This homemade chunky salsa is bursting with fresh flavor from tomatoes, onions, jalapeños, and more. Enjoy with tortilla chips or serve with any of your favorite Mexican-inspired dishes.
This post was originally published in April 2019 and has been completely updated.
Fresh chunky salsa
Homemade salsa is as versatile as it is delicious. Skip the jarred variety and keep this on hand in your fridge for snacking or for serving with all of your favorite Tex-Mex fares.
- So fresh! Skip the jarred salsa and enjoy the vibrant flavor of the fresh ingredients.
- No cooking is required! A bit of slicing and dicing is all it takes to mix together this salsa.
- The spice level is easily customizable.
- So versatile as a dip, topping, garnish, or salad.
What is chunky salsa?
Chunky salsa is a mixture of fresh ingredients that are cut into chunks. It typically has less juice than smooth varieties. Chunky salsa is in contrast to restaurant-style salsa in which the ingredients are blended for a smoother texture.
What are Campari tomatoes?
Campari tomatoes are known for their sweetness, low acidity, and lack of a mealy texture. They are vibrant red in color and are slightly larger than cherry tomatoes but smaller than plum tomatoes.
- Tomatoes - I love Campari tomatoes but Roma or plum tomatoes are also a great choice. I prefer to keep this salsa fresh, but you can substitute half of the fresh tomatoes with a can of diced tomatoes if desired. TIP: If using canned tomatoes you may need to add a touch of sugar to balance the acidity.
- Onions - Both red and yellow onions can be used. Red onions are slightly milder when served raw and I love the purplish color they provide. For a milder flavor, shallots can be used.
- Jalapeños provide a fresh spicy bite. For extra spice, leave the seeds and membrane intact. If raw jalapeño is too spicy for your tastes, substitute pickled jalapeños for milder heat or green bell pepper for no heat at all.
- Chili powder, cumin, and salt round out the flavors. The quantities of these seasonings can all be adjusted to taste.
- Cilantro is traditional in salsa and I love the fresh flavor it provides. Feel free to adjust the amount to your tastes. If you fall into the "cilantro takes like soap" camp, feel free to use parsley or basil.
- Lime juice brightens up all of the flavors and this acidity will be missed if omitted. Always use fresh lime juice for the best flavor.
See the recipe card for complete instructions and ingredient amounts.
- Dice the tomatoes. With the stem end pointing up, cut off each of the four sides and discard the core. Slice each piece in half or thirds then cross-cut to create chunks.
- Dice the jalapeño. Cut the stem off and slice the jalapeño in half lengthwise. Remove the seeds and membrane (or leave them intact for extra spice). Cut the pepper into long strips, then cross-cut to create small pieces.
- Finely dice the red onion and chop the cilantro.
- Add the tomatoes, jalapeño, onion, cilantro, and garlic to a mixing bowl. (Image 1)
- Add the lime juice to a small bowl along with the chili powder, cumin, and salt. Whisk together. (Image 2)
- Pour the lime juice over the tomato mixture and toss to combine. Taste and season as needed. (Image 3)
Enjoy immediately or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. The flavors will continue to enhance.
- Spice it up! Leave the jalapeño seeds and membrane intact, add an extra jalapeño, or try a serrano pepper which is 2-4x as hot!
- Sweeten it up - Add diced red bell pepper for a slightly sweet, mild pepper flavor.
- Add scallions for a milder onion flavor.
- Canned tomatoes - If using canned tomatoes, try fire-roasted or tomatoes with green chiles for extra flavor.
- Go smooth - Add the salsa to a blender or food processor and turn this chunky salsa into restaurant-style salsa.
Homemade Chunky Salsa
- 2 pounds diced Campari tomatoes (or plum or Roma tomatoes)
- ½ cup diced red onion
- 1 finely diced jalapeno (with seeds and membranes removed)
- ⅓-½ cup chopped cilantro
- 1½ teaspoons minced garlic
- 2 tablespoons lime juice (freshly squeezed)
- ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
- ¼ teaspoon chili powder
- ½ teaspoon Kosher salt
- Dice the tomatoes. With the stem end pointing up, cut off each of the four sides and discard the core. Slice each piece in half or thirds then cross-cut to create chunks. Transfer the tomatoes to a mixing bowl.
- Dice the jalapeño. Cut the stem off and slice the jalapeño in half lengthwise. Remove the seeds and membrane if desired. Cut the pepper into long strips, then cross-cut to create small pieces. Transfer to the mixing bowl.
- Finely dice the red onion and chop the cilantro. Transfer these to the mixing bowl along with the minced garlic. Toss to combine.
- Add the lime juice to a small bowl. Stir in the chili powder, cumin, and salt. Pour over tomato mixture and toss. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.
- Serve immediately or store in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
- You can substitute half of the tomatoes with 1 can of diced tomatoes. When using canned tomatoes, you may need to add a touch of sugar to balance the acidity.
- For a spicier salsa, use a serrano pepper in place of a jalapeno. For very mild salsa, add diced green pepper.
Nutritional information is an estimate and will vary depending upon the exact amounts and specific ingredients used.