Basic Salsa Recipe

Want a basic salsa recipe that’s delicious as is but that you could use for all sorts of culinary experimentation? Look no further; we’ve got you covered. This simple basic salsa takes very little time to make and is ready for adjustments, additions, and substitutions. It’s perfect served with tortilla chips or atop of tacos and other Mexican foods.

Basic salsa, ready to serve

There are many ways to play with this recipe. Adjust the ingredient amounts on the list. Want more pungency? Increase the amount of onion used. Less liquidy? Pull back on the diced tomatoes (especially the juice.)

You could also make this salsa hotter or milder with a chili pepper substitution. Swap that jalapeño for a serrano pepper or even a habanero for something extra spicy. Or opt for a poblano if you’d like something with less kick.

And then there are potential additions to create unique flavor twists. Tropical fruit is an excellent way to start. Try adding in pineapple, for instance, to create a sweeter salsa. Or play around with the spices. We use earthy cumin here, but trying smoked paprika or chipotle powder could add a richer smokiness (and heat) to the basic salsa recipe.

Like this salsa recipe? You’ll like these too:

  • Cherry Salsa: Jalapeño, fresh basil, and cherries pair up. A delicious sweet tanginess.
  • Peach Habanero Salsa: Plenty of heat and fruity sweetness here. We love this salsa with chicken and pork especially.
  • Spicy Blueberry Salsa: Blueberries and jalapeños make a surprising pair. Bright, sweet, and earthy all in one.

Basic Salsa

Basic Salsa

Simple to make, delicious with tortilla chips
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Appetizer
Servings 8 servings
Calories 13 kcal


  • 1 can diced tomatoes large
  • 1/4 onion chopped
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1 jalapeño pepper chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 bunch cilantro leaves chopped, added to taste
  • Salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste


  • Place the jalapeño, half of the chopped onion and the juice from the tomatoes in the can in a blender. Blend the mix until close to pureed. Remove from blender.
  • Place in a blender the tomatoes, black pepper, salt, cumin, garlic clove, onion powder, and garlic powder, along with the remaining onion. Pulse no more than 4 times to break up the tomatoes. 
  • Add the two mixes together and stir.
  • Add chopped cilantro to taste. Add additional salt and pepper to taste. 
  • Can be served right away, or for the best flavor, refrigerate at least one hour prior to serving.


You can opt for more or less pureeing depending on the thickness of the salsa base you like.
If you like your salsa chunkier, opt for a food processor instead of a blender.
The longer you refrigerate, the thicker your salsa will become. Plus the spices will have more time to blend.


Calories: 13kcalCarbohydrates: 3gProtein: 1gFat: 1gSaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 6mgPotassium: 118mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 148IUVitamin C: 8mgCalcium: 20mgIron: 1mg
Keyword Jalapeno Pepper, Serrano Pepper
Did you make this?Mention @PepperScale or tag #PepperScale so we can see what you made!

UPDATE NOTICE: This post was updated on April 9, 2022 to include new content.
5 from 3 votes (3 ratings without comment)
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