Homemade Salsa from Canned Tomatoes

I usually make homemade salsa using fresh tomatoes, even better when they are straight from the garden. However, in the winter months there’s no garden to pick fresh tomatoes from and the tomatoes available from the grocery store are mediocre at best. So I decided to use canned tomatoes (Red Gold is my brand of choice), the ingredients I usually use in my fresh tomato salsa, and my food processor. Boy am I glad I did!

I made this salsa about half an hour before dinner. By the time dinner was ready half the salsa was gone and I was still fighting off hungry family members! They wouldn’t stay out of the kitchen. Of course, it didn’t help that after I taste tested it myself I let everyone else have some too. There was nothing left to save for the next day. The beauty of it was that it was fast and tasted great, a definite keeper in this house!

I prefer the flavor of Red Gold for my canned tomatoes. You can use whatever brand you like or use your own homemade canned tomatoes (I haven’t become a good enough gardener for that yet, but I’m getting there!).

Layer ingredients and run through your food processor!

Serve with your favorite taco recipe or tortilla chips.

You can also use this salsa in this fabulous hot fiesta dip, great for Game Day!

Homemade Salsa from Canned Tomatoes

Rating: 51


  • 1 14-oz can Red Gold tomatoes (whole or chopped)
  • 4 oz can green chiles
  • 3 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 5 green onions, coarsely chopped
  • 1 handful fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped
  • garlic salt (to taste)
  • freshly ground black pepper (4 or 5 turns or to taste)
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes


  1. Layer ingredients in the food processor in the order they are listed.
  2. Pulse a few times to get the ingredients mixed together. You can continue using the pulse feature if you like your salsa a little chunky. I process mine for about 30-45 seconds or until it looks good.


  1. Elle says

    Great way to have a taste of summer when it's so cold outside! I've done this in a pinch, too–and it's so good–especially when you've got a craving.

  2. Suzanne says

    Love that you used my favorite veggie – GREEN CHILE! I have a freezer full! I'll have to be making this one. Never met a salsa I didn't LOVE!

    Love and Stumbled. :)

  3. Cookin' Canuck says

    We're the same way with salsa – once we start eating it, we just can't stop. This salsa looks so easy & tasty!

  4. Fallon says

    I love this salsa. My girlfriend makes it and adds her own touch with bell peppers. It tastes so good, who would think it is canned tomatoes?

  5. Frieda says

    You're right, fresh salsa is the best, but canned will do in a quick pinch! I've used stewed tomatoes, added an Anaheim pepper, half of an onion, cilantro, garlic, and pulse it up. Throw in a Roma tomato and it will "freshen" the salsa right up!


  6. Marie says

    What a fab idea Amanda. It's nice to know that we can still make some salsa, even when the fresh tomatoes are not at their best! xx

  7. cookies and cups says

    I LOVE homemade salsa and I have never thought to use canned tomatoes…what is wrong with me?!
    Thank you for bringing me out of my winter fog :)

  8. Rachel says

    We LOVE homemade salsa…can't wait to try this! My husband is trying to watch what he eats, so this would be a perfect snack!

  9. Katrina says

    We used canned tomatoes more often than fresh ones, probably because I like a pulverized, non-chunky salsa. I usually put a whole, fresh jalapeno in ours and my husband still never thinks it's hot enough, but that's about as far as I can go. Good lookin' salsa, Amanda!

  10. Tiffiny Felix says

    I love to use canned tomatoes to make salsa–it makes it easy to have ingredients on hand :) Your salsa looks delicious :)

  11. Culinary Cory says

    Is it sad that I've never really thought about using can tomatoes for salsa in the wintertime? I've totally bookmarked this and will be making it very soon!

  12. marla says

    I am in the dire need of a great salsa recipe – think I just found a great one :) simple with those canned tomatoes!

  13. Barbara @ Modern Comfort Food says

    Such a smart, delicious recipe, Amanda, and it's going straight to my printer. My gardening season is on now, and I have plenty of fresh tomatoes, peppers, and cilantro to pick. But come summer, when my garden is fallow, I'll be giving this excellent recipe a real workout. Love it!

  14. Amanda says

    @sunshine – I'm sure you could, just use about half of what you would for fresh, so probably around a teaspoon or so. If you do use dried, you will want to let it sit for a while to allow the flavors to mingle. Fresh cilantro is very inexpensive and is much more flavorful. My grocery store has it for less than a dollar a bunch. If you can get it, I highly recommend it :)

  15. Jessica says

    Just curious how long do you think this would last once made? 3 days, maybe 4? Thanks! I'm so excited to make this!

  16. Amanda says

    I wondered the same thing, but it was GONE before I had a chance to test it out. ;) Let me know if you try keeping some, but I think 3-4 days would definitely be safe :)

  17. Tasty Eats At Home says

    Yum! I think canned tomatoes would work well for salsa! They are way better than the tomatoes in the grocery right now, lol! This sounds great.

  18. Aggie says

    That looks so fresh and delicious! I use canned tomatoes a lot when making salsa. I wish I could dip my chip in a bowl of this right now!

  19. Barbara Bechtel says

    I think this is AWESOME. Everyone is always trying to recreate the spicy fresh punch from the mexican restaurants and I feel like this gives me the same feel. Add the canned and maybe a few fresh along with the cilantro and garlic and you've got the classic mexican-american salsa that we all love from our local restaurants. yum!

  20. Anonymous says

    This is almost the same as my hubby's recipe, but since he doesn't write down ingredient amounts, I'm forced to look for another recipe.

    SO, is it possible to can this recipe? If so, how long does it last?

    If it's canned, is it possible to swap green onions with yellow, red, white or spanish onions? If so, what quantity would you suggest?

  21. Amanda says

    Anonymous – I don't think you can re-can canned items, but your best bet is to contact your local extension office. Sorry I don't have more information for you! I will ask some friends who can and post a comment again with what I find out.

  22. Amanda says

    This is information from a long time canner, Lana of http://www.lanascooking.com

    would not use canned tomatoes in a salsa recipe that I was planning to can. A couple of reasons actually – first because of the texture. The canned tomatoes have already been processed once and the additional cooking of them in the salsa and then in the jars would likely turn them to not much more than mush. Secondly, in the commercial canning process they've probably already been acidulated. Today's tomatoes are not consistently acidic nor are they as acidic as tomatoes were in the past. Therefore, a home canned salsa must have some added acid (lemon juice) to bump the pH level high enough for home water bath canning. The additional acid would likely throw off the taste.

    I always advise new canners that their first purchase should be a copy of the Ball Blue Book of Canning. It's considered the "bible" of canners and gives good, clear instructions and explanations along with dozens of tested and approved recipes. If I wanted to can some salsa, I'd make sure I had an approved recipe and would follow it to the "t." There is a salsa recipe on my blog that is a USDA tested recipe and safe for canning.

    Also, if anyone is interested, the University of Georgia (Go Dawgs!) is home to the National Center for Home Food Preservation. They have a wonderful web site at http://www.uga.edu/nchfp/ where you can find all the information you ever wanted about canning, freezing, preserving, drying, curing, smoking, etc. You can even take an online canning class from them at no cost.

    And finally, I asked Lana for her salsa recipe, the recipe is here –>> http://www.lanascooking.com/2010/07/13/basic-salsa/

  23. Anonymous says

    Whether you grow your own garden or go to the farmers market. You can can your own tomatoes. What's even better is in the summer i make a bunch of salsa and can it for winter, but however, i tried this recipe and it's absolutely yummy. Thank you Amanda for posting this. It was wonderful and my family loved it..

  24. Anonymous says

    Loved this salsa recipe. I have an overabundance of canned tomatoes and was looking for a way to use them up. I've been making this salsa twice a week because my family loves it so much. Thanks!

  25. joann gregg says

    My family has always used canned tomatoes for home made salsa. We have never tried to can the recipe yet but would love to try. We do freeze the reciepe though,you can use plastic or glass jars. If using glass jars don’t fill all the way to the top. When taken out of the frezzer, let thaw and shake the jar and enjoy. What is great with this is you can make plenty ahead of time and save for company that shows up anytime.

  26. carolyn dickson says

    I was wondering if I make this salsa (whitch sounds great) if I could can some for later? thanks. How can I receive your newsletter I love it.


  1. [...] I did make a few changes. I substituted red bell pepper for the green pepper since hubby has reactions to the green ones. I didn’t add the pepper flakes in order to keep it mild so the kids would try it. I also upped the number of green onions called for since I love them and they add such a nice splash of color. This recipe calls for taco sauce, which I had in the fridge, but would also be delicious with some homemade salsa. [...]

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