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17 July 2020

This easy homemade salsa roja recipe is the ultimate Mexican salsa, perfect for tortillas, tacos and burritos, with tomatoes, jalapeno, lime juice and more. Serve as a salsa or sauce!

I’ve talked about guacamole recipes in Mexican restaurants, how there is a basic form of the recipe, yet every Mexican place does it their own way. The same is true, if not MORE so, for Salsa Roja, or Mexican Red Table Sauce. If you’ve been to a Mexican restaurant, you’ve seen it.

It’s the red stuff that typically comes in a large squeeze bottle, the bottle slightly condensed with moisture because it has just been removed from the refrigerator in the back, most likely freshly made that very morning. So very fresh.

It is similar in consistency to a thin salsa, with a bit more processing to give it that sauce like quality that is so perfect for pouring over your burritos, drenching your tacos, dripping over chorizo con huevos, huevos rancheros, Mexican migas, basically any Mexican cuisine served at your favorite local Mexican restaurant. This is Mexican salsa at its finest.

Salsa Roja is one of my favorites.

Salsa Roja in a squeeze bottle

As mentioned, Salsa Roja varies from restaurant to restaurant. We’ve been to a LOT of Mexican places, as well as Tex-Mex, and while there is a general similarity to MOST of these red sauces, each recipe is unique in flavor. Some of it comes down to an additional ingredient here and there, but mostly it is down to proportions.

Some prefer more lime, some more peppers, some more tomato. It depends on the chef cooking that day. I haven’t found a Salsa Roja I didn’t like. It’s hard to go wrong with super fresh ingredients that love to party with one another.

Here is our version that is simple yet highly flavorful. Let me show you how to make it!

Ingredients for making salsa roja, including tomato, cilantro, jalapeno, onion, garlic and lime

Salsa Roja Ingredients

  • Tomatoes. Use 2 pounds tomatoes, chopped. Any tomatoes will do.
  • Chili Peppers. Use 2 jalapeno peppers, chopped – or, use serrano peppers for a bit more heat! It’s also GREAT with arbol chiles.
  • Onion and Garlic. Use 1 small white onion, and 2 cloves garlic, chopped.
  • Cilantro. Use ¼ cup chopped cilantro, though you can use more to taste.
  • Lime Juice. Juice from half a lime though you can use more if you’d like.
  • Oil. 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Seasonings. Use ¼ teaspoon cumin (if desired, not traditional, more Tex-Mex) and Salt to taste.

Salsa Roja in a bowl with corn tortilla chips

How to Make Salsa Roja – the Recipe steps

Process the Ingredients. First, add the tomatoes, onion, peppers, garlic cloves, cilantro and lime juice to a food processor, then process them until they are fairly smooth.

Into the Pot with Seasonings. Next, heat a large pot to medium heat and add olive oil. Add the salsa and it will sear quickly. Add  cumin and bit of salt.

Boil and Simmer. Bring the whole thing to a quick boil then reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer for 15-20 minutes. Remove from heat. Season with salt if needed and stir.

That’s it! Cool and refrigerate until ready to use. Serve it up in a squeeze bottle like they do in Mexican restaurants for fun! 

Salsa Roja, or red salsa in a bowl

It doesn’t take much work at all. Just a bit of processing and simmering to let the fresh flavors develop and mingle with one another. Such a perfect, simple recipe. Great with any Mexican food.

Cool and pour it into a sauce container. I like to serve them up in the same plastic squeeze bottles you find in the Mexican restaurants.

Here is a link to the ones I use (NOTE: It’s an Amazon Affiliate Link, my friends!) – SET OF 2 — 24 Oz. Condiment Squeeze Bottles. It makes it feel that much more authentic. You can also serve this up as a salsa with some salted tortilla chips. The flavor is the same and honestly, it works as a simple salsa serving. This will easily last a week in the fridge, if you haven’t eaten it all.

Get cooking, friends! For your next Taco Tuesday, serve up some Salsa Roja and slather it on! Homemade salsa is the best. Perfect on Carne Asada Tacos!

Salsa Roja served with tortilla chips

How Long Does This Salsa Roja Last?

This salsa roja recipe will last at least a week in the refrigerator, or up to 2 weeks. If you’d like it to last longer, you can up the acidity with more lime juice or add some vinegar. It also freezes nicely. 

Check Out Some My Other Popular Salsa Recipes

Salsa Roja on a chip

If you enjoy this recipe, I hope you’ll leave a comment with some STARS. Also, please share it on social media. Don’t forget to tag us at #ChiliPepperMadness. I’ll be sure to share! Thanks! — Mike H.

Salsa Roja Recipe
Print Recipe
5 from 7 votes

Salsa Roja Recipe - Mexican Red Table Sauce

This easy homemade salsa roja recipe is the ultimate Mexican salsa, perfect for tortillas, tacos and burritos, with tomatoes, jalapeno, lime juice and more.
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time25 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: salsa, sauce
Servings: 20
Calories: 23kcal

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds tomatoes chopped
  • 1 small white onion chopped
  • 2 jalapeno peppers chopped – use Serrano peppers for a bit more heat!
  • 2 cloves garlic chopped
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro
  • Juice from half a lime
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon cumin (optional, not traditional, more Tex-Mex)
  • Salt to taste

Instructions

  • Add tomatoes, onion, peppers, garlic, cilantro and lime juice to a food processor. Process until fairly smooth.
  • Heat a large pot to medium heat and add olive oil. Add the salsa and it will sear quickly.
  • Add cumin and bit of salt.
  • Bring to a quick boil and reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer for 15-20 minutes.
  • Season with salt if needed and stir.
  • Cool and refrigerate until ready to use.
  • Serve it up in a squeeze bottle like they do in Mexican restaurants for fun!

Video

Notes

Makes about 3 cups of salsa.
Heat Level: Mild. Add serrano peppers for a spicier version of the recipe.
This salsa roja will last at least a week in the refrigerator, or up to 2 weeks. If you'd like it to last longer, you can up the acidity with more lime juice or add some vinegar. It also freezes nicely. 

Nutrition

Calories: 23kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Fat: 1g | Sodium: 2mg | Potassium: 119mg | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 405IU | Vitamin C: 8.4mg | Calcium: 6mg | Iron: 0.1mg

A corn chip dipped into salsa roja

NOTE: This recipe was updated on 7/17/20 to include new information, photos and video. It was originally published on 7/27/16.
Salsa Roja Recipe - Mexican Red Table Sauce
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