Meet your new go-to salsa recipe for every occasion! This tomato-chipotle salsa balances the perfect blend of flavors with deep smoky notes, caramelized roasted tomatoes and a refreshing pop of citrus. Best of all, the hands-on preparation time is under 30 minutes.
Why You Need to Make This Recipe
Need a crowd-pleasing appetizer? This tomato-chipotle salsa is it. Any time I put out this salsa, everyone always gobbles it up quickly. This trusty recipe has been one of my go-to party snacks for years, and after one bite, you'll understand why.
For this salsa, chipotle peppers give our dip its signature smoky flavor, but I also love that this recipe uses roasted tomatoes, which makes a superior salsa.
- Roasting caramelizes our tomatoes, adding a depth of flavor. When tomatoes are out of season, this is especially important for getting a more delicious salsa.
- It helps evaporate some of the excess liquid to ensure our salsa is perfectly chunky and not soupy.
Plus, preparing your own salsa is as simple as can be, and it hardly takes any active time. Yes, roasting tomatoes does take some time, but the oven is doing all the work. You're free to watch Netflix or use the time to whip up a pitcher of margaritas.
Related: If you can't get enough salsa, you'll also love my smoked salsa recipe.
As you can see, the ingredient list for our tomato-chipotle salsa is straight forward, but please note that I specified Roma tomatoes. If you pick up those large beefsteak tomatoes, you will have too much tomato puree. Roma tomatoes are the perfect size for this recipe.
Wondering where to find chipotle peppers? They're widely available and generally stocked in the ethnic food section of the grocery store.
Step 1: Our first step is to roast the tomatoes. We take care of this by cutting the tomatoes in half vertically and tossing them with olive oil, salt and pepper (photo 1). Now we place the tomatoes on a large baking sheet and pop them in a 350-degree oven for an hour (photo 2).
Step 2: After roasting, we move our tomatoes to the food processor (photo 3) and pulse them until they reach our desired consistency (photo 4).
Step 3: We move our tomatoes to a mixing bowl and stir in a diced chipotle, adobo sauce from the chipotle, chopped onion, garlic, freshly squeezed lime juice, cilantro, salt and a chopped jalapeño with the seeds and membrane (photo 5). All that's left is to stir until combined (photo 6), and that's it!
To serve, you can pull the tomato-chipotle salsa immediately from the fridge and serve cold with chips, or you can gently reheat it on the stove. My favorite Mexican restaurant in the world, Pappasito’s Cantina, serves its salsa warm, and it’s dreamy. Most people are used to cold salsa, so serving it warm makes for a fun twist.
Besides a dip, this smoky chipotle salsa is delicious on tacos, nachos, burritos, enchiladas and the like. I especially love it with my chorizo breakfast tacos or jerk pork nachos. You'll also love it with these quesabirria tacos from Girl Carnivore.
This salsa should last for about four to five days in the refrigerator. Make sure you keep it in an airtight container as well.
Of course, spice levels are subjective, but I consider this a medium salsa. If you prefer a more fiery kick, you can add another jalapeño or replace it with a habanero or serrano pepper. Keep in mind, the salsa gets spicier as it sits in the refrigerator.
Prefer a mild salsa? Don't add the seeds and membrane from the jalapeño and chipotle pepper.
- When handling the jalapeño, I recommend wearing gloves. The oil from the chile pepper gets on your fingers, and even after a good washing, it can linger. If you end up touching your eye with any oil remnants, it won't feel comfortable.
- Pick a lime that has some give to it. If the lime is hard, it's dried out.
- Before juicing the lime, firmly roll it on the counter to release the juice. This ensures you get plenty of citrusy goodness.
- If possible, I like to make this tomato-chipotle salsa ahead of time. That way, the flavors can meld in the refrigerator for a more delicious dip. Plus, that makes for even easier entertaining, so it's a win-win.
- Another option is to roast the tomatoes ahead of time and store in the refrigerator until you're ready to make the salsa. Roasted tomatoes should last a good five days or so.
Obviously, you can’t go wrong with margaritas when a big bowl of tomato-chipotle salsa sits in front of you. Lucky for you, I’m slightly obsessed with margaritas and have a few delicious options for you.
- Coconut margaritas
- Roasted strawberry margaritas
- Raspberry-peach margaritas
- Fresh cherry margaritas
- Sparkling cranberry-ginger margaritas
I also love a classic amber ale with this tomato-chipotle salsa. With an amber ale, you get a strong malt backbone, which pairs nicely with the caramelization from the tomatoes, and there's plenty of carbonation to help cleanse your palate from the spicy peppers.
For you wine lovers, a dry riesling is perfect with our tomato-chipotle salsa. Dry rieslings are acidic to match the tomatoes, and the slight sweetness helps calm the spice.
The next time you find yourself craving a big bowl of chips and salsa, I hope you give this roasted tomato-chipotle salsa a try. I have no doubt this will be your new favorite party dip.
Looking for More Salsas?
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- Parchment paper
- Large baking sheet
- Food processor
- Mixing bowl
- 8 Roma tomatoes halved vertically
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- 4 garlic cloves grated or minced
- 1 lime juiced
- 1 chipotle pepper from a can with seeds, chopped
- 1 jalapeño with seeds and membrane, chopped
- ¾ cup onion chopped
- ¼ cup cilantro chopped
- 2 tablespoons adobo sauce from canned chipotles
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Heat oven to 350 degrees. Rub the tomato halves with olive oil, salt and pepper. Place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and roast for an hour. Let the tomatoes cool for a few minutes.
- In a food processor, pulse the tomatoes until they reach your desired consistency.
- Move the tomatoes to a mixing bowl. Stir in garlic, lime juice, chipotle pepper, jalapeno, onion, cilantro, adobo sauce and salt. Taste. If needed, you can add more salt. You can also add another jalapeno if you'd like more heat, keeping in mind that the salsa's heat will intensify as it sits. Refrigerate for a few hours to allow the flavors to meld.
- Serve cold or gently heat on the stove if you'd like a warm salsa. Enjoy!
- Make sure you use Roma tomatoes, not another variety. The proportions were designed for the size of Roma tomatoes.
- We are only using one, single chipotle pepper from a can, not all the peppers from one can. You can store the leftover chipotle peppers in the refrigerator or freeze them with some adobo sauce for future use.
- I recommend wearing gloves when chopping the jalapeño for your safety.
- This makes a medium salsa. For a mild salsa, do not add the seeds and membrane from the jalapeño and chipotle pepper.
- Choose a lime that has some give when you press into it and firmly roll it on the counter several times before juicing. This helps release its juice.
- Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.
Recipe originally published in January 2019 and republished in April 2021.