5 Minute Restaurant Style Salsa
This 5 Minute Restaurant Style Salsa recipe will have you ditching the jarred stuff at the store. You can’t beat the bold, fresh flavors that come from making your own simple version at home.
Chips and a good salsa is my family’s go-to snack. Whether it’s movie night, game night, or just sitting around gossiping chips and salsa is probably on the table.
I have perfected this restaurant style salsa over the last few years and now you’ll always find a big jar of it in my refrigerator. And it’s not just for serving chips! I add it to my southwest chicken salad instead of (or along with) my creamy southwest salsa dressing, put a scoop on my air fryer potato skins or my Instant Pot baked potatoes, and top my oven chicken fajitas with it to finish them off.
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Ingredients You’ll Need
When you make this salsa, you will need to have these ingredients on hand.
- Rotel – This is our preferred brand of diced tomatoes. They come in a variety of heat levels and flavors, so you can choose your favorite. Sometimes I use a mix of original and habenero to make a HOT version, but usually I stick with 2 cans of the Original and 1 can of diced tomatoes with lime juice and cilantro.
- Red onion – In a pinch, a white onion has a similar flavor to a red onion.
- Garlic – You’ll want to use freshly crushed or minced cloves.
- Jalapeno – I remove the ribs and seeds from the jalapeno to make it less spicy but a simple way to add a little more heat is to leave some of the seeds in when you add it to the salsa. You can also add more jalapeno or try other peppers like habanero for extra hot salsa. Just use it sparingly!
- Cilantro – This adds a bit of freshness to the salsa and I LOVE the taste but if you or someone you share your salsa with is one of those people that just can’t eat cilantro you can skip the ingredient.
- Lime juice – Along with the cilantro, lime helps to make the salsa taste fresh and light.
- Kosher salt – The salt helps to bring out the flavors of the salsa.
This restaurant salsa recipe can’t be a 5 minute recipe with a bunch of steps. So here’s the simple two-step process for making the salsa.
Step 1 – Blend the ingredients. Place all of the ingredients in a blender and pulse until well mixed and no large chunks remain. If you really like it smooth, you can mix it a bit longer, but we find pulsing creates the best consistency.
Step 2 – Serve or store. Pour the salsa into a bowl and serve it immediately or pour it into a container with a lid and store in the fridge for up to 7 days.
What Does Restaurant Style Salsa Mean?
Restaurant style often means a couple of things in the United States. Typically, the salsa is not chunky, meaning you won’t find large pieces of tomatoes, onions, peppers, and so on. Instead, it is all pureed together like you might find at several popular Mexican restaurants.
Another reason it is restaurant style is that it uses minimal ingredients. It is also very quick to make and easy to store for future use.
How Do You Add Flavor to Salsa?
The key to salsa is using great ingredients. We use Rotel canned tomatoes and chiles, which has several varieties to choose from. We prefer to use the fire roasted tomatoes version for extra flavor. Since we use three cans, we often mix the original, fire roasted tomato, and cilantro and lime Rotels together for added flavor.
For more flavor, you can also increase the amount of any of the ingredients you like. Want more of a garlic flavor? Add a few more cloves. Want more heat? Add a few more jalapenos. You can increase whichever ingredients you want to make the salsa taste great to you.
If you want it spicier, don’t remove the ribs and seeds from your jalapeno before adding. These are what give the peppers its flavor. Just be careful! They can really heat up the salsa fast!
Should Salsa Be Cooked?
Salsa should not be cooked unless you are throwing it into a recipe that calls for it. The whole point of the salsa is to use raw ingredients for bold, bright flavors. Once you cook it, the flavors and consistency will change and create more of a sauce.
Though the sauce may be tasty and work well on top of tacos or burritos, it is not the same as a fresh salsa you scoop up with tortillas while enjoying a margarita. For added flair, place your chips and freshly made salsa on this chips and salsa serving plate.
How to Make it Ahead of Time
Though we strongly recommend making it when you are ready to eat it, you can easily make this salsa a few days ahead of time. Just follow the instructions and then store in a sealed, airtight container in the fridge for about 5 to 7 days.
Also, do not freeze the salsa. Like cooking it, the salsa will lose some of its flavor and freshness when frozen.
What to Serve it With
First, let’s cover the most basic item here: good old fashioned tortilla chips. You can use your favorite shape, size, and added flavor chips.
Now that we have the obvious out of the way, let’s talk about some other recipes. We recommend adding this salsa into the Instant Pot Salsa Chicken recipe. Just substitute the salsa for this version.
You can also serve it right alongside some of our other Mexican inspired flavorites, like:
5 Minute Restaurant Style Salsa
- 30 ounces Rotel, whatever flavor and heat level you prefer
- 4 ounces Red onion
- 2 cloves Garlic
- ½ Jalapeno
- ¼ cup Cilantro
- 2 tablespoons Lime juice
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
- Place all ingredients in a blender and pulse until well mixed and there are no large chunks.
- Pour into a container with a lid and store in the refrigerator for up to 7 days.