Roasted Tomato Salsa is so easy to make at home by simply roasting vine-ripened or Roma tomatoes in the oven and then mixing with cilantro, paprika, and cumin to make this classic spicy dip. Store-bought jars and restaurant salsa have nothing on this homemade recipe! Enjoy as a snack with tortilla chips or use as a topping on your favorite Mexican dishes.

A tortilla chip is dipped into the bowl of roasted tomato salsa.

The Perfect Roasted Tomato Salsa

Having lived in Texas my entire life, knowing how to make a really GOOD homemade roasted salsa is somewhat expected of you. You add to that the fact that I have been food blogging for 10 years and the pressure is REAL.

While I have made DOZENS of salsa recipes throughout the years, I spent a REALLLLLY long time testing and perfecting this recipe you see here.

Tweaking the acidity of the lime juice, adding various combinations of spices, switching out the types of tomatoes, adding cilantro leaves but no stems… until all of my friends and family agreed that it was indeed the BEST.

One of the best things about this recipe is how simple and pure the ingredients are.  We’re talking only real food, no canned or artificial ingredients kind of foods.  In fact, if you happen to be growing a summer garden you may already have a bunch of these available to you.

Why Everyone Loves This Easy Recipe

  • Super flavorful fresh tomatoes are used. Since they make up the bulk of this dip, the quality of them absolutely matters!
  • The onions, peppers, and garlic ALL get roasted in the oven. This gives the entire dip an extra depth of flavor and subtle sweetness without the need to add sugar.
  • It has the perfect thick and chunky, but still smooth texture. The order in which you process the ingredients is a HUGE factor in the texture of salsa you end up with. (No one wants a runny dip with big chunks of vegetable in it!)
  • Cumin and paprika are the secret ingredients. Just like when I make my famous Guacamole recipe, a few Mexican spices really help to counteract the brightness of the tomatoes and lime juice.

Roasted Tomato Salsa (Recipe Video)

Tomatoes, jalapeño peppers, garlic, cilantro, onion, and seasonings are the ingredients for this recipe.

Ingredients

  • Tomatoes. Since the tomatoes make up a large majority of the salsa, the type you use totally matters! (Read more below about the best types of tomatoes for this recipe.)
  • Onion. Either white or sweet can be used. Sweet onions will impart a subtle sweetness to the salsa that helps to balance out the spicy flavors, while a white onion is the more authentic type to use.
  • Peppers. Jalapeño peppers will give the salsa a slightly milder flavor while serrano peppers will make it spicier.  You can either use one pepper for a mild salsa or two peppers for a medium-heat salsa.
  • Garlic. Roasted fresh garlic cloves are key to giving the salsa a robust and nutty taste. You can substitute with garlic powder but it won’t deliver the same punch of flavor as fresh.
  • Cilantro. No true salsa recipe would be complete without a good bit of fresh cilantro. Make sure you remove the leaves from the stems to get the most flavor. Also, pack the cilantro down when measuring it out. (You should end up using close to ½ of a bunch. Check out How to Chop Cilantro and How to Store Cilantro!)
  • Lime Juice. Freshly squeezed lime juice is essential. Not only does it add a zesty bit of citrus but it also helps to preserve the dip and keep it from turning colors.
  • Spices. Just a touch of paprika and cumin helps to mellow out the acidity of the tomatoes and delivers an earthier tone to the dip. Add a little smokiness by using half smoked paprika and half regular, if you’d like.
Roma and vine tomatoes are shown for this salsa recipe.

Best Tomatoes for Salsa

Roma tomatoes and vine-ripened tomatoes both work exceptionally well when making homemade salsa. They have plenty of meat on them without being too watery, while also packing a good bit of flavor.

If you have the option, choose organic over conventional for more nutritional benefits.  Also, homegrown tomatoes are the most flavorful whereas most store-bought tomatoes have little to no flavor.

You can also change it up and try using beefsteak, heirloom, or even Campari tomatoes.  If using smaller cherry or grape tomatoes, you will need to adjust the roasting time so the tomatoes do not burn.

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How to Make Roasted Tomato Salsa

Please see the recipe card below for more detailed ingredient amounts.

1. Prepare the Ingredients

First, you will need to get the tomatoes, jalapeños, onion, and garlic ready.

Slice the stem and root end off the onion, then cut it in half. Remove the outer, flaky layer. Finally, quarter the onion.

Separate 4 to 6 garlic cloves from the head. Leave the peel on.

Once you have your tomatoes selected, make sure you remove the stems, rinse them thoroughly, and then slice them in half lengthwise

Cutting the tomatoes in two ensures they roast up at a similar rate as the onions and the jalapeños.

Roma tomatoes are cut in half on a cutting board.

Jalapeño seeds contain A LOT of spice.  In order to get the pepper flavor without all of the heat, it’s best if you remove the seeds before roasting.

Trim the stem end from the peppers. Cut them in half lengthwise. Finally, scoop out all of the seeds with a spoon. Be careful not to use your fingers or touch your face during the process.

2. Roast in the Oven

Roasting tomatoes brings out their naturally occurring sugars and results in a subtly sweet flavor in the salsa.

Place the tomato halves and jalapeño peppers skin-side up onto a large baking sheet along with the quartered onion and garlic cloves.  It’s important that they face skin-side up so the skin has a chance to brown and caramelize.

Drizzle olive oil over all of the vegetables and rub it into their skin.  Make sure you lift up the tomatoes and vegetables slightly so a little bit also gets on their under-side.

Roast the vegetables in a 450°F oven for 25-30 minutes, or until the tomato skins begin to brown.  Pull the garlic cloves out after 15-20 minutes to prevent burning.

3. Pulse in Processor

Add the roasted tomatoes, onion, jalapeño, garlic cloves, and any oil on the baking sheet to a large food processor along with the remaining ingredients. 

Make sure you peel the garlic cloves before adding them into the processor!

Pulse ingredients 10-20 times and then scrape down the sides of the bowl. Continue pulsing until the salsa reaches your desired consistency. (About 40-50 times.) 

It’s important that you pulse and don’t puree. This helps you better control the final consistency of the salsa and gives you time to adjust the seasonings to your taste preference.

A metal spoon is used to lift healthy tomato salsa.

FAQs

Should you cook tomatoes before making salsa?

You do not have to cook tomatoes before making salsa, but it will give you a richer and slightly sweeter flavor. Fresh tomato salsa will result in a lighter and brighter flavor profile.

Do you leave the skin on tomatoes when making salsa?

Yes. The skin gives the salsa a wonderful pop of color as well as a rich deep flavor if the tomatoes were roasted. So, no need to go through the extra effort of peeling them, simply leave the skin on!

What tomatoes are best for making salsa?

Roma, vine-ripened, plum, and beefsteak tomatoes are best for making salsa since they pack a lot of flavor without holding too much water. Select in-season, organic, and homegrown tomatoes when available for even more taste and nutritional benefits.

Salsa Recipe Variations

  • Personalize it. Use 1 pepper for a mild salsa, 2 peppers for medium. You can choose to use either jalapeño or serrano peppers.
  • Don’t overdo it. Make sure you measure out the tomatoes to get exactly 1.75 pounds. Too many and the salsa will taste tomato-ey.
  • Take the garlic out early. Garlic cooks up pretty quickly and will burn if it is left in with the other vegetables while roasting.
  • Pick right. Roma and vine-ripened tomatoes are the best to use when making salsa. You can also choose beefsteak or plum tomatoes if that’s what you have available.
  • Make it sweet. Sweet onion will give the salsa a subtle sweetness.  White onions will also work well.  Avoid using yellow or red onions since they will give the salsa a pungent flavor.
  • Pulse and don’t purée. This helps you better control the final consistency of the salsa and gives you time to adjust the seasonings to your taste preference.
  • Give it a rest. Wait a few hours before serving. The salsa develops an even deeper, richer flavor as it sits in the refrigerator, so it’s best if you prep it in advance!
Tortilla chips are served with a big bowl of homemade salsa.

What to Serve with Roasted Salsa

If you aren’t going to devour it with some baked tortilla chips, here are a few other recipes that use salsa:

More Salsa Recipes

Once you see how easy it is to make salsa at home, try one of these recipes next:

Tap stars to rate!

5 from 2 votes

Roasted Tomato Salsa Recipe

Roasted Tomato Salsa is so easy to make at home by simply roasting vine-ripened or Roma tomatoes in the oven and then mixing with cilantro, paprika, and cumin to make this classic spicy dip. Store-bought jars and restaurant salsa have nothing on this homemade recipe! Enjoy as a snack with tortilla chips or use as a topping on your favorite Mexican dishes.
A tortilla chip is dipped into the bowl of roasted tomato salsa.
Yield 16 servings
Prep 15 minutes
Cook 25 minutes
Total 40 minutes
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Ingredients 

  • 1 ¾ lbs. tomatoes roma or vine-ripened
  • 1 medium onion sweet or white
  • 1-2 jalapeño peppers or serrano peppers
  • 4-6 garlic cloves unpeeled
  • 2 Tbsp. oil avocado or olive
  • ½ cup cilantro leaves packed
  • 1 Tbsp. lime juice freshly squeeze
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. paprika
  • ¼ tsp. cumin
  • ¼ tsp. black pepper optional

Instructions 

  • Preheat oven to 450°F.
  • Prepare the Tomatoes, Peppers, and Onion: Remove the stems from the tomatoes, rinse and scrub thoroughly under cool water, and then cut them each in half lengthwise. Trim the stems from the peppers, cut them in half lengthwise, and scoop out all of the seeds using a small spoon with a relatively sharp edge. Trim the ends from the onion, peel the outer layer of skin, and then cut it into quarters.
    1 ¾ lbs. tomatoes, 1 medium onion, 1-2 jalapeño peppers, 4-6 garlic cloves
  • Roasted Vegetables in Oven: Place the tomato halves and jalapeño peppers skin side-up onto a large baking sheet along with the quartered onion and garlic cloves. Drizzle oil over all of the vegetables and rub it into their skin. Roast the vegetables in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, or until the tomato skins begin to brown. Pull the garlic cloves out after 15-20 minutes to prevent burning.
    2 Tbsp. oil
  • Pulse Ingredients in Processor: Add the roasted tomatoes, onion, jalapeño, garlic cloves that have been peeled, and any oil on the baking sheet to a large food processor along with the remaining ingredients. Pulse ingredients 10-20 times and then scrape down the sides of the bowl. Continue pulsing until the salsa reaches your desired consistency. (About 40-50 times.) Do NOT puree. You'll end up with a watery salsa!
    ½ cup cilantro leaves, 1 Tbsp. lime juice, 1 tsp. salt, ½ tsp. paprika, ¼ tsp. cumin, ¼ tsp. black pepper
  • Serve roasted tomato salsa immediately or store in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours for an even better flavor. Salsa will keep well for up to 4-6 days when stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator or up to 2-3 months if frozen.
Last step! If you make this, please leave a review letting us know how it was!

Tap stars to rate!

5 from 2 votes

Video

Notes

Prep-Ahead Instructions:
Homemade salsa gets better after it sits for a few hours, so prep it ahead of time and pull it out just before serving.
Storage Directions:
Salsa will keep well for up to 4-6 days when stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Frozen salsa will end up with a layer of water on the top once thawed. To prevent this, add salsa that you’d like to freeze to a saucepan over medium-low heat and cook it down for 30-45 minutes.  Doing this will remove most of the extra moisture and result in a better frozen salsa. Roasted salsa tastes delicious when served warm or cold. If you’d like to serve it warm simply warm it up in a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat for 2-3 minutes just before serving.

Nutrition

Calories: 31kcal, Carbohydrates: 3g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 2g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Trans Fat: 1g, Sodium: 123mg, Potassium: 141mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin A: 528IU, Vitamin C: 8mg, Calcium: 10mg, Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Made this recipe?Leave a comment below!
5 Secrets to Healthier Family Dinners
Tips & recipes for getting yummy — and healthy — meals on the table.

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Oh my gosh! This salsa is incredible! This is the first time I’ve ever made homemade salsa, and it reminds me of Uncle Julio‘s. Fantastic!

    1. Yay! So happy to hear you enjoyed the recipe, Chrissy! It is so good and so easy. Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a comment and rating!

  2. 4 stars
    I absolutely love the texture of this salsa! The only thing I did differently is to pull off all the tomato skins after they came out of the oven, and I would probably coarsely chop the onion next time. It just wasn’t cooperating in the food processor, so I pulled the larger slices out out and chopped them in my mini food processor. Otherwise, it’s a keeper!

    1. Yay! So happy to hear you enjoyed the recipe, Linda! The texture is incredible. Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a comment and rating!

  3. 5 stars
    Ok this is amazing! A couple of minor changes I made. One, I have the cilantro gene so no cilantro. Also I smoked the vegetables in my smoker and used smoked paprika. Other than that everything is exactly by the recipe.

    1. Yay! So happy to hear you enjoyed the recipe, John! I’m glad you could make this work for you. Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a comment and rating!

    1. You could can this recipe, but be sure to follow appropriate recommendations for canning and preserving salsa.