Best Canned Tomato Salsa Recipe

There’s no reason to wait until tomatoes are in season to make a delicious salsa.  Even though the tomatoes are from a can, it’s much fresher than jarred salsa.  It never occurred to me to make salsa from canned tomatoes until I acquired a stockpile (80 cans total) of organic diced tomatoes from Costco last fall. Now I’ll never go back to the store-bought stuff.   In addition, making your own salsa in the food processor is amazingly easy, and we almost always have the ingredients on hand that are necessary to produce a batch at a moment’s notice.

The beauty of this basic recipe is that there are substitutions for almost everything in it.  So if you don’t have everything you need, don’t worry, you can still enjoy homemade salsa in no time.  We like lemon basil salsa from time to time to change it up a bit.  Here are some substitutions:

  • Onion – onion powder or dehydrated onion flakes
  • Garlic – granulated or jarred garlic
  • Jalapeno – any fresh hot chili or hot pepper powder
  • Lime juice – any citrus juice or vinegar
  • Cilantro – any fresh or dried herb such as parsley or basil

Have fun, and get creative!


5.0 from 7 reviews
Best Canned Tomato Salsa Recipe
  • 2 (14½ oz) cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 medium onion
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, deseeded
  • 2 tsp freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 tsp granulated garlic
  • 6 tbsp cilantro
  1. Strain tomatoes and reserve juice. Roughly chop onion, fresh garlic, and jalapeño; add to food processor fitted with a metal blade. Add juice from tomatoes, lime juice, salt, pepper, and granulated garlic. Process on high for about 30 seconds.
  2. Add about ½ cup of diced tomatoes and process on low for an extra 5 seconds. Add remaining tomatoes and cilantro and pulse until desired consistency is reached. It's ready to serve immediately, but you can also let it chill in the refrigerator overnight to let the flavors combine.
Yield 3-4 cups salsa

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37 comments… add one

  • Rachael April 28, 2012, 11:31 pm

    Thanks for sharing your salsa recipe!! It’s soooo good! :P

  • Alfie April 29, 2012, 2:35 pm

    Looks so yummy!!!

  • JEANEAN April 29, 2012, 3:38 pm

    very nice and looks yummy

  • Rachael May 4, 2012, 3:46 pm

    I’d just like to share that this salsa is now officially award winning!! Congrats, Bill!

  • LP @dishclips May 4, 2012, 8:46 pm

    This looks like a favorite salsa of mine from a Mexican restaurant I frequent. Thanks for sharing!

  • Petra June 1, 2012, 11:07 pm

    I made this tonight after looking for “the best salsa recipe”. I stumbled across yours and it was a total hit. It’s a keeper for sure and thank you so much for sharing!

  • Maureen @ Orgasmic Chef July 10, 2012, 12:15 am

    This looks delicious!!

  • Caroline July 16, 2012, 7:28 pm

    Best salsa I have ever eaten. I will no longer be buying store bought salsa.

    • Bill July 17, 2012, 10:41 am

      Thanks for commenting Caroline. That is great to hear. I’m glad that you enjoyed it as much as we do!

  • Chris the Skitzoid Lady August 14, 2012, 5:00 am

    Excellent recipe. I forgot to buy salsa AND tomatoes at the grocery store this week-end, so wanted to come up with an alternative for a salsa recipe. This is it! I love how versatile it is! Thanks for sharing.

  • Shelbi August 20, 2012, 11:02 am

    This looks great. Just wondering if the cans of salsa are 14 1/2 oz cans or is that the combined amount for both cans. Also would I be able to substitute fresh tomatoes in this recipe.

    • Bill August 20, 2012, 1:53 pm

      The cans are 14 and a half ounces each. You could certainly try using fresh tomatoes, but the recipe is designed specifically for canned. Thanks!

  • Shelbi August 20, 2012, 11:03 am

    oops I actually meant cans of diced tomatoes.

  • tanya August 25, 2012, 9:54 pm

    Should it be refrigerated? how long does it stay fresh?

    • Bill August 25, 2012, 10:27 pm

      Yes, it should be refrigerated and you should use it within about 5-7 days.

  • diane September 18, 2012, 8:18 pm

    It sounds very good. And good reviews!!! Can I follow your directions but put in jars to be canned using a hot water bath?

    • Bill September 19, 2012, 8:52 am

      Hi Diane. Yes it could be canned, but I’ve never tried it. It would probably change the consistency and taste a bit. I’ve been planning to experiment with a canned version of this salsa, so you’ll have to let me know how it comes out. Thanks for commenting!

  • Strangechilde October 29, 2012, 2:44 pm

    Thank you! This is so useful for when tomatoes are out of season… I really don’t like cardboard supermarket hothouse ones. I especially like how you’ve offered ideas for substitutions. I like playing with recipes. I had some veggies to use up, so I made this with one tin of tomatoes, the good middles of a handful of half-desiccated spring onions and two salad onions, three monster cloves of good fresh garlic, a big wodge of fresh coriander, juice of one whole lemon, one medium-sized red chili pepper of the sort usually available in shops in Britain, not sure what they are… Mirasol, maybe? Anyway, hot but not terribly hot with a sweet overtone. Magic, and so easy! Much, much better than shop-bought. Ingredients I almost always have to hand, too (I am distinctly unhappy if there are not tinned tomatoes in the house). I will be playing with this more! Cheers!

  • Magyar November 14, 2012, 8:14 am

    Wondering if anyone has canned this with success? It looks yummy!

    • Bill November 16, 2012, 10:55 am

      I have not canned it yet, but it is on my ‘to do’ list to try. If you get to it before I do, please let us know how it comes out. Thanks!

  • Carole February 28, 2013, 12:32 pm

    Yum! Thanks for linking up with Food on Friday, Bill. Cheers

  • natalie April 11, 2013, 9:47 am

    Outstanding. I halved this recipe, made it in my NutriBullet and then pan-fried extra flour tortillas -cut into wedges- to make chips.

  • Amy (Savory Moments) April 18, 2013, 5:57 am

    I’ve never made salsa with canned tomatoes before, but this looks like a delicious recipe! I’ll have to give it a try. I always love any Tex-Mex foods and flavors.

  • Sister Spice April 22, 2013, 7:29 pm

    I LOVE salsa and canned salsa and this looks like the perfect blend of spices and seasonings!

    • Bill April 26, 2013, 9:45 pm

      Thanks Sis!

  • Christine (Cook the Story) April 29, 2013, 9:05 am

    Oooo…I love homemade salsa. My mom makes her own all the time but hers is cooked. I can’t wait to try this no-cook version.

  • Greg June 24, 2013, 12:14 pm

    Love this recipe, especially the technique. My guests loved this salsa.

  • Robert December 19, 2013, 3:51 pm

    What a great recipe!!!!! I had everything in the fridge and pantry. The only thing I did different was I used stewed tomatoes. Once everything was processed I had some cherry tomatoes and an extra half of jalapeño, I put this in at the end and did 6 pulses to break them up. I then put poured in a pot and simmered for about 10 minutes. I let cool down and put in the fridge overnight. Was absolutely delicious and the closest thing to my favorite Mexican restaurant in Sarasota, FL. Thank you!!

  • Deborah December 24, 2013, 2:45 am

    I added some cumin and it was just perfect

  • Andrew Russo January 21, 2014, 4:38 pm

    I have prepared this recipe exactly as written or with a few tweaks (dried cilantro, bottled lime juice, extra red chili powder, canned green chile, etc) and I like every variation better than any off the shelf salsa in a jar that I have ever had. I usually blend it pretty thoroughly but I am thinking I need to just toss all of the ingredients together and try a chunky version.

    With this easy recipe there is no need to ever buy salsa in a jar again. And for those who like raw tomato I’ll bet that raw tomato would make a great stand in for the canned tomato.

  • Rhonda June 7, 2014, 8:43 pm

    I was wondering if anyone got around to canning this?

    • Rachael July 5, 2014, 2:27 pm

      Hey, Rhonda… sorry for the late reply, but we haven’t tried canning it yet. I hope someone who has tried it comes back and lets us know! :)

  • Annette February 15, 2015, 5:05 pm

    Really great salsa!!

  • Cor March 16, 2015, 7:37 pm

    This recipe is easy and amazing!!!’ Thank you for sharing this beautiful secret!!!!

    • Rachael March 23, 2015, 11:52 pm

      I’ll say thank you, Cor, on behalf of Bill. Bill makes it ALL THE TIME still, but we use fresh tomatoes now instead of canned for health reasons and we still can’t get enough of it 3 years later! We were just talking about bottling/selling it yesterday! We’re about to start a super healthy food product company, so be on the lookout for that at ;)

  • Emily May 20, 2015, 5:08 am

    Way too much garlic! I was still tasting it the next morning! Not nice. I’d half the number of cloves next time and maybe reduce the onion too. But a nice recipe idea- using canned tomatoes made it much more the right consistency for salsa. Thanks for sharing.

    • Rachael June 29, 2015, 5:05 pm

      We looooove the garlic, Emily! I’m glad you can leave some out and hopefully enjoy it more next time! :) Thanks for letting us know!


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