Five Ingredient Restaurant-Style Salsa

restaurant salsa

Tomatoes abound this time of year and salsa is a great way to use delicious ripe tomatoes of any color (red, orange, yellow), especially since this restaurant-style salsa recipe is super easy to make! We are going to barely chop the five ingredients, toss them into a blender and then simmer them for a few minutes. If you prefer a more pico-type salsa, you can even skip the simmering part. That’s it! Restaurant-style salsa that you’ll be proud to say you made yourself!

Let’s get started…

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 15 minutes
Yield: approximately 1 pint

salsa ingredients
The five ingredients for restaurant-style salsa.

Restaurant-Style Salsa Ingredients: 

1. 2 large tomatoes – any color as long as they are ripe (about 1 pound)
2. 1/4 of a large yellow onion (about 1/4 cup)
3. 1 clove of garlic
4. a handful of fresh cilantro (about 1/4 cup)
5. 1/2 – 1 jalapeno (depending on how spicy you want it)
1 teaspoon of salt

Restaurant-Style Salsa Instructions: 

STEP 1: Get out all of your tools and prepare all of your ingredients.

Like most things in life, cooking is easier when you are prepared in advance. First get out all of the tools you will need for the recipe: a paring knife, a large, sharp knife, a teaspoon, a blender (or food processor), a large non-stick pan, and a large spoon.

Next, prepare all of the ingredients and have them ready on the counter in front of you.

Tomatoes: Use the paring knife to core the tomatoes and then use the large, sharp knife to cut them into chunks. Your going to be tossing these chunks into the blender, so don’t waste time trying to make them evenly sized. If you want further instructions for dicing tomatoes, check out this link: How to Dice a Tomato

Onion: Slice the onion in half from end to end and then in half again. Store the 3/4 in the refrigerator for future use. Peel the 1/4 and cut it into about 1/2 inch chunks.

Garlic: Peel the garlic and chop it into a few chunks (again… this is going in the blender, so don’t stress it). Not confident in your garlic peeling abilities? Check out this video: How to Peel & Mince Garlic

Cilantro: Pull the leaves off of the stems until you have about 1/4 cup worth of leaves. Discard the stems.

Jalapeno: Cut the stem off of the jalapeno and then cut as much of it as you plan to use (1/2 of it or more) into 1/4 inch slices.

STEP 2:  Toss it all in the blender. 

So the title of this step pretty much says it all. Toss all of the produce into your blender (or food processor) and PULSE it until it reaches an appropriately chunky consistency. Be sure to pulse the blender on a low setting – don’t just press the puree button and walk away – otherwise you will end up with no texture to your salsa, which means it won’t stay on a chip very well… which is a major salsa failure. If you have a not-so-fancy blender (like me), you might need to stop every few pulses and use a spoon to mix it up a bit so that it grinds it up evenly.

Salsa in the pan
Salsa ingredients simmering in the pan.

STEP 3: Simmer all the ingredients (or don’t). 

To simmer, or not to simmer… decisions, decisions!

If you prefer a chunkier pico-style salsa AND you’re going to eat all of it within a day or so (it won’t keep much longer than that because it will get all watery), then you can just pour the contents of the blender in to a bowl, stir in the teaspoon of salt, and call it a day. Your done.


If you prefer a soupier restaurant-style salsa (similar texture to what you can buy in a jar) AND/OR you want to be able to keep the salsa in the fridge for a week, then you will need to cook the salsa in the pan. Cooking it allows it to keep longer. Don’t worry… it won’t take long!

  1. Pour the contents of the blender into a large pan.
  2. Stir in the teaspoon of salt.
  3. Bring the salsa to a boil over medium-high heat. Once it is boiling, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer the pan uncovered for 7-8 minutes.

STEP 4: Store in an airtight container.

Pour the salsa into an airtight container and store in it the fridge for up to a week. I chose to use a mason jar because I have a bunch on hand from my recent canning adventures (this recipe is not appropriate for canning), but you can use a plastic storage container, too. It will store just as well.

That’s it! Our five ingredient restaurant-style salsa is ready to eat with tortilla chips, on tacos, over chicken, etc. This salsa is delicious as it is, but if you wanted to expand your ingredient list and kick this salsa into an even higher gear, you could add the juice of half a lime, corn cut from the cob (probably 1/4 to 1/2 a cup), and/or even black beans from a can (rinsed, about 1/4 to 1/2 cup). There are lots of possibilities.

I hope you enjoy this five ingredient restaurant-style salsa!

Did you give this recipe a try? How did it turn out? I’d love to hear from you. 

The Short Version

Five Ingredient Restaurant-Style Salsa

Time: 25 minutes; Yield: 1 pint

Five Ingredient Restaurant-Style Salsa


  • 2 large tomatoes – any color as long as they are ripe (about 1 pound)
  • 1/4 of a large yellow onion (about 1/4 cup)
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • a handful of fresh cilantro (about 1/4 cup)
  • 1/2 – 1 jalapeno (depending on how spicy you want it)
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  1. Core the tomatoes and chop them into 1/2 inch chunks. Peel the clove of garlic and chop it into a few chunks. Peel an onion and chop 1/4 of it into small chunks. Cut the stem off of the jalapeno and slice it into pieces (as much of it as you want to use). Pull the cilantro leaves off of their stems. Discard the stems.
  2. Add all the produce to a blender or food processor and PULSE the blender on a low setting until you reach a desirable chunky salsa consistency.
  3. Pour the contents of the blender into a large pan. Stir in 1 teaspoon of salt.
  4. Bring the pan to a boil over medium-high heat. Once boiling, reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer, uncovered, on medium-low for 7-8 minutes.
  5. Store the finished salsa in an air tight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Tell me what you think!