I have a deep and abiding weakness for chips and salsa. If I’m going to fall off the healthy eating wagon, it’s going to be while I’m firmly grasping a bag of tortilla chips. We don’t have great Mexican food in my particular neck of the Louisiana woods, so I could dream dreams of street tacos and fish tacos and burritos, but when push comes to shove and I finally find myself with some good Mexican food, it all comes down to the chips and salsa.

Well. I’m not really on the chips right now. But the salsa? Yes, please. I still love it–on eggs, omelets, tacos, salads, fajitas, black beans. If I can put salsa on it, you can bet that I’ll be putting this salsa on it.

I started making this salsa when my husband and I were in college, dead broke, when fresh produce was a luxury and Mexican restaurants were a distant dream. You know that fancy salsa in the plastic tubs at the grocery store? This is kind of like that. Only it tastes way better. And it’s significantly cheaper, especially since you probably have most of the ingredients in your cupboards and your fridge.

Cantina-Style Salsa from Our Best Bites

You’re going to need two cans of stewed tomatoes (yes, stewed tomatoes–they’re not just for your grandma anymore), half a red onion, a couple cloves of garlic, some kosher salt, a handful of cilantro, and a big, juicy lime. My lime was feeling shy and didn’t make it into the picture, but it definitely made it into my salsa because lime juice. You’re also going to need Chipotle Tabasco Sauce (I know, I had Tabasco in my last recipe, too. Apparently when I’m eating healthy, I need a wide variety of spicy condiments in my life.) More about the Tabasco in a minute.

Cantina-Style Salsa

Place the tomatoes, juice and everything, in the jar of a blender. Add a teaspoon of kosher salt.

Cantina-Style Salsa-2

Add the onion and garlic (you don’t even need to chop ’em first)…

Cantina-Style Salsa-3

Add a handful of cilantro (about 1/2 cup).

Cantina-Style Salsa-4

Pulse the mixture in the blender until the onion is roughly chopped.

Now…about adding some heat.  I’ve tried all the things to spice up this salsa–fresh peppers (like jalapeños), cayenne pepper, chipotle chili powder–and this is hands-down my favorite.

Cantina-Style Salsa-5

It adds a little heat and a lot of flavor. Jalapeños are fickle–it can be difficult to tell how much heat you’re adding (or not adding) and sometimes they leave a weird aftertaste. Cayenne is dependable heat-wise but doesn’t add much in terms of flavor. But this? It’s smoky. It’s tangy. It’s spicy, but not nearly as spicy as traditional Tabasco sauce. So give it a few good shakes, pulse it again, have a taste, and then add more as needed.

And that’s it. It takes 5 minutes and it’s so delicious and is something you can basically eat in unlimited amounts.

Cantina-Style Salsa from Our Best Bites

Speaking of blenders…we may or may not be giving away a BlendTec blender in our DietBet that’s going on right now! If you’ve been on the fence about joining, the blender is basically telling you that you need to do this!

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Cantina-Style Salsa

  • Author: Our Best Bites
  • Prep Time: 5
  • Total Time: 5
  • Yield: 4 1x


Make cantina-style salsa at home in just a few minutes with refrigerator and pantry staples!


  • 2 14.5-ounce cans stewed tomatoes
  • 1/2 red onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 handful cilantro (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Chipotle Tabasco Sauce (amount varies depending on heat preference)


  1. Place all ingredients except the Tabasco in a blender. Pulse until the ingredients are chopped but not pureed. Add Tabasco sauce to taste. For best flavor, refrigerate at least 2-3 hours before serving.


  1. I am eating my version of this right now! I make it so often during the winter (pick de gallo in the summer when the veggie garden is rolling) that I buy the bulk 6lb cans at the local restaurant supply place. I use the tomatoes as needed and store the rest in Tupperware in he fridge. When my husband was eating it last week he said I should start bottling it for sale. I laughed and suggested I call it Gringo Girl Salsa. Anyways, I love chili de Arbol powder for the heat!

  2. I recently started making a salsa VERY similar to this, but I add a can of Rotel for the heat. I could drink it with a straw. I don’t think I’ll be buying bottled salsa any time soon.

  3. Ah! That’s one type of tomatoes I don’t hoard in my pantry, but maybe now I need to! This salsa looks divine and it will definitely be making an appearance at a party I’m throwing soon!

  4. I’m like you–I am obsessed with chips and salsa. This salsa looks so yummy and easy to make. And I’ve been looking for a classic cantina-style salsa to make at home. Pinning to try ASAP. Thanks for the recipe!

  5. I just bought all the ingredients at the store (I am intrigued by that chipotle Tabasco!) and I can’t wait to make it and have some on my eggs tomorrow morning!

    1. It might be missing–we crashed on Saturday and we’re trying to figure out what caused the problem. When you right click (or the Mac equivalent if you have a Mac), is there a pin it option?

  6. Don’t tell me that had Chipotle Tabasco when you were a poor college student! Did you use regular Tabasco then?

  7. Love simple homemade salsa. I love to make a similar recipe, but its even easier with the garlic, spice etc already in the Almers Spicy Red Pepper canned tomatoes we can get up in Canada!
    So good on everything!

  8. Love this! Totally reminds me of a Mexican restaurant. Love the texture as I am not a fan of super chunky sauces. Just for educational purposes, why stewed tomatoes? I only had crushed so I diced the garlic and onion so I didn’t have to blend much. It worked but it would have been easy to turn it all into puree. I assume the stewed tomatoes just blend better or provide better texture?

  9. K. Eating this right now. With a spoon. Cuz with my new healthy lifestyle I’m “choosing not to have” chips. The first sentence of this post fits me TO.A.TEE! UGH. Thanks for a yummy recipe 🙂

  10. Looks great. I am addicted to that Chipotle Tabasco. I bought if for a recipe of your a few years ago and now it’s a pantry staple.

  11. Made it today and it’s so delicious! I have to agree that the Chipotle Tabasco is what really makes this amazing. I may need to keep a constant supply of stewed tomatoes on hand! Yum!

  12. Great recipe! I made this tonight. I had Cholula chipotle hot sauce on hand, not the Tobasco brand, so that’s what I used. It was so delicious! It definitely makes a difference to have it sit in the fridge before serving, as you suggested. It really improves the flavor.

  13. Just made this but added a whole jalapeno (minus the stem) in the blender and the chipotle hot sauce because the spicier the better and oh man is it good! Now I just have to be patient and let it sit for a couple hours in the fridge. Thanks for the recipe!

  14. This salsa is soooooo good!! I added 4 roma tomatoes instead of a second can of stewed tomatoes. Also added a jalapeno and used white instead of red onion. I think it’s my new favorite salsa recipe. Thanks!

  15. This salsa has become a staple in our home, along with bread, milk, eggs, and cereal. I’ve tried many salsa recipes, and this one is the easiest and hands-down my family’s favorite. As soon as we run out of this salsa, I have to make a new batch immediately. We are definitely addicted! Thank you!

  16. I have a TON of Roma tomatoes from my garden that I need to use up! You think it would work if I sub them in for the stewed ones?

    1. How would you feel about adding some V8 juice? This has kind of a unique flavor/texture and I think the V8 would help kind of replicate that. Probably 4-8 ounces per pound of pre-seeded tomatoes.

  17. Thanks for posting this recipe!! My hubby and I are obsessed with the Salsa from a local Mexican restaurant in Ogden, UT and go there all the time just to get their Salsa to go. We made this last night and it’s pretty close to the one we love!! This recipe will save us money, time and was super easy to make!! You guys are the BEST!!!!

  18. I can’t wait to try this. Homemade is always so-o-o much better. And yo are right about the Chipotle Tabasco sauce. We love it!! It goes in & on everything. My hubby even has a bottle of it on his desk at work.

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