Restaurant Style Salsa

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Restaurant Style Salsa that will keep you coming back for more! Bright and intensely flavored with garden-fresh tomatoes, garlic, jalapeno, onions, cumin seeds, oregano, cilantro, sea salt and a fresh squeeze of lime just before serving.

We LOVE Mexican fare and could eat it every day! The colors, aroma, and freshness of the ingredients alone are intoxicating but then the flavor kicks in and I’ll wave my white flag. 

Restaurant Style Salsa with freshly made tortilla chips to the left hand side.

Ever wondered what sets our Restaurant-Style Salsa apart? It’s more than just a blend of ingredients. We meticulously cook this salsa to perfection, allowing the flavors to meld and the texture to thicken, resulting in a rich and satisfying dip that clings effortlessly to your favorite chips.

Explore our guide on Blanching Tomatoes! It’s the key to effortlessly removing tomato skins, ensuring your salsa achieves the perfect balance of flavors.

Ingredients ready to be cooked for Restaurant Style Salsa.

Understanding the Differences: Salsa, Pico de Gallo, and More

Salsa and Pico de Gallo are both beloved condiments in Mexican cuisine, but they have distinct differences:

  1. Salsa: Salsa refers to a sauce typically made with tomatoes, onions, chili peppers, and various seasonings. It can be cooked or raw and comes in a variety of textures and flavors. Salsa is often used as a dip for chips or a topping for tacos, burritos, and other dishes.

  2. Pico de Gallo: Also known as salsa fresca or salsa cruda, Pico de Gallo is a type of salsa made with fresh, uncooked ingredients such as diced tomatoes, onions, jalapenos, cilantro, and lime juice. It has a chunky texture and a bright, refreshing flavor. Pico de Gallo is commonly served as a topping for tacos, nachos, and grilled meats.

  3. Cooked Salsa, can take on many different forms it has a thinner viscosity that’s luxurious in texture and open to interpretation. Roasted, smoked, or grilled vegetables, fruits, and herbs are all game and can be tossed in at will!

While both Salsa and Pico de Gallo share similar ingredients, the main difference lies in their texture and preparation method. Salsa is often blended to achieve a smooth consistency, while Pico de Gallo is finely chopped for a chunky texture. Both are delicious accompaniments to a wide range of dishes, adding vibrant flavor and color.

Ingredients that have been cooked down for Restaurant Style Salsa.

The salsa available in grocery stores is cooked at low temperatures to ensure shelf stability. While convenient, it doesn’t compare to the outstanding quality of preparing your own fresh batch at home.

Safely Storing Homemade Salsa

When storing homemade salsa, it’s essential to ensure food safety and maintain its freshness. Here are some tips:

  1. Refrigeration: Store homemade salsa in airtight containers or jars and keep them refrigerated. Properly sealed containers help prevent bacteria growth and maintain the salsa’s flavor.

  2. Use clean utensils: Always use clean utensils or spoons when serving salsa to avoid contamination.

  3. Shelf life: Homemade salsa typically stays fresh in the refrigerator for about 5 to 7 days. Beyond this period, its quality may decline, and it’s advisable to discard any leftovers.

  4. Labeling: Label the containers with the date you made the salsa to keep track of its freshness. This helps you know when it’s time to consume or discard it.

By following these storage practices, you can enjoy your homemade salsa safely for longer periods.

Restaurant Style Salsa in a yellow bowl with a freshly made tortilla chip being dipped.

Tip: Recipes are like roadmaps—they provide a path to creating a dish, but there’s plenty of room for interpretation and personalization. Our recipe serves as a starting point, offering insights into how to craft a delicious dish. Feel free to experiment, customize, and tailor it to your taste preferences!

  • For a milder salsa, halve the jalapeno and remove the seeds.
  • If you prefer a fiery kick, substitute the jalapeno with a ghost pepper.
  • Not a fan of cilantro? Skip it and use your preferred herbs instead.
  • Craving a sweeter salsa? Grill some mango and add it just before blending.
  • Prefer a chunkier texture? Skip the pureeing step altogether.

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Restaurant Style Salsa in a yellow bowl with a freshly made tortilla chip being dipped.

How to Make Restaurant-Style Salsa

Yellow crock with Restaurant Style Salsa garnished with cilantro.

Restaurant Style Salsa

Restaurant Style Salsa that will keep you coming back for more! Bright and intensely flavored with garden-fresh tomatoes, garlic, jalapeno, onions, cumin seeds, cilantro, sea salt and a fresh squeeze of lime just before serving. 
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 2 quarts
Author: Mean Green Chef


  • 4 pounds blanched vine ripe tomatoes, cored + roughly chopped
  • 1/2 large white onion, roughly chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, smashed + chopped
  • 1 whole jalapeno, sliced (deseed if you want less heat)
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, washed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin seeds, sub 1/2 teaspoon powder or to taste
  • 2 teaspoons oregano, dried
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher sea salt, or to taste


  • Toss all ingredients into a heavy-bottomed saucepan (terra cotta is amazing if you have it). 
    Ingredients ready to be cooked for Restaurant Style Salsa.
  • Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat and cook for 35 minutes, or until the components have cooked down and become soft and fragrant.
    Ingredients that have been cooked down for Restaurant Style Salsa.
  • Blend with a hand blender or carefully pour the ingredients into a food processor or standard blender and whiz for 30 seconds. 
    Ingredients that have been run through the food processor for Restaurant Style Salsa.
  • Return the salsa back to the pot and continue to cook over medium-low heat for another 15 minutes.
    Pureed Restaurant Style Salsa ready for the final cook.
  • Cool and then serve with your favorite chips.
    Restaurant Style Salsa in a yellow bowl with a freshly made tortilla chip being dipped.


  • Prep time is approximate.
  • Keep homemade salsa in a tightly sealed container in your refrigerator up to 4-6 days.
  • You can also freeze in airtight containers or heavy-duty freezer bags for 10-12 months.
  • Thaw overnight in the fridge, you may need to cook off excess water due to freezing. Cook down until it's reached the desired texture.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Creative Recipe Inspiration

Indulge in a burst of flavor with our Blackened Chicken and Mango Salsa. Succulent chicken breasts, seared to perfection with a spicy blackening seasoning, harmonize beautifully with the refreshing sweetness of ripe mangoes, creating a tantalizing dish that’s as visually stunning as it is delicious.

Savor the zesty flavors of Mexico with our Roasted Salsa Verde. Made from fire-roasted tomatillos, jalapeños, and onions, this tangy salsa boasts a smoky depth that perfectly complements the bright, fresh taste of cilantro and lime. Drizzle it over tacos, spoon it onto grilled meats, or simply enjoy it with crispy tortilla chips.

Step Into My Kitchen!

Hey there, fellow food enthusiast! Welcome to Mean Green Chef, where every dish tells a story and every recipe is a labor of love. I’m thrilled to share a bit about myself and the journey that led me here, stirring pots and sprinkling spices for over three decades!

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    Please Share the Goodness!

    Join the Conversation

    1. You always makes me hungry? Another epic
      recipe. I can have salsa in my everyday meal. There’s
      nothing like a homemade salsa. Thanks for sharing your recipe.

      1. Wow, Jane, thank you so much for the amazing compliment! It’s a terrific salsa, thank you so much for being a part of our kitchen! 🥰

    2. I probably knew the difference between cooked and uncooked salsa but it was nice to see such a clear explanation, plus, of course, the use of the word “viscosity”, sigh. I love how you are using all those beautiful tomatoes, too. I usually make salsa cruda because it’s easy to adjust the heat for various family members but I’m going to try a cooked one.

      1. Thanks so much, Beth! Excited to hear how you like the cooked version, I do love a good cruda too but there’s something special about a cooked version!😋

    3. I love salsa and I love putting it on so many different foods! Yum!

      1. Agreed, Erika! I LOVE it on baked potatoes, maybe weird but so good! 😋

    4. Chips and salsa are a complete meal for me! I’m excited to try out your recipe. I love that you use simple everyday ingredients for this salsa.

      1. lol Yes, they really could make a meal, Tamara! Simple and fresh is a great way to cook 🤗

    5. Wow, this looks exactly like my favorite restaurant’s salsa. Many a thank you for this recipe!

      1. It’s restaurant style all day long, I hope you love it as much as we do, Angela! 😋

    6. I could eat salsa every day!! I didn’t realize that salsa could be cooked, I always thought it was fresh and mashed down! I learned something new today, haha!

      1. Sweet, Kim, so glad you learned something new here today! It’s so good and I really hope you give it a go sometime, trust me if you love salsa you WILL LOVE our recipe! 🙂

    7. I love making homemade salsa and this recipe looks incredible! I haven’t cooked it before blending like you do so I will definitely have to give it a try!

      1. Seriously, Morgan, if you love salsa I’m 100% sure you’ll love this recipe!!! Please be sure to let us know how it goes 🤗

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