The Best Homemade Salsa for Canning

By Alexandra Caspero on July 3, 2019
With hundreds of 5-Star reviews, this is the BEST homemade salsa. Delicious as soon as you make it, or can to enjoy all year long.
Makes 8 Pints of Salsa

The BEST homemade salsa for canning. Have fresh tomatoes? Then you’ll want to make this salsa, either hot or mild. It’s so delicious and inexpensive to make!

I wish I could invite all of you over to my house so you could have a bite of this homemade salsa for canning. It might be one of the best things that’s ever come out of my kitchen.

My mother-in-law brought me 75 pounds of tomatoes last week… which sounded really good until I saw exactly how many tomatoes 75 pounds really is. I naively thought I could make salsa, homemade tomato sauce and canned diced tomatoes in a single afternoon, which turned into 2 days of non-stop salsa making.

The hours are worth it. I’m currently looking at 60 jars of salsa in my kitchen, of which my husband has already gone through 3 of them in a week. Oh yeah, this salsa is drinkable.

I’m writing this recipe as one to be canned, but you don’t need to. It will make a lot of salsa but you could also pour it into jars and gift it to friends without canning. However– don’t be intimidated by the canning process. It couldn’t be simpler and you don’t need any fancy equipment to do it.

tomatoes without skin

Ingredients for Homemade Canning Salsa

For this salsa canning recipe you’ll need the following:

  • 9 cups peeled and chopped tomatoes 
  • 2 1/2 cups chopped green bell peppers
  • 2 1/2 cups chopped white onion
  • 4 medium jalapeños, chopped 
  • 8 large cloves garlic, chopped
  • 6 teaspoons canning salt
  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 1 (12-ounce) can tomato paste

Prepping all of your ingredients first will make canning salsa much easier in the long-run. The only difficult thing is removing the skins from the tomatoes ahead of time. If you are making a hot salsa, then I highly recommend using gloves when chopping the hot peppers.

Tomatoes Peeled

How to Peel Tomatoes for Salsa

You’ll need to first remove the tomato skin before you chop your tomatoes. This is essential in order to make this salsa recipe safe for canning.

To do this, make an “X” in the bottom of the tomatoes, then place in boiling water for 60 seconds. Then, remove the tomatoes from the water and place directly into a bowl if iced water to shock. The skins should slip right off. (I use my spider to transfer the tomatoes from the boiling water to the ice water without getting splashed.)

If you are new to canning tomatoes, I have a step-by-step guide for how to peel tomatoes

Once your tomatoes are peeled, it’s time to chop them. To make things easier, you can use your food processor. I did one batch chopping everything by hand and one roughly chopping using the food processor and they results were really similar. If you want your salsa to have more texture, then I recommend chopping the tomatoes by hand and using the food processor for everything else.

homemade jarred salsa

The Salsa Canning Process 

  1. Make the Salsa

    Put all of your ingredients into a large stock pan and simmer for at least 30 minutes until it thickens. I highly recommend grabbing a few spoonfuls and enjoying it with chips while it cooks.

  2. Pour into clean jars

    Pour salsa into clean jars. I use a funnel to keep things clean, but make sure you wipe the top of the jar before putting the tops on. Place the tops on the jars and seal to close.

  3. Process in a water bath

    Place the filled jars into a hot water bath and process for 30 minutes, ensuring the jars are submerged in hot water the entire time.

  4. Remove and let cool

    Carefully remove the jars from the hot water bath canner and place on a rack or a kitchen towel until cool to the touch. (I use these tongs to make things easier and I highly recommend them if you are going to can. It makes things a lot easier!)

It’s a little bit of work upfront, but the results are so worth it. Plus, good salsa is ridiculously expensive and if you can make your own for just a dollar or two a jar, it’s worth it!

Store cooled homemade salsa in a dark place, like a pantry, for up to 18 months.

bowl of chopped tomatoes

What Tomatoes are best for salsa?

When choosing tomatoes for salsa, you’ll ideally want to choose paste tomatoes. Paste tomatoes are more fleshy and therefore contain less juice and fewer seeds than other types of tomatoes, which makes them perfect for salsa.

Paste tomatoes are also ideal when making homemade canned tomato sauce.

The most popular types of tomatoes for salsa:

  • Roma tomatoes: Small, slender plum tomatoes, these are the most popular type of paste tomato, especially if you are purchasing tomatoes in the store.
  • Little or Big Mama tomatoes: These are great varieties if you are planting a garden specifically for making salsa or tomato sauce. Both of these are types of paste tomatoes.
  • Amish Paste tomatoes: Very similar to Roma tomatoes, with a slightly sweeter flavor. These are the type of tomato that my mother-in-law usually gifts me from her local farm.

All that said, the best type of tomatoes are whatever tomatoes you have on hand! Ask your local farmer’s market or local farm if they have canning tomatoes, or uglies! The uglies are what most tomato farmers sell for dirt cheap- they are ugly, misshapen tomatoes that are perfect for salsa making.

If your tomatoes are very watery, it’s OK! Just remove some of the seeds before chopping for a less watery salsa.

the best homemade salsa

Is this salsa recipe safe to can? 

Yes. This recipe was developed by a Master Canner and has been in my husband’s family for 40 years. It has also been verified by the OSU Home Food Preservation center. 

Can you add in more peppers?  

You cannot add in more peppers, but you can substitute the type of peppers. This salsa recipe for canning uses 2 1/2 cups of chopped bell peppers along with 3-4 medium jalapeños. If you want more heat, then I recommend subbing in some of the chopped bell peppers for spicier peppers. When I make this hot, I usually add 2 cups chopped bell peppers and 1/2 cup of chopped jalapeños. 

Can I use lemon juice instead of vinegar?

Yes, you can use bottled lemon juice instead of vinegar for this recipe in the same amount. Fresh lemon or fresh lime juice is not pH standardized and therefore cannot be used in this recipe, but bottled lemon is safe. However, as you can see from the comments, even if you don’t think you like vinegar in your salsa it really doesn’t taste like vinegar! I love the original version posted here and recommend it, but bottled lemon juice is also OK.

Can I use less salt? 

Yes, salt does not affect pH levels so you are welcome to use less salt than written here. 

How much does this recipe make?

As written, this recipe will make ~8 pint jars of salsa. As long as you followed the ingredients and didn’t make substitutions, it’s OK if you get a little less. This will depend on how long you let the salsa cook for, how large your tomato chunks are and how watery your tomatoes are.

homemade salsa for canning

We love this homemade salsa as-is with tortilla chips, but it’s also fantastic stirred into my vegan queso, vegetarian bean chili, enchiladas and more.

If you like this best salsa recipe for canning, then you will love my Creamy Jalapeno Salsa, my Salsa Roja, Fresh Mango Salsa and my Black Bean and Mango Salsa!

Looking for more things to can? I recommend my Spaghetti Sauce for Canning and my post on How to Can Fresh Tomatoes.

If you make this recipe, come back to rate it and leave a comment. Seeing you make my recipes makes my day! You can also use the hashtag #delishknowledge on social media. 

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homemade salsa for canning

The Best Homemade Salsa for Canning

  • Author: Alex Caspero
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 60 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Yield: 8 pints of salsa 1x
  • Category: canning, sauce, condiment
  • Method: canning
  • Cuisine: American, Mexican Inspired
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

The BEST homemade salsa for canning. Have fresh tomatoes? Then you’ll want to make this salsa, either hot or mild. It’s so delicious and inexpensive to make!


  • Author: Alex Caspero
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 60 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Yield: 8 pints of salsa 1x
  • Category: canning, sauce, condiment
  • Method: canning
  • Cuisine: American, Mexican Inspired
  • Diet: Vegan
  • Author: Alex Caspero
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 60 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Yield: 8 pints of salsa 1x
  • Category: canning, sauce, condiment
  • Method: canning
  • Cuisine: American, Mexican Inspired
  • Diet: Vegan
Scale

Ingredients

  • 9 cups peeled and chopped tomatoes (they must be peeled first, see directions below or tutorial here)
  • 2 1/2 cups chopped green bell peppers
  • 2 1/2 cups chopped white onion
  • 4 medium jalapeños, chopped (see notes)
  • 8 large cloves garlic, chopped
  • 6 teaspoons canning salt
  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 1 (12-ounce) can tomato paste

Instructions

  1. Remove the skins from the tomatoes. To do this, make an “X” in the bottom of the tomatoes, then place in boiling water for 60 seconds. Then, remove the tomatoes from the water and place directly into a bowl if iced water to shock. The skins should slip right off. (I use my spider to transfer the tomatoes from the boiling water to the ice water without getting splashed.)
  2. Make the salsa. Place all of the ingredients in a large pot (you will need a 10qt. saucepan for this batch, or split the ingredients among 2 saucepans) and simmer for 20-30 minutes, until thickened and cooked.
  3. Prepare cans to be sealed. Ladle the cooked salsa into clean, sterile jars leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Wipe rims of jars with a damp, clean, paper towel, then place lids on top. To make filling easy, I highly recommend a wide funnel designed for canning jars.
  4. Process using a water bath. To do this, bring a large saucepan filled with water to a boil. Your saucepan needs to be tall enough to have the water cover the jars by 2 inches- though the jars will displace some of the water as they are added.
  5. Add the jars to the water bath and cover with a lid. Process for 30 minutes, then remove. I use these tongs to make things easy.
  6. Let the jars sit for 24 hours. The salsa will remain good in the jar for up to 18 months… if you can keep yourself from eating it all before then!

Notes

For a hot salsa, I use 4 jalapeños with the seeds. For a milder salsa, seed 1-2 of the jalapeños before chopping. For very mild salsa, seed all of the jalapeños. Remember that the heat will lessen as the salsa sits, so I tend to error on being spicy then not. It’s hard to correct spice level so if you don’t like things spicy, then start with only 1 jalapeño and go from there.

However, note that you can decrease the amount of jalapeños but you cannot increase for pH balance. If you prefer a very hot salsa, then you’ll want to sub in a hotter pepper for the jalapeños OR you can sub jalapeños for some of the green pepper.

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Meet Alex Caspero

Alex Caspero is a Registered Dietitian, Plant-Based Chef and Yoga Instructor. She aims to cut through the nutrition noise by providing real-life, nourishing tips for body and mind. Learn more about Alex.

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    1. Katie Pilcher
      July 3, 2022 AT 2:32 pm

      I made the Salsa. It was amazing. The fresh flavors just popped. I will never buy the grocery store version again. It was very easy and not too time consuming!

    2. Larry
      June 30, 2022 AT 7:49 pm

      Can the veggies be roasted or grill for this recipe.

      1. Alex
        July 1, 2022 AT 4:11 pm

        Are you looking to grill or roast the peppers first before adding to the salsa? Yes.

    3. Karla
      June 29, 2022 AT 5:43 am

      I made this last night and it turned out so yummy. We didn’t have jalapeños, so we used datil peppers. Gave it a nice kick.

    4. Christine
      June 24, 2022 AT 7:08 am

      Can you substitute ketchup for the tomato paste?

      1. Alex
        June 26, 2022 AT 1:40 pm

        Hi Christine, I don’t recommend subbing the ketchup as it hasn’t been tested for safety

    5. Lexi
      June 17, 2022 AT 8:21 am

      Can you leave out there tomato paste? It feels unnecessary to add it even though there are tomatoes already in it

      1. Alex
        June 17, 2022 AT 12:41 pm

        Hi Lexi, you can leave it out if you want to enjoy the salsa right away but to can it, you’ll need to add the tomato paste as purchased paste has citric acid which helps make this recipe safe for canning.

    6. Amy
      June 15, 2022 AT 10:27 pm

      Hi Alex!

      I made this recipe this evening. I completely forgot to add the onions. I’m literally staring at them on the counter. Is the salsa going to be safe or should I start over? Thank you for so much wonderful information provided here on your website!

      1. Alex
        June 16, 2022 AT 10:18 am

        Hi Amy! Onions are a low acid food, so it won’t hurt the safety of this recipe if you left them out. I just can’t comment on how it might taste!

        1. Amy
          June 16, 2022 AT 4:25 pm

          Thank you so much! I know canning is an exact science and I’m definitely no pro! Thanks. I appreciate you!

    7. Jessica
      June 15, 2022 AT 9:49 am

      I have tried many recipes throughout the years and this is the BEST one yet! I won’t try any other recipes again! I added cilantro and lime on my second batch, but even without it is amazing!

    8. Christi
      June 13, 2022 AT 5:11 pm

      We are doing our first garden and planning on using your recipe for salsa. My son does not like vinegar. Can lemon juice be substituted and would it be an amount equal to the vinegar?

      1. Alex
        June 14, 2022 AT 5:50 am

        Bottled lemon juice is fine– some other commenters have done this!

    9. Jessica
      June 4, 2022 AT 2:46 pm

      Hello~ I am going to try this recipe with my garden tomatoes this year and was wondering if I can substitute purple onions for the white and why you would/would not recommend it. I just saw a lot of salsa recipes called for purple so that’s what I planted. Thanks in advance!

      1. Alex
        June 5, 2022 AT 11:01 am

        Hi Jessica, you can use red onions if you’d like. Their pH level is very similar to white.

    10. Kelly
      May 25, 2022 AT 12:55 pm

      I was wondering about adding cilantro. Would you add it at the beginning of cooking the salsa or just stir in at the end?

      1. Alex
        May 25, 2022 AT 7:09 pm

        Fresh cilantro will change color as you can it and cook it– I’d recommend adding it once the jar is opened for best flavor.