Classic Fresh Tomato Salsa

Fresh Tomato Salsa
The Spruce
  • 15 mins
  • Prep: 15 mins,
  • Cook: 0 mins
  • Yield: 2 Cups (6 to 8 Servings)
Ratings (103)

If you're looking for a fresh and flavorful salsa, this recipe is an excellent choice. The combination of diced tomatoes, peppers, garlic, and lime juice make for a classic fresh salsa. Serve it with tacos, burritos, or as a party dip with tortilla roll-ups or tortilla chips. It is a very good condiment to serve alongside grilled or baked fish fillets, grilled chicken, steaks, and pork chops.

The salsa is made with fresh tomatoes and peppers, and it is seasoned perfectly with cilantro and lime juice. See the tips and variations for some add-in ideas and more. The extra step of pouring boiling water over the chopped onion and garlic may be new and perplexing to some home chefs. Don't skip this step! The boiling water helps to take the bite out of the raw onions and garlic. You'll be left with their delicious flavor, while the process removes any harshness.

What You'll Need

  • 3 tablespoons chopped onion (finely chopped)
  • 2 small cloves garlic (minced)
  • 3 large ripe tomatoes (peeled, seeds removed, and chopped)
  • 2 chile peppers (hot or mild, chopped)
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • Salt and pepper (to taste)

How to Make It

  1. Put chopped onion and garlic in a strainer; pour 2 cups boiling water over them then let drain thoroughly. Discard the water. All the chopped onion and garlic to fully cool.
  2. Combine onions and garlic with chopped tomatoes, peppers, cilantro, and lime juice. Add salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste.
  3. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours to blend the flavors.
  4. Serve as a dip or a condiment with Mexican style dishes. It can be refrigerated for up to 5 to 7 days.

    *Use hot or mild chile peppers in the salsa. Jalapeno peppers, serrano, New Mexican, and Anaheim are good choices. Take caution when chopping the peppers and be sure to wash your hands immediately following the cutting. If you want a spicier salsa, keep some of the pepper seeds in the mixture. If you prefer a more mild salsa, make sure all the pepper seeds and ribs are removed.

    Tips and Variations

    • Plum tomatoes are an excellent choice for salsa. They are firmer and have fewer seeds, and they're easier to dice.
    • If you're not a fan of cilantro, omit it or add fresh parsley.
    • For extra texture and color, add about a few tablespoons of drained and rinsed black beans and a few tablespoons of cooked corn kernels.
    • For something a little different, try a peach salsa or a tasty corn and pepper salsa.
    • If you store this salsa in the refrigerator for a few days, the tomatoes will continue to release their juices. Simply drain the salsa prior to serving to keep it from having too much liquid.


    Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
    Calories 35
    Total Fat 0 g
    Saturated Fat 0 g
    Unsaturated Fat 0 g
    Cholesterol 0 mg
    Sodium 43 mg
    Carbohydrates 8 g
    Dietary Fiber 1 g
    Protein 2 g
    (The nutrition information on our recipes is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. Individual results may vary.)