Homemade Salsa Recipe


Homemade Salsa Recipe

A good Homemade Salsa Recipe…it is easily my FAVORITE way to eat hot peppers from the garden.

I warn you now: this is a homemade salsa recipe that focuses on hot peppers over tomatoes! If you’re not into spicy salsas, try making my tasty Mango Salsa Recipe. Or try one of these awesome salsa recipes instead (from a fellow blogger).

Now that the warning is done, let’s get on to my salsa story…

Homemade Salsa Recipe

Once upon a time…

As in, 11 years ago, my husband and I were adorable newlyweds, and we were also new at the whole adulting thing. We were still full-time undergrads and living our first year of marriage on campus in the married’s apartments. It was our first summer as a married couple. And we decided to be super cool and adult-like and go to the college’s farmer’s market.

It was our first farmer’s market ever. I was not impressed. In my head, a farmer’s market is like you see on tv about Europe, with homemade cheeses, sausages, fresh meats, breads, veggies, etc. [NOTE: we just got back from Ireland, and we went to a market there, and that’s EXACTLY how I envisioned a market! It was wonderful]. This farmer’s market was just table after table with the same produce. Yawn. 

We were about to leave, without purchasing anything, but the last table was something different and original. A lady there had bags full of ‘salsa ingredients’ for sale. Finally! Something different! [NOTE: if you run a stall at a farmer’s market, consider making cute kits like this!]. The bag contained some tomatoes, peppers, a small red onion, some garlic cloves, and a little piece of paper with the recipe on it.

Homemade Salsa Recipe
The original recipe! Grubby but going strong after 11 years…

It seemed brilliant and affordable to us poor newlyweds, who were just trying to prove to the world that we could be sophisticated Adults who go to Markets. Hah. 

The market stall lady was super nice to us, and, upon hearing that we loved spicy food, added one extra spicy pepper to the bag for free. I don’t know what farm this was from, because it’s been too long. I don’t know who wrote this recipe, either. But lady, thank you from the bottom of my heart for giving me the most amazing homemade salsa recipe EVER. 

Homemade Salsa Recipe

We went home that night, and ate the most delicious salsa I have ever eaten. We LOVED it! And we’ve been making this homemade salsa recipe ever since. Every summer. At least once a summer, but usually more than that.

I feel a bit guilty, though. I have friends that try to make homemade salsa, and they complain about how awful it tastes. I always say, “That’s too bad! You should try my recipe. It’s the best homemade salsa recipe in the world.” And then I never give them the recipe or let them try any of it. Oops.

Part of the reason is that I eat it all. It never lasts more than a day in our fridge. No matter how big of a batch I make. Oops.

Whenever possible, we get our ingredients for this homemade salsa recipe from our own garden or from a farmer’s market. But sometimes we get lazy and buy the peppers from the store. 

Once, we braggingly thought that we could handle any spiciness from peppers, and we added too many spicy peppers, and that particular batch of homemade salsa was so close to inedible, that we had to add an entire block of velveeta in order to eat it. Oops.

Other than that one time, though, it’s been easy to balance the tastes of this homemade salsa recipe. Even though it’s loaded with a variety of peppers (like my awesome chili recipe), the brown sugar and sweet peppers balance the taste. 

This homemade salsa recipe is, in my opinion, the perfect blend of spice and sweet. It’s super crunchy. It’s FULL of flavor. It’s…I dunno, clear colored? You know how most homemade salsas end up looking like mushed up tomatoes? Well, I love how this homemade salsa recipe is the opposite: crisp, clearly defined chunks of glorious salsa. No puree necessary, thank you very much.

This homemade salsa recipe can be as spicy as you like. If it’s too spicy, add another sweet pepper and a pinch or two of brown sugar. If it’s not spicy enough, grab another spicy pepper. Etc.

I’ve never shared this recipe with anyone, nor has anyone enjoyed this awesome salsa at my home. Shame on me. I’m gonna try to share some with other people someday, I promise. 

The only real reason that I’m sharing this recipe now is that I realized that one of our most favorite recipes in the whole wide world rested on a yellowing, old piece of small paper in a cupboard. Yikes. That had to change. So I’m sharing this homemade salsa recipe with everyone now. And it’s so amazing, you’ll be thanking me in the comments, I just know it. You’re welcome.

Homemade Salsa Recipe

Homemade Salsa Recipe


**A variety of sweet and hot peppers (I used the ones in the photo above, plus a few small hot Chinese Five Peppers from my garden. The peppers above: four sweet bell peppers, three serrano peppers, four jalapeno peppers, two habanero peppers, 1 long green chile pepper(?) from the grocery store, 1 ancho pepper).

**A bunch of tomatoes (I used tomatoes from my garden. All small, but maybe 10? of them)

**Red onion, diced small

**Cilantro, chopped small

**1/4 cup white vinegar

**2-5 cloves minced garlic

**2 tbsp. lime juice

**1/4 cup loose brown sugar

**salt and pepper to taste


  1. Dice your peppers. Start with half sweet and half spicy peppers. Put them in a large bowl.
  2. Dice and take out the seeds of your tomatoes (NOTE: I don’t want excess liquid, so I take out ALL seeds and liquid goo from my tomatoes). Add to the same bowl. Start your bowl with half tomatoes and half peppers.
  3. Add your red onion (diced small). I don’t like raw onion very much, so I only use 1/4 of a red onion. Add the amount you prefer.
  4. Add your cilantro. My hubby is one of those cilantro-haters, so I use only a very small amount as a compromise. Add the amount you prefer.
  5. Mix all of this up. Next, add the 1/4 cup white vinegar, 2-5 cloves of minced garlic (I used 5 cloves of garlic from my garden), 2 tbsp. lime juice, 1/4 cup loose brown sugar, and sprinkle salt and pepper along the top of everything.
  6. Mix it all up. Taste. Want it spicier? Add another spicy pepper. ONE at a time. Or you might go too-spicy. Trust me. Want it milder? Add another sweet pepper, maybe add another tomato, and a pinch or two of brown sugar. Mix again. Taste. Adjust. Etc.
  7. Chill in the fridge, preferably overnight, for the best merging of tastes. 


**If your homemade salsa goes ‘too spicy to eat’, and you’ve tried cooling it with more sweet peppers and brown sugar already, try adding it to some melting cheese of your choice and you’ll still get a tasty dish. Otherwise, you could also try adding fruit (mango is good), or even a seeded and diced cucumber to cool it down.

**After a night or two in the fridge, if you have leftovers somehow, consider draining off the excess liquid.

**Got a problem with using brown sugar? Figure out how to make it healthier or whatever and feel free to add your successful adaptations in the comments below.



Homemade Salsa Recipe

I seriously hope that you end up loving this homemade salsa recipe as much as I do. I can’t even imaging trying another homemade salsa after making this one. And if you’re that lady who gave me this recipe at a Grand Valley State University farmer’s market 11 years ago, thank you, again, for giving me the best homemade salsa recipe in the world. You rock.

How do you like to make Homemade Salsa?

**Tell me about your homemade salsas in the comments below!

Homemade Salsa Recipe


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  1. Thank you sooo much for compiling all these recipes!! I don’t have a lot of time to search recipes out so this is a Great help!

  2. Yum, yum!!! Where I come from we call this pico de gallo, aka, salsa fresca, salsa bandera, and salsa cruda. It is a type of salsa commonly used in Mexican cuisine. It is traditionally made from chopped tomato, onion, and serrano peppers, with salt, lime juice, and cilantro. I am with your husband… no cilantro. I usually just throw it together, taste, adjust, then gobble it up. Love this stuff! Appreciate you sharing the recipe since I don’t have a written one!

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