Restaurant Style Salsa ~ easy, 5 minute restaurant style salsa made in the blender from canned tomatoes + a few spices. Incredibly delicious, loaded with bold flavor and sure to become your #1 appetizer.
Who doesn’t love chips and salsa? It’s one of my favorite appetizers and for me, homemade is the only way to go. It also happens to be one of the ways I judge a good Mexican restaurant – the other being their margaritas.
This salsa starts with canned tomatoes plus a few other ingredients and whips up in the blender super fast. The taste is like the kind we devour at Mexican restaurants scoop after scoop then pile on our favorite Mexican dishes.
It literally takes no more than 5 minutes to make in the blender and will disappear almost that quickly. You’ve got 5 minutes, right? Go ahead . . . you deserve it.
We have a couple of favorite Mexican restaurants we routinely visit. I actually like this salsa recipe even better than theirs. It’s tailored to my preferences and with the warm tortilla chips and a tangy margarita it doesn’t get much better.
what is restaurant style salsa?
Restaurant Style Salsa is what’s served in Mexican restaurants – more pureed than chunky. They usually offer both mild and spicy versions. Unlike dessert which I usually skip because I’m too full, there’s always room for chips and salsa along with a good margarita.
There are tiny pieces of tomato, onion, peppers and cilantro in it, plus a squeeze of lime juice to brighten it and bring the flavors together. The taste is similar to this Fresh Tomato Salsa – but that recipe requires a sharp knife for chopping, fresh seasonal tomatoes and a lot more time.
If you can open a couple of cans, you can make this salsa. Just don’t overthink the canned tomato thing. Tomato manufacturers pick and pack the tomatoes at their premium.
what’s in restaurant salsa?
- canned diced tomatoes
- canned diced Rotel tomatoes (see HEAT information below)
- fresh cilantro leaves
- garlic cloves grated
- coarse sea salt
- ground cumin
Let’s talk heat!
My husband has a favorite saying when it comes to spicy food: “It’ll put hair on your chest”. He’s been saying it forever. Our girls would just roll their eyes and respond “ewww Dad gross!”. For the record thankfully no one actually grew hair on their chests, but he continues to say it even today.
Here’s a breakdown for how to get just the heat you’re looking for in your salsa:
Hot as Hell: This is not your mama’s salsa but if this level of spice is for you, use Rotel Hot Diced Tomatoes with Habaneros.
Happy Medium: If you’re looking for middle of the road spice level, use Rotel Diced Tomatoes with Serrano Peppers. It’s a couple of steps down from habanero, but still packs heat.
Mild As A Spring Day: Still plenty of flavor, but only a hint of spice. Goes down easily. For this one, use Rotel Original with Green Chilies.
how to make restaurant style salsa:
Drain the juice from the tomatoes into a bowl then reserve. Depending on preference, you may add some of the juices later.
Pour the cans of diced tomatoes and Rotel tomatoes into a blender then add the remaining ingredients starting with the minimum amounts of lime juice and sea salt shown in the recipe.
NOTE: cilantro leaves and short stems can be left whole, but give the onion a rough chop and grate the garlic.
Pulse until you reach your desired consistency. If the salsa is too thick, slowly add some of the reserved juice from the canned tomatoes a couple of tablespoons at a time.
Taste the salsa on a salted tortilla chip then adjust salt and lime juice to your preferences. I like a stronger lime flavor so I use the juice from the entire lime. Serve with tortilla chips.
how long will this blender salsa keep?
Covered and refrigerated, this salsa will be good up to 4 days.
looking for more mexican recipes?
If you tried this Restaurant Style Salsa recipe or any other on the blog then I’d love to hear from you with a comment or star rating!
Restaurant Style Salsa
- 14 ounce can diced tomatoes
- 10 ounce can Rotel tomatoes see post which Rotel tomatoes for proper heat level.
- 3/4 cup fresh cilantro
- 2 cloves garlic grated
- 1/2 to 1 lime juiced
- 1/2 medium onion rough chopped
- 1/2 to 1 teaspoon coarse salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon honey
- Drain the juice from the tomatoes into a bowl then reserve the juice. Depending on preference, you may add some of the juice later.
- Add the cans of diced and Rotel tomatoes to a blender then add the remaining ingredients starting with the minimum amounts of lime juice and sea salt shown in the recipe. NOTE: cilantro leaves and stems can be left whole, but give the onion a rough chop and grate the garlic.
- Pulse until you reach your desired consistency. If the salsa is still too thick, slowly add the reserved juice from the canned tomatoes a couple of tablespoons at a time.
- Taste the salsa on a salted tortilla chip then adjust salt and lime juice to your preferences (I usually use the whole lime). Serve with tortilla chips or on top of your favorite Mexican dishes.