Restaurant Style Salsa recipe

A salsa recipe with flavour you can’t buy in a jar. No need to wait for your next visit to your favourite Mexican restaurant. Just make it at home! 

Fat free, full of flavour, and utterly addictive, this is a restaurant style salsa that’s the perfect consistency for scooping up with corn chips. Or go super healthy and serve it with crudités!

Salsa recipe for restaurant style salsa. Salsa in a ceramic bowl with corn chips.

Salsa recipe – restaurant style

You’ve seen the jars sold alongside corn chips at the grocery store. You’ve devoured inordinate amounts of it at your favourite Mexican restaurant.

And now it’s time to make it at home.

It’s healthier, it’s cheaper and it tastes SO GOOD! Flavour, flavour, flavour – homemade salsa has flavour you simply cannot buy in a jar!

Close up of ceramic bowl with salsa with corn chips

What goes in salsa

Here are the ingredients in my salsa recipe. The key things that add great flavour to salsa are cumin, cilantro/coriander, garlic, onion and jalapeño. I also like to add canned green chiles which adds terrific smokiness and small touch of heat (not much).

Canned green chiles are a popular Tex-Mex ingredient in America that’s not (yet) available here in Australia. I bring back dozens every time I visit the US, that’s how much I love it! It’s easy to sub the flavour using chargrilled peppers – though they are red, not green, they add the same smokiness that the green chiles add.

Ingredients in salsa

Top Tip: Use good quality canned tomato

Given that tomato is the key ingredient in this recipe, your salsa will only be as good as the tomato you use.

Using crushed canned tomato in this recipe isn’t just about convenience. It’s also because we can’t always get really great quality fresh tomatoes, but we can always find great quality canned tomatoes.

If you’re keen to make a recipe using fresh tomatoes, try this one from Jo Cooks. I made it over Christmas and it is terrific!

Once you’ve gathered your ingredients, it’s as simple as plonk and blitz. Make it as chunky or smooth as you like. I like mine more smooth because I find you get better flavour when the onion etc are blitzed up quite finely.

Also, the chunkier the salsa, the more it separates when sitting around. So it holds up better the smoother it is.

How to make salsa - restaurant style

How and what to serve with salsa

The obvious way to serve is as a dip for corn chips or anything suitable for dunking, but there’s a whole bunch of other really great ways to use salsa! Here’s a few ideas:

For the healthiest dip platter ever, serve salsa with crudités (that’s a fancy word for veggie sticks), like this one – a photo from my Hummus recipe.

Crudités Vegetables Platter with Hummus

I make this salsa recipe a lot because I’m a self confessed Snack Monster and this is my way of having something nibbly without the guilt. It’s one of those foods I call “incidentally healthy”. Meaning – it’s not a stripped back “diet” version of the way it’s supposed to be.

Snack Monsters unite! Think of all the guilt free snacking possibilities! (Just ignore all the photos of the corn chips all over this post. Think – carrot sticks. ?) – Nagi x

Close up of corn chip scooping up homemade salsa (Salsa recipe - restaurant style)

Salsa recipe
Watch how to make it

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Close up of corn chip scooping up homemade salsa (Salsa recipe - restaurant style)

Restaurant Style Salsa

















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Recipe video above. Just like what you get at your favourite restaurant and those jars sold alongside corn chips at the grocery store…. but it’s better, healthier and cheaper! The fresh flavour is so, so good. Make it chunkier or smoother, to your taste.


  • 1/4


    chopped onion

    (white, brown or yellow)

  • 1


    jalapeño pepper

    , seeds removed, roughly chopped (fresh best, canned ok)

  • 400g / 14 oz

    canned crushed tomato

    , best quality

  • 4 oz / 120g

    canned diced green chiles

    (Note 1)

  • 1/4


    (packed) cilantro/coriander

    , roughly chopped

  • 1/2


    lime juice

  • 1



    , minced

  • 1/2



  • 1/2



  • 1/4


    black pepper

  • 1/4


    ground cumin


  • Place onion and jalapeno in the food processor first, then add remaining ingredients (start with 1/2 tbsp lime juice).

  • Blitz to desired consistency – I like mine pretty smooth because you get better flavour out of the onion etc.

  • Taste test with corn chip for salt and lime. Adjust if necessary.

  • Refrigerate 1 hour before serving with corn chips, or other dippers (see in post for suggestions).

Recipe Notes:

1. Canned Green Chiles – a popular Tex Mex ingredient sold in America not yet available in Australia. I bring back dozens every time I go to the US! Not spicy, more for smokey flavour. Tastes like chargrilled peppers (capsicum) which is a near perfect sun (except it’s red instead of green). Use the same quantity (about 1/3 cup). Or leave it out – still so so tasty.

2. Serve on the day, or refrigerate in a sealed container for up to 3 days. May need freshening up with freshly chopped coriander/cilantro and lime juice.

Originally published May 2014, completely updated in January 2019 including a few minor flavour improvements to recipe.

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