but the salt balances the acid and the sweetness of the onion/tomato and it brings together all the flavors beautifully. Don’t skimp on the salt.
About the ingredients
Tomatoes – Normally, I use Roma tomatoes for this recipe but that is only if I am shopping special with this recipe in mind. They are usually the most inexpensive of all the choices, and I just pick out the reddest ones. Wash them thoroughly when you get them home.
Use whatever tomatoes that you have on hand at the time; salsa is a great way to use up those wrinkly older tomatoes that aren’t quite pretty enough for a sandwich or salad anymore.
I’ve made this with tomatoes that are sold still attached to the vine and these tend to have a sweeter taste.
Red onion – I use red (aka purple) onion in this recipe because it provides the ideal level of flavor and zing.
Raw white onion is far too strong for this salsa and yellow onion is too sweet.
Fresh Cilantro – Cilantro is the star of this recipe. I don’t remove the leaves from the stem.
I chop it up, stem and all. While you don’t have to chop it, I find it easier to handle when adding it in the food processor.
Garlic – Fresh garlic cloves are best for this recipe but if you only have minced garlic, use it instead.
We keep minced garlic in the fridge at all times because it’s fast and easy, so I just use that.
Lime Juice – We just have a lot of lime juice and lemon juice in our house so we keep bottles of it in the fridge. I know, I know: FRESH IS BEST. But in a pinch, bottled works.
To get enough lime juice from fresh limes, for this recipe you will want to juice two large-ish limes.
Salt – Salt is very important in salsa, so don’t skimp. It balances out the acid in the tomatoes and lime juice.
About the tools
While you aren’t cooking or adding any heat to this, there are a few important tools you should have on hand before starting:
- High-powered blender or food processor. We use our Vitamix blender and it makes quick work of this.
- Sharp knife and cutting board
- Strainer/colander for washing the vegetables
- Clean kitchen towel(s) for drying the vegetables and your hands
- Juicer for the limes. You can juice them by hand but you don’t want seeds to slip in since they are bitter.
- A rubber spatula helps to scrape down the sides of the blender as you puree. You don’t want to leave behind any of the deliciousness, I promise you.
- Glass serving bowl
CookingChew tip: I am a big fan of pulling out a grocery store plastic bag, folding the sides down and setting it next to me on the counter when I am processing skins/ends/seeds of produce. I can swoop them into this little trash/composting bag to get them off of my cutting board. I don’t have to walk over to the big trash can, either. You can then empty it into your composting bin or tie it up and send it into the big trash when you are tidying up the kitchen.
How to make homemade salsa
Making this salsa recipe at home is actually quite simple to do. First, you gather your ingredients and wash and dry them.
Then you juice your lime and cut and dice the remaining ingredients.
Finally, you add everything to the food processor or blender and pulse.
Pour it out into a large bowl and arrange chips around it. We eat it at room temp but chilled is always delicious too.
Let’s get into the details.
Note: Check the recipe card down below for full ingredient measurements for making homemade salsa.
Steps for making this raw, no-cooking-required salsa recipe
Step 1: Be sure to wash and dry your tomatoes, and rinse and air dry your cilantro.
If you are in a hurry you can gently dry your cilantro using a clean kitchen towel. If you are juicing fresh lime be sure to wash them prior to juicing them.
Step 2: Dice 1/4 cup of red onion and put it aside. Then cut another 1/4 cup of red onion into chunks or slices.
Step 3: Cut the stems off of the tomatoes and cut them into small chunks.
Step 4: Juice the limes. Set aside.
Roughly chop the cilantro. You don’t need to remove the leaves from the stems. The food processor will make quick work of demolishing the stems.
Step 5: Add all of the ingredients, except the diced red onion to a food processor.
Mix until fully combined and the salsa has a soupy consistency to it.
Step 6: Pour the salsa into a serving bowl and then stir in the diced onions.
Should you cook tomatoes before making salsa?
While there are a lot of different ways for making salsa, many salsa recipes only call for raw tomatoes in the recipe.
However, you could roast or grill the tomatoes prior to making salsa and that would provide for a rich and smoky salsa recipe.
Do you peel tomatoes for salsa?
No, you don’t need to peel fresh tomatoes for salsa.
Sometimes people prefer to peel tomatoes prior to making salsa so that the salsa is smoother but that step is purely optional and dependent on your own taste.
There is no harm in peeling tomatoes for salsa but I personally don’t take the time and still greatly enjoy my salsa recipes.
Can I use canned tomatoes for this salsa?
I don’t recommend it. It will change the flavor profile and the consistency.
Most canned tomatoes have added salt, sugar, plus they’ve been heated. Leave the canned tomatoes for a pasta sauce later.
How to store homemade salsa
When you are done making your salsa recipe pour the salsa into a glass container with a lid. (Glass is best, especially if storing foods with high acid content.)
Place the salsa in the refrigerator and it should keep for up to about 10 days.
Remember, since it doesn’t have preservatives it won’t last as long as store-bought salsa.
Can you freeze homemade salsa?
Yes, you can freeze homemade salsa.
Just know that when you defrost it, it will not be quite as fresh-tasting as it once was.
Place the salsa in a freezer-safe container and seal it up tight. Use the smallest container that you can so that there isn’t a lot of excess air in the container.
The salsa will last up to three months in the freezer.
The bottom line
Homemade salsa only takes a few minutes to make and is often better than anything that you can buy off of the grocery store shelf.
Having some homemade salsa on the table next time you make tacos just makes the meal a bit more special.
Since this recipe uses fresh, raw ingredients, it has a shelf life of good taste that’s about 10 days maximum. Stir it before serving every time you pull it out of the fridge, because the ingredients separate some.
Homemade Salsa Recipe
This is my favorite raw homemade salsa recipe—it requires no cooking and not even any refrigeration before eating.
- 5 ripe Roma tomatoes
- 1 medium red or purple onion
- ½ bunch of fresh cilantro
- 2 garlic cloves (or 1 t of minced garlic)
- 2 t of salt (add more to taste after blending)
- 3 t. lime juice (juice of two large limes)
- Tortilla chips for serving
- Wash tomatoes and rinse cilantro. Set on a towel to dry.
- Peel onion, cut off stems, and cut in half. Dice one half small (this will mix in at serving) and rough chop the other half. Measure out ⅛ c of rough-chopped onion and add to blender.
- Measure out ¼ c of diced onion and set aside.
- Cut out stems from the tomatoes and cut flesh into quarters. Add to blender.
- Juice the limes or measure out the lime juice then add to blender.
- Roughly chop or scissor the rinsed cilantro, stems and all, then add to blender.
- Except for the diced onion, add all remaining ingredients to the blender.
- Puree until smooth.
- Cilantro has a tendency to stick to the sides. You may need to pause to scrape down the sides of the blender and pulse again.
- Pour into a glass serving bowl and stir in the diced onion. Add tortilla chips on the side or around the serving bowl.
- Stir in optional chopped jalapeños at serving.
- Add additional salt to taste. Eat at room temperature or chill for two hours before serving.
- Store in a glass container and keep in the fridge for up to 10 days. Stir each time you go to serve, as ingredients may separate.
- Store any remaining onion separately in an air-tight container and place in fridge.