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3 October 2018

A recipe for spicy ghost pepper salsa made with garden grown ghost peppers, tomato, onion, lime juice and cilantro, all simmered together to let the flavors meld, picante style.

More ghost pepper salsa! Am I crazy? No way! Ghost peppers are nice and spicy, and they have an addictive fruity flavor, especially when they’re cooked into a salsa.

I’ve been cooking a LOT with ghost peppers lately because my ghost pepper plants are REALLY productive this year. Good for me! I get to add more to my ghost pepper recipes to really spice things up.

If you want to cook with ghost peppers, you need to be ready for the heat. Ghost peppers, aka Bhut Jolokias, top out at over 1 Million Scoville Heat Units, which is roughly 200+ times hotter than an average jalapeno pepper.

Learn more about ghost peppers here.

Yes, that is some very nice heat there, but as mentioned, with that heat comes some excellent flavor.

And that extends to this salsa. Oh yeah!

Ghost Pepper Salsa - In a bowl with chips

Ready to dig in? I am! The color is so vibrant. It just wants you to dip a chip right in there. But beware.

You’ll notice some heat right off the bat, but ghost pepper salsa is more of a blooming heat, so after a few more bites, you’ll notice the warmth building in your mouth. If you’re not used to ghost pepper heat, get ready for a little sweat.

But not much!

All of my ghost pepper loving friends will LOVE this salsa for sure.

So let’s talk about how we make this ghost pepper salsa, shall we? It’s super easy, as we’re working with fresh ingredients.

NOTE: This recipe is extremely similar to my Fresh Ghost Pepper Salsa Recipe, but we’re extending the recipe steps to include processing and simmering to make more of a picante style sauce.

Here we go!

How to Make Ghost Pepper Salsa – The Recipe Method

First, gather up your ingredients – 4 ghost peppers, a medium sized tomato, a small white onion, a large lime (or use 3 tablespoons lime juice), 1/4 cup chopped cilantro, and a bit of salt.

Chop the peppers, tomato and onion, then add them to a bowl with the lime juice and cilantro. Toss everything together to combine it.

Add in a few sprinkles of salt to your personal tastes!

Fresh Ghost Pepper Salsa - Mixing up in a bowl

Right here is my Fresh Ghost Pepper Salsa Recipe. You can serve this up as it is, or! Continue on for the picante style sauce.

Next, Add all of the ingredients to a food processor or blender and process it until it is nice and smooth.

Add the ingredients to a pan and bring to a quick boil. Simmer it for about 15 minutes to let the flavors develop.

Simmering the Ghost Pepper Salsa

Cool, and adjust with salt to your tastes and BOOM!


It’s that easy. Truly. Don’t you just love easy food? Salsas are easy.

I like to cover it and let it chill in the refrigerator at this point to let the flavors develop even further, but honestly, you can eat it once it’s cooled if you’d like.

Playing with the Recipe – Adjusting the Heat

You can easily adjust the ingredients to your preferences. If you’re concerned about the heat, consider using only 1 ghost pepper and filling in the recipe with other peppers. You can even use bell peppers for this.

Or, if you’re looking for extra heat, this recipe can easily use up to 10 ghost peppers or more.

Make it REALLY hot if you want! Sure!

Handling Ghost Peppers – Safety Information

A word to the wise. As mentioned, ghost peppers are VERY HOT, so it is best to wear gloves when handling them. The oils can get onto your skin and can cause burning. Avoid touching your eyes or other parts of your skin to avoid that burn.

If you do feel the burn on your skin, consult this page – How to Stop the Chili Pepper Burn.

Ghost Pepper Salsa Serving Suggestions

Salsas are always popular on game day gatherings, or pretty much any party situation.

Try some of my Game Day Recipes for more ideas.

I also like to use salsa as a topper for any grilled or roasted meats, like chicken, pork, and especially fish. White fish LOVES a good salsa, and it makes for a healthy meal.

Try Some of My Other Popular Ghost Pepper Recipes

Try Some of My Other Popular Salsa Recipes

Ghost Pepper Salsa - Ready to Eat!

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.

Ghost Pepper Salsa - Recipe
Print Recipe
4.75 from 8 votes

Ghost Pepper Salsa - Recipe

A recipe for spicy ghost pepper salsa made with garden grown ghost peppers, tomato, onion, lime juice and cilantro, all simmered together to let the flavors meld, picante style.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time25 mins
Course: Appetizer, Salsa, Snack
Cuisine: American
Keyword: ghost pepper, salsa, spicy
Servings: 8
Calories: 11kcal


  • 4 ghost peppers chopped or more, as desired
  • 1 medium tomato chopped
  • 1 small white onion chopped
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice or use the juice from 1 large lime
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro
  • Salt to taste


  • Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl. Mix well. Taste and adjust for salt.
  • Add the ingredients to a food processor or blender. Process until nice and smooth.
  • Pour the salsa into a pan and bring to a quick boil. Reduce heat and simmer at least 15 minutes to let the flavors develop. Cool.
  • You can serve right away or cover and refrigerate overnight for the flavors to mingle and develop even more. Serve!


Heat Factor: HOT! You'll get a good level of heat with this ghost pepper salsa recipe. Ghost peppers are the original superhot chili pepper. But it's worth it!


Calories: 11kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Sodium: 2mg | Potassium: 79mg | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 210IU | Vitamin C: 12.1mg | Calcium: 5mg | Iron: 0.1mg


    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Cawa, if you process this in a water bath properly, and the acidity is properly high enough (shoot for 3.5 pH for home canning), it can last years on the shelf. If you don’t process it, keep it in the refrigerator, covered, where it will keep for a week or longer.

  1. 5 stars
    I can’t wait to make this. However, I have dried Ghost Chiles…what adjustments should I do? More Chiles? Rehydrate then first?

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Hey, Steve. Yes, you can rehydrate the dried pods to make this, no problem. You can add more peppers for a hotter version if you’d like. Let me know how it turns out for you.

  2. I want to can the recipe, but I am new to canning. What should I do to the recipe?

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Katie, for canning/preserving, you may need to add more citrus and/or vinegar for more acidity. For a water bath, shoot for a pH of 3.5 or lower before processing. Or, look into pressure canning.

      1. I love food that’s hotter than hell as well flavorful but what do I do with a bunch of fresh grown frozen bhut jolokia peppers?

        1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

          Ted, I preserve them in various ways. I have this ever year from my garden, as I grow a LOT. Freezing is great for some, but I love to dehydrate for crushed peppers and powders, and they can be rehydrated for sauces. I also make chili pastes so I can just use a bit. Plus some sauces. That will use them up pretty quickly. Let me know what you wind up doing.

  3. 5 stars
    Love this! Made a BIG batch with 10 ghost peppers and 3 1/2 roma tomatoes. SPICY and delicious!!! How much vinegar would you add to say 16 oz or so to help it to last longer without changing the flavor too much?

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Thanks, Dino! You can add a tablespoon or 2, then taste and adjust from there. The citrus will add some acidity as well. Enjoy!

  4. Michael Bennett

    3 stars
    I think everyone here is crazy. I love spicy food and have enjoyed every recipe that I’ve pulled from this site. I tripled the tomatoes, added more lime and some garlic. It’s almost too hot to eat. Perhaps for some reason, my ghosts are hotter, but wow…. I would do 5 tomatoes. The flavor is great, but the heat is literally too much. It’s like hotter than tobasco.

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      5 stars
      Hey, Michael. Yes, the recipe notes say that this salsa is HOT. Ghost peppers are most assuredly hot, so yes, beware. Of course you can adjust the recipe to your own preferred heat levels with more tomato. The bonus to that? More Salsa! This is definitely a recipe for serious spicy food lovers. Tabasco is a pretty mild hot sauce overall, so yes, this would be QUITE A BIT hotter. I appreciate your comments.

  5. I am about to try out this recipe, but I wanted to check and see how long the salsa will be good if put in a mason jar and placed in the refrigerator (obviously using periodically until done). I have plenty of the peppers so I am trying to time out making hot sauces, salsa, and if I plan to dry any for further later use.

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Chase, the salsa should last at least a week or longer. It can last longer if you include more citrus and/or vinegar, which act as preservatives. It also freezes nicely. I hope this helps! Enjoy.

  6. Any suggestions on a specific tomato? I usually go to a Roma for Salsa but am new to Ghost Pepper recipes. 🙂

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Robert, this will work with any tomatoes, really. I like plump, juicy tomatoes for this. I grow a lot of heirloom tomatoes, so I often use whatever I have on hand.

  7. Can you can this salsa and store it? I’ve got a bunch of ghost peppers and want to make some salsa to can but can’t find any actual canning recipes for them.

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Trenton, yes, absolutely. If you use the water bath method, just make sure the pH is 3.5 or lower for home canning. Otherwise, you can use a pressure canner. Enjoy!

  8. 5 stars
    made it, tried it, it’s great, started of with just 4 peppers and double the tomatoes and onion, (call me a wimp) but I have to be careful with my stomach…
    Thanks for sharing

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Awesome, Jack! Yes, smart to treat the stomach with care! Glad you enjoyed it!

  9. I just made this lovely salsa — super! All ingredients went into a blender and it turned out very similar to our local Mexican grocer’s salsa. Wonderful!

    Can you clarify to a novice salsa maker (me), the advantage of simmering once blended? After the cooked salsa is cooled are the flavors more intense? Picante simply means “spicy” correct?

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Great, Julius. Thanks. Simmering is not required, but it helps the ingredient flavors better meld and develop. You’ll notice a difference. And yes, picante means “spicy”.

  10. Ainsley Farr

    Is this recipe safe for canning and storing long term?

    Looking for recipes that preserve well (can, bottle, freeze) for all kinds of HOT peppers (chocolate scorpions, reapers, bonnets, cayenne, jalapenos)

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      5 stars
      Ainsley, you can pressure can this or freeze it. If you want to water bath it, check the ph first to make sure it is 4.0 or below, ideally 3.5 or below for long term storage outside of the refrigerator.

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