How to Can Salsa – A Delicious & Easy Salsa Recipe

Canning homemade salsa is a very easy process and makes delicious salsa you can enjoy year round. This easy salsa recipe is delicious and includes step by step directions for how to can salsa. 

Growing up in Texas, I learned to love salsa. I will eat it with chips, on top of potatoes, and of course, on my breakfast tacos. I love a good homemade salsa too and once I tasted my Aunt Renee’s homemade salsa, I knew it was a salsa recipe I needed to learn.

I don’t can a lot of things but homemade jam and this easy salsa are my go-to canning recipes. This salsa recipe is so simple, it’s actually a great first canning recipe! I’ve made countless batches of this salsa recipe over the past ten years, using different peppers and whatever tomatoes grow in our garden. Every batch is delicious! Truly.

The other nice thing is that canning salsa doesn’t require fancy equipment. You may can salsa with a pressure cooker but I prefer to can my salsa with a water bath canner.

A water bath canner is simply a large pot in which you can cover your canning jars with boiling water. Water bath canners are reasonably priced and a good investment if you plan to can regularly (and by regularly, even a couple times a year makes it a good investment in my book).

If you have been curious to try canning salsa, give this easy salsa recipe a try. You will be glad you did!

Here are step by step directions for how to can salsa. 

This post may contain affiliate links. You can read more in my disclosure policy. 

First, you make your homemade salsa. 

Homemade salsa needs only a couple of ingredients – tomatoes, onions and peppers, being the main three.

I prefer to can salsa with Roma tomatoes because they are much firmer and give me more tomato in my salsa. If I am using larger type tomatoes, I cut off the top and squeeze out most of the seeds and pulp before dicing. This is a matter of preference. I do this because I don’t like runny salsa. If you are using Roma tomatoes (which I recommend) you won’t need to worry about this.

Here are the ingredients and amounts you need, noting that this recipe makes 6-7 pint jars of salsa.

Salsa Ingredients:

8 cups tomatoes, diced
4 cups onions, diced
1/2 cup jalapeno peppers, diced
4 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon cumin
1/4 cup vinegar
2 cans (6 ounces each) tomato paste

Begin by washing and dicing your tomatoes. Add all 8 cups of tomatoes into a large sauce pan on the stove. I use a 6 quart sauce pan with high sides so there is plenty of room for all the ingredients and to still stir the salsa.

Next, peel and dice your onions. You can use any type of onion. I generally buy the cheapest white onions I can find.If you have a food processor or mini manual food processor, use it! I love my Pampered Chef food processor (much like this one) for this very reason. It makes chopping onions so much easier! Once you have 4 cups of diced onions, add them to the pot on the stove.

Finally, chop up one or two jalapeno peppers – until you reach 1/2 cup. Jalapeno peppers are the peppers I use in salsa. I have tried other peppers and it does work but jalapenos give it the best flavor. If you don’t want to it too spicy, don’t put the seeds or membranes in your salsa. If you like more of a kick, feel free to chop the seeds into the salsa. Add the jalapenos to the pot on the stove.

Next, add in 4 teaspoons of salt and 1 teaspoon of cumin. Pour in 1/4 cup white vinegar.

As with all canning recipes, you do need to stick to the indicated proportions so as not to interfere with the safety of the recipe. You also need to add vinegar to ensure acidify the salsa recipe and maintain the correct pH level.

Add in 2 cans of tomato paste and stir the salsa all together. Turn the heat on low and simmer your salsa for 20 minutes. Stir often as it simmers. You can cover your salsa so it doesn’t splatter if you like.

While your salsa simmers, prepare your canning jars.

First, fill your water bath canner with hot water. Cover and bring to a simmer. At this point, I make sure my jar rack is hooked on the sides of the water bath canner and waiting for me to set the jars on it. Your wire rack that comes with most canners will have obvious ridges where you can hook it on.

Next, gather all your Ball canning jars and wash them in hot water. You can also sterilize them by washing them in your dishwasher if you plan on making several batches of salsa in one day.

Canning jars come in many sizes. Pint jars are the perfect size for salsa. I use half pint jars for jam and quart jars for applesauce. You can decide on the size of jars that you would like to use. You could can your salsa in half pint jars but that size of salsa would not last long in our house! These are the jars I use when canning salsa although the wide mouth pint jars are nice too.

Now, you need to fill your clean jars with hot water to stay warm. This is very important because your salsa will be hot when you fill your jars. If you put hot salsa in a cold jar and submerge it in hot water, your jar will not seal properly and could very well crack.

You could fill them with boiling water from a teapot on the stove. I improvise. I turn my tap water as hot as it can go. It is almost boiling at this point. Then, I fill my jars with this scalding water and place the jars carefully on the counter or in my dish drainer to stay warm until I am ready to can the salsa.

The final thing you need to do is boil your lids and jar bands. I pour some hot water in a large glass bowl and drop my lids and jar bands in there until I am ready to use them.

Now it is time to actually can your salsa.

One of the best things I purchased for canning was a canning funnel. It fits perfectly into all sizes of canning jars and makes filling my jars a breeze! Before I had this funnel, I spilled everywhere. Thanks to this handy canning funnel, my canning is much neater now. It’s a simple canning investment that is worth the money spent.

Dump the hot water out of your clean canning jars and put an empty jar on the counter. Place the canning funnel in the jar and fill it with hot salsa. I like to use a ladle for this part.

Fill your salsa carefully leaving 1/4 inch headway. Hint: This is marked by the top line where your lid screws on. I tend to leave closer to one inch, right where the curves begin.

Once the jar is filled, remove the funnel. Using a damp paper towel, wipe the inside and outside lip of your jar.

Remove a lid and ring from the hot water. If you have a magnetic lid wand, you won’t burn your fingers! This is another great canning invention. Place the lid on top of your jar and screw on the canning ring.


Carefully place your salsa into your hot water bath canner on the wire rack. Repeat the process until all your jars and / or your canner is filled.

If you are using a water bath canner, you will have a wire rack that you can lower your jars into the warm water. After you lower the wire rack to the bottom, add boiling water to your canner until there is 1 to 2 inches of water above the lids of the jars.

Cover the canner and return water to a boil. Boil for 15 minutes. Do not start counting your 15 minutes until the water is at a full and steady boil.

Turn off the burner heat. Remove water bath lid and allow jars to cool in the canner. After 5 minutes, carefully remove the jars and place on a towel to cool. With all the steam, I use my jar lifter tool so I don’t burn my fingers. I recommend buying a canning tools set like this one if you plan to can even a couple times a year. You will be glad you have these handy tools. You will probably hear a popping sound as the lids seal. That is normal and a good sign that you have canned correctly.

Leave your jars to cool for 12 to 24 hours. Do not disturb them. I know it’s hard to be patient, but you need to be! Most of my jars seal within minutes of being removed from the hot water. I check after 2 hours and if they haven’t sealed, then I move that jar to the fridge to enjoy first. That only happened once. At the end of 24 hours, press down lightly in the center of each lid to check again for a seal. If if does not give, your jar has sealed properly. At this point, tighten the bands on your jar and label your salsa.

See how simple it is to can salsa? Now, go enjoy your homemade salsa!

For further instructions on canning, I highly recommend the Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving. It is the ultimate how-to canning book with clear directions on how to can hundreds of different things like fruits, vegetables, jams, salsas and countless other things. 

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How to Can Salsa

Learn how to can salsa with this delicious and easy salsa recipe.

Ingredients

Scale
  • 8 cups tomatoes, diced
  • 4 cups onions, diced
  • 1/2 cup jalapeno peppers, diced
  • 4 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 cup vinegar
  • 2 cans (6 ounces each) tomato paste

Instructions

  1. Begin by washing and dicing your tomatoes. Add all 8 cups of tomatoes into a large sauce pan on the stove.
  2. Next, peel and dice your onions. Once you have 4 cups of diced onions, add them to the pot on the stove.
  3. Finally, chop up one or two jalapeno peppers – until you reach 1/2 cup. If you don’t want to it too spicy, don’t put the seeds or membranes in your salsa. If you like more of a kick, feel free to chop the seeds into the salsa. Add the jalapenos to the pot on the stove.
  4. Next, add in 4 teaspoons of salt and 1 teaspoon of cumin.
  5. Pour in 1/4 cup white vinegar.
  6. Add in 2 cans of tomato paste and stir the salsa all together.
  7. Turn the heat on low and simmer your salsa for 20 minutes. Stir often as it simmers.
  8. While your salsa simmers, prepare your canning jars.
  9. First, fill your water bath canner with hot water. Cover and bring to a simmer.
  10. Next, gather all your Ball pint jars and wash them in hot water.
  11. Now, you need to fill your clean jars with hot water to stay warm. This is very important because your salsa will be hot when you fill your jars. If you put hot salsa in a cold jar and submerge it in hot water, your jar will not seal properly and could very well crack.
  12. The final thing you need to do is boil your lids and jar bands. I pour some hot water in a large glass bowl and drop my lids and jar bands in there until I am ready to use them.
  13. Now it is time to actually can your salsa.
  14. Dump the hot water out of your clean canning jars and put an empty jar on the counter. Place the canning funnel in the jar and fill it with hot salsa. 
  15. Fill your salsa carefully leaving 1/4 inch headway. Hint: This is marked by the top line where your lid screws on. I tend to leave closer to one inch, right where the curves begin.
  16. Once the jar is filled, remove the funnel. Using a damp paper towel, wipe the inside and outside lip of your jar.
  17. Remove a lid and ring from the hot water. Place the lid on top of your jar and screw on the canning ring.
  18. Carefully place your jar of salsa into your hot water bath canner on the wire rack. Repeat the process until all your jars and / or your canner is filled.
  19. If you are using a water bath canner, you will have a wire rack that you can lower your jars into the warm water. After you lower the wire rack to the bottom, add boiling water to your canner until there is 1 to 2 inches of water above the lids of the jars.
  20. Cover the canner and return water to a boil. Boil for 15 minutes. Do not start counting your 15 minutes until the water is at a full and steady boil.
  21. Turn off the burner heat. Remove water bath lid and allow jars to cool in the canner. 
  22. After 5 minutes, carefully remove the jars and place on a towel to cool. You will probably hear a popping sound as the lids seal. That is normal and a good sign that you have canned correctly.
  23. Leave your jars to cool for 12 to 24 hours. Do not disturb them. At the end of 24 hours, press down lightly in the center of each lid to check again for a seal. If if does not give, your jar has sealed properly. At this point, tighten the bands on your jar and store your salsa.
  24. Enjoy your delicious homemade salsa!

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1

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13 Comments

  1. Pingback: 137 inexpensive, handmade holiday gift ideas, part 3 | Crafty Nest
  2. Unfortunately the jalapeños I grew are mild and have no heat at all. Could I add a shake of cayenne or crushed red pepper flakes?

    1. Yes, indeed, Sandy! In fact, I just added a tablespoon of chili powder to my last batch to kick up the heat for my husband. 🙂 Chili powder is my go to spice and adding spices will not affect the safety of canning. Enjoy your salsa!

    1. Are you eating it fresh or canning it? If you are canning it, I would not recommend it because the ratio of peppers to tomatoes can throw off the acidity balance, and I can’t guarantee the safeness of it. It most likely would be fine, but I would recommend searching for a salsa recipe that already has green peppers in it to see what they say. If you are going to eat it fresh, then add away! 🙂

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