How to Make Salsa: Quick Tips and Easy Salsa Recipes

Forget ketchup and mustard. Salsa is the one condiment you should always have in your fridge. Chopped or blended, fresh or jarred, the do-everything sauce requires no oil, sugar, preservatives, or processed ingredients to taste absolutely delicious. And it’s not just for dipping: Add it to burritos and wraps, stir it into breakfast scrambles, use it as a burger topping, heap it onto a baked potato—the possibilities are endless. Read on for salsa recipes and tips.

Easy Salsa Recipes

Sweet, spicy, savory, or all of the above, these salsa recipes offer a spectrum of fresh flavors and come together in just a few minutes. 

Perfect Pico de Gallo 

Stir together 2 cups diced tomatoes, ½ cup chopped white onion, ½ cup chopped cilantro, 2 tablespoons chopped jalapeño chile, and 1 tablespoon lime juice.

Cherry Tomato-Chipotle 

In a food processor, pulse 4 green onions, ¼ cup cilantro leaves, 2 tablespoons lime juice, ½ chipotle chile in adobo sauce (drained) until finely chopped. Add 2 cups halved cherry tomatoes, and pulse until chunky. 


Stir together 1½ cups finely diced pineapple, ½ cup finely diced red bell pepper, ½ cup finely diced white or yellow onion, ¼ cup chopped cilantro, 1 tablespoon lime juice, and a few drops of hot sauce.


Combine 1 cup chopped fresh or thawed frozen mango, 1 cup chopped cucumber, 2 tablespoons chopped jalapeño chile, ¼ cup chopped red or white onion, 2 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro, and 1 tablespoon lime juice.

Carrot-Ancho Chile 

Stir together 2 cups grated carrots, ½ cup diced red onion, 3 tablespoons fresh orange juice, 1 teaspoon ground cumin, and 1 teaspoon ancho chile powder.


Stir together 2 cups grated or finely diced tart apples, ½ cup chopped poblano chile, ½ cup chopped red onion, 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro, 2 tablespoons lime juice, and hot sauce to taste.

How to Make Salsa Verde

Salsa verde, or green salsa, is a smooth, zesty, cooked salsa made with tomatillos and green chiles. (You can substitute green tomatoes in a pinch.) To make 2 cups of salsa verde: Place 8 husked, tomatillos in a saucepan with 1 seeded, stemmed serrano or jalapeño chile, 1 clove of garlic, and ½ of a small onion; add just enough water to cover the ingredients. Simmer, uncovered, 10 to 15 minutes, or until the tomatillos and onion are soft. Transfer the vegetables to a blender with a slotted spoon, and blend with ¼ cup cilantro leaves and 1 tablespoon lime juice, adding some of the cooking water if necessary to obtain the desired consistency. Cool before serving. 

Freestyle Salsa Recipe

Get creative! You don’t have to follow a specific recipe to make delicious salsa. Use this master recipe to whip up salsa with whatever you have on hand or whatever produce looks best at the store right now. 


2 cups chopped fruits/veggies (such as tomato, cucumber, corn, radish, jicama, peach, mango, pineapple, or watermelon)
½ cup chopped onion (any color)
¼ cup chopped fresh herbs (such as cilantro, mint, parsley, or basil)
1–2 tablespoons acid (such as lemon juice, lime juice, orange juice, or vinegar)
1 seeded and chopped fresh jalapeño or serrano pepper, 1 tsp. dried chile powder, or a few drops hot sauce


Stir together all ingredients; add salt to taste. Let stand at room temperature at least 15 minutes and up to 4 hours to allow flavors to develop. 

Salsa Too Spicy? Here’s How To Fix It

The easiest way to dial back a salsa’s heat is by adding some chopped tomato, cucumber, jicama, avocado, or fruit to dilute the fiery chile concentration. You can also stir in a little applesauce or fruit purée, which will simultaneously dilute the salsa and tame the heat with its sweetness. And sometimes all a spicy salsa needs is an extra squeeze of lime juice to balance the flavors.

Salsa Too Watery? Here’s How To Fix It

For chunky salsas, grab your strainer and drain off excess liquid. Smooth, blended salsas can be thickened by adding a tablespoon or two of fine breadcrumbs to absorb excess moisture. 

How Long Will Salsa Keep in the Fridge?

When refrigerated, homemade salsa will stay fresh for three to five days. The telltale sign that a fresh salsa has begun to go bad is small bubbles on the surface or a fizzy, sour flavor that develops when the ingredients start to ferment. Because jarred salsas have been cooked, most types will keep for up to a month in a tightly sealed container in the fridge. Jarred salsa, like cooked tomato sauce, also freezes well.

When buying fresh salsa from the refrigerated case, double-check the expiration date and give the tub a shake to make sure it looks truly fresh and vegetables haven’t released too much liquid. 

More Salsa Recipes from Forks Over Knives

Related News

Try Our Top-RatedMeal Planner Free

Forks Meal Planner takes the hard work out of making nutritious meals the whole family will enjoy.



Join our best-selling course at a new lower price!

Save $200 Now

About the Author

Headshot of Mary Margaret Chappell

About the Author

Mary Margaret Chappell

When Mary Margaret Chappell first started out in the plant-based food world as a writer, editor, and recipe developer, she was a bacon-loving former pastry chef who didn’t think she could ever cook without butter. Fourteen years, four cookbooks, dozens of cooking classes, and hundreds of recipes later, her favorite thing in the world is sharing the tips, techniques, and recipes that show just how easy and delicious whole-food, plant-based cooking can be. The former food editor of Vegetarian Times magazine has done away with her dependency on butter and is honing her skills at baking with natural sweeteners. Chappell lives in France, where plant-based eating can often be a challenge, but the fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes available are simply amazing. Find her on Instagram and Facebook.
See More from this Author

Free Download

Free 5-day meal plan!

Get a taste for healthy, fuss-free meal planning with this free five-day meal plan from Forks Meal Planner!

By providing your email address, you consent to receive newsletter emails from Forks Over Knives. We value your privacy and will keep your email address safe. You may unsubscribe from our emails at any time.

Placeholder image

Join our mailing list

Get free recipes and the latest info on living a happy, healthy plant-based lifestyle.

By providing your email address, you consent to receive newsletter emails from Forks Over Knives. We value your privacy and will keep your email address safe. You may unsubscribe from our emails at any time.