Must-Have Salsa

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Must-Have SalsaWe always have chips and salsa in our house, and usually do not go one day without snacking on them.  Until recently, I would buy a certain brand of refrigerated salsa at our local grocery store that we really liked and was surprisingly pretty cheap.  It was always fresh and available, so I didn’t have much of a shove into making my own homemade salsa.  However, in the last couple of months, there were a few times where the store-bought salsa was “off” and didn’t live up to its normal appetizing taste.  I became fed up with not being able to count on this salsa anymore and decided to find a tried and true homemade version.  Immediately I went to my friend, Annie’s, blog to check out her salsa recipe she posted in the past.  I’m so happy I started there, because I didn’t have to look any further.  The salsa was absolutely perfect!  I’ve made it so many times now, that I have the recipe memorized.  (That’s huge for me, as I probably have one of the worst memories, ever.)

I went through many different names of this salsa in my head, like Restaurant-Style Salsa, The Best Salsa, Annie’s Salsa, and Always In My Fridge Salsa, before deciding on “Must-Have Salsa.”  For us, this title describes it best because we must always have it on hand or our day just isn’t complete.  This recipe makes an enormous amount, so make sure you have room in your fridge.  It will last you up to two weeks (that is, if you don’t eat it every day in huge portions like we do.)

The additional spices of cumin and cayenne pepper gives this salsa a smokey and spicy flavor that I think characterizes the perfect salsa.  The best way to make this is in a food processor.  If you do not have one, I highly recommend investing in one as you can use it for many many recipes.  Just being able to quickly throw together this salsa alone justifies you buying a food processor, in my opinion.  🙂

Must-Have Salsa

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 10 minutes

Yield: 5 cups

Serving Size: 1/4 cup

Must-Have Salsa

  • 2 fresh jalapeno peppers, seeded and coarsely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and halved
  • 2 large vine-ripened tomatoes
  • 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1/2 yellow onion, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • juice of one lime

Combine the jalapenos and garlic in the bowl of a food processor and process until finely chopped (scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.) Add all other ingredients then process in one-second pulses until the salsa is at your desired consistency (about 3-5 pulses). Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate at least 2 hours to allow the flavors to blend before serving. Keep refrigerated for up to two weeks. This can be served cold, but I like to let it set out first because its best taste is at room temperature.

Source: Annie’s Eats


plus 2 hours chill time


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  1. I recently made my own salsa at home and now I hate when I have to eat store-bought!

  2. So glad you love this as much as I do, Nikki! It is one of the few recipes I have memorized and I make it all.the.time.

  3. I love chips and salsa. I can’t have chips in the house because I’ll eat my way through a whole bag without even realizing it!

  4. That is one tangy bowl of appetizing salsa 🙂

  5. Sounds delish! Can’t wait to make it…would you be able to freeze it?

    • Hi Mandy, Yes, you can freeze it, but you would want to use the frozen salsa as an ingredient to spice up your meals (chili, soups, casseroles, etc.) rather than eating as a dip with chips because the consistency will be different and “off”. But, the flavor will hold.

  6. I love your blog! We just made the salsa – and it’s so yummy! I’m trying your tortillas this week too.

  7. YUM!! Love this recipe! Thank you!! 🙂

  8. This salsa looks delicious but since I’m not a fan of hot food-I’ve literally never even purchased a single jalapeño in my life- I wondered if I should just leave them out. I always prefer ‘mild’ salsa and wondered how this compares. I’m making this for a dinner Friday night. Thanks!

    • Ever since I had my son, I have not been able to tolerate hardly any heat. I’ve always heard pregnancies and having babies can have strange affects on you, and now I believe it! 😉 That said, I don’t think the salsa is hot at all. You can definitely leave it out, but I would suggest using at least one. When you cut the jalapeno, make sure you either wear latex gloves, or wash your hands immediately after touching them (before you rub your eye or someone elses!) 🙂

      • Thank you. I bought one…looking forward to trying the recipe out soon! One last question-how far in advance do you prefer to make it for the best flavor?

        • As long as it has at least 2 hours to chill and allow the flavors to blend, it will be great! I also recommend serving it at just a little cooler than room temperature. So, even though it needs to be stored in the fridge, remove the portion you plan to serve from the fridge probably 20 minutes first. If it’s too cold, the flavors aren’t as strong. Weird, I know. 🙂

  9. Hey! I love salsa and so does my family! I was wondering if you could can this receipe…I just learned to can and I am looking for things my family uses alot of that I can have on hand…thanks for your help:)

  10. Susan Gladd says:

    When Ben and Clayton were snacking on my homemade salsa last weekend, Ben said “mom, you should try Nikki’s “must have salsa”. I guess I must!

  11. Yum! I made this tonight and it’s easy to throw together and and tastes nice and fresh! I halved the recipe because I’m the only one in my house who likes salsa. The only thing is I wish I would have added the recommended amount of cayenne pepper. I only added about 2/3 of what the recipe called for because the last time I made homemade salsa it came out too spicy, but this is quite mild and I’ll definitely add the full amount next time around! Thanks for sharing the recipe!

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