Learn how to can salsa with this homemade recipe using fresh tomatoes from the garden! This is truly the BEST recipe for canning salsa and one I have been making for 20 years. No matter how much I make, we seem to always run out. Included is the easiest way to can salsa using either pressure canning or a water bath.
Why I Love This Recipe for Canning Salsa
Growing up, my mom always had a garden and we spent many long days helping her preserve all those vegetables. So, it’s only natural that I would put my own children through the same torturous process I endured. This recipe for canning salsa has gone through many variations over the years but I think it is now absolute perfection. We love making massive batches of this homemade salsa every summer.
What is the Easiest Way to Can Salsa?
The easiest way to can salsa is by using the supplies you already have on hand. Firstly, there’s no reason to spend a few hundred dollars purchasing new kitchen equipment for a recipe. If you have a large enough pot to use for water bath canning salsa, use that. If you need to buy something no matter what, I highly recommend a pressure canner.
While water bath canning salsa can be done safely, the recipe and the process have to be exactly right or you could get very, very sick. Using a pressure canner significantly reduces your risk of getting sick from botulism with any recipe for canning salsa. Read more about the risks in this article.
Water Bath Method for Canning Salsa
For many, this method will be the easiest way to can homemade salsa because they already have a large pot. There are a few safety requirements to be sure the salsa tastes great, seals properly, and stays safe as it sits in your pantry over time.
- Increase vinegar to 1 cup to increase the acidity levels of the salsa. This is necessary because the salsa will never go above 212 degrees in a boiling water bath. If there is not enough acidification in the salsa, it may lead to bacterial spores that cause botulism to germinate and grow. And botulism can make you very sick, or even possible paralysis and death.
- Use a wire rack on the bottom of the pot so the jars won’t break from direct contact with the bottom of the pan.
- Cover the jars with 1-2 inches of boiling water and bring the pot to a full boil before starting the 15-minute timer.
- Let the jars sit in the hot water for 10 minutes after the pot is removed from the heat. After they leave the pot, let them sit for 24 hours before testing if each jar is sealed by tapping and pushing on the lid.
Pressure Cooker Method for Canning Salsa
The pressuring canning salsa method is the safest option. The increased pressure inside the sealed canner creates a much hotter temperature. So, that higher temperature kills bacteria present and produces a much more reliable seal on the jar.
- Follow the manufacturer’s directions on how much boiling water is needed at the bottom of the canner. Jars do not need to be covered with water.
- Start the timer after the canner has reached the proper 5 pounds of pressure and keep an eye on the pressure gauge, adjusting the temperature as needed to keep it at 5 pounds.
- Do not open the canner or manually remove the pressure until the gauge reads 0 pounds of pressure. Doing so will crack all the jars inside and cause severe burns when the scalding steam comes out.
- Let the jars sit for 24 hours after removing them from the canner. Then test if each jar is sealed by tapping and pushing on the lid.
Recipe for Canning Salsa Steps
- Prepare the salsa according to the recipe below. Salsa needs to be hot when it goes into the jars.
- Sanitize the jars and lids by letting them sit in simmering water for a couple of minutes. Use tongs when touching them after they have been sanitized.
- Fill the jars with hot salsa using a ladle and canning funnel. Leave ½” of space at the top. Wipe the rims of each jar using a clean, damp cloth.
- Place the lids and tops on each jar and hand tighten. Place in the canner.
- Process the jars according to the directions for either the pressure canner or water bath method listed in the recipe below.
- Rest the jars for 24 hours. Do not disturb them or the seal might break.
- Test the seal on every jar by pushing down on the center of the lid and tapping it with your fingernail.
Supplies Needed to Can Salsa
No matter what recipe for canning salsa you use, there are some basic supplies you need before beginning:
- Quart or pint-sized canning jars – the size is dependent on how quickly you will use the salsa once opened. Pick the size that will be used within a few weeks.
- Jar lids and screw tops – be sure the size you order matches the openings of your jars. There are either wide-mouth or regular jar openings.
- Canning tools – these tools are essential for canning safely! It includes a funnel, jar lifter, magnetic lid lifter, and jar wrench.
- Pressure canner or large canning pot – pressure canning is the safest option for preserving salsa, but water bath canning in a large pot can also be used with a few modifications.
Do I Have To Peel Tomatoes For Salsa?
Yes, you need to remove the tomato peel in anyl recipe for canning salsa. Otherwise, you end up with a salsa filled with tough, unpleasant pieces of tomato skins that are hard to eat. You can easily remove them by roasting them in the oven, quickly boiling them in water, or by using a food strainer. All three methods are easy and described below:
Roasting Tomatoes To Remove Skin
Turn the oven to broil and place the rack so it is about 6 inches below the broiler. Slice the tomatoes in half and place them cut-side down and close together on a baking sheet. Broil until the skins blacken – about 10 minutes, then allow to cool before easily pinching off the skins.
I love to roast my tomatoes in my homemade salsa recipe. It makes removing the peels a breeze, and it creates a bit of a sweeter and smokier end result. If you don’t want that flavor addition, then skip down to the boiling method.
Boiling Tomatoes To Remove Skin
Bring a pot of water to a boil on the stove and have a large bowl of ice water ready on the side. Slice a shallow “X” on the bottom of each tomato then drop them into the boiling water for 45 seconds. Remove from the water and put them immediately into the ice bath. The skins will fall right off when you pick them up and slide your fingers across the surface. While a bit labor intensive, it’s what most people use when preparing a recipe for canning salsa.
Using A Food Strainer To Remove Tomato Skins
A Victorio Food Strainer is the fastest way to remove tomato skins from a large batch of fresh tomatoes when making a recipe for canning salsa. There is no need to roast or boil them first. Use a salsa screen on your food strainer, cut tomatoes in half, put them in the top, and turn the crank. The skin-free, crushed tomatoes come out the slide, while the seeds and skins go out the end into a garbage bowl.
I use my Victorio Food Strainer for all my favorite canned goods: salsa, applesauce, tomato sauce, and jellies. If you are an avid canner, you need this massive time saver in your life! It runs around $80 – $100 but the amount of time it saves is worth it.
Recipe for Canning Salsa FAQs
Yes, for two reasons. First, if you cold pack your salsa, it will take nearly two hours in your pressure cooker to come to a boil, let alone process. Second, if you cold pack your salsa, half of your finished jar of salsa will be water. You need to cook any recipe for canning salsa first to remove the excess water.
Canning salsa cooks the raw ingredients, which mellows their flavors a bit, which isn’t a bad thing. Cooking fresh salsa takes the bitterness out of the onions and spicy peppers, as well as reduces the heat of those peppers. Keep this in mind as you decide how much heat to add to your recipe for canning salsa. Moreover, your uncooked salsa should taste spicier than what you want your finished canned product to be.
If you do not use vinegar in your recipe for canning salsa, you must replace it with bottled (not fresh) lemon or lime juice. Because yes, the acid helps in the flavor, but more importantly, it creates a safe salsa to can. If there is not enough acidification in the salsa, it may lead to bacterial spores that cause botulism to germinate and grow. And botulism can make you very sick, or possible paralysis and death. The water bath method requires twice the amount of vinegar.
How to thicken salsa for canning
If this recipe for canning salsa isn’t thick enough for your tastes after it boils down, you can either keep boiling it (recommended) or add a can or two of tomato paste. This second option will add a different flavor to the finished homemade salsa so be cautious with this choice
Is this jar of homemade salsa sealed properly and safe to eat?
Test the seal on every finished jar of salsa after it has sat at room temperature for 24 hours. Push down on the center of the lid. If it pops up, it is not sealed. Next, tap the center of each lid with your fingernail. If it has a low, dull pitch, it is not sealed. You can reprocess the jar with a fresh lid or put it in the refrigerator to eat immediately.
Watch How to Can Salsa
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Homemade Salsa Recipe for Canning
Homemade salsa recipe using fresh tomatoes! I make this salsa recipe for canning every summer and it is simply the best.
- Total Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
- Yield: 12 quarts 1x
19 lbs fresh tomatoes
3 large green peppers
5 jalapeno peppers
4 poblano peppers
3 large red onions
3/4 C chopped cilantro
1/2 C red wine vinegar
3 heaping TB of salt
1/2 TB black pepper
1. Remove the peels from the tomatoes using one of the methods mentioned above. Cut them up and set in a colander over the sink to drain. In a food processor, chop the onions, peppers and cilantro. Pour into a large stock pot. Add the vinegar, salt and pepper.
2. Chop the tomatoes in the food processor and add to the stock pot. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring often so it doesn’t scorch on the bottom of the pot. Reduce to medium- high and continue to boil for 15 – 20 more minutes.
3. While the salsa cooks, sterilize your jars, lids, and bands in boiling water. Add the hot salsa to the sterilized jars, leaving a 1 inch gap at the top of the jar. Clean off the edge of the jar before closing with the lid and band.
4. Use a pressure canner to can your salsa at 5 pounds pressure for 10 minutes. Allow the canner to cool down completely before moving or opening. Once cool, carefully remove the jars and place on a cooling rack. Once the jars have completely cooled, test that each lid is sealed by tapping on the top. If you hear a hallow sound, you need to process that jar again. Your salsa is now shelf stable for 18 – 24 months.
For the water bath method,
- increase vinegar to 1 cup – very important to kill bacteria spores!
- cover the jars with 1-2 inches of boiling water. Bring back up to a boil before starting the timer. Let the water boil for 15 minutes.
- Remove pot from heat and let the jars sit inside for 10 minutes before removing to cool.
- Let cool for 24 hours before testing the seal on each jar by pushing down and tapping on the lid.
- Prep Time: 30 minutes
- Cook Time: 2 hours
- Category: Sauce
- Method: Canned
- Cuisine: Mexican
- Serving Size: 1 Cup
- Calories: 41
- Sugar: 5 g
- Sodium: 800 mg
- Fat: 1 g
- Saturated Fat: 0 g
- Unsaturated Fat: 0 g
- Trans Fat: 0 g
- Carbohydrates: 9 g
- Fiber: 3 g
- Protein: 2 g
- Cholesterol: 0 mg
Keywords: recipe for canning salsa, canned salsa, how to can salsa
Camilla Raines says
Why do you have to pressure cook this for the canning process? Most other recipes just use a boiling bath for 30-45 minutes?
Hi Camilla! There are definitely differing views on this because while water bath canning was safe enough in the past, acidity levels now are too close to the safety borderline. The standard recommendation is to pressure can to keep everyone healthy.
Nancy J says
Hi there,I do it have a pressure cooker, but following online advice I put a tablespoon of lemon juice in the bottom of each pint. It acidifies, which allows for safe water bath canning. If you like you can add a little sugar to offset the taste. (Found this information online, via a State Extension Service).
Jolene Hamel says
Can I add a few garlic cloves to this recipe?
Hi Jolene! If that is what you think would be for, go for it! Please come back and leave a review after you try it!
Jolene Hamel says
Hi Carole! I just wanted to let you know that I did try this recipe last year and added a full large bulb (6 large cloves) to this recipe and it was a hit! I’ve been looking around for this recipe all over because I didn’t save it last year for some reason. SO glad I found it so I can use it again!
Thanks for the great recipe!
I don’t drain the tomatoes before cooking in the stock pot, Just before I put the salsa into the jars, I put a colander into the pot and scoop off the excess juice and can for chili. This juice taste delicious in chili. Then I think I get a bigger bang for my buck!
This was my favorite homemade salsa I have every tried! We loved it both fresh as well as once it was canned. Thank you!
Woo hoooo! I’m so glad you loved it. I’ve been up to my ears in salsa the past few weeks as well 🙂
Do you think it would turn out as well with frozen tomatoes? We had a huge crop that I wasn’t able to get to immediately, so I froze them. On the bright side, it makes skinning them SUPER easy.
Hi Shayna! Honestly, I think so. Having never done it, I can’t guarantee it. It may be a bit more watery but just boil it longer. Let me know how it goes because it does interest me!
I have made salsa (not this recipe) with frozen tomatoes and yes you just need to cook longer but totally works. I am eager to try this recipe this weekend!
Glad to hear it Talia!
I haven’t tried this recipe yet however I have a different one and I did use frozen tomatoes in it and it was much more watery can’t wait to try this recipe
Thanks for your help Catherine! That was my thought about frozen tomatoes as well. I think if you just boil it longer, it should take care of that side effect.
Do you think it will be a problem to leave out the cilantro? Just not a fan of that herb.
Hi Kathy! If you do, I suggest using flat leaf Italian parsley instead.
I don’t have a pressure cooker anymore, I noticed you said don’t use a water bath for safety reasons. Just want to make sure that has not changed since that answer was posted.I usually water bath about 80 minutes
Yep, all the safety directions are in the recipe using a pressure canner. I don’t know what the water bath directions are.
Devon lory says
How much water do i putin my canner?
Hi Devon! That varies from canner to canner so check with your brand’s instructions.
Hi, I haven’t tried the recipe but I was wondering if I need to follow the amount of peppers exactly, or if I can use more jalapeños to make it more spicy. I have read in another recipe that you cannot change the amounts because it might not be safe for canning. But that recipe only used a water bath and did not pressure can. Thanks!
Yes, with pressure canning, you can adjust the peppers without any problem!
This Homemade Salsa recipe seems so delicious , will love to make this one , thanks for sharing this one .
Super excited to try this one Homemade Salsa Recipe, just eager to make this one . Thanks for sharing this one .
Girish Jha says
Thanks for sharing this Homemade Salsa recipe , super excited to make this by my own.
What is the correct name for the “3 Large Pepper?”
Hey Johnny! It is 3 large green peppers. Regular bell peppers
Can you add a few drops of lime juice from a bottle for flavor?
If you think that would help, go for it. The vinegar in the recipe is what brings that acidity to the finished product so if you are going to add lime juice, I would go for fresh lime juice and reduce your vinegar to compensate
Shelly Britt says
This recipe is fantastic! I have been looking for a canning recipe similar to my ‘fresh’ recipe which I love and saw yours. I used 2 serrano and 2 jalepeno, plus the other peppers (I’d never used poblano or green peppers before) and added garlic, probably 6 or 7 small cloves – I only had 15 lbs of tomatoes so adjusted quantities. I held out the pepper mix because I was worried about the heat, and added it in until I liked the flavor. I ended up using ALL of the pepper mix 🙂 I was also wanting to use lime juice in place of the red wine vinegar but forgot to buy it, so I used the vinegar. Let me say you’d never know it was in there. This is so flavorful and just enough kick. My first time canning salsa and I don’t think I’ll ever use another recipe. I also know what to put in my garden for next year! Thank you for sharing.
LOVE IT Shelly! So happy it turned out just like you wanted it. Thanks for coming back and leaving your review! It helps so much
I’ve been making salsa for years and I have finally found THE recipe. Thank you! We eat it fresh and then can the rest.
I wanted tο thank you for this very good recipe! I absolutely loved eveгy bit of it.
Carole Jones says
You are very welcome Klara! Glad to hear you loved it as much as I do
Elizabeth Stroud says
I made this today-used Serrano peppers, mostly fresh tomatoes of different varieties, but I had to add a large can of drained peeled tomatoes because it was very salty. I underestimated how many fresh tomatoes you need. Also added garlic and used flat leaf Italian parsley in place of cilantro. It tastes really good, but I think I would decrease the salt a tad or just buy more fresh tomatoes to follow the amount in the recipe.
Carole Jones says
Thanks Elizabeth for your review! Yes, using fewer tomatoes than the recipe calls for would result in a bit too salty.