Roasted Tomato Salsa

5 stars based on 12 votes

roasted-tomato-salsa

Utterly addictive, this bright and spicy salsa combines vine-ripened tomatoes, onions, garlic, Serrano chiles, cilantro and fresh lime. Unlike most salsas, which are raw, the vegetables in this recipe are roasted — a technique that intensifies the flavor of the tomatoes, mellows the onions and garlic, and adds a light touch of smokiness. It is hands down my favorite salsa recipe and couldn’t be easier to make.

Begin by tossing the quartered tomatoes (I don’t even bother coring them), onion wedges, garlic and whole Serrano peppers with the vegetable oil directly on a baking sheet.

Broil the vegetables until blistered and slightly charred, 10-15 minutes.

Transfer the vegetables to a food processor fitted with a metal blade, along with the salt and cumin. (Note: This is a spicy salsa — you may want to start with one or two peppers in the food processor, and then blend the other(s) in if you want more heat.) Be sure not to skimp on the salt — it brings out all the flavors.

Process until slightly chunky.

Add the cilantro leaves and lime juice and pulse a few times until the cilantro is finely chopped.

Serve with tortilla chips or any of your favorite Mexican dishes. Enjoy!

Roasted Tomato Salsa

Servings: Makes 2-1/2 cups
Cook Time: 10 Minutes
Total Time: 25 Minutes

Ingredients

  • 4 vine-ripened tomatoes, quartered
  • 2 small yellow onions, cut into wedges
  • 6 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 3 Serrano chili peppers, stemmed (use less for a milder salsa)
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 cup cilantro leaves
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice, from one lime, plus more if needed

Instructions

  1. Preheat the broiler and set an oven rack about 5 inches beneath the heating element. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil.
  2. Place the tomatoes, onions, garlic, whole Serrano chile peppers and vegetable oil directly on the prepared baking sheet and toss with your hands. Broil until softened and charred, 10-15 minutes.
  3. Transfer the vegetables and juices to a food processor fitted with the metal blade. (If you are concerned about the spice level, add only one Serrano pepper at this point. You can always blend in the others to taste.) Add the salt and cumin and pulse until just slightly chunky. (If you left out some of the Serrano peppers, now's the time to taste and add more.) Add the cilantro and fresh lime juice, and pulse until the cilantro is chopped. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and more lime juice if necessary. Be sure to add enough salt and lime to bring out all the flavors. Transfer to bowl and serve warm, at room temperature or slightly chilled.

Reviews & Comments

  • Would this still be good without the cilantro? I am one of those unfortunate souls whose tastebuds just aren’t wired for cilantro. I may be able to handle a small amount if it blends into the salsa and is a bit undetectable but I’m wondering if this recipe really loses something without it.

    - Stevus on November 3, 2014 Reply
    • Hi Stevus, It will still be absolutely delicious without the cilantro.

      - Jenn on November 3, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Delicious!!!! I used bell peppers, garlic, Serrano and jalapeños with the rest. Best. Salsa. Ever.

    - Deanna on October 8, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Absolutely delicious! I had to stop myself from eating this salsa by the spoonful.

    - Ingrid on September 13, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I tried this recipe the first time and followed it to the letter and had great success. I asked my two neighbors to taste the salsa and they liked it. So I tried a little different technique and roasted the the tomatoes, onions, garlic and serrano’s on the BBQ for five minutes, on the cookie sheet. I added hickory chips to the charcoal for a robust smoky flavor. I then moved them to the broiler and finished broiling the veggies before following the recipe to its finish. Everyone loved it even more. I give this a five star even before the BBQ was added but you should try it both ways. I think you’ll love it.

    - Chris McCollum on September 12, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! I’ve been trying different salsa recipes for something like 15 years, and FINALLY found this one that is fabulous. I love it! So does my wife, who the other day nearly consumed (with chips) an entire 8-oz. container by herself. I admit I use completely different proportions of ingredients–appx. equal volumes of jalapenos and tomatoes. But the basic approach–broiling in oil, etc.–is yours. It’s highly addictive!

    Major question: I’ve been freezing this salsa in small containers. Do you have any idea how long it will last in the freezer? This is my third time to make it–the garden tomatoes and peppers are incredibly abundant. As I type, I’m making a batch using over 7 pounds of tomatoes and over 4 pounds of jalapenos. I desperately hope it will last in the freezer, because this is a major stockpiling of salsa! Please advise.

    - Brian Mustain on September 10, 2014 Reply
    • Hi Brian, So glad you and your wife enjoyed the salsa! I haven’t tried freezing if myself but since it’s a cooked salsa, rather than fresh, I think it should freeze very well for at least a few months. Some of the liquid may separate out when you defrost, or it might get a little watery, but you can correct that by reheating.

      - Jenn on September 12, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    This is just so delicious. It is THE BEST way to use up an over abundance of delicious organic tomatoes from my CSA. I used avocado oil fromBJs instead of veg oil, and in a smaller amount than you advised and it was still awesome. So many go to recipes on this site. Can’t wait for fall recipes.

    - Claire on August 31, 2014 Reply
  • Seriously the best salsa recipe I have ever made. Can’t get enough of it. I cut the salt in half because I was serving with salted tortilla chips and that worked out just fine for my taste. I would would serve this over red snapper fillets and be in heaven. Gonna try that later!
    Thank you!

    - jo on August 31, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Addictive is right! Used tomatoes and peppers from my garden. Beautiful combination of flavors..added a bit more cilantro, because i can’t get enough. Will be serving this for a poolside get together and then giving to friends in jars, as another cook recommended!

    - sheila on August 23, 2014 Reply
  • I don’t own a food processor can I use a blender or Nutrabullet ?

    - Don Dunn on July 26, 2014 Reply
    • Sure, Don, either would work fine; just be sure not to over-process as the salsa should be slightly chunky.

      - Jenn on July 27, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I was wandering if adding chili pepper would enhance the flavor or would it be overpowering.

    - ryan stroh on July 22, 2014 Reply
    • Hi Ryan, What type of chili pepper did you have in mind?

      - Jenn on July 23, 2014 Reply
      • 5 stars

        I was actually thinking of chili powder.

        - ryan stroh on July 23, 2014 Reply
        • Ahh, ok. You could add some chili powder along with the cumin — the flavor would be nice. Just go easy at first; you can always add more to taste at the end.

          - Jenn on July 25, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I served this at a dinner party recently….to someone who lives in Mexico for most of the year. As I was bringing it outside, I thought: What am I doing?!! He gave it great reviews, and so did the rest of the group! Excellent smokey, charred taste with a little kick. I did throw in a little extra cilantro.

    - Tari on July 17, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    This is what you make when your tomato harvest is more plentiful then planned. Everything about this recipe was so simple. I used only two of the serranos, and it gave plenty of kick to the salsa. Also, I used the juice of a whole lime. This morning my husband took the salsa into work. His coworkers raved over how delicious it was, and what a keeper I am. Thank you so much Once Upon a Chef for elevating the status of this newlywed bride. Your site is my go to for no fail recipes.

    - Juliane McDavid on July 14, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I love making my own salsa and this recipe is excellent. I happened to have some avocado oil from a warehouse club, and it has a high smoke point so I used it on vegetables. Another 5 star recipe.

    - Claire on July 7, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I have made this several times to try to replicate our favorite restaurant’s smoked salsa–it doesn’t just replicate it, it’s better! We love this recipe exactly as written, maybe with little extra lime at the end.

    - Tierney on July 5, 2014 Reply
  • Can the salsa recipe be prepared using tomatoes that are whole in the freezer?

    - Lynne Immell on July 3, 2014 Reply
    • Hi Lynne, Yes that should work fine. Hope you enjoy it!

      - Jenn on July 3, 2014 Reply
  • Can this be canned?

    - jennifer on May 28, 2014 Reply
    • Hi Jennifer, The recipe hasn’t been tested for canning, so not sure it would be safe. Sorry!

      - Jenn on June 2, 2014 Reply
  • I have made batches and batches of this salsa. I can’t bring myself to buy store bought and I was relieved to see how easy it is. Most of the time I do not modify this recipe. However, my father is an avid gardener and loves to grow spicy peppers in a dozen different varieties. He convinced me to put about half of one of his smoked habaneros in a batch and it was amazing! For me the smokiness really brought out the sweetness of the roasted veggies. This one is definitely a winner.

    - Izze on November 8, 2013 Reply
  • Love this recipe. My family is not onion-friendly, so I was nervous about this, but it worked well. Served it with blue corn chips. Very pretty.

    - F. Shea on November 5, 2013 Reply
  • Why would this recipe not work for canning? I have an abundance of grape tomatoes that I will use for this recipe. I have another recipe for zesty salsa that I can can using a hot water bath. Wondering about doing it for this recipe or if I should just freeze this salsa in pint ball jars. Thanks for sharing!

    - Shoshana on August 25, 2013 Reply
  • Excellent! Really impressed my guests! I don’t have a broiler so simply roasted in oven at high heat and it was still great. I had a little left over eggplant that I threw in which also worked well and added a little thickness I’m assuming! A friend suggested I add a fruit such as mango- maybe next time!

    - Colleen on August 8, 2013 Reply
  • Hi Jenn, this was SOOOOO good!!! I can eat it just by itself! After trying a number of (mostly fresh) salsa recipes, I finally found the one. This will be my go to salsa from now on. Thank you so much!!!

    - Kim on July 21, 2013 Reply
    • So glad you liked it, Kim…it’s my favorite too :)

      - Jenn on July 21, 2013 Reply
  • OH MY GOSH, this is so good, This is now my salsa of choice. I make it all the time and keep in a mason jar. I also have given it as a gift in a mason jar. I also put more Cilantro in for me, because I love Cilantro.

    - patricia Barna on March 9, 2013 Reply
  • Jenn, this salsa was fabulous! It actually reminded me a bit of the Tortilla Factory salsa – a good Reston memory :) Thanks!

    - Ashley on November 11, 2012 Reply
  • does this taste good without the hot peppers? this looks amazing but i dont like really spicy foods

    - Eliana on October 3, 2012 Reply
    • Hi Eliana, I’d still use at least one pepper, but you can remove the seeds to get rid of most of the heat. Hope that helps

      - Jenn on October 3, 2012 Reply
  • I made this recipe when I found myself with a massive amount of tomatoes from my garden. I doubled the amount of tomatoes and used 2 jalapenos and it tasted great! My husband said that it’s the best salsa I’ve ever made…I can live with that!

    - Jen on October 2, 2012 Reply
  • I loved this salsa, paired it with beef tacos. The best homemade salsa I’ve made thus far. I added some extra garlic but otherwise followed the recipe. My wife found it spicy but delicious, whereas I could have stood some extra heat.

    - Andrew on October 2, 2012 Reply
  • This can be done stove top several ways as well. In a deep pot all the same ingredients then blend. Also roared stove top on a cast-iron flat griddle. :) family methods passed on generations! :)

    - Monica Armijo-Miranda on October 2, 2012 Reply
  • Thank you for this recipe. I have been looking for this recipe for a while now since my brother started making me homemade salsa. I have tried to make my own but it never seems to turn out like I want it. I love the way this is so simple and easy to prepare and I can’t wait to try it because it looks delicious! My husband and I like it hot but if you don’t use all the roasted peppers you can save them for another recipe. It looks perfect!

    - Rhoda on October 2, 2012 Reply
  • Oh my, I have been looking for a salsa recipe since my brother started making me homemade salsa but the few I have tried just didn’t turn out right. This looks so simple and easy and delicious! Can’t wait to try it. I love the way you made it so easy to prepare. Yaynesss, we will never be without to die for roasted salsa again. My husband and I practically drink it according to my brother. HaHa

    - Rhoda on October 2, 2012 Reply
  • I loved this using fresh tomatoes and I used sea salt and garlic powder sprinkled over vegetables before going in to the oven. Great for chips and dip and also topping for any mexican dish.

    - Bobby Faulk on October 2, 2012 Reply
  • I made this salsa last Friday night. It vanished. I made this salsa again on Wednesday night. Gone. Going back to the store today for more ingredients. Best salsa ever!!! Super easy to make and the flavor is phenomenal.

    - Bonnie on September 21, 2012 Reply
  • Hi Jen, love your recipes and willo make this one. but can you tell me how to print out ONLY the recips. This one took 16 pages to print. Is there a version that prints the recipe only. Thanks Nancyh

    - Nancy Biltekoff on September 19, 2012 Reply
    • Hi Nancy, Oh my goodness, 16 pages! Yes, there is definitely a way to print out the recipes only…Right under the recipe title (at the bottom of the post), there is a red button that says “printable recipe.” Click that and it will take you to the recipe only page. Let me know if you have any problems. Thanks!

      - Jenn on September 19, 2012 Reply
  • Without a doubt the best salsa I have ever made. I used the tomatoes that I grew from seed, which started to go bad, along with my hot peppers and everyone wanted to know MY recipe. Thanks for sharing this..

    - Norm B on September 19, 2012 Reply
  • Hi Jenn – First let me say I so enjoy reading your blog! I made your salsa today and it turned out fantastic! I used jalapeños instead of the serranos and it was perfect heat for me. I am new to the GF world and so appreciate all the delicious recipes you post. I plan on making your gf stuffing for thanksgiving. Cheers!

    - Maribeth on September 18, 2012 Reply
  • Hi Jenn,
    This was fabulous. Made it without planning, so I needed to add a few shallots to supplement the garlic, and didn’t have serrano peppers, so added a bit of chipotle chili powder. Tasted great just after pulsing, even better after the salt (only used 1 1/3 Tbsp for low sodium) and even better after the cilantro and lime. It was fabulous as a topping on baked chicken, also on couscous, then just straight up. How many days do you think this could stay in the fridge (if one had any leftovers!). Thanks for a great dinner!

    - bootcamp chef on September 17, 2012 Reply
    • So glad you enjoyed! It keeps well in the fridge for up to a week.

      - Jenn on September 18, 2012 Reply
  • Made this today and it was sooo good! I used 1 jalapeño and one hot banana pepper and it had just enough kick to it. Thanks for a great easy recipe!

    - Kelley c on September 16, 2012 Reply
  • So I made this. I just drizzled oil on instead of measuring out the whole amount. I have to tell you I only used three peepers and it came out way to hot. It smells so good, was easy to make with ingredients I grabbed at the farmers market and out of the garden, but way to hot for me.

    - Gamermom on September 15, 2012 Reply
    • So sorry you found it too spicy. As mentioned in the comments above, there can be a lot of variation in heat in peppers of the same variety. The best way to go is to roast 3 peppers and blend them in one at a time until you are happy with the heat.

      - Jenn on September 16, 2012 Reply
  • Hi, This looks very yummy and mouth watering. definitely i will try and let u know. you have described it really good anyone can follow it . thanks for a wonderful recipe.

    - sunidhi on September 15, 2012 Reply
  • Can you use olive oil rather than vegetable oil or is there a reason?

    - ccwallace on September 14, 2012 Reply
    • Hi Celia, Olive oil has a lower smoking point than vegetable oil and may burn under the broiler.

      - Jenn on September 14, 2012 Reply
  • Can the salsa be canned?

    - Cathy on September 13, 2012 Reply
    • Hi Cathy, Sorry, this recipe is not for canning.

      - Jenn on September 14, 2012 Reply
  • OMG, I love salsa and chips! I am going to make it for one of my pot lucks.
    Thanks Jenn

    - Liz on September 13, 2012 Reply
  • It’s under the broiler now! Will bring to my book club meeting tonight. Smells delicious. Thanks, Jenn!

    - Liz on September 13, 2012 Reply
  • I don’t normally make salsa. But this sounds particularly good and pack with wonderful flavors. :) I will give this a try soon.

    - Amy Tong on September 13, 2012 Reply
  • I have been wanting to try making fresh salsa for a while now. I think I’ll give this recipe a whirl!

    - Ashley @ Wishes and Dishes on September 13, 2012 Reply
  • Love making fresh salsa! Looks great!

    - Jessie on September 13, 2012 Reply
  • Sounds delicious! Can I roast this in the oven as opposed to placing under a broiler?

    - Mimi on September 13, 2012 Reply
    • Hi Mimi, I suppose it would work at a very high temp (475), but not sure you’d get the same nice char on the tomatoes.

      - Jenn on September 13, 2012 Reply
  • Do you skin the tomatoes after roasting? and if not, will it leave a shriveled skin in the salsa?

    - Jenell on September 13, 2012 Reply
    • Hi Jennell, No need to skin the tomatoes…once you puree it the skins just blend into the salsa. It’s actually important to leave them on as the char from broiling contributes great flavor.

      - Jenn on September 13, 2012 Reply
  • Sounds so good. It will be on my menu this weekend.

    - Jane on September 13, 2012 Reply
  • Can this salsa be frozen?

    - Jerrie Smith on September 13, 2012 Reply
    • Hi Jerrie, I don’t see why not…since it’s cooked and pureed, you don’t have to worry about any fresh cut vegetables getting mushy.

      - Jenn on September 13, 2012 Reply
  • Sounds super easy and so delectable. I am always impressed with your recipes. I have never been dissappointed…ever! Thank you!!!

    - Leah on September 13, 2012 Reply
  • Whoa..3-4 serrano peppers….this must be pretty hot…..I’m going to make it, but will definitely tone it down. It looks delicious!

    - Susan on September 13, 2012 Reply
    • Hi Susan, I typically use 3 Serrano peppers…it’s spicy but not crazy hot.

      - Jenn on September 13, 2012 Reply
    • In my experience, any style of peppers will have more or less heat, even of the same variety. As I also don’t like stuff “nuclear” hot, I slice the peppers, remove ( & set aside) the veins and seeds. Process as directed, leaving it slightly chunkier than normal. Sample, and then add veins & seeds as needed to your liking. Works with other recipes also, as the heat is typically in those veins and seeds.

      - Norm on September 13, 2012 Reply
      • Thanks, Norm. I agree, sometimes peppers of the same variety really vary in terms of heat. For anyone concerned about the heat level, I’d add that you can always roast 3 or 4 peppers, but only puree one or two into the salsa. When it’s very chunky, taste it — if it needs more heat, you can always blend in the others.

        - Jenn on September 13, 2012 Reply
      • Chilies add more than heat. They add flavour, too. I always remove seeds and veins from chilies because they add a disagreeable bitter taste.

        I made this recipe last night and it was excellent — thanks! The one substitution i made was instead of serranos, we used chipotles en adobo. It added a bit more smokiness to the salsa. Wonderful!

        - Matt on November 18, 2012 Reply
    • Forgot to mention……use latex gloves when seeding peppers, or wash your hands well after doing so. DON’T rub your eyes until the hands are well washed. The capsacin (sp?) is where the heat is, and will definitely irritate tender skin.

      - Norm on September 13, 2012 Reply
  • What a small world!!! Having guests this weekend so I just made another container of your Italian dressing. and about to make my salsa. I’ll use your recipe instead.

    - barbara on September 13, 2012 Reply
  • Wow! That DOES sound easy! Must try!

    - Biddy on September 13, 2012 Reply

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