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Restaurant Style Salsa

The absolute BEST restaurant-style salsa that’s made in the blender in less than 10 minutes! Easy, authentic, and full of Mexican flavor. 

Salsa in a white bowl.
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Authentic Mexican Salsa Recipe

A fresh homemade salsa is sort of my weakness. I’ve tried my fair share of salsas living in AZ and I have to say, this is the best recipe I have tried yet! We make it at least once a month in rotation with my salsa verde. Make sure you have lots of tortilla chips on hand. You have been fairly warned.

I got this restaurant salsa recipe from my friend (who found it in The Pioneer Women Cookbook) and have tweaked it a little here and there over the years until it was just right. All you need to make it are a few simple ingredients: canned tomatoes, onions, cilantro, garlic, salt, and fresh lime juice. Then all you do is combine the ingredients in a blender and pulse it a few times.

This salsa not only tastes great with chips but on top of pretty much anything. We love to make a big batch and serve it on beef tacos or burrito bowls throughout the week. Mmm…soo good! I could eat this stuff daily and never get sick of it. It’s my absolute FAVORITE Mexican appetizer!

Ingredients for Easy Restaurant Salsa

These fresh staple ingredients are simple to store and have on hand at the ready! Blend together all the ingredients for a quick and easy salsa that everyone loves. Gather your friends and family around the table to share some chips and dip together!

Salsa ingredients in blender.

Find the full printable recipe with specific measurements below.

  • Tomatoes: You will need both whole tomatoes drained and a can of Rotel diced tomatoes with green chiles.
  • Onion: Slice and chop the onions into small pieces. You can use either a white onion or a yellow onion.
  • Cilantro: Finely chopped fresh cilantro adds the perfect flavor.
  • Lime juice: Freshly squeezed lime juice gives this salsa a zesty taste.
  • Garlic: Minced garlic is perfect for most recipes. This homemade salsa needs garlic for the earthy flavor.
  • Cumin: Ground cumin is the finishing touch for the restaurant salsa.
  • Salt: Kosher salt is a thicker salt that adds texture and balances the flavors.
  • Sugar: This sweetness is optional and adds that sweet taste to tomatoes and balances out the acidity from the tomatoes.

How to Make Homemade Salsa

This easy salsa comes together in a few simple steps! Place everything in the blender and blend until smooth. It is the perfect flavor and texture every time. Make it chunky or smooth depending on your preference!

  • Blend. Combine all of the ingredients in a blender or food processor.
  • Consistency. Pulse a few times until you get a nice consistency. Taste, and add more spice as needed. Blend until you reach the desired consistency.
  • Refrigerate. Place the salsa in the refrigerator for at least an hour before serving to help marinate the flavors. Serve with tortilla chips or on top of your favorite Mexican dish.

Tips for the Best Restaurant Salsa

Follow these tips to have an amazing salsa recipe! Pick the best tomatoes, make the salsa thick or smooth, and add a pinch of sugar to balance out the acidity. All these and more great tips to help make the best restaurant salsa every time!

  • Tomatoes. Whole canned tomatoes give the salsa an amazing texture. They aren’t too liquid and have great flavor. Feel free to use fresh tomatoes when they are in season. Make sure they’re ripe, with a vibrant red color and sweet smell. I would probably use 10 to 12 red tomatoes, peeled (or about 2 pounds).
  • Consistency. If you like a thicker salsa, I’d recommend draining the juice from the can of whole tomatoes. You can add the juice in if you prefer it thinner.
  • Sugar. It may sound strange, but adding a small pinch of sugar really does make a difference in flavor. The sweetness helps balance out the acidity of the tomatoes.
  • Pulse. This is important! Pulse (don’t blend) the ingredients together. This gives you more control over the consistency. It only takes a few pulses until everything is combined.
  • Let chill. After blending the salsa, let it chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour. The longer it chills, the more flavor it will have.

Flavor Modifications

This recipe is SUPER customizable, meaning you can taste the salsa and easily adjust the flavors as needed. I usually never measure things out and just taste as I go. If you like it spicy, feel free to add in jalapeno and a dash of cumin. Or you can add more cilantro and seasonings to your taste.

  • Spice. If you like heat, throw in a jalapeno. You can use half or even the whole pepper. Just remember, the seeds add an extra spicy flavor, so use them at your own risk. :) You could also use hot Rotel diced tomatoes instead of mild.
  • Garlic. Add in a few more cloves of garlic if you’re a big garlic fan.
  • Lime. For more of a tang, squeeze in extra lime juice.
  • Sugar. As mentioned above, sugar is optional. Adding a small pinch helps balance out the acidity. If you would rather not add it, the salsa will still taste delicious.
  • Spices. I love cumin, so sometimes I’m a little heavy-handed when adding it in. You can also add a sprinkle of cayenne or paprika. Use jalapeños or extra onions for more spice too.

Recipe FAQs

What is the difference between restaurant-style salsa?

Restaurant-style salsa has more of a smooth texture. The ingredients are finely minced and the salsa has a thinner consistency. The blender really helps make it smooth.

Why does Mexican restaurant salsa taste so good?

The key ingredient is cilantro! This makes the cilantro taste like it is straight out of a Mexican restaurant. The sugar does balance the acidity of the tomatoes.

What salsa do most Mexican restaurants use?

Most Mexican restaurants use a table salsa or a salsa roja or salsa de mesa. Restaurants serve fresh salsa and warm fried tortilla chips to every table while they wait for their meal to be made.

Bowl of salsa with tortilla chips.

5 star review

“This is my favorite salsa recipe of all time! I will never use another recipe. It is that perfect restaurant consistency and doesn’t disappoint on flavor!”

– Amanda

How to Store Homemade Salsa

This blender salsa will keep for about two weeks in the fridge, but it never makes it that long around here! I like to store mine in mason jars. They are the perfect size and great for shaking up the salsa before serving.

I don’t typically freeze my homemade salsa because it gets more moisture and liquid in it when thawing. If you decide to freeze, you may need to decrease the liquid a bit.

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Salsa in a white bowl.

Restaurant Style Salsa

4.99 from 133 votes
↑ Click stars to rate now!
Author: Jamielyn Nye
The absolute BEST restaurant style salsa that's made in the blender in less than 10 minutes! Easy, authentic and full of Mexican flavor. 
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 16




  • 28 ounce can whole tomatoes , drained
  • 20 ounces Rotel diced tomatoes and green chiles , 2 cans
  • ¼ cup chopped onion
  • ½ cup cilantro , finely chopped (more or less to taste)
  • 1 ½ Tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon Kosher salt , more to taste
  • Pinch of sugar , optional

If you like your salsa spicy, throw in some jalapeno


    • Combine all of the ingredients in a blender or food processor.
    • Pulse a few times until you get a nice consistency. Taste, and add more spice as needed.
    • Refrigerate for at least an hour before serving to help marinate the flavors. Serve with tortilla chips or on top of your favorite Mexican dish.


    Fresh tomatoes: Feel free to use fresh tomatoes if they are in season. I would probably use 10 to 12 red tomatoes, peeled (or about 2 pounds).
    Serving size: Makes about 6 cups total. 


    Calories: 16kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Sodium: 111mg | Potassium: 166mg | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 135IU | Vitamin C: 8.7mg | Calcium: 26mg | Iron: 0.9mg

    Nutrition provided is an estimate. It will vary based on specific ingredients used.

    Course: Appetizer
    Cuisine: Mexican

    Did you make this recipe? Don’t forget to give it a star rating below!

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