Homemade Salsa

Make your own salsa. It’s cheaper and tastier than the commercial varieties.

homemade salsa

Since we eat so much Mexican food at our house, we eat a lot of salsa. When we first married, I paid $4 for a 16-ounce container of salsa fresca every week. It was refrigerated and I thought it was. the. best.


Once I realized that I could make twice as much for half the price, I quit buying it. On the occasions where I’m lazy or in a hurry and I’ve bought the old varieties, we’ve been sorely disappointed. Why buy it when you can make it better and cheaper?

This is the recipe I prepare weekly, using canned tomatoes. Later in the summer when fresh garden tomatoes are in abundance, I’ll share another version. This one is almost as good and more readily available. The amount of heat will depend on which chili you use (serrano will be hotter, crushed red pepper will be mild.)

Cost breakdown:
canned tomatoes, generally available for $1
cilantro $0.15
onion $0.25
serrano $0.01 (really!)
lemon juice $0.10

Total cost for 4 cups of salsa: $1.51

Making your own is a great way to save money on a good eat.

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  1. We always make homemade salsa also! My FIL is from Chile and his is amazing, Super similar to yours, but he also adds a clove or two of garlic, and uses green onions instead of sweet. We also add fresh tomatoes (seeded) when in season. Delicious!

  2. Have you tried freezing this?

  3. Michelle says:

    I’ve been making almost this same recipe for years! I use a 14 oz can of diced tomatoes and a small can of store brand rotel ( both drained) instead! Then I put it all in the blender and pulse a few times. I stumbled across it looking for a copy cat recipe of our favorite “Chili’s” salsa. No one ever believes that it has no fresh tomatoes, and it is soooooooo good!

  4. I also LOVE mexican food. And tortilla chips add up & are never as good as in the restraunts. I make my own. Heat up some grease (or use a fryer) cut corn tortillas into trianges ( i use a pizza cutter) & fry them on both sides until golden brown & crispy. Remove & cool on a paper plate w/ paper towels(to absorb the grease) Sprinkle w/ salt. I have tried cutting back on salt, but these just aren’t as good without the salt. They are a hit anywhere I go. I always fry up a whole package of corn tortillas & store them in a zip baggy to keep fresh.

  5. I’m curious about the cost breakdown for your salsa. I decided to try and make it this week, and it cost me $.99 at SuperTarget for a bunch of cilantro. 28 oz. of tomatos are $1.30 at my store. All in all, the price breakdown of the salsa looks to me to be the same as buying a jar of salsa in the store. I can see that it would taste better, but I don’t see how it’s cheaper…

    • Jessica says:

      @Ellen, that’s a great point. My target prices do effect it if you are looking at it from an econ standpoint. My husband doesn’t care for jarred salsa, so I’d make it anyway. But, I generally buy the tomatoes for $1 or less and cilantro regularly goes on sale here for $0.25 to $0.50, so it is more economical for us in the market we live in. (Southern California) If you have a source of free homegrown tomatoes, that makes it even moreso.

  6. Coming over from Life As Mom and I have to say, I NEED to get on the ball and make some homemade salsa! It’s always so much better than store bought, this recipe seems easy enough for me! Thank you 🙂

  7. i can’t wait to try this recipe and take to our 4th of July party…I’m nervous though since my cousin makes his pretty good and it all comes from his garden, not sure how mine will rank.

  8. Can we get a link for the ‘summer’ version? I’m going to see if I can hit up friends for their garden tomatoes! 🙂

  9. Courtney says:

    If it freezes well, I can see it being cheaper using a #10 can of diced tomatoes from Costco. Thank you, I’m excited to try this!

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