Made with freshly roasted tomatoes and a dash of warm, rich spices, this Jamaican jerk salsa puts a new spin on your traditional recipe. Grab a basket of chips, a cold margarita and a spot on the patio with a big bowl of this Jamaican jerk salsa for one perfect summer evening.
I love a classic salsa recipe, but sometimes you need a little change in your life. One of the first recipes I prepared for this blog was a Jamaican jerk chicken, which I made only days after a vacation to Jamaica. As I was layering the flavors when I created my version of the jerk marinade, my brain instantly thought, “Woah, wouldn’t these spices add an incredible level of depth to a salsa?”
I don’t mean to brag, but I was definitely right. My only regret is it’s taken me this long to bring you this salsa recipe. I’m truly sorry you had to go months without this salsa in your life.
On top of its unique flavor combination, this salsa is a breeze to make. If you can chop, you can make this homemade salsa.
Before we dive into the steps, let’s chat ingredients. The base of this salsa uses oven-roasted tomatoes rather than fresh, uncooked tomatoes. While I love a fresh salsa, the caramelization we get from roasting melds beautifully with our spice mixture.
Speaking of spices, this Jamaican jerk salsa gets its unique flavor from a combination of allspice, cinnamon, cloves and ginger, all of which are commonly found in jerk marinade recipes. Honestly, more salsa recipes should include these spices. But, hey, that’s what makes this salsa special and you look like a flavor genius, so maybe it’s OK that this is our little secret.
For this easy salsa recipe, we also use either a scotch bonnet or habanero pepper. Scotch bonnet is traditionally used in jerk marinade recipes; however, I’ve never come across this variety at my local stores.
Fortunately, the habanero is a close cousin to the scotch bonnet pepper and works as a great substitute. I use habanero out of necessity, but if you’re lucky enough to come across a scotch bonnet pepper, feel free to use that. And then send me some. Please and thanks.
How to Roast Tomatoes for Salsa
Let’s get started. Roasting the tomatoes takes a little time, but it couldn’t be easier, and you can take care of this ahead of time if need be.
We simply half the tomatoes length-wise and toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. I like to cover my sheet pan with parchment paper for easy cleanup and definitely recommend it. Now we let the oven work its magic as the tomatoes roast for an hour.
Once we roast our tomatoes, we can start on the rest of this homemade salsa recipe. We first toss our roasted tomatoes into a food processor with a touch of dark brown sugar and pulse until we get our desired consistency. I like a chunkier salsa, but if you’re more into a liquified version, you do you.
Now we transfer our tomato purée to a mixing bowl and stir in our spices, garlic, onion, habanero or scotch bonnet pepper, fresh lime juice and cilantro. Grab a spoon, try the salsa and add a little salt to taste. We now have ourselves one delicious bowl of Jamaican jerk salsa. How easy was that?
Can You Make Ahead of Time?
Absolutely. I actually recommend it. Making this salsa ahead of time and then storing it in the refrigerator for a few hours gives the flavors time to meld. This makes our Jamaican jerk salsa perfect for entertaining when you need an easy, make-ahead appetizer.
How Long Does Homemade Salsa Last in the Refrigerator?
If you store your Jamaican jerk salsa in an airtight container in the refrigerator, it should last for about a week. You may notice some of the juice will puddle on the top as it sits. Simply give it a quick stir and you’re good to go.
You’ll love a crisp Kolsch with this salsa. Kolsch has enough sweet malt to counter the heat and play off that kick of citrus from the lime. With its effervescent mouthfeel, Kolsch is also perfect for keeping our palate refreshed from the habanero and spice.
For those times wine calls, try this Jamaican jerk salsa with a gewürztraminer. With gewürztraminer, we get sweet, fruity notes that help tame the heat as well as a floral profile that enhances the warm spices.
Oh, and as I mentioned earlier, you won’t be disappointed enjoying a margarita with this Jamaican jerk salsa, especially my classic margarita, pineapple-coconut margarita or blood orange margarita. You can also try some Caribbean-inspired drinks with my Jamaican mule cocktail or Bajan rum punch.
When you’re in the mood for a unique salsa with an island flair, I hope you try this Jamaican jerk salsa. It's the perfect party dip everyone will love.
Love This Salsa?
- Jamaican jerk chicken
- Jamaican jerk pork shoulder
- Jerk chicken enchiladas
- Chipotle-roasted tomato salsa
- Tropical pico de gallo
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Jamaican Jerk Salsa
- Food processor
- 8 Roma tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- 1 teaspoon dark brown sugar
- 4 garlic cloves grated or minced
- 1 habanero pepper stemmed and chopped (see note)
- 1 lime juiced
- ¾ cup chopped yellow or red onion
- ¼ chopped fresh cilantro
- ⅛ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ⅛ teaspoon ground allspice
- ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
- ⅛ teaspoon ground ginger
- 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 with dark brown sugar until they reach your desired consistency.
- Move the tomatoes to a mixing bowl. Stir in garlic, habanero, lime juice, onion, cilantro and spices. Taste and add salt to your liking. Refrigerate for a few hours to allow the flavors to meld. Serve with tortilla chips or use as a condiment. Enjoy!
- If you want a mild to medium salsa, remove the seeds from the habanero. Otherwise, leave them in. If you're unsure, you can always set the seeds to the side, taste and add them if you'd like more heat.
- Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.