The Boastful Baker

because every cook praises her own broth

The search for the perfect tomato salsa is over.


Fire Roasted Tomato Salsa

When tomato season hit last summer, I felt an urge to can tomato salsa for the first time. I’d canned batches of peach salsa and tomatillo salsa the previous summer, but never got around to a batch of regular tomato salsa.

In the world of home canning, once you get it in your head that you want to can something, you need to find a recipe as canning food without a legitimate recipe is not a wise idea for a host of food safety reasons. I won’t go into those reasons here, please use Google to research this if you’ve never canned before.

Fire Roasted Tomato Salsa

Off I went in search of the perfect tomato salsa recipe for canning. None of the canning cookbooks I owned at the time had exactly what I was looking for in a salsa. I then spent a number of hours (I’m not kidding, I spent hours) looking online for a good recipe. I scoured all of the well known canning blogs and websites I knew about and came up empty. All of the recipes I found were just not quite right for one reason or another. Some were too spicy, some didn’t have cilantro, some weren’t actually intended to be preserved at all. I wanted my first batch of canned tomato salsa to be fire roasted with a nice touch of spice and I needed it to contain cilantro! Apparently I’m picky about salsa.

Finally, I found the perfect recipe on a site that’s not specifically known for canning recipes: Simply Recipes. I think I found it by accident when I was searching the recipe index for a different recipe. And as it turns out, that particular recipe was posted just a handful of days before I made my batch of salsa.

Fire Roasted Tomato Salsa

So I made a batch of this tomato salsa and it is quite possibly the best thing I’ve canned to date. It’s everything I want a salsa to be and nearly a year later, it’s still a little bit spicy and full of flavor.

It’s tomato season again here in Virginia and I’m already thinking about this year’s batch. I made just a dozen jars last year and kind of hoarded it for months just to make sure it lasted. A few lucky people received jars as gifts or in swaps and all of them took the time to rave about it to me. I’m hoping to make at least a couple dozen jars of it this summer and I’ve already got a day planned in August to can batches of it with some Twitter/Flickr friends. Hopefully I’ll make enough this year to share with a few more people!

Fire Roasted Tomato SalsaI’m not going to repost the Simply Recipes tomato salsa recipe in this post, so you’ll need to visit the site yourself to see it, but I will mention a few things I did that aren’t in the recipe.

  • I used a different combination of peppers than the recipe states. I believe I used more jalapenos as well as Serrano and Anaheim peppers. If you like it spicy, you could probably add in a pepper variety known for having a bit more heat.
  • The recipe gives details on grilling the tomatoes in order to peel them. I grilled my tomatoes on my charcoal grill, both for easy peeling and for fire roasted flavor.
  • In addition to grilling the tomatoes and charring the peppers as mentioned in the recipe, I grilled the onion and garlic in the recipe as well, in order to kick up the fire roasted flavor even more.
  • I used Roma tomatoes for my salsa, mostly because they have less seeds than some other varieties. Depending on what’s available at the farmers market this year, I may use a different variety.

Other than that, I followed the Simply Recipes recipe to the letter and ended up with a fantastic batch of salsa. So good that I’ll never need to search for another tomato salsa recipe!


  1. I’ve had this bookmarked for a while. The heat is the only thing I’m not excited about, though I plan on getting Sean to do the grilling for me.

  2. Haha! I am in VA too and suddenly have an abundance of tomatoes ripening. I am canning my first batch of ketchup this weekend. We love salsa and roasted peppers/garlic, so this may be our very next tomato canning project. Can’t wait!

  3. I was one of the lucky few that got to try this (is it ok to say that now?) and I can vouch for the fact that it was every bit as good as Melissa says – and better. It makes me want to learn how to can!

    • Ha, yes you can now admit that you got to try the salsa. I actually ended up sharing it with more people because Joel was on an anti-Mexican food thing all winter. 😉

  4. I just got a basket of fresh tomato from a nearby farm… this is the perfect recipe for them :)

  5. I wish I had seen this last week!!! I just canned salsa for the first time :) We used a recipe that Ball sent us, but I bet this salsa would be amazing!

    • Sorry that I posted the recipe a week too late. 😉

      Do you think you’ll be bitten by the canning bug now tht you’ve tried it?

  6. This is without a doubt the very best salsa one could ever experience! I have just charred my tomatoes this morning in preparation for canning.

  7. Made this salsa recipe this morning and OMG!! It is delicious!

    I usually like a medium heat salsa so left the seeds in from one jalapeno but find it a bit too hot now so I think I’ll decrease or eliminate that addition. Also added 7 Serrano peppers to the recipe following Melissa’s advise although I’m not sure how many ‘some’ are. Advise? Melissa, how many did you add? Did you keep the numbers as the recipe said for the Anaheim and Jalepeno peppers?

    Thank you thank you for pointing me to this wonderful recipe!

    • The actual number of peppers I use has varied from year to year, but I stick to the actual measurements listed in the original recipe to ensure that the acidity level doesn’t change too much for safe canning.

      • Thanks for responding Melissa, and again, for the recipe! We’ve now made four batches, played around a bit with the pepper combinations, and have what we think is the perfect recipe for how we like it. For a thicker consistency, I put the chopped tomatoes in a colander for about an hour before making the salsa and add a half can of tomato paste. Yummm!

  8. I am working out the details of my own version of this same recipe right now. I agree a good salsa can’t be without cilantro. But this one does not have lime. so I am subbing some of the vinegar with lime juice. Also a bit more onion and way more cilantro. I need to keep mine pretty mild for my family and since I’m not using much if any cider vinegar I’m using some red bell peppers in place of the Anaheims. The test batch is really good. Now to break out the chips and get the family’s opinion.

    • I thought the lack of lime was strange the first time I made it, but it turned out so well that I haven’t altered the recipe since then.

  9. Thank you for this post! I have also spent way too much time looking for the right canning recipe with roasted tomatoes that is safe for home canning. I was just moments away from using recipe that I wasn’t too excited about when I decided to google one more chance. And–Viola! And I even have all of the correct ingredients. So, off I go to the kitchen! Thanks!

  10. How funny! I have way too many tomatoes ripening right now, and a friend offered me chilies. I went on line looking for salsa recipes to can, and looked first at the Simply recipes recipe, and then at your blog post–guess I will be trying it!

  11. Was browsing on the web for salsa and came across your article.Would you please please please give me your recipe.because i could not find it on simply recipes as you instructed.Thanks so much derek hall

  12. Just saw ur post. So , please tell me where to go for the recipe. I have a bunch of tomatoes that are about ready. And yes, I am looking for the best salsa recipe. This looks so good. Thanks for ur help.

  13. Read all about the reviews, but never found the actual recipe????????? What happened to it, everyone had a different twist to the recipe, but without the recipe I don’t get to play with it???

  14. Hi Melissa,
    Oh thank you so much for 1) liking the recipe, and 2) pointing people to find it on my site. That is so thoughtful of you. I love this recipe. I do think that some people find it a little to vinegary for their taste, but it is a water-bathed canning recipe, so for those you need the vinegar, and I personally love the taste.
    Happy cooking!

    • Elise, thanks for the note! I don’t mind the vinegar in the recipe at all, it gives the salsa a subtle tang that pairs well with the other ingredients. Of all the canning recipes I’ve used over the last handful of years, this recipe is the one people seem to like the most. People rave about this salsa every time they try it! -Melissa

    • Funny, I had found this recipe several years ago on Simply Recipes, made a batch…thought it was the best ever, then lost the recipe! I’ve been searching and searching and finally found it again through Melissa’s site. I now remember it to a tee. I agree…no need to ever use another recipe again. :)

  15. I started canning this summer and discovered I’ve been severely bitten by the canning bug!!!! Fruit butters first and now moving on to Salsas; I live in El Paso, Texas and have enjoyed home roasted salsa for years so I searched high and lo for a roasted salsa designed for canning. Talk about timing, today, I’m picking up my Bountiful Basket and ordered an add-on of 25 lbs of tomatoes. Melissa, I am soooo excited with your recipe!! I will be canning this afternoon with chips in hand for leftovers.

  16. Thank you for the post! Made my first batch of salsa today and it turned out great! I also adjusted for our tastes, We used triple the garlic, cumin and salt. I also used a random bunch of peppers, Anaheim, jalapeno, red hot peppers and a big red pepper. Only thing was it was very watery, so we had to drain about 3 quarts of liquid off but I’m going to freeze it in cubes and use for future dishes!

    Thank you again!

  17. I made this amazing salsa 2 weeks ago, and I’m so thankful that I now have enough tomatoes to make more. It is the perfect salsa! =]

  18. started canning this summer and discovered I’ve been severely bitten by the canning bug!!!! Fruit butters first and now moving on to Salsas; I live in El Paso, Texas and have enjoyed home roasted salsa for years so I searched high and lo for a roasted salsa designed for canning. Talk about timing, today, I’m picking up my Bountiful Basket and ordered an add-on of 25 lbs of tomatoes. Melissa, I am soooo excited with your recipe!! I will be canning this afternoon with chips in hand for leftovers.

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  21. Where in the heck do I get the recipe. I see no recipe!

  22. Hi Melissa, I’m wondering if you know how this recipie would freeze rather than canning?

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