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 7-8 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.

jars of salsa for canning

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.

Overhead image of salsa in glass jars

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.

Salsa in a jar with tomatoes, onions and bell pepperes

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 for this homemade salsa 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 canning 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 for canning

FAQs

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. 

Is cilantro OK to add?


You can add dried cilantro to this salsa canning recipe if you’d like. However, I’d recommend instead adding in fresh cilantro when you go to serve this salsa recipe instead. Cooking the cilantro will lessen its flavor and make it darker and softer and may not be appealing in the canned salsa.

How much does this recipe make?


As written, this recipe will make ~7-8 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.

Canning salsa in a mason jar

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. 

Print
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: 78 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: 78 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: 78 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

You can make this salsa as spicy or hot as you’d like. For a hot salsa, I use 4 Serrano (or habanero peppers) 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, New York Times Bestselling Plant-Based Chef and mom of two. 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. Jessica George
      November 16, 2022 AT 1:39 pm

      This is my first year having a big garden, and I was overwhelmed with tomatoes. This recipe is so easy and delicious! It is going right into my “Favorites” recipe card box! Thank you!!

    2. Sheila
      November 10, 2022 AT 1:23 pm

      Hi, I just made 1/2 a batch and was wondering how long it would be good for if kept in the fridge but no water bath canned? Is this possible?

      1. Alex
        November 18, 2022 AT 9:17 am

        Hi Sheila, yes– you can keep in the fridge for about a week without processing it. You can also freeze it!

    3. Sandra Dowkes
      November 10, 2022 AT 8:39 am

      After the taste test (had this last night on a burrito), I’m rating – loved it! Although when I tasted it while cooking, I thought it would be hotter than it turned out, it’s still delicious and I’ll be using t his recipe in the future. My salsa always varied in taste before, but I think this one will be consistent. Thanks!

    4. Sandra Dowkes
      November 7, 2022 AT 11:31 am

      I can taste how good this will be and so easy! I used up a variety of tomatoes from my garden (San Marzano, Golden Nugget, Roma and Cherry. I didn’t peel them (I never do), used a yellow and orange pepper and an onion, and two cloves of garlic. I got 5 cups of tomato and didn’t really measure the other stuff. I used my hot chili’s I grew (don’t know the type, but they’re hot)! I think I’ll just freeze the jars I get. Thanks for the recipe!

    5. Ballerinagirl99
      November 4, 2022 AT 3:56 pm

      Killer salsa!!!! This recipe is sooooo easy and sooooo delicious! Five stars
      ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️⭐️⭐️

    6. Karen
      November 4, 2022 AT 12:14 pm

      I’m back. It’s so good, one batch wasn’t enough. Working on second batch right now. Thank you thank you. It’s awesome sauce :). I’m moving on to your spaghetti sauce next.
      I’m a fan. POP…another jar just sealed. Woohoo!

    7. Madden
      October 30, 2022 AT 6:36 pm

      I’m not exaggerating when I say this is the best salsa I’ve ever eaten. Sooo good!

    8. Shelley
      October 29, 2022 AT 10:12 pm

      I have used your recipe for a few canning seasons now, it is a friend and family favorite for sure! I have made it mild to medium to burn your mouth hot (for some friends from Mx) everyone requests it. So now when we do company BBQS everyone selects a parting gift jar of their heat liking! Thank you!

    9. Sadie
      October 25, 2022 AT 12:41 pm

      Excellent!!! I have made several batches, from no-heat to extra hot and everyone who has tried it has loved it! I have made and canned approximately 100 jars of salsa this year. Thank you!!!

    10. Cristin
      October 20, 2022 AT 8:38 am

      While I find it’s alright, I do find it vinegary. Recipe was easy to follow and if you enjoy store bought salsa then this might be for you.