This quick and easy homemade salsa is almost too good to be true. So fast and so simple, this fresh-tasting salsa will be yours in a matter of minutes!

There is definitely a time and a place for real deal homemade salsa that can sit nice and pretty on your pantry shelves all year long.

But when that level of effort is not in the cards (hi. me. most every day lately), this delicious, quick and easy version is for you.

Homemade salsa in white dish with tortilla chips and cilantro in background.

How to Make Salsa in 5 Minutes or Less

Step 1: chop up the cilantro, jalapeño, onion and garlic in a food processor*

Step 2: add the tomatoes, salt and lime juice

Step 3: pulse until your heart tells you it’s time to stop

Step 4: grab the chips and dig in

*Equipment Tip: I use a food processor for this recipe. But check out the notes below in the recipe for using a blender.

Step-by-step pictures making homemade salsa in food processor.

Fresh and Flavorful

Before you turn your nose up at canned tomatoes, give this salsa a chance. Otherwise, you’ll be missing out.

The fresh flavors of the cilantro, lime juice, onion and garlic transform the canned tomatoes into a salsa worthy of any occasion.

I’ve been making a version of this quick and easy homemade salsa for over ten years. In fact, if you’ve been around long enough you’ll recognize this old recipe.

I took that recipe, plus a few notes from readers over the years, and created a slightly easier (if that’s even possible) and fresher version.

White rectangular dish with homemade salsa and tortilla chips.

Best Salsa Ever

This salsa is so good that people have a really hard time believing it’s made from canned tomatoes.

All the while, I’m sitting over here smug as a bug in a rug that I didn’t have to put my big pioneer girl pants on and peel fresh tomatoes. And we all still got crazy delicious salsa out of the deal. How ’bout that.

I’ll never, ever turn my back on this epic 5-star homemade salsa recipe, but when I need fabulous, fresh-tasting salsa in a pinch AND want to delegate the making of it to my kids, this quick and easy version is where it’s at.

Holding tortilla chip dipped in quick and easy homemade salsa.

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holding triangle tortilla chip with homemade salsa on tip of chip

Quick and Easy Homemade Salsa

5 stars (15 ratings)


  • ½ bunch cilantro (about 1/2 cup packed – see note)
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, stem and seeds removed (leave seeds if you want more heat)
  • ¼ of a medium red onion
  • ½ to 1 teaspoon minced garlic (about 2-3 cloves)
  • 2 cans (15-ounces each) regular or fire-roasted diced tomatoes, well-drained
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar (optional, but I like how it balances the flavors)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice


  • Add the cilantro, jalapeño, red onion and garlic to a food processor (see note for blender). Pulse until the ingredients are finely chopped.
  • Add the tomatoes, salt and lime juice. Pulse until the salsa reaches desired consistency. I tend to like the tomatoes finely chopped, but you can leave it chunkier.
  • Add additional salt and lime juice to taste, if needed (important!). Serve immediately or refrigerate for up to a week. Extra liquid can be drained off before serving, if desired.


Cilantro: I don’t usually measure this exactly, I just grab half of the cilantro bunch by the leafy ends and twist off the top part, leaving most of the stems. I throw the leafy bunch into the food processor.
Red Onion: 1/4 of a medium onion equates to about a 2- or 3-inch piece of onion. Use more or less to taste.
Blender: I haven’t tried this with a blender, but I *think* it should work. The trickiest part will be chopping up the cilantro, onion, and garlic in the first step. If your blender may struggle with that step, finely chop those ingredients before adding them to the blender with the tomatoes, salt and lime juice. Then use the blender to pulse all the ingredients until desired consistency is reached. 
Serving: 1 serving, Calories: 19kcal, Carbohydrates: 5g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 1g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Sodium: 438mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 3g

Recipe Source: from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe (updated from this old recipe as well as from reader feedback over the years – thanks Heather J. for the inspiration to update this recipe after sending me your famous quick salsa recipe!)