Recipes » Canning and Preserving Recipes » Easy Basic Salsa Recipe for Canning

Easy Basic Salsa Recipe for Canning

Use this easy home canning recipe for Basic Salsa with fresh tomatoes, onions, and peppers to keep fresh summer flavors in your pantry all year round.
4.9 from 46 votes
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 45 minutes
Jars of finished basic salsa lined up on a kitchen towel.

Use this easy home canning recipe for Basic Salsa with fresh tomatoes, onions, and peppers to keep fresh summer flavors in your pantry all year round. You can make it as mild or spicy as you like and add it to all your southwest recipes!

I’m on a canning kick around here. How can I not be with all the great produce that’s available this time of year?

Jars of finished basic salsa lined up on a kitchen towel.

Today I’m sharing my basic canning recipe for salsa. The tomatoes are still coming in and peppers are ready, too, so it was time to go ahead and put up a few jars of this deliciousness to keep on hand for the winter.

It’s so nice to open a jar of homemade salsa when it’s cold out and be able to taste those fresh summer tomatoes once more. Mmmmm. A jar of this in my Salsa Chicken recipe in the middle of winter…well, I have to say it’s just fabulous.

This recipe makes five pints. That’s just about right for our household. If you want to make more, you can double or triple the recipe. Just make sure that you keep the same proportions to guarantee that it’s safe for canning.

Be sure to can enough to use in all your favorite southwest recipes! Of course, it’s great as a dip with tortilla chips, but it’s also fantastic added to tacos and burrito bowls, or even in chili.

💗 Why We Love This Recipe


  • Fresh tasting, homemade salsa any time of year.
  • Great way to use up garden tomatoes.
  • The sense of accomplishment you get from making and canning your own!

🥘 Ingredient Notes


  • Tomatoes (I prefer Roma (or paste) tomatoes for salsa, but you can use any variety that you grow or purchase)
  • Onions, Green Bell Pepper, Jalapeno Peppers, Garlic (typical salsa ingredients)
  • Tomato Sauce (enriches the tomato flavor)
  • White Vinegar (I prefer white vinegar because it has a more neutral flavor; it’s posible to use apple cider or other vinegars but the acidity MUST be at least 5%)
  • Sugar (to help mellow and off-set the vinegar flavor)
  • Pickling Salt (used for clarity in the finished product – table salts can cause cloudiness)
  • Fresh Parsley and Fresh Cilantro (you can use all parsley or all cilantro)

You’ll find detailed measurements for all ingredients in the printable version of the recipe at the bottom of this post.

🥫 How to Can Basic Salsa


Before you start, get everything you need together. All your jars, lids, kitchen towels, produce, knives, water bath canner, funnel. Everything. It’s so much easier than having to run around looking for something while you’re in the middle of a canning session.

Prepare the Jars and Lids

Prepare the jars, lids, and rings as usual. You can review how I manage this part of the process in my Favorite Kosher Dills post. Fill the canner about 2/3 to 3/4 with water, bring it to the boil and hold it there until ready to fill the jars. Add your empty clean jars into the canner and let them sterilize while you prepare the salsa.

There is a good bit of prep work involved in this recipe. It’s not difficult at all, just peeling and chopping. And you begin by preparing your tomatoes.

Prep the Tomatoes

Photo collage of tomatoes on a cutting board, in boiling water, and being cooled with ice and water.

I prefer Roma tomatoes for salsa but I also had a few yellow tomatoes on hand, so I included them as well. You can use any combination and type of tomatoes you like.

To make peeling the tomatoes easy, simply drop them into boiling water for one minute. Then drain them and put them into cold water for a few minutes.

Tomatoes being peeled.

The skins will slip right off. It makes the peeling so simple!

Prep the Remaining Ingredients

I debated about whether to include all the chopping and mincing photos here for illustration purposes. After thinking it over, I decided that if you cook at all you certainly know how to dice peppers and onions, so I’m sparing you having to scroll past 15 photos of chopped vegetables!

Chop the tomatoes, onions, green pepper, and jalapenos. I used three medium sized jalapenos for this amount of salsa because we like ours fairly mild. You can add up to nine jalapenos if you like it hotter. You could also substitute a hotter pepper such as serrano if you like, but don’t add more than the equivalent of about nine medium size jalapenos so you don’t upset the pH balance of the recipe and make it unsafe for canning!

Finely mince the garlic. Combine all the ingredients in a stainless steel or enamel saucepan.

Cook the Salsa

Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat and boil gently, uncovered, for 25 minutes or until desired consistency, stirring frequently. Your house will smell like the most delicious Mexican eatery by the time this finishes cooking!

Fill and Process the Jars

Working with one jar at a time, carefully remove a jar from the canner and ladle in the hot salsa to within 1/2 inch of the rim (headspace). Wipe the jar rim with a moist paper towel and apply a lid and ring (just finger tight).

Jars of salsa going into the canner.
Note: These jars have been filled and are now being lowered into the canner. They will be completely covered with boiling water for processing.

Return the filled jars to the canner and lower them into the boiling water. Begin timing when the water returns to a boil. Process pints for 10 minutes at 1-1,000 ft. (20 minutes at 1,001 to 6,000 ft. and 25 minutes above 6,000 ft).

Cool Completely

Finished jars of homemade canned salsa

Remove the hot, processed jars of gorgeous salsa from the canner and set them on a kitchen towel or something similar to give them a little cushion. Let them sit until completely cool – at least 8 hours, preferably overnight. Test to make sure you have complete seals and then store the jars in a cool, dry place until ready to use.

Allow the salsa to sit for four weeks before using. This will allow the flavors to mellow. Use within one year of canning.

❗ Tips


  • After cooking the salsa and before ladling it into the jars, give it a taste. If you think it could use a little more sugar to neutralize the taste of the vinegar, you can add up to one additional tablespoon.
  • If you want to add additional vegetables such as black beans or corn to the salsa, add those after you open the jars for use. Do not add additional items to the recipe. This can alter the pH balance and make your salsa unsafe for canning.

❓ FAQs

Do I have to peel the tomatoes?

Lots of people have asked for a salsa recipe for canning without peeling tomatoes. I will say that you don’t have to peel the tomatoes when making salsa. However, some varieties of tomatoes have skins that become tough and bitter during cooking. Also, many times the peel will separate from the tomatoes while cooking causing you end up with a salsa full of floating tomato skins. So, my advice is to always take the time to peel the tomatoes.

Can I use lime juice instead of vinegar?

Most fresh tomato salsa recipes contain lime juice. However, lime juice does not have adequate acidity to make salsa safe for canning. That’s why vinegar is used.

Can I just freeze the salsa instead of canning it?

You could. Just be aware that once thawed, your tomatoes will not have the same texture. However, you can give them a quick blitz with a stick blender or in the food processor and turn the mixture into a smooth salsa.

Jars of finished canned salsa sitting on a kitchen towel.

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📖 Recipe

Jars of finished basic salsa lined up on a kitchen towel.

Easy Basic Salsa Canning Recipe

Use this easy home canning recipe for Basic Salsa with fresh tomatoes, onions, and peppers to keep fresh summer flavors in your pantry all year round.
4.87 from 46 votes
Print It Rate It Save
Course: Canning and Preserving
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
Servings: 40 servings
Calories: 17kcal
Author: Lana Stuart

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds tomatoes peeled and chopped
  • 3 medium onions finely chopped
  • 1 ½ green bell peppers chopped
  • 3 medium sized jalapeno peppers halved, seeded and chopped (may use up to 9 medium sized jalapenos)
  • 9 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 ½ cups tomato sauce
  • 1 ½ cups white distilled vinegar 5% acidity
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar (may use up to 2 tablespoons total)
  • 1 ½ teaspoons pickling salt
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 ounce Italian parsley chopped (about 1/2 bunch)
  • 1 ounce cilantro chopped (about 1/2 bunch)

Instructions

Prep Work:

  • Before you start, get everything you need together. All your jars, lids, kitchen towels, produce, knives, canner, funnel.
  • Prepare the jars, lids, and rings.
  • Fill the canner about ⅔ to ¾ with water, bring it to the boil and hold it there until ready to fill the jars. Add your empty clean jars into the canner and let them sterilize while you prepare the salsa.

Cook the Salsa:

  • Chop the tomatoes, onions, green pepper, and jalapenos. Finely mince the garlic. Combine all the ingredients in a stainless steel or enamel saucepan.
  • Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat and boil gently, uncovered, for 25 minutes or until desired consistency, stirring frequently.

Fill and Process Jars:

  • Working with one jar at a time, carefully remove a jar from the canner and ladle in the hot salsa to within ½ inch of the rim (headspace). Wipe the jar rim with a moist paper towel and apply a lid and ring (just finger tight).
  • Return the filled jars to the canner and lower them into the boiling water. Begin timing when the water returns to a boil. Process pints for 10 minutes at 1-1,000 ft. (20 minutes at 1,001 to 6,000 ft. and 25 minutes above 6,000 ft).
  • Remove the hot, processed jars from the canner and set them on a kitchen towel. Let them sit until completely cool – at least 8 hours, preferably overnight. Test to make sure you have complete seals and then store the jars in a cool, dry place until ready to use.
  • Allow the salsa to sit for four weeks before using. This will allow the flavors to mellow. Use within one year of canning.

Notes

Makes 5 pints or 10 half-pints. Nutrition is calculated based on a serving size of 1/4 cup.
  • You may use any variety of tomatoes for this recipe. I prefer Roma (or paste) tomatoes.
  • I prefer white vinegar because it has a more neutral flavor; it’s possible to use apple cider or other vinegars but the acidity MUST be at least 5%.
  • The sugar  in the recipe helps to mellow and off-set the vinegar flavor – taste after cooking the salsa and add more if needed (up to 1 additional tablespoon).
  • Pickling salt is used for clarity in the finished product – table salts can cause cloudiness.
  • You can use all parsley or all cilantro.
  • If you want to add additional vegetables such as black beans or corn to the salsa, add those after you open the jars for use. Do not add additional items to the recipe. This can throw off the pH balance and make your salsa unsafe for canning.
You don’t have to peel the tomatoes when making salsa. However, some varieties of tomatoes have skins that become tough and bitter during cooking, so my advice is to take the time to peel.
Most fresh tomato salsa recipes contain lime juice. However, lime juice does not have adequate acidity to make salsa safe for canning. That’s why vinegar is used.

Nutrition Information

Serving: 0.25cup | Calories: 17kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 139mg | Potassium: 145mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 460IU | Vitamin C: 12mg | Calcium: 11mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is calculated by software based on the ingredients in each recipe. It is an estimate only and is provided for informational purposes. You should consult your health care provider or a registered dietitian if precise nutrition calculations are needed for health reasons.

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Recipe Rating




93 Comments

  1. I have a lot of green zebra tomatoes this year. Is it alright to use them maybe mixed with some other types of tomatoes for the salsa? Thanks!

  2. 2 stars
    I am just about to jar the salsa, and couldn’t resist a ‘taste’ test. The overall flavour is perfect, right amount of heat, but… I found the vinegar over powering!!! There were a couple of things that I adjusted in the recipe, simply because I did not have them in my larder:
    #1, I used a 7% white vinegar (recipe does say to use at least 5%), and
    #2, I did not have any green peppers, so omitted them.
    I am at home nursing COVID (tested Positive on Friday morning, it is now Monday) – I live alone, and simply did not want to bother anyone to pick up and deliver green peppers.
    I will continue with the canning process, and hope that the 4-week (I believe the recipe recommended 4 weeks) mellowing time will reduce the vinegar content!! Unless anyone has any other suggestions. I have already added an additional 1Tbsp of Sugar (3 in total) but am reluctant to add anymore as I don’t want to upset the flavour.
    If I were to try the recipe again, I would cut the vinegar to 1/2 cup, and perhaps add 1/2 cup lime juice🤷🏻‍♀️
    I should mention that I am new to canning, and will be (and will not be) disappointed if I have to trash this batch – I went into it with the attitude of ‘Try it and See!!’ Just disappointed that I have used up my fresh tomatoes, (and all of the time spent chopping and mincing, as I do it all manually).
    Gail

    1. Canning is a very exact science and canning recipes should be followed exactly in order to keep the correct pH balance of the ingredients. Canned foods require a specific pH level in order to be shelf-stable and free from botulism. The 5% vinegar in this recipe ensures that stability. The vinegar can’t be substituted with lime juice because it’s not acidic enough. Also, if you omitted the peppers and didn’t increase another vegetable to compensate for them, that could have thrown off the balance of the recipe. You also indicated that you’d added more sugar than the tested recipe allows for which would also throw off the pH. My advice would be to store your salsa in the refrigerator after the jars cool completely. With all the changes you made to the recipe I can’t assure you that your finished product will be safe to consume if stored at room temperature.

  3. 5 stars
    Well. my friends who have tried this salsa said it was my best yet! So Thank you for sharing your recipe! I had very few roma type tomatoes & found that it was basically green pepper, jalapenos and onion in a tomato broth. So I got my hands on some small romas and quickly washed and chopped (no peeling) them. Once I added them, I let salsa boil a bit longer and tried the salsa again just prior to canning. It was excellent! So next time I will make sure to limit the variety of tomatoes that have a lot of seeds or I will remove the jelly and seeds and only use the meaty parts. The majority of the tomatoes I originally started with were indeed small & therefore they had quite a bit of jelly and seeds inside which is why the salsa was more like a tomato based veg soup. This of coarse had nothing to do with the recipe, it was excellent. Thanks again!

  4. I love this recipe for salsa and so does my family,l leave seeds in hot peppers for the perfect heat.
    Thanks Anthony

  5. Hi. I can a lot! And I know the amount has to be exact when water bathing food. I have 2 bushels of tomatoes. How many cups is 3 pounds. I don’t have a kitchen scale. I’ve not really needed one as usually measurements have been in cups or 1 onion or pepper etc. although it could be a large pepper or a small one which could again throw off the acidity in a recipe as cup measurements are not used. Thanks for your help

    1. Hi Terri – First, I would encourage you to invest in an inexpensive kitchen scale. I use mine constantly and they’re well worth the few dollars they cost. As far as the tomatoes, one pound of tomatoes generally yields 1 1/2 cups when peeled and chopped. One medium onion yields about 1 cup chopped and one bell pepper the same.

  6. The recipe states to cook the salsa in a stainless steel or ceramic pot. I do not have these; is it ok to use an anodized nonstick pot?

    1. It actually says to use stainless steel or enamel, not ceramic. That’s because those surfaces are non-reactive with acidic foods. According to a quick Google search “non-reactive types of products include stainless steel, hard anodized, glass, ceramic, enamelware, clay/earthenware, and most nonstick surfaces.”