Canning Salsa at Home to Stock Your Pantry 44

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Salsa is one of our favorite home canned goods; we use it not only as a snack, but it’s also a staple ingredient that I use in chili recipes and other spicy dishes. Canning salsa is a great way for me to preserve not only the tomatoes, but peppers and onions from the garden, too.

I’ve tried a number of recipes over the years, and this one is a keeper, getting thumbs up from my entire family.

This simple salsa recipe is a good "beginner" recipe for home canning. Canning salsa is one of our favorite ways to preserve the summer tomato bounty.

This home canned salsa recipe calls for chopped vegetables. My easy, cheat-y way to do this is with a food processor using the metal blade. I simply core and quarter the washed tomatoes (I do NOT peel them; who’s got time for that?), pulse them until they’re the consistency I like in a salsa, and then measure them directly into the stock pot. I do the same with the peppers and garlic. If you don’t have a food processor, use a knife and aim for a quarter-inch dice on the tomatoes and onions and an even finer dice for the peppers.

If you have an abundance of garden fresh tomatoes, hot peppers, and onions, but don’t want to delve into home canning, be sure to try my easy five-ingredient fresh salsa recipe!

Canning Salsa: Recipe

Yield: 7-9 pints

  • 14 cups chopped tomatoes
  • 3 large onions, chopped
  • 6 jalapeno peppers, diced and seeds removed (avoid touching the seeds if possible, and for goodness sake, keep your hands out of your eyes!)
  • 4 long green chiles, diced and seeds removed (I use banana peppers)
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 cups lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • optional: add 1-2 12-oz cans of tomato paste for a thicker salsa (I’ve tried this recipe with and without. I like the texture with the tomato paste, but I dislike adding conventionally grown paste from a bpa-lined can to my organically grown garden bounty.)

Canning salsa is a great way to preserve the harvest. Canned salsa is good not only for chips and snacking, but as an ingredient in chili and other spicy dishes.

Note: If your tomatoes are really juicy ones, squeeze out some of the juice before processing to avoid a thin salsa. The texture of the salsa when it first goes in the pot is essentially what the texture will be in the jar. If you’re not happy with it, strain some of the juice off until you are.

Combine all ingredients in a large stock pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 30 minutes. Stir occasionally. Following standard canning procedures, ladle hot salsa into jars, leaving about 1/2″ head space. Screw on lids and bands, then process in a boiling water bath. 15 minutes, 0-1,000 feet altitude; 20 minutes, 1,001-6,000 feet altitude; 25 minutes, above 6,000 feet.

My recipe is adapted from one that I found years ago on NMSU’s College of Agriculture & Home Economics site, that as far as I can tell is no longer available online.

Canning salsa is is not hard. It’s basically a lot of chopping. I consider it to be a good recipe for novice home canners. (Find more easy canning recipes here.)

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44 thoughts on “Canning Salsa at Home to Stock Your Pantry

  • Christina

    This looks like a great recipe. I’m bookmarking it and plan to try it with our next batch of tomatoes from the garden!

  • Living Large

    I loved canned salsa, especially on cold winter days when I’m really wanting some fresh tomatoes again!

  • Jean

    How much does this recipe make? Do you use pint or quart jars? Sounds delicious!

    • Kris Bordessa Post author

      Hi Jean. It IS delicious. We just love it. Thanks for catching that omission. I’ve updated the post to reflect that this will make 7-9 pints. I often do them in quart jars, though – I use the salsa in cooking a lot, and I’ve got two teen boys. We go through it!

  • Brette Sember

    I have been saying that I need to learn to can. And I’m getting lots of tomatoes from our CSA so maybe this is the recipe I will start with?

    • Attainable Sustainable

       @Brette Sember I’ve been canning for years, and this is by far our favorite recipe. The cooking part of it is just cooking. The canning part is easier than you’re imagining. Let me know if you decide to try it; happy to hand hold along the way!

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  • Jennifer L. Mika

    Glad I found this!! I will be making it tonight!! Thanks 🙂

  • Cindy Green

    I have a tip for you on the tomato paste. You have a dehydrator so I think you will like this. I dry my paste tomatoes and then grind to a powder in a food processor. Then to make tomato paste you use one TB powder to 2 TB water or you can also make tomato sauce. I can;t remember the portions there at the moment. I also add the powder to soups and such.

  • Son of a Beach

    Add some chopped cilantro at the end (don’t cook it), then you will have some really delicious salsa!!

  • Marie

    Could you write an article for city dwellers without a garden who have trouble finding enough cheap and fresh ingredients? It took me a while to find good sources and there may be people out there who would like to do canning but don’t think it is worthwhile because they only rarely chance across “this is a great deal but how can we finish it all” situations.

  • Kathleen

    This looks great! (Thanks to Jill Winger for sharing it.) Two questions: could lime juice be substituted for the lemon juice, and can the sugar be omitted safely? I need a sugar-free recipe, but as a canning novice (it’s my third year), I’m hesitant to make changes to official canning recipes!

    • Kris Bordessa Post author

      Aloha! And yes, thanks Jill! I’m not a master canner (though I’ve been doing it for years) and I still hesitate to make changes. Personally, I’d feel comfortable switching it out to lime juice and eliminating the sugar, but I’m not going to *recommend that. 😉

      • Courtney

        I might agree with this. I made the recipe and halved the sugar and I was too sweet.

  • Alyssa

    Awesome recipe! 🙂 Wish I had found it during the season. Do you think this recipe would work well with previously frozen tomatoes?

    • Kris Bordessa Post author

      I don’t see why not. Plus, if you thaw your tomatoes in a colander, all the excess liquid will drain off before you start cooking it down.

  • Becky

    This may be a dumb question, but what kinds of peppers qualify as ‘green chilies?’ Would bell peppers work? I’m not sure how much to substitute for 4 banana peppers…

    • Kris Bordessa Post author

      It’s not a dumb question. Bell peppers would work – as in, that replacement would be a fine one — but the flavor will differ a bit. I’m not a fan of bell peppers myself, so it’s not a substitute I would make. Essentially, you’re looking for a mild pepper that will add flavor without heat. Of course, if you like lots of heat, you could easily use some sort of hot pepper to replace them, too.

  • Laura

    I’ve been trying out different recipes – or more specifically my own recipes, which is a lot like yours except that I add ~ 1/4 c cilantro/quart, with different acids. I tried the recommended amount of lime juice and it was AWFUL!! Tasted like sweet and sour salsa. I’m working with citric acid now, using a formula that i found in a scientific paper and this makes the salsa “sour” without otherwise affecting the taste, but I also need to adjust the “heat” and salt to compensate and it’s still a step down from my regular, non-acidified version. Before I try out your recipe with lemon juice, can you tell me whether you find that the juice has a significant impact on the taste of the end product? I don’t want to go through any more veg’s than I need to before I settle on a version for my soon-to-pop garden! Thank you.

    • Kris Bordessa Post author

      Laura, I was concerned about the amount of lemon juice as well. I find the salsa to be tangy, but not over the top. Maybe halve the recipe to be sure you like it before you go all in?

  • Amanda Jones

    Well, I’m super bummed. I followed directly but my salsa turned out so watery. It’s like semi spicy watery tomatoes. I just bought a Hamilton beach 10qt processor. It has the metal blades. Not sure what the heck I did wrong. I am waiting for the lids to ping. It won’t go to waste,I can use it in chili or possibly even spaghetti but darn it,I wanted some salsa. Any ideas?

    • Kris Bordessa Post author

      I doubt you did anything “wrong” and I’m glad you will be able to use it, but that IS disappointing. I have two thoughts. If your tomatoes were *really juicy ones, that could thin out the salsa. Using fewer (or smaller) peppers and onions could also impact the texture. Did you add the tomato paste? That does help thicken. You’ve prompted me to add a couple more notes inside the recipe, though.

  • Becky

    How long does the sala last after you can it?

    • Kris Bordessa Post author

      Processing the salsa makes it shelf stable for at least a year, but I know plenty of canners who keep things longer than that.

  • Kelly Bellew

    I just started canning this year. I’ve canned tons of pickles (all different kinds) and some pickled banana peppers so now I’m going to try my hand at salsa. We’ve got lots of ghost and habenero peppers that are just now going ripe to pick. Should I cut down on the amount I use of them or should I use 6 like the recipe calls for? I like my salsa to be hot but not so hot that it makes me miserable. Lol

    • Kris Bordessa Post author

      Oh, yes. I’d cut down on the amount for sure. You might try adding a few extra mild peppers to keep the flavor balance, but 6 ghost peppers might kill you. 😉

  • Donna

    This came out great!
    I made 2 batches separeatly and pressure canned them.
    I got 21 pints, would have been more, but we ate some before canning.
    Other than adjusting for heat with Jalopinos adding or subtracting, I used the recipe as is.
    25 minutes with 10 pound weight. leave a 1/2 inch headspace at the top of the jar.
    9 pints in a 12 quart Miirro pressure canner.
    It didn’t take long to cool after, so I was able to start the next batch in about 20 min.
    Ended up water bathing 3 pints, because I didn’t want to wait for the cooker at 2 in the morning….
    This recipe is tangy and medium to mild heat. 7-8 Jalopinos would be nice & hot!

  • Wendy

    Can you substitute Serrano peppers for the jalapeño peppers? I also like lime juice in my salsa, so would one be able to substitute lime juice for 1/4 to 1/2 of the lemon juice? Would it be alright to add cilantro? I ask because I don’t want to compromise the safety of the recipe… You sure have fantastic recipes, thank you for sharing so much!

    • Kris Bordessa Post author

      I would feel comfortable using Serrano chiles and lime instead of lemon juice, but I wouldn’t add cilantro. You don’t want to alter the amount of non-acidic ingredients. Thanks – I’m glad you’re finding useful recipes here!

  • Ruth

    I would have tried this but it wasn’t printer friendly, the ads were all included…just a mess, so couldn’t print or make

    • Kris Bordessa Post author

      Thanks for letting me know. I just added a new – hopefully better – print button. Give it a try!

  • Bethany

    Hi! This recipe looks great. This will be my first time canning anything. Thanks for the recipe!

  • Kim

    I make homemade salsa every summer with the 6 lbs of tomatoes from my garden in each batch. I put green, red, jalapeno peppers and large onion in the salsa. I also add spices and vinegar. I do not seed the jalapeno’s. The salsa is medium heat with a touch of sweetness from the red peppers.

  • Judy Stoll

    can one use citric acid instead of lemon juice or vinegar I don’t like the taste of these items in my salsa it alters the flavor to much for me, for example like using two cups of boiled and cooled water and two table spoons of citric acid, mix then add like vinegar? I read that this is a good substitute, but I was just wondering if it is true and can be used that way.

    • Kris Bordessa Post author

      I don’t know. I’ve never tried it that way. It would probably change the ph.

  • Lorrie

    Just a thought…..I make my own tomato paste
    puree tomatoes till they are nearly liquid. Cook it down till it reduces by half
    then pour it into cookie sheets and into a low 200 degree oven.
    check it every 15 minutes or so and stir.
    Keep drying it till you get the paste consistency you like.