The Best Easy Spicy Salsa



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The Best Easy Spicy Salsa is ready in minutes and made in the food processor with canned tomatoes so that you can enjoy restaurant style salsa all year round, even when fresh tomatoes aren’t in season.

bowl of the best spicy salsa with chips, cilantro, lime, and peppers sitting beside.

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keywords: spicy salsa recipe, homemade salsa recipe, easy homemade salsa

This easy homemade salsa recipe brings the heat! Made with simple ingredients and your food processor, this easy recipe whips up in minutes. Elevate your salsa game beyond store-bought jars, crafting a vibrant and zesty concoction in the comfort of your kitchen allows you to adjust the heat and flavors to your preferences.

This tantalizing homemade spicy salsa balances the bold kick of jalapeños and serrano peppers with the fresh juiciness of tomatoes, the aromatic allure of garlic, and the vibrant notes of cilantro and lime. Whether you’re a salsa enthusiast looking for a fiery kick or looking for a simple recipe to experiment with flavors, this step-by-step guide will lead you through the process, unlocking the secrets to a mouthwatering, homemade spicy salsa that’s bound to spice up any gathering or taco night at home.

bowl of the best easy spicy salsa surrounded by tortilla chips, fresh cilantro, and lime halves.

What Makes This Recipe Easy

Besides the flavor, the best part of this recipe is how easy it is. With minimal prep, your food processor does the work and results in a fresh salsa in just minutes. Here are a few things about this recipe that make it so easy.

  • Using canned tomatoes. Not only are canned tomatoes easy to keep on hand in your pantry, they are already peeled and the stems are removed so can be added right into the salsa from the can, juice included!
  • Veggies are chopped roughly. Since things will be pulsed in the food processor, we don’t take lot of time to finely dice the vegetables.
  • We use the seeds in the peppers. Since this is a spicy salsa recipe, we keep the seeds from the peppers to add heat. This saves time of removing them before adding the peppers to the salsa mixture.
overhead of the best spicy salsa ingredients

Salsa Ingredients

Here is what makes up this delicious spicy salsa! The result is a fresh salsa that packs a punch. For the full recipe including all measurements, see the recipe card at the bottom of the post.

  • Whole Peeled Tomatoes: Plump and juicy, canned tomatoes provide a rich and robust base for the salsa. The whole peeled tomatoes offer a convenient option for quick preparation while maintaining a hearty texture.
  • Onion: Contributing both sweetness and depth, onions provide a satisfying crunch that complements the other ingredients in the mix.
  • Garlic: Adds a savory and aromatic element to the salsa. Its bold flavor enhances the overall taste profile, providing a delightful kick to the palate.
  • Jalapeño: With their mild to moderate heat, these peppers contribute a subtle spiciness to the salsa. Including the seeds adds an extra kick, while the rough chopping ensures the distribution of heat throughout the mixture.
  • Serrano Peppers: Bring an even higher level of heat compared to jalapeños. Read more on peppers for salsa below.
  • Fresh Cilantro: Chopped fresh cilantro brings a bright and citrusy flavor to the salsa. It adds a refreshing herbal note, enhancing the overall freshness of the dish.
  • Fresh Lime Juice: Contributes acidity and a zesty kick to the salsa, balancing the flavors and providing a tangy brightness that complements the other ingredients.
  • Ground Cumin: Adds a warm and earthy undertone to the salsa, enhancing its depth of flavor.
  • Salt: Salt acts as a crucial seasoning, intensifying the flavors of the individual ingredients and harmonizing the overall taste of the salsa.
  • Sugar: A touch of sugar helps balance the acidity from the tomatoes and lime juice, providing a subtle sweetness that rounds out the flavor profile.
  • Smoked Paprika: Smoked paprika adds a smoky and slightly sweet dimension to the salsa.
  • Chicken Bouillon: Chicken bouillon brings a savory element to the salsa, enriching its overall taste.

Wear rubber gloves while handling and chopping serrano peppers and jalapeños, as the oils can irritate the skin and eyes. Be sure to wash your hands thoroughly afterwards.

How to Make Salsa From Scratch

Here is a brief overview of how this easy spicy salsa comes together. For the full recipe including all measurements, see the recipe card at the bottom of the post.

  1. Combine all ingredients. Add everything to your blender or food processor.
  2. Pulse to combine. Pulse until the mixture reaches your desired consistency. For a chunkier salsa, you will do less mixing. For a thinner salsa, you will pulse for longer.
  3. Chill the salsa. This salsa can be enjoyed right away, but I recommend letting it chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour to let the flavors meld together.
overhead of bowl of the best easy spicy salsa surrounded by tortilla chips, cilantro, limes, and peppers

Peppers For Spicy Salsa

This homemade salsa recipe uses two types of peppers: serrano and jalapeño. Serrano peppers are a type of chili pepper and bring an even higher level of heat compared to jalapeños. About three to four times spicier, their seeds and rough chopping intensify the spiciness, adding a bold and fiery character to the salsa. Similar in shape and color to jalapeños, serrano peppers are slightly smaller and thinner. For milder salsa, you could also use poblano peppers.

When buying peppers, select peppers that are bright green in color, have smooth skin (not wrinkly), and a firm texture.

Adjusting The Heat and Spice Level

To adjust the heat of this salsa, you can remove some or all of the seeds from the serrano peppers and jalapeño. Please wear gloves when preparing and chopping the peppers and avoid touching your face, especially your eyes, after handling these peppers. Thoroughly wash your hands after working with them. While the heat of these peppers is delicious in salsa, I promise you do not want to feel it in your eyes.

Storing Homemade Salsa

Keep this homemade salsa in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week. If it starts to smell funky or separate, toss it and make a fresh batch.

It can also be frozen! Put the salsa in a freezer-safe bag or container with some room at the top for it to expand. Store it in the freezer for up to three months. Allow to thaw in the refrigerator overnight when ready to eat.

Can I can this salsa?

I have not tried canning this recipe. Since it comes together so quickly, I recommend eating it fresh.

Can I use fresh tomatoes?

Totally! You can replace the canned tomatoes in this recipe with 4-5 Roma tomatoes. Just roughly chop them before adding them to the food processor.

How long does homemade salsa last?

When kept in an airtight container, this salsa can be stored in your refrigerator for up to one week.

Can you freeze homemade salsa?

Yes! See my steps for how to freeze salsa above.

Serving Ideas

woman's hand holding chip dipped in the best spicy salsa. Bowl of salsa and chips sitting below.

Other Great Dip Recipes

If you are looking for other dips or ways to elevate taco night, here are a few ideas!

If you make this easy spicy salsa recipe, please leave a comment below letting me know what you think! I love hearing from you.

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The Best Easy Spicy Salsa

The Best Easy Spicy Salsa is ready in minutes and made in the food processor with canned tomatoes so that you can enjoy great salsa all year round, even when fresh tomatoes aren’t in season.
Prep Time: 5 minutes


  • 28 ounces whole peeled tomatoes undrained
  • ¼ cup onion chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 jalapeño – with seeds, roughly chopped
  • 3 serrano peppers, with seeds, roughly chopped
  • ½ cup fresh cilantro
  • ¼ cup fresh lime juice
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp sugar
  • ½ tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp chicken bullion (or 1 tsp Better than Bouillon)


  • Add all ingredients to your food processor. Pulse until you've reached your desired consistency.
  • For best results, chill in the refrigerator for at least 60 minutes before serving with tortilla chips.
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Hi, I’m Ashley & I’m so happy you’re here!

Ashley is the founder of CenterCutCook and a former teacher that now spends her days in the kitchen so that she can share her favorite recipes with you!