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Homemade Fresh Salsa Recipe

This homemade Fresh Salsa recipe is a delicious, chunky dip that’s much like Pico de Gallo. While many salsa recipes are blended or saucy, this recipe uses fresh tomatoes, peppers, garlic, and citrus to whip up an amazing dish in about 10 minutes.

Side view of Fresh Salsa recipe in a blue bowl with chips and cilantro

Do you prefer salsa mild or spicy? If you’re like me, you have family that staunchly prefers either mild, spicy… or even somewhere in-between.

In my family, we serve it both mild and spicy, often in individual containers, where we dip (once– no double dipping allowed) into both dips and debate each other on which one is best. They love their salsa– and lively debates!

Spicy and mild Fresh Salsa with tortilla chips
Recent game day party at my parent’s house — with the last two remaining servings of Fresh Salsa!

Whether you prefer it mild or on the spicy side, it’s easy to adjust the heat by either using or eliminating pepper seeds and by choosing an appropriate chili pepper. Details and pepper ideas are in the ingredient section below.

This recipe is not my own. My brother, Todd, is a master gardener and salsa expert. He’s also a great home chef. In fact, you may have seen my post on How to Make Smoked Pork Ribs in the Smoker. If so, you’ve been introduced to Todd.

He has developed this recipe over the years, and it has a regular spot for every tailgating and game day gathering. It’s simply delicious so I pleaded with him to let me share it with you. Graciously, he said, “Absolutely!”

So here you go…

What is Pico de Gallo?

While the origins of Pico de Gallo (pronounced peek-o deh-guy-oh) is unclear, the term translates to “rooster’s beak.”

How do you use Pico de Gallo?

Salsa is a perfect option whenever you’re craving a savory, somewhat spicy, yet healthy treat. Along with guacamole and tortilla chips, you can also use fresh salsa with:

  1. Tacos, tostadas, burritos and quesadillas
  2. Use in Mexican rice, or alongside grilled vegetables
  3. With burgers, chicken, or fish tacos

Best Tomatoes for Salsa

When making fresh salsa, the tomatoes you choose make a difference. The best choice is paste tomatoes, which are tomatoes that are fleshy and have less juice and fewer seeds than other varieties, making them perfect for salsa.

These varieties are always popular for making fresh salsa:

  • Roma tomatoes: A type of plum tomato that’s small, firm, and contains few seeds. Which makes them ideal for salsa making.
  • Little or Big Mama tomatoes: Little Mama tomatoes are small Roma tomatoes and Big Mama tomatoes, are the biggest paste tomatoes available. Both are easy to work with.
  • Amish Paste tomatoes: Much like Roma, Amish Paste tomatoes have few seeds and are more fleshy, but they have a slightly sweeter flavor.

Choose tomatoes for fresh salsa that look ripe and healthy, skip those that are browning and have bruises.

Top view of homemade Fresh Salsa in a blue bowl with lemon wedges

Fresh Salsa Recipe Ingredients

Exact measurements are in the recipe card at the bottom of this post. Here is an overview of the fresh salsa ingredients and notes on each.

  • Fresh tomatoes: Roma tomatoes are exceptionally good and easy to use.
  • Peppers: Jalapeno is a great choice for this salsa. To keep it on the mild side, remove the seeds. For more heat, leave the seeds in. If you want to make it spicy, consider adding a red serrano pepper for additional heat.
  • Onion: Red onions are preferred for sweet onions or even green onions or scallions work equally well.
  • Herbs: Fresh cilantro is preferred, but in a pinch, dried cilantro can work too. You can substitute parsley for the cilantro if you prefer the flavor.
  • Citrus: You will need the juice of either lime or a lemon.
  • Garlic: Freshly minced or pressed garlic is preferred but you can also substitute garlic powder here too.
  • Salt and pepper to taste.

Making Todd’s Fresh Salsa Recipe

Unlike my Easy Homemade Salsa with Pantry Ingredients recipe that’s made in about 1 minute, this recipe uses fresh ingredients that are chopped by hand or with an easy tool, like a vegetable chopper. It takes me about 10 minutes to chop the tomatoes, peppers, and onions, toss them with fresh herbs, season, and serve.

Fresh Salsa Recipe Questions

How is this salsa recipe different from your easy Homemade Salsa?

While very similar, the easy Homemade Salsa recipe is made with mostly pantry ingredients, specifically canned peppers and canned tomatoes. Perfect all year long when fresh vine ripe tomatoes aren’t available.

Can you freeze homemade salsa?

Homemade salsa can definitely be frozen! If you plan to freeze your fresh salsa, be sure to use paste tomatoes. Homemade salsa using globe tomatoes tend to get watery. The consistency of thawed frozen fresh salsa will be a little different.

Do globe tomatoes work in this salsa recipe?

Globe tomatoes, also known as slicing tomatoes, can work in this salsa recipe. Because they contain more seeds and juice than paste tomatoes, there are a couple of extra steps. To use globe tomatoes, half them horizontally, scoop out the seeds and gel before chopping the tomatoes. Then place them in a colander and drain for 15 to 30 minutes before making the salsa.

How long can you store homemade fresh salsa?

This Pico de Gallo can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to three days when stored properly. The tomatoes will continue to release their juices, so be sure to drain the fresh salsa prior to serving.

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Side view of Pico de Gallo with shredded cheese, tortilla chips, and lemon wedges
Side view of Fresh Salsa recipe in a blue bowl with chips and cilantro

Homemade Fresh Salsa Recipe

Yield: 2 cups
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes

This homemade Fresh Salsa recipe is a delicious, chunky dip that's much like Pico de Gallo. While many salsa recipes are blended or saucy, this recipe uses fresh tomatoes, peppers, garlic, and citrus to whip up an amazing dish in about 10 minutes.

Ingredients

  • 2-4 large Roma tomatoes (about 2 cups chopped)
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno pepper (seeds removed for mild), chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped (2 teaspoons dried)
  • juice of 1 lemon or lime

Instructions

  1. Combine the chopped tomatoes, onions, garlic, peppers, garlic, cilantro, and lemon or lime juice in a bowl. Season with salt and black pepper to taste.
  2. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Notes

Storing Fresh Salsa:

This Pico de Gallo can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to three days when stored properly. The tomatoes will continue to release their juices, so be sure to drain the fresh salsa prior to serving.

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