Salsa Mexicana

Craving real Mexican food? Make this easy Salsa Mexicana! It’s packed with flavors and it’s perfect for chips & salsa, or as a topping for any Mexican dish. 

Salsa Mexicana served in a white bowl

If I had to choose just one salsa to eat in perpetuity, it would be this Salsa Mexicana. It’s an essential condiment for huevos divorciados, quesadillas, tacos, tortilla chips and more!

Keep reading to learn more about this traditional salsa of Mexican cuisine

Close up photo of a Mexican appetizer

Ingredients for Salsa Mexicana

The ingredients are very easy to find in any grocery store: tomatoes, onions, jalapeño peppers, serranos, garlic, & cilantro. I also like to add a tomato bullion cube for extra flavor but this is totally optional.

We’ll keep it simple by using a food processor or blender to create the perfect chunky or pureed consistency that you prefer.

This salsa is very healthy and low in calories. There are only 16 calories for 1/2 cup of salsa!

Ingredients for Salsa roja

How to make Salsa Mexicana

  • Place the all of the ingredients, except the tomatoes, in a 2 quart saucepan. 
  • Cover with cold water and bring to a boil over medium heat. Lower the heat to a simmer and cook until the chiles and onions begin to soften. About 5 minutes
  • Add the tomatoes and cook for another 5 minutes or until the tomatoes are soft and their skin cracks. 
Cooking vegetables for salsa in saucepan
  • Transfer the cooked vegetables to a plate to cool at room temperature. Reserve 1/2 cup of the water. 
  • Place the tomate/chiles mixture and the cilantro in a food processor or blender. Puree until you reach the desired consistency. 
  • Transfer to a container and taste for salt & pepper. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  • The salsa will keep for up to 1 week. 
Tomatoes, jalapeños, onions & garlic in a saucepan and food processor

How to control the spiciness level

So how do I make a cooked salsa less spicy you may ask? The spicy level depends on a few factors so here are a few to consider:

The heat comes from the pith and ribs of the pepper which contain capsaicin. This is the active component in peppers that causes the burning sensation. Some chile peppers contain more than others.

If you want your salsa less spicy just skip the Serrano pepper and add an extra jalapeño which tends to be somewhat mild. Or just remove the ribs from the serrano pepper to make it medium spicy.

Now, if you like it very spicy just add more serrano peppers or chile güerito since these are very spicy as well.

Also, the Salsa Mexicana will be spicier while it’s hot (right off the stove) but once it cools off, it won’t be as spicy. Sometimes it loses the spicy strength the longer it sits in the fridge. So if your salsa comes out too spicy just give it a day or two!

Salsa on a wood spoon para tacos

More Mexican Salsas

Close up photo of Mexican tomato salsa

Salsa Mexicana

Servings 3 cups
Ana Frias
5 from 16 votes
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 15 mins
Craving real Mexican food? Make this easy Salsa Mexicana! It’s packed with flavors and it's perfect for chips & salsa, or as a topping for any Mexican dish. 

Equipment

  • Medium saucepan
  • Food processor or blender
3 cups

Ingredients
  

  • 1 Lb Roma Tomatoess About 4 tomatoes
  • 2 Fresh jalapeño peppers
  • 1 Serrano pepper add two more if you like it spicy
  • 2 garlic cloves peeled
  • 1/2 medium white onion
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • Fresh ground pepper to taste
  • 1 tomato bullion cube optional
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro

Instructions
 

  • Place the all of the ingredients, except the tomatoes, in a 2 quart saucepan.
  • Cover with cold water and bring to a boil over medium heat. Lower the heat to a simmer and cook until the chiles and onions begin to soften. About 5 minutes
  • Add the tomatoes and cook for another 5 minutes or until the tomatoes are soft and their skin cracks.
  • Transfer the cooked vegetables to a plate to cool at room temperature. Reserve 1/2 cup of the water.
  • Place the tomate/chiles mixture and the cilantro in a food processor or blender. Puree until you reach the desired consistency. Note: Add some of the reserved water if the consistency is too dry. Add a little bit at the time but make sure the salsa it's not too watery.
  • Transfer to a container and taste for salt & pepper. Refrigerate until ready to use.

*Ana’s Notes:

The salsa will keep for up to 1 week. 

ADD YOUR OWN PRIVATE NOTES

Whenever you come back to this recipe, you’ll be able to see your notes.

NUTRITION

Serving: 0.5cups | Sodium: 188mg | Calcium: 3mg | Vitamin C: 22mg | Vitamin A: 18IU | Sugar: 2g | Fiber: 1g | Potassium: 56mg | Calories: 16kcal | Protein: 1g | Carbohydrates: 4g | Iron: 1mg

The nutritional information and US conversions are calculated automatically. I cannot guarantee the accuracy of this data. If this is important to you, please verify with your favourite nutrition calculator and/or unit conversion tool.

Salsa Mexicana served in a white bowl

This recipe was originally published in August 2010. It was updated in December 2019 to revise the content and photographs. The original recipe remains the same. This Salsa Mexicana was my first recipe ever on this blog!

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18 Comments

  1. Could I ask why is the tomatoes and onions and chilli all cooked in water? I’ve seen other recipes that ask for the tomatoes to be roasted together with the onions, and I’m wondering how this matches up to those that use roasted tomatoes. Always love to learn more about dishes and the reason behind why!

    1. Hi Sien! It just cooks faster and then you can use some of the liquid when blending the salsa. I do them both ways actually but when I want my salsa to have a more cooked consistency then I boil it 🙂 I hope this helps!

  2. 5 stars
    I am a Salsa freak.. and love mine HOT! I also add onions and cumin to this base for added flavor and lime juice. I dont measure anytging I just keep adding peppers.cilantro and whatever til its to my liking 😉

  3. Probably a silly question, but do you leave the peppers, tomatoes, onion and garlic whole? Do you cook them whole and out then in the food processor or blender who as well? Or do you chop them at some point?

  4. 5 stars
    PAB: Thanks so much for your review! It’s such an honor that you will be my food critic. I’ll be sure to post the good recipes only lol!

    Stef: Thanks my friend! You’ll get to taste it on Saturday if you can make it down to the house.

  5. 5 stars
    Since I am the lucky beneficiary of my wonderful girlfriend’s blog cooking recipes, I have decided to be a Blog Food Critic (THANKS Dave for the idea!). So what did I think of this salsa? Muy delicioso (I’m also bilingual). I had it on some great fish tacos that Ana made. Unfortunately that recipe and photos did not get posted because a certain photographer refuses to use artificial light and this meal wasn’t ready until it was dark outside! Stay tuned for more food critiques. I think I’ll call my reviews “Fit, Fun & Finicky!”