This simple, fresh and spicy jalapeno salsa is sure to be a favorite go-to for all of your parties, potlucks, and picnics! With just a handful of ingredients, you can make a food processor salsa to use as an appetizer, snack, or topping for your favorite Mexican dishes. It’s a classic, quick and cheap dinner idea that everyone will love!
Why We Love Jalapeno Salsa
- Easy clean up– Using a food processor leaves fewer dishes and mess to clean, making it the perfect game day recipe to whip up at the last minute!
- Pairs well with all sorts of Mexican dishes, from tacos and fajitas to all of your favorite Cinco de Mayo party food.
- Every aspect is customizable, from the heat level to the consistency. You can even add your garden-fresh herbs and produce for a homegrown, homemade salsa!
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
- Roma Tomatoes – A type of plum tomato, Romas have an abundance of moist, flavorful flesh and not too many seeds or water — the most bang for your buck.
- White Onion – Sharp and a little sweet, this is our favorite onion in a food processor salsa. Red and yellow are suitable substitutes, but their flavors are milder.
- Garlic – If you’d rather not mess with peeling cloves, minced garlic works. Just avoid using dried or ground garlic, as the flavor isn’t strong enough to compete with fresh chili peppers.
- Jalapenos – For notes regarding substitutes see the FAQ, below.
- Lime Juice – It generally takes one lime to get 1 tablespoon of fresh lime juice. Depending on their size and/or quality, you may need more than one.
TFN Pro Tip
Before squeezing citrus fruit for fresh juice, roll it on your countertop for a minute. Or, pop it in the microwave on high for 30-45 seconds. The flesh will soften and let out more juice!
- Cilantro – Flat-leaf parsley is a good substitute for those who don’t care for the flavor of cilantro.
Looking for other easy jalapeno recipes?
We have plenty of ways to use those delicious spicy chiles! Make some appetizers with them, like our spicy wonton cups or jalapeno poppers.
For a bread side with a fantastic kick of spice, make jalapeno cheddar sourdough bread, or add them to cheddar biscuits or Jiffy cornbread!
Why We Microwave Vegetables for Food Processor Salsa
We microwave the tomatoes and chiles before adding them to the food processor. This helps to release their juices, and it softens the vegetables to make them easier to break down in the food processor.
Another option is to boil them in water on the stovetop, but microwaving takes less time.
- Adjust the ratio and type of produce
Because this is a jalapeno tomato salsa, the red color is more prominent. To create a green color without increasing the spicy heat, substitute tomatillos for some or all of the tomatoes.
- Roast the vegetables
It takes a bit more time, but roasting the tomatoes, garlic, and jalapenos adds a deliciously smoky, almost earthy flavor to your food processor salsa.
Tomatoes become sweeter, peppers become more intense, and the garlic becomes creamy and nutty. After roasting, remove the charred skins to remove any bitterness or strange texture.
Tips for Making Jalapeno Salsa
- Remove the seeds and membranes for a milder flavor.
The seeds and membrane inside of jalapenos are where most of the spicy heat comes from. So, to achieve a spicy salsa, leave them! Otherwise, carefully remove them by slicing the pepper in half lengthwise. Then, use the tip of a paring knife or a small spoon to scrape them out.
TFN Pro Tip – Safety First!
All spicy chiles contain a natural chemical called capsaicin that can burn sensitive skin and membranes like the eyes and sinus cavity.
For your protection, it’s best to wear disposable kitchen gloves when working with jalapenos and other spicy peppers.
- Chop the vegetables for easier processing.
Just a rough chop is fine; the smaller size makes them easier to break down in the food processor.
- For a thicker salsa, pour off some of the juices after microwaving.
If you prefer a thick and chunky jalapeno tomato salsa, start by gently squeezing the tomatoes to let out some of the natural juices.
Then, after microwaving, pour off some (or all) of the juice in the bowl.
- To create a thicker fresh salsa, simply pulse the tomatoes and onion for a shorter amount of time.
- Wait until after processing to add cilantro.
Fresh herbs can bruise easily, and this can give them a bitter flavor. For the best results, just stir in the chopped cilantro before serving the jalapeno salsa.
Fresh Salsa Recipe FAQ
If you realize after the fact that the salsa is too spicy, add more tomato to the mix and puree again. Additional lime juice can also help to take the edge off.
If you’re okay with adding ingredients outside of the recipe, then avocado, cucumber, sour cream, and Greek yogurt all masterfully counteract spice.
Yes, but know that serranos are spicier. Anaheim peppers are significantly less spicy, and poblano peppers fall somewhere in the middle.
Storing and Freezing
Homemade jalapeno salsa will keep for up to 3 days in the refrigerator. Honestly, it’s more delicious after the first day, as all of the flavors will meld together!
While it is possible to freeze salsa for a few months, this isn’t the best option for a thin salsa. The liquid tends to crystallize like an ice cube, and this can affect the flavor.
Favorite Ways to Use Jalapeno Salsa
You can do more with this fresh salsa recipe than you might realize! We like to:
- Serve with tacos and quesadillas to add moisture, vibrancy, and freshness.
- Cook it with proteins to add moisture.
- Substitute for fresh tomato salsa – We recommend using it to make our recipe for Instant Pot Mexican Chicken.
Quick Jalapeno Salsa
- 4 large Roma tomatoes
- 1 small white onion (about 3/4 cup)
- 2 jalapenos
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 tablespoons lime juice (juice of 1 lime)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ bunch cilantro or flat leaf parsley
- Slice tomatoes into wedges; squeeze gently to remove any seeds (good quality Romas are almost seedless). Peel onion and cut into quarters.
- Slice jalapeño lengthwise and remove membrane and seeds. *For spicy salsa, leave some membrane and/or seeds.
- Add tomatoes, onion, and chiles to a microwave-safe bowl. Place in microwave and cook on high for 1-2 minutes.
- Transfer vegetables to the bowl of a food processor. Add garlic, lime juice, and salt, and blend to your desired consistency
- Stir in fresh chopped cilantro after processing.
- For best flavor, refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving.