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Once the tomatoes in the garden begin to ripen we receive many requests to share our best canned salsa recipe.

Although we make several different variations of salsa throughout the year, including everything from Picante Sauce to Fresh Pico de Gallo Salsa, this is our absolute favorite classic salsa recipe.

Although salsa is one of the most popular canning recipes because it is so easy to make, there are a few important steps to follow to make sure it turns out perfect every time.

In fact, this recipe is our standard, tried and true salsa recipe that we make and can every year.

classic canned salsa
This is our go-to Classic Canned Salsa Recipe.

The Best Canned Salsa Recipe

*Complete recipe instructions are located in a printable recipe card at the bottom of this article.


The important thing about making the best canned salsa to to use fresh ingredients. Over ripe tomatoes will result in mushy salsa.

It is best to use ripe tomatoes that have been picked within a day or two. However, if you pick tomatoes that are slightly underripe, you can wait a few extra days before making your salsa.

If you are wondering when is the best time to harvest your garden tomatoes, be sure to read our article: How To Know When To Pick Tomatoes – And How To Best Let Them Ripen!

And the same holds true for the peppers and onions in this recipe. If you want that classic crunch of peppers and onions when you take a bite of canned salsa, be sure to use only vegetables that are nice and firm.

What Type of Tomatoes To Use

Second, you must decide what type of tomatoes that you are going to use to make your salsa.

paste tomato
Paste tomatoes, like this San Marzano variety make the best salsa.

We highly recommend using paste tomatoes. These tomatoes are often called Roma, San Marzano or Amish Paste tomatoes at the store or Farmer’s Market.

They are traditionally oblong and are smaller in diameter than standard slicing tomatoes.

However, they have thicker walls and less juice in them which makes them hold up well during the canning process.

But if you don’t have enough paste tomatoes to make salsa, you can certainly add in a few slicing or cherry tomatoes as well.

The first step in making the best canned salsa is to peel the skin off of the tomatoes

tomatoes in hot water
Place your tomatoes in boiling water and then in an ice bath to make peeling easy.

If left on the skins will shred off during the cooking and preserving process. As a result, you will have strips of skin floating in your salsa making the texture unpleasing to many.

However, peeling tomatoes is a relatively easy process.

Start by filling a large stockpot with water and bring it to a boil over medium-high heat. Then submerge the whole tomatoes in the water for approximately 1 minute.

Using a slotted spoon or ladle, immediately remove the tomatoes and place them in an ice water bath. This will stop the cooking process.

Then once the tomatoes are cool enough to handle make a tiny cut in the skin and peel the tomatoes. The peel should come off easily. Discard or use in other recipes as desired.

peeling tomatoes
The skins will peel right off.

Remove The Pulp And Seeds

Next you will want to remove the pulp and seeds of your tomatoes and discard.

Simply cut your tomatoes in half, or in quarters for large tomatoes, and squeeze the tomato until the pulp and seeds squirt out.

However, there is no need to make sure every seed has been removed. A few seeds in canned salsa is just fine.

Dicing The Vegetables

Next comes the task of cutting your vegetables into small pieces.

dicing vegetables
You can dice your vegetables by hand or use a food processor.

For the tomatoes, be sure to dice them a little larger than what you want the size to be in your canned salsa.

The tomatoes hold a lot of water and will break down during the cooking and canning process.

However, the same is not true for the peppers and onions. You will want to cut them to the desired size.

Yes, they will soften and break down a bit, but definitely not as much as the tomatoes.

We use our Hamilton Beach Food Processor to make cutting the peppers, onions, and garlic a breeze. This saves us a considerable amount of time when we are making salsa.

food processor canned salsa
Using a food processor makes dicing your vegetables a breeze!

The Canning Process

Now that you have your vegetables prepared, it is time to make the best canned salsa that you have ever had.

Start by adding all of the ingredients to a large stockpot and place over medium-high heat. Bring the mixture to a boil.

While you are waiting for the salsa to heat up prepare the canning jars and equipment.

Fill clean, pint size mason jars with water and place upright in a hot water bath canning pot. Then pour enough water in the pot that it comes right to the top rim of the mason jars.

Place the pot with the jars inside on the stove over medium-high heat.

hot water canning pot
Fill each mason jar with water and then fill the pot up to the rim of the jars.

This will allow the mason jars to heat up and sterilize while the salsa comes to a boil. We also add the bands to the hot water as well.

However, you will most likely not have to heat the canning lids themselves. Several years ago a new technology emerged with canning lids called Sure-Tight lids.

It is recommended that these lids are no longer heated before topping the filled canning jars.

Hot Water Bath Canning

Once your salsa has boiled for 15 minutes, reduce the heat to a simmer. Now it is time to start canning!

Using a jar lifter, remove one mason jar and dump the hot water back into the pot. Then place the jar on a thick kitchen towel next to your pot of salsa.

Place a wide mouth funnel on top of the jar and fill it with boiling salsa. However, be sure to leave a 1/2 inch space at the top of the jar to allow for expansion during the canning process.

Next, wipe the rim of the jar with a clean washcloth. Then place the lid on the mason jar and secure with the band.

classic canned salsa
Canned Salsa ready to be processed.

Then using the jar lifter place the filled jar back into the pot and repeat the process until all the jars have been filled.

At this point, the water should be 1-2 inches above the tops of the jars. If not, be sure to add additional water so that the canned salsa can be safely processed.

Turn the pot to HIGH heat, cover and bring the water to a boil. Once it begins to boil start the timer and let it continue at a rolling boil for 15 minutes, adjusting for altitude as required.

Once the time is up, turn off the burner and let the jars sit in the hot water for 5 minutes. Then use the to carefully lift the jars out of the hot water and place on a thick towel.

Let the jars cool for 24 hours.

Checking For Sealed Jars

Before storing your canned salsa, you must check to make sure that each jar has properly sealed.

classic canned salsa
When serving your salsa, add a few fresh ingredients to make it even better!

Push down on the center of the lid and if there is any movement, the jars are not safe for storing at room temperature.

Place the non-sealed jars in the refrigerator and eat within 1-2 weeks.

The remaining sealed jars can be stored in a cool, dark place for up to one year.

However, our salsa typically doesn’t last that long!

Serving Canned Salsa

When you are ready to use a jar of homemade canned salsa we recommend adding in a few fresh ingredients to make it even better!

Dice up a little fresh onion and bell pepper and add it to your salsa along with some cilantro and garlic salt.

The hint of fresh ingredients makes the flavor of your salsa outstanding!


Mary and Jim

As always, feel free to email us at with comments, questions, or to simply say hello! To receive our 3 Home, Garden, Recipe and Simple Life articles each week, sign up for our free email list that is located in the middle of this article. This article may contain affiliate links.

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This classic salsa recipe is perfect for both new and veteran canners. All the flavor of classic canned salsa using the easy water bath processing method.
Servings 12 pints, approximately

In a large pot fill ¾ full of water and bring to a boil. Place whole tomatoes in the pot for 1 minute and then immediately remove and place them into an ice water bath for the same amount of time.

Remove from the water, and once safe enough to handle, the skins will peel off without difficulty.

Over a large bowl, squeeze the majority of the pulp and juice out of each tomato and discard, Dice tomatoes in sections slightly larger than the tomatoes you would typically find in your salsa. Add to a large stock pot.

Remove seeds and ribs of the peppers – roughly chop them and place them in a food processor. Pulse until finely chopped, or finely hand chop the peppers. Add the peppers to the tomatoes in the stock pot.
Roughly chop onions and place them in your food processor. Add the peeled garlic to the onions and pulse until they are finely chopped.
Add chopped onions, garlic, cilantro, salt, pepper, and vinegar to the pot.

Heat on Medium-High heat until it begins to boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring frequently.

Add to sterilized and heated pint jars leaving 1/2” headspace. Wipe the rim, and add a warm lid and hand tighten the ring. Process in a hot water bath for 15 minutes, adjusting time for altitude variances.
Remove jars by using a jar lifter and place on a thick towel and let cool for 24 hours.
Before storing, check to make sure all jars are sealed by pushing on the lid -if it doesn’t move it is sealed properly. If it didn’t seal, immediately add to your refrigerator and use within 2 weeks.

Recipe Notes

If you prefer hot salsa do not remove the ribs or seeds of the hot peppers.

Store sealed jars on cool dark shelf for up to 12 months.

Recipe courtesy of Old World Garden Farms