This homemade Restaurant Style Salsa recipe has spicy jalapeno combined with sweet tomatoes and the tangy flavor of cilantro.

This easy salsa recipe is the best! It brings together a host of flavorful vegetables in a sweet sauce of freshly chopped or canned tomatoes. Incredibly fresh, delicious and super easy to make, it’s the perfect appetizer to make for a summer picnic or BBQ as a dip with Tostitos chips. Or serve it as a condiment along with Mexican Lasagna. With such a versatile and easy recipe like this, you will definitely want to keep it handy!

top view of Restaurant Style Salsa in a bowl

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We Love this Homemade Salsa Recipe!

  • Why settle for the bottled jar of salsa from the store, when it can be so easily made fresh and preservative-free at home?
  • This 5-minute salsa tastes very similar to Old El Paso and Pace medium salsa.
  • Our homemade salsa is such a sweet and flavorful condiment to perk up any meal. 
  • Having a jar of salsa in the refrigerator is a must, especially when it’s this easy to make. 

close up of Restaurant Style Salsa in a bowl

What is Restaurant Style Salsa

The most commonly served salsa at Mexican restaurants is Salsa Rojo (or red salsa) and it is usually a smoother style of salsa. In this recipe, pulsing the ingredients in the food processor and using canned tomatoes (or certain varieties of extra juicy tomatoes), will yield a smooth restaurant-style salsa.

process of blending ingredients to make Restaurant Style Salsa

Ingredients and Variations for this Homemade Salsa Recipe

TOMATOES This recipe calls for whole canned tomatoes. However, when fresh tomatoes are in season, making homemade salsa is easy and a great way to use up those red and juicy vegetables from the garden. Paste tomatoes, like Roma, are the best choice for salsa because they have fewer seeds and less juice. For a smoother salsa, choose a giant slicing tomato which has a lot of juice. But in the end, any kind of tomato will do. Just be sure to choose ripe firm tomatoes with few blemishes. And if using canned, remember to purchase whole canned tomatoes.

EXTRA VEGETABLES Cilantro, jalapeño, and lime juice are the simple staples of this recipe, however, mango, pineapple, and peach corn can all be added for extra flavor and texture. To cut the cilantro, trim off the leaves and discard the stems.

SPICES The spices in this recipe are not complicated—garlic, cumin, & salt. That’s all!

VARIATIONS The word ‘Salsa’ means ‘sauce’ and there are so many variations. Two of the most common are Salsa Verde and Salsa Baja. Salsa Verde is a green sauce made with tomatillo and chili peppers. Salsa Baja is a brown sauce made with chicken stock, lots of jalapenos or peppers like chipotle, and browned tomatoes. And did you know Salsa can be made on the grill?

Restaurant Style Salsa ingredients on a baking sheet

How to Make Restaurant Style Salsa

Here are the simple steps:

  1. Add all the ingredients (per the recipe below) to a food processor & pulse
  2. Refrigerate for 1 hour
  3. Open that bag of chips and enjoy!

blending ingredients to make Restaurant Style Salsa

Tips and Tricks

  • To make it a chunkier Pico de Gallo salsa, add less of the canned juice. If a runnier consistency is desired, then add all the juice from the can. If using fresh tomatoes, use a larger slicing tomato.
  • The tomatoes can be diced instead of pulsed in the food processor for chunky salsa.
  • Serve with our delicious guacamole made from avocado and smoked tomatoes.
  • This salsa recipe can be used for canning, however, follow the guidelines for canning and check out the National Center for Food Preservation website.

close up of Restaurant Style Salsa on a chip


Salsa will keep for up to 10 days in the refrigerator. If tomatoes are abundant, then the sauce can be made in large batches and frozen. Leftover salsa can also be used to dip sourdough crackers in, or to make huevos rancheros!

bowl of Restaurant Style Salsa with a bowl of chips

Mexican Style Favorites

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5 from 7 votes↑ Click stars to rate now!
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Restaurant Style Salsa

Homemade red salsa with cilantro and lime juice is super fresh tasting, with a touch of jalapeno for spiciness.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Chilling Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings 8 servings
Author Candace


  • 28 ounces canned tomatoes with juice, 1 can, separated *see note
  • ½ cup fresh cilantro chopped
  • ¼ cup onion chopped
  • 1 jalapeno pepper chopped
  • ½ lime juiced
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt


  • Add whole tomatoes, ½  cup of juice from tomatoes, cilantro, onion, jalapeno, lime juice, cumin, and salt to bowl of food processor.
  • Pulse quickly 6-10 times to get desired consistency. Add additional tomato juice if desired.
  • Refrigerate 1 hour before serving. Serve with tortilla chips, or use with any dish requiring salsa.


*For a thinner salsa, add more juice from the canned tomatoes.
Diced tomatoes will work in this recipe too.
Salsa will last for about 10 days in the fridge. Salsa can be frozen.
5 from 7 votes↑ Click stars to rate now!
Or to leave a comment, click here!

Nutrition Information

Calories: 22 | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 216mg | Potassium: 211mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 206IU | Vitamin C: 13mg | Calcium: 36mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information does not include optional ingredients or garnish and is an estimate. It may change based on actual ingredients and cooking methods used.

Course Appetizer, Dips
Cuisine American, Mexican

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About the author

I am a wife, mother of two, and professional accountant. I love fantastic food, and it is so often the center of our lives, from everyday dinner, to family gatherings, and special evenings at fabulous restaurants. I have always loved cooking and baking, with my mom and grandma, and now, with my daughter and son. I love trying new recipes while enjoying my favorites too. I’m so happy to share them with you.
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