Cooked Salsa

This salsa recipe is the one that I make in abundance during the summer months for canning purposes. That way, in theory, we have lots of salsa to open during the winter months.

Last year’s salsa only made it to October. So either we eat a lot of salsa, which we do, or I really need to make a lot more. I’m determined to do that this month.

I refer to it as a cooked salsa, as opposed to my go-to fresh salsa, shown below, which requires summer ripe tomatoes.

The great thing about making your own salsa is that you can make it to your own specifications. My husband doesn’t like salsa that’s too vinegarry and I don’t like them sweet, which many purchased salsas are.

I will give you an approximation of my cooked salsa recipe, but I encourage you to create your own recipe that fits you. I don’t like my salsa to be burning hot, but I do like heat and lots of flavor flavor. This salsa recipe contains all of the important basic ingredients that guarantee a wonderful, flavorful salsa. But tweak it as you like.

Cooked Salsa

Lots of tomatoes, about 5 pounds, of any variety but all red
4 tablespoons oil of choice, I use olive oil
3 white onions, finely chopped
1 red bell pepper, diced
6 green chile peppers like Anaheim or Hatch chiles, finely chopped
6 jalapeno peppers, diced
1 head of garlic, peeled, minced
2 – 28 ounce cans crushed tomatoes, or equivalent product
2 bunches of fresh cilantro, mostly leaves, chopped
1 heaping tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon coriander
1 tablespoon dried oregano
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
A few pinches of cayenne pepper, optional
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
Juice of 1 lemon

To begin, peel and seed the tomatoes. To peel tomatoes, get a pot of water boiling on the stove, and have a bowl of icy cold water set to the side. Cut a shallow X opposite the stem end of each tomato, and place a few at a time in the boiling water for about 45 seconds. Remove them to the icy water and repeat with the remaining tomatoes. Let rest on towels once they’re out of the cold water for about one minute. With a paring knife, the peel with come off easily. Then core each one, and remove the seeds.

Chop and place in a bowl; set aside.

Next, chop the onions, finely chop the red bell pepper, stem, de-seed and chop the chile peppers, and dice the garlic. I used a gadget for much of this chopping.

In a large pot, pour in the oil and heat it over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté them for about 5 minutes. Then add the bell pepper, chile pepper, and garlic dice to the onion mixture and cook gently for about a minute.

Add the fresh and canned tomatoes. Notice I’m using New Jersey crushed tomatoes. It’s a great product!

Cook the mixture, uncovered, for at least 30 minutes. It should not be watery. If it is, cook a little longer. Then add the cilantro and seasonings. Taste.

Stir in the vinegar and cook for about one minute, then stir in the lemon juice. The theory is that the zing is needed from the vinegar, but the lemon juice removes the odor from it. Turn off the stove and let the salsa cool before adding to sterilized jars, if you’re canning..

This post is not a primer on canning but I recommend doing it. We’ve all worried that food will explode, but it won’t! Get yourself a few products, plus a good book. There are safety concerns, but canning is not a big deal.

I hope you enjoyed this recipe. If you want to make salsa during winter months, you can simply use all canned tomatoes, perhaps a mixture of diced and crushed, depending how chunky you want your salsa.

One can certainly get more creative as well, using roasted chile peppers, including chile pepper powders, adding other ingredients like beans, corn, and peaches. It will all work!

By Published On: August 16th, 202120 Comments on Cooked Salsa

About the Author: Chef Mimi

As a self-taught home cook, with many years in the culinary profession, I am passionate about all things food-related. Especially eating!


  1. angiesrecipes August 4, 2021 at 6:45 AM - Reply

    We love salsa too, but prefer it raw…the wraps look really tasty.

    • chef mimi August 23, 2021 at 3:40 PM - Reply

      I love it both ways. They both serve a purpose, I think.

  2. Dorothy's New Vintage Kitchen August 4, 2021 at 8:14 AM - Reply

    Looks delicious! Isn’t it funny, Mimi, how we think we have stocked up and yet we run out of our treasures so early. Every year, I make more and more pesto for the freezer, and every year I run out way too soon. This year, I made it to February, but I thought I had packed enough to last until June!

    • chef mimi August 23, 2021 at 3:39 PM - Reply

      I do okay on pesto, because I have to make tons for my husband. Salsa, yes, I run out.

  3. kitchenriffs August 4, 2021 at 9:45 AM - Reply

    Love salsa, both the fresh versions and the cooked. Your recipe looks excellent — thanks.

    • chef mimi August 23, 2021 at 3:39 PM - Reply

      Thanks John. I love both. I used to order Walt Garrison salsa by the case, but when the pandemic started, they shut down. So I’m back to making my own!

  4. BERNADETTE August 4, 2021 at 11:34 AM - Reply

    If you can’t get San Marzano, Jersey’s are the next best. I am finishing up my tomatoes right now and will get some more for your recipe. I have found these also make great hostess presents and Christmas presents.

    • chef mimi August 23, 2021 at 3:38 PM - Reply

      You know, I’m really into Jersey tomatoes right now! So so good.

  5. Frank Fariello August 17, 2021 at 6:41 AM - Reply

    Sounds really nice, Mimi! I’m a big fan of fresh salsa in the summer but have never made cooked salsa. Would you use it in the same way as fresh?

    • chef mimi August 17, 2021 at 4:22 PM - Reply

      Absolutely! On eggs, quesadillas… just about anything. I love fresh as well.

  6. Molly Pisula August 17, 2021 at 3:24 PM - Reply

    I don’t think I’ve ever made a cooked salsa–but I bet the different flavors meld together really well! I’m intrigued to try it. And you’re right, a jar of this would hit the spot in December!

    • chef mimi August 20, 2021 at 11:57 AM - Reply

      We enjoy a lot of Mexican and Southwestern dishes, so salsa is a really important condiment in this house! Year round!

  7. 2pots2cook August 18, 2021 at 7:22 AM - Reply

    Love, love cooked salsa !!!!!! When making our batches, I use basil, garlic and pepeoncini. When using it to make stuffed bell peppers or any other dinner, I add the herb depending on the inspiration :-) :-) :-)

    • chef mimi August 20, 2021 at 11:56 AM - Reply

      Sounds wonderful! And you’re right, it’s really just a tomato-based condiment, so you can switch it up any which way!

  8. Ann Coleman August 18, 2021 at 3:33 PM - Reply

    I’ve never made my own salsa before, but I do make guacamole. I’ll have to try this recipe!

    • chef mimi August 20, 2021 at 11:56 AM - Reply

      It’s just like buying salsa in a jar, but often it tastes better!

  9. cookingontheweekends August 20, 2021 at 3:20 PM - Reply

    So great to have recipes like this at the ready during the colder months. Sometimes I make what I think is a ton of something, and it only lasts a month or so. My theory is to always make much more than you think is already a ton. ;-) I really like a cooked salsa and don’t make them too often. I will have to make this one — and soon. ~Valentina

    • chef mimi August 20, 2021 at 3:59 PM - Reply

      That’s a great theory!!! It’s a lot of work up front, but so worth it.

  10. Hannah Kaminsky August 23, 2021 at 9:22 AM - Reply

    What a fantastic recipe! I would have a hard time making it last beyond a month or two as well.

    • chef mimi August 23, 2021 at 9:23 AM - Reply

      Right. We eat a lot of salsa in this house!

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