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 it 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

Print Recipe
Servings: Makes 2-1/2 cups
Cook Time: 10 - 15 Minutes
Total Time: 25 Minutes


  • 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


  1. Preheat broiler. Line rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place tomatoes, onions, garlic and whole Serrano chile peppers with vegetable oil directly on sheet pan and toss with your hands. Broil about 5 inches from heat until softened and charred, 10-15 minutes.
  2. Transfer vegetables and juices to food processor fitted with metal blade. (If you are concerned about spice level, add only one Serrano pepper at this point. You can always blend in the others to taste.) Add salt and cumin and pulse until just slightly chunky. Add cilantro and fresh lime juice, and pulse until cilantro is chopped. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and more lime juice if desired. (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.
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  • Biddy

    Wow! That DOES sound easy! Must try!

  • barbara

    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.

  • Susan

    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!

    • Jenn

      Hi Susan, I typically use 3 Serrano peppers…it’s spicy but not crazy hot.

    • Norm

      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.

      • Jenn

        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.

      • Matt

        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!

    • Norm

      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.

  • Leah

    Sounds super easy and so delectable. I am always impressed with your recipes. I have never been dissappointed…ever! Thank you!!!

  • Jerrie Smith

    Can this salsa be frozen?

    • Jenn

      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.

  • Jane

    Sounds so good. It will be on my menu this weekend.

  • Jenell

    Do you skin the tomatoes after roasting? and if not, will it leave a shriveled skin in the salsa?

    • Jenn

      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.

  • Sounds delicious! Can I roast this in the oven as opposed to placing under a broiler?

    • Jenn

      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.

  • Love making fresh salsa! Looks great!

  • I have been wanting to try making fresh salsa for a while now. I think I’ll give this recipe a whirl!

  • I don’t normally make salsa. But this sounds particularly good and pack with wonderful flavors. :) I will give this a try soon.

  • Liz

    It’s under the broiler now! Will bring to my book club meeting tonight. Smells delicious. Thanks, Jenn!

  • Liz

    OMG, I love salsa and chips! I am going to make it for one of my pot lucks.
    Thanks Jenn

  • Cathy

    Can the salsa be canned?

    • Jenn

      Hi Cathy, Sorry, this recipe is not for canning.

  • ccwallace

    Can you use olive oil rather than vegetable oil or is there a reason?

    • Jenn

      Hi Celia, Olive oil has a lower smoking point than vegetable oil and may burn under the broiler.

  • 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.

  • Gamermom

    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.

    • Jenn

      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.

  • Kelley c

    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!

  • bootcamp chef

    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!

    • Jenn

      So glad you enjoyed! It keeps well in the fridge for up to a week.

  • Maribeth

    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!

  • Norm B

    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..

  • Nancy Biltekoff

    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

    • Jenn

      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!

  • Bonnie

    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.

  • Bobby Faulk

    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.

  • Rhoda

    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

    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!

  • 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! :)

  • Andrew

    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.

  • Jen

    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!

  • Eliana

    does this taste good without the hot peppers? this looks amazing but i dont like really spicy foods

    • Jenn

      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

  • Ashley

    Jenn, this salsa was fabulous! It actually reminded me a bit of the Tortilla Factory salsa – a good Reston memory :) Thanks!

  • patricia Barna

    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.

  • Kim

    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!!!

    • Jenn

      So glad you liked it, Kim…it’s my favorite too :)

  • Colleen

    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!

  • Shoshana

    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!

  • F. Shea

    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.

  • Izze

    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.

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