three-ingredient summertime salsa

There’s nothing worth eating in Texas that Lisa Fain can’t teach you to make better in your own kitchen, from perfect, simple carnitas, kolaches, and chicken-fried steak to breakfast tacos, frito pie and peach buttermilk ice cream, plus two cookbooks worth of wonders (drool break for the buttermilk and bacon fat flour tortillas from her latest) but my favorite recipe of hers uses only three ingredients and is addictive enough to put on everything.

what you'll need + onion I add
getting ready for the broiler

Google offers windows into at least 3.8 million iterations of “perfect homemade salsa” — I mean, the red, spicy stuff we went through two jars a week of when I was a freshman in college — but I find most of them terrifyingly complicated. Many have nearly a dozen ingredients ranging from sugar to cumin, or call for very specific brands of tomatoes, like Ro-Tel, which isn’t particularly easy to find outside of Texas or well-stocked bodegas in NYC. Fain’s recipe shrugs at all this fussing, and tells you to go to the market when tomatoes are overflowing, halve a bunch on a tray along with a couple garlic cloves and jalapenos, broil them until they’re charred and blend them until you get your desired consistency and just forget about eating salsa another way ever again.

broiled until charred

and then we blend

You can, of course, add anything you like to the mix — I usually cannot resist also charring half a white onion and finishing it with a squeeze of lime juice. Fain says she sometimes adds some canned chipotle and/or cilantro, and I know this because I went to the Greenmarket last Friday for the singular purpose of buying tomatoes, jalapenos and garlic for this salsa and ran into her, which gave me the opportunity to give her the third degree about ingredients. Don’t I sound like I’d be fun to run into on the street? Wait, don’t answer that. If you give this a spin at home, I’d love to hear if and how you tweaked it, and what you put it on. (Me: Eggs, always and forever.)

three-ingredient summertime salsa

One year ago: Charred Corn Crepes
Two years ago: Charred Pepper Steak Sauce
Three years ago: Hazelnut Plum Crumb Tart
Four years ago: Summer Succotash with Bacon and Croutons (if you think you don’t like succotash, I think this could convert you)
Five years ago: Cantaloupe Salsa
Six years ago: Garlic Mustard Glazed Skewers
Seven years ago: Zucchini Bread

Three-Ingredient Summertime Salsa
From Lisa Fain, via Cup of Jo

Salsas made with fresh, instead of canned, tomatoes have a complexity of flavor unmatched by anything in a jar. You can char these under your oven’s broiler or even on a grill. Although this is wonderful with just the three core ingredients, I like to add a halved white onion to the tray for charring, and blend it in, and finish the salsa with lime juice. A spoonful of chipotle from a can (more or less to taste) would also be delicious here, or a handful of fresh cilantro. Don’t forget to season the salsa well. Since jalapeños can range wildly in heat level, I recommend cutting the tiniest bevel off the end of each and trying it to get an idea of how hot that pepper will be. If it’s very strong, you might find you only need one here. Or five, if you’re my husband.

Yield: About 1 1/2 cups salsa

1 pound plum or roma tomatoes, stemmed and cut in half
1 or 2 jalapeños (depending on how hot you want the salsa), stemmed and cut in half
2 cloves garlic, peeled
Salt and pepper, to taste

Turn on your broiler and place a rack five inches away from the heating element. Line a skillet or baking sheet with foil and place the tomatoes, jalapeño halves and garlic on the skillet; season with salt. Cook under the broiler for five minutes (this, and all broiling steps, took much longer in my weak oven), or until the jalapeño and garlic have brown spots. Remove the jalapeño and garlic from the skillet and place in a blender.

Meanwhile, return the skillet to the oven and continue to broil the tomatoes for five more minutes, or until they have browned on top. Remove the tomatoes from the oven and add them to the blender, also pouring into the blender any juices that may be in the skillet. Begin to pulse on a low speed until the salsa reaches your desired texture; I usually add about 2 tablespoons water to loosen mine — you may need up to 1/4 cup, or more, for a thinner salsa. Adjust salt and pepper to taste. Eat with everything.

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134 comments on three-ingredient summertime salsa

  1. Jenny C

    Wow, Deb. This looks so great and so easy! I now know what I’m going to be doing with my 8 tomato plants this summer! Everything you have posted lately has been fantastic! I recently made your baked eggs and greens recipe from the cookbook (fantastic, again!), and I wondered where we can post questions from the recipes in the book?

  2. Ariel

    I’ll be making this with some farmer’s market tomatoes this weekend! Also, whenever I go into the city I always hope I’m going to run into you (I apologize for being such a creeper).

  3. Shellie

    I recently moved and there is no broiler element in the top of my gas oven. I had a feeling that the scary-looking “drawer” at the bottom of the oven was for broiling, but it looked intimidating and confusing so I decided to broil things in the toaster oven instead. But Deb, this recipe looks SO WONDERFUL that I have resolved to learn how to broil in my oven. Cue google search “how to broil in gas oven” and I found this blog post which parallels my own life (minus the part about formerly having an electric stove — heaven forbid!!!). Now I’m ready to brave the scary fire-drawer and make some salsa!!!!

  4. Wife To An Amazing Cook

    I love, love, love salsa – red, green, fresh, canned, hot, medium or mild. YUM! I can’t wait to try this version, too. And with eggs? Swoon……

    I was wondering if this would freeze well? I was just lamenting yesterday that I want fresh tasting salsa in January, too (not just during the peak of summer) and this might solve my dilemma if I can freeze it.

  5. This is great! I was just looking for a good fresh tomato salsa recipe the other day. I can’t wait to try this out for a summer tex-mex night along with some homemade guac! Yum. :)

  6. Laurie

    OOf. See, I think there are two kinds of people in the world: those who can be charming in a chance encounter, and those of us who would get glazed, stalkerish eyes and frighten the person. Running into you AND Homesick Texan in the store? Oof. But thank goodness you can manage and pass the insights on to the rest of us! Recipes like this, that become part of the daily fabric of eating, are my favorites … and why I adore both your websites. Many thanks.

  7. This is perfect! I was just talking to my wife about making homemade salsa with all the veggies from our garden. We might have to make two batches because I’m a hot guy and she’s mild but this recipe looks simple and delicious!

  8. Maria

    This looks delicious! When you add the halved onion to the other veggies for charring, do you take it out with the garlic and jalapenos or cook it longer with the tomato? Thanks!

  9. JP

    Just put a bunch of cherry tomatoes in the oven to roast and came up to read your blog. Now I know what to do with them. Thanks!

  10. I love this simple salsa – I’m not a huge fan of cilantro so I love that this salsa doesn’t rely on cilantro for its flavor. Going to use my homegrown tomatoes to make this…to serve on my eggs, of course.

  11. Mairsydoats

    For those of y’all who want this salsa in winter – you can can it! Reference another recipe like Tammy Kimbler’s at One Tomato Two Tomato, that has great explanation of the hows and whys of canning the salsa. And remember you can adjust the seasonings at will, and can REDUCE the onions/peppers from the recipe, but you CANNOT INCREASE those non-acidic elements without risking botulism. I’m pretty sure you can also sub out part of the apple cider vinegar with lemon or lime juice. Bottled lemon or lime juice is at a consistent acidity, which is handy for this sort of thing.

  12. Kandice

    I’m not trying to be rude, as I love your website and recipes (and photos!) and read every day. But as a native Texan, I found your intro to this post (“There’s nothing worth eating in Texas that Lisa Fain can’t teach you to make better in your own kitchen”) to be harsh, rude, and frankly not true. I love Lisa’s recipes, but there are a few things here that simply cannot be made very easily at home (e.g. slow smoked brisket) and are divine (and worth a trip to Texas to taste the “real stuff”). I know you were just looking for a way to introduce this recipe, but I feel there’s no need to make broad and false generalizations that can be hurtful to some.

  13. Jenn

    I find that the world’s best salsa requires these 6 ingredients: tomatoes, onion, garlic, jalapeno, lime, cilantro. But the real key to flavor is salt salt salt–there is a magic amount that really makes the salsa pop and makes people want to drink it instead of dip in it. I usually just chop the raw fresh ingredients–but I am definitely going to try this roasting method next time, sounds like a great idea!

  14. Jill

    Is Ro-tel really that hard to find? We have lived in five states, never NY or TX, and I’ve always found it to be a grocery store staple. Can of Ro-tel, can of diced tomatoes, chop an onion, throw in lime juice, salt and cilantro and blend. Great non-summer salsa. For summer, nothing beats fresh tomatoes and I’ll definitely have to give this version a try.

  15. Nice quick and easy, no-fuss salsa. I like to kick it up by tossing in some dried chilies — guajillo or even tiny chilies de arbol for even more heat. Just roast them with the tomatoes, then crush ’em up. Of course, now you’d have four-ingredients…

  16. Anita Campbell

    We’re starting to get sweet corn here in Ontario — I’ll be adding some charred corn (and leftover black beans) to mine.

  17. Homemade salsa is the best, and this recipe sounds like a winner. Love the simplicity. Can’t wait until our tomatoes in the garden are ready.

    By the way – yes, you would be fun to run into on the street or better yet in the grocery store!

  18. Oh snaps, now I really want those danged acorn squash quesadillas and a tomatillo version of this salsa! As always, I have no business complaining about life in CA, but it does make you kind of oblivious to seasons. I miss the glut of tomatoes ya’ll are about to experience!

  19. Terri

    Love that idea, thanks! I roast tomatoes with garlic and herbs all summer, freeze them in 1-cup increments, and toss them into roasts and a million other things in the winter. I will try this too!

  20. Charlotte

    I will so try this!
    I’m off to the US and NY in a few weeks time, any suggestions for food markets worth visting?

    1. deb

      Heirloom tomatoes — Yes, you can use them here, but I almost hesitate to encourage this because they’re so wonderful raw. They will, as another commenter responded, take longer to broil because they’re usually quite juicy. Try to use the smallest ones.

      Charlotte — Don’t miss the Union Square Greenmarket; it’s the original and it’s been there since 1976! What sets NYC’s Greenmarkets apart is that they only sell stuff that’s been grown within 100 miles of the city, so you’re not going to see any lemons or pineapple (or, I never have!). And you won’t miss them.

  21. Have you ever come across the cook books of Rebecca Rather, the chef and owner of ‘The Really Sweet’ and ‘Pink Pig’ bakery and cafe in Fredericksburg, Texas?

    I have often used her recipes for Carnitas, Kolaches and maple bacon (there’s a geographical mash up right there!) and thought you might be interested in taking a look if you are not already aware?

    Thanks for another lovely read and recipe. I so love a day that starts with a Deb-Drop in my mailbox.

  22. Jessiet

    I’m a gardener and a cook (don’t ask me to decide which I love most), and my most beloved crop is heirloom tomatoes. They’re just coming in right now. I’m salivating right now thinking about this salsa. Do you think some of those lovely large heirlooms would work as well? We’ll have tons of them, and I’m sure they’ll be juicier (and sweeter), but would that matter? I’d love to send you my favorite Black Krim variety!

  23. The recipe sounds really good — once our tomatoes are ripe I’ll make some. Now, we buy our Ro-Tel at Sams — do you want me to send you some?? We use it a lot — my hubby likes everything spicy. He’d put Tabasco on ice cream if we bought ice cream– we don’t buy ice cream because we can’t stay away from it if it’s in the house.

  24. Mischelle

    Jessiet, I love Black Krim! And Cherokee Purple, too. As a big-time tomato lover, my experience is the heirlooms lack the acidity needed and are a little too juicy to char well under a broiler. They are best eaten fresh! Paste/roma tomatoes are the best for recipes like this. They contain less liquid (and seeds) and have a more acidic taste. If you’d like to use the bigger guys, my suggestion would be to salt them and drain for a bit before broiling them.

  25. Salsa means sauce so it can be anything, yours sounds wonderful, particularly the charred onion – I see breakfast on the horizon! This week I have been all fruit pies – and starting the day right with blackberry breakfast pie.

  26. SandyH

    I’m a native, lifelong Texan and some of us do get our backs up when people start messin’ with “our” recipes… But salsa? It’s not just Texan, although true to form, naturally we think ours is the best…like other regional recipes and food traditions, like chowder, pierogi, and tons of others in other areas of our country, everyone thinks THEIRS is the definitive one. It’s ok, and part of the fun. Chicken fried steak, barbecue and chili are the most hot-button issues for Texans, I guess, but hey, they’re so delicious I’d hate for anyone to miss out. My husband is a competition worthy barbecuer, but we love it cooked by anyone, anywhere. I make chili that I think is THE BEST, and no, there’s no beans in it,( huge issue here) but I grew up eating it with beans and am no less a native. To each their own.

  27. Being Italian and here just by chance (not a regular reader) my impression is that this is not really a tomato salsa.
    The quality of tomatoes seems ok but olive oil is missing! To my taste this is a roasted tomato puree! Very tasty I must admit.
    Other things are the salt, garlic or onion or both and spices (laurel and basil for me) and hot pepper (never pepper!). And the cooking method, which can vary (with “soffritto” or without). This is tomato salsa for us in Italy! Of course there are many and many variations. But never without olive oil!
    Anyway this dish is fantastic. Wonderful pics.
    By the way, I do not believe that a foodblogger whoever is the best cooker in a whole country…

  28. Karen T.

    I just made this recipe and it turned out awesome! I blackened my tomatoes (sometimes I throw in a few tomatillos along with the red tomatoes), the onion, 2 cloves garlic and 4 jalapeños on the grill. Threw it all in the food processor along with salt, the juice of one lime and a handful of cilantro. Fabulous–so perfect for summer!

  29. The salsa I make for my Baked Chile Rellenos is almost identical to yours (with onion) except I also add a sprinkle of sugar and salt and stream in avocado oil to give it a nice sauce consistency. Nothing beats the simplicity of fresh tomato salsa!!!

  30. Jane M

    Hey Deb

    I don’t know where else to write this, so sorry it’s mis-placed. I just wanted to let you know that your ‘surprise me’ button seems to be acting up (don’t know if others are having this problem) – it usually works if I hit it once, but then only provides the same recipe afterwards.

    Although it likely isn’t a HUGE deal, this is one of my favourite ways to procrastinate/avoid studying/dream of new recipes to make when I’m bored. So basically I’m asking…..can you fix this ASAP? ;) thank you so much!

  31. Ruben

    What a great “recipe,” just as a caveat, can we please not credit anyone aside from the Mexican people who have been making salsa like this for centuries? Because they own this, it would never occur to them to troll the internet for copyright infringement and it’s not cool to sell our recipe for simple roasted tomato salsa as the invention of an american blogger, right?

    1. deb

      Ruben — I don’t think I in any way indicated that Lisa Fain is the inventor of salsa — nor did she. She has a method of making salsa that’s wonderful, worth sharing, and crediting to her, and that’s what we did here. Recipe writers all over the world put their spins on dishes that have existed for a very long time; publishing them does not mean that they claim to be the owner or inventor of the dish (this is why ingredient lists are not copyright-able). Most task themselves with improving or innovating the technique, or changing the flavor in a new or interesting way — all worthy endeavors.

      Jane M. — I’m sorry it’s giving you trouble. We had some issues with it over the last couple weeks but they should be sorted now. Is it still not working? Anyone else having trouble with the Surprise Me! button? It’s my favorite, too, but I’m totally at the mercy of the plugin developer who made it and hope he will always keep it up and working.

  32. Just finished making this and cannot believe how delicious it is & only 3 ingredients! I used 2 jalapeños & grilled instead of broiling. Wonderful, intense flavor that I bet will be even better tonight when I serve it with tortilla chips & margaritas. Thank you!

  33. Jessiet

    Well Smitten, here I am again. Just want to say “bless your heart” for writing such a wonderful blog, and that I imagine it must be discouraging to share something as wonderful as this from your heart and have folks criticize your innocent comments about where you got it. I hereby swear to keep any negative comments I might have to myself!

  34. I am a huge salsa fanatic – red or green, make it hot and give me good tortilla chips (or tacos or eggs), and I’m the happiest camper. Love this recipe, since it’s very similar to the one I’ve been using (Aida Mollenkamp’s recipe for red salsa (it’s in her post on chilequiles)) religiously since discovering it earlier this year. She chars a pepper, garlic, and red onion in a cast iron skillet, then adds them to a blender with a can of fire roasted tomatoes and some salt. You can even add cilantro if that’s your thing. So good! And because it’s with canned tomatoes, you can make it year round.
    You rock, Deb!

  35. Christina

    I’ve been craving salsa for the past week, and this one looks so delicious! Just a quick question — what’s the best way to store it / how long will it last? Thanks so much!

  36. Bonny

    Worked exactly as you said it would. Perfect consistancy. I added the lime juice at the end and some cilantro and cumin. Also took a suggestion from a follower and added Black beans and chared an ear of corn. Will serve it shortly over some grilled chicken breasts.

  37. Danita

    Made this last night since my roma’s are finely starting to ripen. I served it over squash blossom quesadillas. I deseeded the jalapenos (2) and so the sauce was very mild by my standards. Next time I’ll leave them in.

    1. deb

      Steve — I did, but only because I was hoping to convince a 4 year-old to eat salsa. I failed. He’ll make up for it in college, right? (He’ll probably prefer the jarred stuff, won’t he? Sigh.)

  38. I thought that I’d mastered a simple salsa when I got my recipe down to 9 ingredients, but you’ve taken simplicity to a new level. This is now my inspiration. Thanks for the post!

  39. Emily

    This was so good! Of course I can never leave well enough alone so I through in the juice of half a lime that was lying around and cilantro that needed to be used up. Greater than the sum of the parts.

  40. Ben

    Yay! I was so happy to see your Lisa Fain shout-out! Her blog has brightened many a night for this wayward Texan-turned-Virginian. I mean, how do people not know that barbecue means one thing and one thing only: smoked meat, or the process of making it. “A barbecue”? That does not compute. And oh, the spice-phobia: it makes me want to cry. I’ll be giving this salsa a go for sure and amping up the jalapeños. :)

  41. Kendra

    I just made a batch of this and it’s delicious! I would like to add, however, that I did as you suggested and tasted each jalapeño before roasting – they were quite mild and I was planning to make a mild salsa for a BBQ I’m hosting tomorrow. Apparently the oven brought out their heat because the finished salsa is VERY spicy. Not at all a problem for me, but it wasn’t my intent. In the future I’ll sample the peppers after roasting to get an idea of their heat level. Thanks!

  42. Deb

    @ Mairsydoats # 20-
    This recipe is not safe to can. Vinegar is not one of the 3 ingredients. Check with your local Extension office for recipes that have been tested to be safe for canning.

    It is safe to freeze and should be just as tasty in January – although, it might be a little more watery after freezing.

  43. Morgan

    I made this last night for a book club and it was SPECTACULAR. I even (GASP) forgot the onion! I did add a generous amount of cilantro, which was very welcome. The roasted flavor really lent itself to the salsa and I kind of wanted to eat it like a soup by the end of the night. The only change I’ll make the next time I make it is I’ll definitely leave more seeds in the jalapeno. Thanks!

  44. Sarah U

    Very yummy! I love the charred flavor. I added an onion and squeeze of lime as well. My oven took wayyyy longer to broil everything as you indicated, although it is usually spot-on for baking/roasting times.

  45. Mary

    Great recipe to make with a surplus of plum tomatoes from the garden. I also snuck in some regular very ripe tomatoes as well. Not having to peel the tomatoes makes this simple and fast. I have used the salsa as a cooking sauce for ground beef (sloppy jose), chicken and also as a topping for sautéed chicken. It also freezes well. I made 3 , 4 and 5 ingredient salsas as I have been lucky to have the “problem” of having too many tomatoes. Thanks for a great recipe!

  46. KatieK

    Used about a pound and a third of Roma tomatoes; added half an onion to the roasting pan. Used two peppers because the taste of one was mild; two maybe too much (I had discarded the membranes and seeds after roasting–kept them aside in case I needed to add heat–didn’t need them). Peppers and garlic were ready after five minues; onions took another two and tomatoes another five. Added cilantro and lime juice; didn’t need any more water. Texture is great and there is a nice kick. A good and easy way to use the many, many tomatoes I’m getting from CSA.

  47. Kym Brown

    I just had to comment about the Ro-Tel…you said it was hard to find outside of Texas so I checked the date you wrote it…yeah, I’m a new convert and just found your awesome site…and was surprised to see it was from this year. I live in Tennessee and just about half of our party recipes and tailgating menus call for Ro-Tel and have for years and years…it’s been available here for a really long time. So my question is…is it still hard for you to find it these days? I would be happy to send you a case every now and then as it is in every grocery store down here…it’s even in the Dollar Generals and Freds here!

    1. deb

      Kym — Thanks. It’s true; I haven’t looked in a couple years so my information was outdated. But I’ve been sent Ro-Tel since. Lesson learned. :)

  48. I boiled my tomatoes first to rid them of skin and to try to make them less acidic and less raw tasting – I can’t abide a raw tomato, but I love salsa. I added a handful of chopped cilantro and some red onion. I’d add chipotle if I thought my kids would not protest. Can’t wait to taste it tonight.

  49. janmaus

    Almost perfect–I still need some fresh cilantro added. Seriously, salsa is so easy, no one needs to be spending $5 or more a jar for something so terrific and easily made fresh. In the winter, even drained canned tomatoes will do better. I mostly like mine without onions, but add them from time to time because my husband, the pico de gallo addict, likes them in salsa, too.

  50. Liz

    I am so glad I read all the comments because I planted just one tomatillo and it is taking over. They are not super flavorful ones, maybe because it rained all August, and roasting will concentrate the flavor.

    I have never in my life seen RoTel, I have lived most of my life in the west, Oregon, WA, CA and UT.

    I spent a year in Mexico and nothing I have seen has resembled what I ate in central Mexico so no infringement there. What people in the US call Mexican is generally texmex or far northern food. Mexico has one of the great cuisines of the world. The French occupation profoundly affected the cuisine in the central highlands where savory empanadas are made with puff pastry and consummes are served frequently. Granted there are no beaches in the center, but the food…. In fact it is good all over Mexico.

    Maybe some time you can post various recipes for Pozole. It should never, ever be made with canned corn and few people know how to do it. It is easy to make too. In the US it is sold as hominy. I have never eaten two alike and each on is the one and only authentic version. I have loved all of them. The New Mexican native American version I had was amazing.

  51. This is the perfect answer to the avalanche of tomatoes coming out of my garden! My daughter (the dietitian in the duo!) loves your blog and your cookbook. I adapted this a little and made an italian-style tomato sauce to put over fish, poultry or pasta, and we had it last night! So easy! Blogged the recipe today, and of course mentioned Smitten Kitchen for the salsa version! Your pictures and recipes are amazing.

  52. stephanie

    as others have mentioned, i thought the bit about rotel being hard to find was pretty bizarre. i grew up in rhode island, have been in MA for over ten years, and spent some time in vermont and in any of those places rotel is there among the canned tomatoes in any regular grocery store. but obviously ymmv. i know when i first moved to boston and lived in the back bay, a ‘regular grocery store’ wasn’t always the easiest to come by :)

    anyway, a couple weeks ago i made barbacoa beef tacos and i made ree’s (pioneer woman) salsa to go with it. i couldn’t keep my chips out of the stuff, and i’m not much for salsa (give me guac or pico, please) and i’ve been snacking on it ever since. canned whole tomatoes, rotel, jalepenos, garlic, onion, cilantro, lime, cumin, salt, everything ground up in the food processor and then i added the tomatoes and pulsed it some more. but now, see, my boyfriend hardly touched the stuff. he likes the stuff at the restaurant which is, to me, salsa water with big tomato chunks in it. i think i could accomplish that with the right amount of pulsing and this simplified recipe. i’ll have to try it and see what happens. his and my salsa feels will probably never align, but that’s okay – i don’t really need to be wolfing down any more chips ;)

  53. KatieK

    I just read my post from last year, funny this year the peppers were too mild so I added some adobo sauce from a can of chipotle; didn’t do the onions, lime or cilantro. It was very, very good; the trick really is in using ripe, real tomatoes. Didn’t need the extra water. This is just a perfect summer dish!

  54. Mark H.


    Very basic question here: So charring the garlic, tomatoes and onions ends up cooking all the way through, steaming hot, is that right? I tried ‘charring’ under my broiler but it cooks as much as chars it. So my onions turned out a bit mushy and only slightly charred. Am I doing this right?

  55. Mark H.

    So the onions weren’t really mushy, that’s not the right word. They were somewhat crunchy in the middle and soft near the outside. I put it all in a blender and it seemed to turn out OK. This consistency I like quite a bit, I didn’t even have to add water. It’s just that it’s not very tasty to me. I’m gonna need to add lots of garlic and another jalapeno next time to experiment. Maybe I didn’t get fresh enough tomatoes but it didn’t really seem any better than store bought salsa, the expensive kind anyway. Thoughts?

  56. deb

    Mark — For the texture, it’s not supposed to be really hard or soft. Charring will somewhat but not completely soften the onions. There’s some texture left. It’s definitely a very simple salsa, nothing like the stuff from jars or restaurants, which have a lot of added ingredients from sugar to citric acid, usually. It’s much more about a pure tomato flavor, which may not be to everyone’s taste. It can be amped up with salt and heat. I particularly like a little lime juice in there for extra acidity. Hope that helps.

  57. Liz

    I made this from memory recently since my garden is generating tons of tomatoes. In my memory this was onion, pepper and tomato roasted, ooops, but it tasted great. I popped on here for making a batch to can and noticed it was garlic and roasted. It all turned out great and for my volume I am roasting as broiling would be too much work. I am sticking with onions since my family loved it and will bump the acidity for canning with distilled white vinegar. I love how your recipes turn out well even when I totally change them

  58. Morgan B.

    This was my second time making this salsa and I must say, even in the Fall, it’s delicious! I also found that it gets better over time. I made it for a work meeting on Tuesday, then I had some today and today it was a lot more flavorful. I think when I make it again I’ll make it a few days in advance. Thanks for the great recipe!

  59. Lauren J

    I’m a native Texas, so I love good salsa, and this is hands down one of our favorites (even with crummy winter-time tomatoes)!

  60. Amy

    Just made this after seeing it on Facebook. Once again you’ve proved why you’re one of my all time favorite recipe writers.
    I tripled this recipe and still had fresh salsa in under an hour.
    Thank you fir giving me yet another way to wow guests.


    I actually wanted a mild salsa so used only 1 jalapeno and a bit more tomatoes than what the recipe called for. It still turned out way too fire in your mouth, spicy! Doesn’t seem like others had this problem. Will try again with more tomatoes and remove seeds from Jalapeno.

  62. Amy

    it took easily 10 minutes of broiling for me. I should have put in only half a jalapeño. And it will need less salt than you think.

  63. C

    The huevos rancheros sauce from Cook’s Illustrated is very similar — broil oiled halved Roma tomatoes, jalapenos, and onion, then blend. It is awesome — I suspect this is similarly great.

  64. Amy

    I made this a week ago and was kinda meh about it. Too much garlic, over salted, bummed. I put it in the fridge and went on a four day vacation. When I got back, I got it out with the tortilla chips I had forgotten. The salsa is now marvelous. A little cilantro added to what you’re eating isn’t a bad thing.

  65. Chelsea

    Just made this: fast, delicious, great for helping to get rid of a few of the rapidly-ripening 20+ season’s-end tomatoes on my counter. Who knew it was so easy to make salsa? Not me. Used onion and lime juice as recommended – broiling times were maybe 10 mins + 10 mins ish?

  66. Barclay Terhune

    This is a good foundation for salsa, but everything is better after being charred on the grill. Onions and cilantro are a must. I add a splash of pickled jalapeño juice. I always have escabeche on hand (try Patti Jinich’s recipe).

  67. This is my favorite recipe among various salsa recipe.I never tried jalapenos as an ingredient. All the images show it seems to be very tasty. I can’t wait to make this salsa recipe.

  68. Roxana

    this is a hit in summer for a couple of years now. i also put some red onions to roast, and some red pepper. it literally goes with everything, awesome recipe!

  69. aislinnrebecca

    Do you de-seed and de-rib your jalapeños before roasting? I just made this with one jalapeño with seeds and ribs intact, and it was far too spicy! I think I’ll make another batch without any jalapeño and mix in some of the hot batch to give it a bit of heat. I think next time I’ll make it with half of a de-seeded/de-ribbed jalapeño.

    1. deb

      Jalapenos range a lot in heat. Best bet is to try yours first and get an idea of how hot it is before roasting it, you might find you need less. You can also add it once roasted to taste, a little at a time.

      1. Michelle

        I made this today, used a quart of small tomatoes, 2 jalapeños, and Hal of a white onion. I like the acid, so I added the juice from a half of a very juicy lime. I don’t care for cilantro, so I left it out. It took a while to broil everything, and I might have gotten impatient, so only a few tomatoes were as far done as the photos. So far, it tastes good, but I am hoping it will be even better after a day or two in the fridge. Super easy, and nice to have fresh salsa on hand!

  70. ladyinabox

    So delicious! Because my garden is overflowing with random heirlooms, I quadrupled the tomatoes. I used two hot jalapeños, and added one white onion and 1/4 of a red one. Instead of fresh garlic, I roasted a small head and squeezed it in. Thanks for yet another simple but adaptable recipe, Deb!

  71. Liz

    I remembered reading this and made a batch from my faulty memory. I baked the tomatoes and other ingredients instead of broiling. I baked the tomatoes for a long time because my home grown tomatoes of unknown variety (the starts came from a friend) were too water and I wanted thicker salsa. It turned out great, this recipe is extremely forgiving. I canned a bunch up and my family loves it. For the batch I am doing today I decided to actually read the recipe and and I am adding some fresh hot red peppers in with the jalepenos because I need to use them up. I expect it will be very tasty.

  72. Bec

    This recipe is perfect for the Christmas picnic I’m currently planning (although it looks and sounds so delicious that I think it requires testing a few time at home before… and after… then ;-) ). Will let you know how it goes! Thank-you!

  73. PJ

    We made this by charring the tomatoes, jalapeños, garlic and a shallot on the grill. Amazing depth of flavor! We added a couple dashes of Penzeys chipotle pepper for a little extra kick. I will never need another salsa recipe again – this is definitely a keeper!!

  74. Erika

    Officially on my to do list. I loathe runny lackluster salsa, and this boats to be all that I love. When you next accost Lisa in the street, ask her about making the perfect salsa verde…also susceptible to being a watery mess when I make it at home. Cheers!

    1. deb

      From the headnotes: “Although this is wonderful with just the three core ingredients, I like to add a halved white onion to the tray for charring, and blend it in, and finish the salsa with lime juice.”

  75. Madeline

    In my Mexican family, we broil the roma tomatoes and chiles whole or char on a super-hot cast iron comal. You can put the jalapeno and tomato directly into a closed container to steam for a second and the charred skins should slip off of both. Just a tip if the skins ever start to bother. I’ve never seen black pepper in a salsa like this but I bet it could be good for a more Tex-Mex flavor profile.

    You can do the same thing with tomatillos to get an excellent salsa for chilaquiles, enchiladas, etc.

  76. Cammie Ives

    I’ve made this salsa with all kinds of tomato varieties and it’s always fantastic. This year I’m growing vernissage, so that’s what I’ve been using. I always include half of an onion. Cilantro is an excellent addition but not necessary. Use plenty of salt and pepper, and a generous squeeze of lime or lemon if you have one. On my last batch I took Deb’s suggestion and added a chipotle chili + adobo. Delicious.

  77. Jennifet

    I actually left out the garlic! I haven’t made salsa forever-and this was so easy! I forget how good fresh makes everything.
    My grandma used to make a dip with cream cheese and PACE and served it with fritos-funny memories. I mixed up the salsa with cream cheese and it brought me back.

  78. Stephanie R

    I totally loved this! I couldn’t believe the flavor you can get out of these ingredients and I only had sad grocery store tomatoes as the base. Thank you!

  79. Janerc

    I made this salsa with a couple of tweaks it was deliciious.
    I baked the tomatoes on parchment paper with a little EVOO
    & salt in a 200 degree oven for about an hour, sauteed the onion & garlic.
    I used only black pepper for heat, & mixed the tomatoes with the onion,
    garlic, & a little fresh lime juice using an immersion blender.

  80. Liz+Frerich

    Omg! This turned out great! Used tomato and jalepeño from our garden! Threw in onion from the garden and cilantro because I had it. this turned out delicious! Never made salsa before and now I’m not sure why I hadn’t!! Thanks for something so easy and fresh!

  81. carrie

    much better the second day after the flavors have settled. also lemon juice works fine if you have lately used all your limes on deb’s frozen watermelon mojitos. :)

  82. Vickie Jordan

    I’m trying to find simple recipes to use the green cherry tomatoes that I pulled before frost before they all turn red because I’m going to be gone when they do.

  83. Jenny

    This looks amazing! Just wondering if you have any tips for grilling instead of broiling- for example, should you use a tray underneath the tomatoes to catch drippings? Or just cook directly on the grill and add extra water if needed? Thanks!

  84. rosie

    Always love your recipes, but Im a bit confused, recipe, in the photo it looks like there are onions on the sheet pan for roasting in addition to the garlic, tomatoes and jalapeño but they are not noted in the ingredients or method.Should I add onion?