Originally Posted 5-1-17, Updated 5-1-18
Homemade Restaurant Style Salsa is the perfect mix of good salsa ingredients like tomatoes, cilantro, onion, garlic, fresh lime juice, salt and a pinch of sugar. This salsa gets a fresh flavor from the cilantro and tomatoes, warmth from the onions and garlic, and a little tang from the lime. It truly is the best fresh salsa recipe.
It is a super easy salsa recipe to make. You just toss the ingredients into a blender or food processor and blend until you have the perfect amount of texture. Add some chips and you have a great appetizer for a Mexican Dinner!
When we go to a new Mexican restaurant, whether or not we will return is based 95% on the quality of the salsa. Which is crazy because the salsa is the freebie… shouldn’t I care more about the part that I am paying for!?
As soon as I sit down I am anticipating the salsa. Will it be the right texture? What if it’s too spicy? Will it be that horrible liquid taco sauce? It better have cilantro!
If the salsa is a good mix of tomato, onion, cilantro and garlic… heaven. Now, the only question that remains is will I be able to stop eating the chips and salsa to leave room for dinner? The answer is usually no!
Homemade Restaurant Style Salsa
When I decided to post this recipe I asked my husband what I should call it. His suggestions included “drinkable salsa”. He just wanted to forgo the chips all together and drink it right out of the bowl. I would say that’s a pretty good review.
It reminded me of when my daughter was little, she would eat it by the spoonful. Another pretty good review, from a very picky eater! However, we decided on Restaurant Style Salsa because that is what everyone wants, your favorite Mexican Restaurant Salsa at home.
A Few Tips for Making Homemade Salsa
- Tomatoes are the star in this recipe. Now is not the time to save $0.75 at the grocery store. Get the canned tomatoes you think are the very best. I would steer clear of value brand tomatoes at your store.
- One thing I hate about eating a recipe with raw onion is the lingering onion taste 4 hours later. No matter how many times you brush your teeth! One way to alleviate this is to rinse your onion after they are sliced. I slightly separate the rings and run them under cool water for about 30 seconds . This rinses away the enzyme that makes the onion flavor linger. I’m pretty sure I learned this tip from an episode of Alton Brown on the Food Network. #science
- Blend the salsa to the texture you like! If you prefer your salsa a little chunkier, save a few tomatoes until the end and only pulse the food processor or blender once or twice. I like my salsa right in the middle- a few small chunks mixed in a thicker tomato liquid (see the photo below).
- Taste as you go. I like my salsa with a little extra cilantro, but if you prefer more onion- go for it! This homemade restaurant style salsa is a GREAT starting point, but feel free to add a little extra of this or that to suit your taste buds!
How to Make Restaurant Style Salsa
Add the cilantro, lime juice, onion, chopped garlic, black pepper, sugar, salt, and a 1/2 cup of the tomatoes to a powerful blender or food processor. Blend until there are no big chunks of onion or garlic remaining, about 20-30 seconds.
You may need to scrape the bowl or blender sides down to make sure all the pieces get processed.
(If you like it super spicy add a little chipotle in adobo, fresh jalapeno, or cayenne pepper to the first blending. If you want it CRAZY HOT add all 3! Note that the chipotle in adobo will also add a very smoky flavor.)
Now add the remaining tomatoes to the mixture. If you are using a food processor, pulse the mixture 4-6 times, so that some small chunks still remain in the salsa. If you are using a blender just do a very quick blend, about 4 seconds, so you retain some of the tomato texture.
Serve the salsa right away or store it in the fridge, in an airtight container, for up to 5 days.
The salsa does get better with time, like a lot of tomato recipes do (ie. chili). If you have time to make it ahead and let it sit in the fridge overnight, do. If not, do not worry, it will still be delish!
Mexican Dinner Recipes
Having Mexican food for dinner is one of our favorites at the Mom’s Dinner house! Here are a couple of my recipes that are on heavy rotation here:
- Veggie Enchiladas with Chili Lime Crema
- Verde Chicken Enchiladas
- My Favorite Chicken Enchilada Recipe
- Instant Pot Burrito Bowls
- Best Ever Grapefruit Margaritas
- Rosemary Palomas
- The Best 15-Minute Refried Beans
I hope you give this recipe a try in your kitchen!
Homemade Restaurant Style Salsa Recipe
Restaurant Style Salsa
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro
- 2 1/2 tbsp fresh lime juice
- 1/3 cup red onion, sliced and rinsed under cool water
- 2 plump garlic cloves, chopped
- 3/4 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 3/4 tsp sugar
- 28 ounce canned diced tomatoes (use the brand you think is the very best)
- In a food processor or powerful blender add the first 7 ingredients, plus 1/2 cup of the tomatoes. Blend until there are no large chunks of onion or garlic remaining. About 30 seconds. You may need to scrape the sides down to make sure all the bits get blended.
- Add the remaining canned tomatoes. If you are using a food processor pulse 5-6 times, to get the perfect texture. If you are using a blender only blend for an additional 4-5 seconds, to retain some of the tomato texture.
- Serve immediately or store in an airtight container for up to 5 days. The salsa does get more flavorful after a day in the fridge.
- Tomatoes are the star of this recipe, so make sure you buy the very best canned tomatoes. This is not the time for a value brand.
- Rinsing your red onions will help the onion flavor to not linger in your mouth long after you have eaten the salsa.
- If you can make the salsa a day in advance the flavor is even better after a day in the fridge.
- For spicier salsa add some fresh jalapeno or cayenne pepper in the first blending, with the onions and cilantro.
- To add a smokey flavor AND extra heat put 1 chilie in adobo in the first blending, with the onions and cilantro.