Canning salsa is a fantastic way to preserve tomatoes. This Mexican chunky salsa recipe for canning is adapted from the classic Ball recipe and is easy to make mild or hot. 

A jar of homemade chunky Mexican salsa for canning sits on white countertop next to fresh cilantro.

Every summer through early fall our fresh tomato recipes get lots of love. Authentic Bruschetta, Marinara with Fresh Tomatoes, Roasted Tomato Soup, and Fresh Tomato Salsa are a few favorites, and they began with our plentiful homegrown tomatoes. And every summer, I get requests for a salsa recipe for canning, so here we are! 

Canning tomatoes, whether whole, as passata or pasta sauce, or salsa, is a great way to preserve them for use throughout the year. Unlike our fresh tomato salsa, the flavors and colors mellow a bit when canning salsa. However, this recipe is easy to make mild, or spicy, by simply adding more or fewer chili peppers or hot sauce. Use it as a dip for chips, add to burritos, or puree later and use as a summer marinade for grilling. 


Canning Salsa 

Salsa recipes for canning are different from fresh tomato salsas, as, with all canning recipes, there must be proper acidity, and the food must be properly processed. You cannot simply can any salsa, but there many variations and salsa recipes made specifically for canning – like this one! I learned how to can, and this recipe was adapted from the cookbook, Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving. You can learn more about canning on the Ball site

Canning salsa is a multi-step process, so I suggest embarking on this project on a weekend when you have plenty of time. If you don’t want to go to the trouble of processing with a boiling water canner or are making a smaller batch, you can make this recipe and freeze the jars, making sure to leave headspace for expansion. Refrigerator canning is fun too – try my favorite Refrigerator Dill Pickles, Pickled Beets, and Chia Jam

The ingredients for homemade canned salsa are prepared on a cutting board and include tomatoes, bell pepper, onion, jalapeno, garlic, cilantro, salt, and apple cider vinegar.

What You’ll Need 

  • Water bath canner. This is a large, deep pot with a lid and a rack set at the bottom. I use a small round cooling rack or steamer. 
  • Glass Canning Jars. You’ll need about 12 8-oz. or 6 pint-sized jars. I used Ball jars. 
  • Tomatoes. Use medium to large meaty, firm but not hard, red tomatoes such as Early Girl or Roma. They will need to be peeled so avoid tiny varieties like cherry tomatoes. Vine-ripened tomatoes will produce the best flavor.  
  • Onions. I like to use white onions for salsa.  
  • Green Bell Peppers.  
  • Jalapenos. Feel free to use your favorite chili peppers, such as hot banana, serrano, or Hungarian wax. Remove the seeds for mild salsa, or keep them hot. 
  • Garlic. The garlic in this recipe is mellow but adds great flavor. You can always stir in more just before serving if you feel it needs it. 
  • Cilantro. Like the garlic, the cilantro mellows. Stir in fresh cilantro or use it to garnish before serving to make your salsa bright and fresh again. 
  • Salt. I use sea or kosher salt, but any kind is fine as its purpose in this recipe is seasoning rather than preserving. 
  • Apple Cider Vinegar. While I use fresh lime juice for acid in fresh salsa recipes, it’s crucial you use vinegar and the right amount for safe canning. 

How to make salsa for canning. The ingredients for homemade chunky Mexican salsa are seen in a large stainless steel saucepan.

How to Make Salsa for Canning 

This recipe for easy chunky Mexican salsa comes together quickly once all the ingredients are diced. All ingredients get tossed together into a stainless steel saucepan and simmered away until thickened. 

It’s important to use only stainless steel pans and utensils as the acid in tomatoes can react with other common cooking materials such as copper, aluminum, and iron. 

Though tomatoes are acidic, as mentioned above, the pH is not high enough to safely can in a water canner without additional acid. This is why vinegar is included in recipes for canning homemade salsa. 

Hot steaming homemade salsa is ladled into a hot Ball mason jar.

Once the salsa is finished cooking on the stove it’s ready to ladle into hot, clean canning jars and process in a water canner. 

8 oz. Ball jars filled with homemade canned salsa on a marble counter.

Storing & Serving 

  • Store your homemade canned salsa in the pantry for up to one year. Once opened, refrigerate and use within one week. 
  • Just before serving, stir in or garnish with fresh cilantro to brighten it up. To add heat, stir in a dash of hot sauce just before serving. 

A chip scoops up homemade salsa.

More Salsa Recipes 

Yield: About 6 (8 oz.) jars

Best Salsa Recipe for Canning

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Additional Time 5 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes

Canning salsa is a great way to preserve tomatoes. This is a Mexican-style chunky salsa recipe for canning in a boiling water canner, that can be made mild or hot. Feel free to double the recipe when you have an abundance of tomatoes.

One Ball jar filled with canned salsa.


  • 5 cups diced, cored peeled tomatoes (about 11 medium)
  • 2 1/2 cups diced seeded green bell peppers (about 3)
  • 2 1/2 cups diced white onion (1-2 large)
  • 1 1/4 cups diced seeded jalapenos (about 3)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 tablespoon salt (I use kosher or sea salt)
  • 3/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon hot pepper sauce (optional for added heat)


  1. Prepare the water bath canner, jars, and lids and keep them warm. I run mine through a hot dishwasher rinse as I prepare the salsa. As this is a high-acid recipe that is processed in a water canner, the jars don't need to be completely sterilized as they would with a low acid recipe. The heat from the water canner will destroy any bacteria.
  2. Stir together the diced tomatoes, peppers, onions, jalapenos, garlic, cilantro, salt, and vinegar in a large stainless steel saucepan. Tomatoes, onions, peppers, and other ingredients are stirred together in a saucepan.
  3. Set over high heat and stir until the tomatoes begin to release some juices and the salsa comes to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes. Taste the salsa and add hot sauce if you'd like to add more heat. A salsa recipe for canning simmers on the stove.
  4. Remove from the heat or turn down to very low just to keep warm. Spoon the hot salsa into the hot jars, leaving ½ inch headspace. Wipe the rim clean. Hot canning salsa is ladled into a warm Ball canning jar.
  5. Place the lid on the jar and screw the band down until just tight. A Ball canning lid is placed on a jar of homemade salsa for canning.
  6. Place the jars into the canner, covering by at least one inch of water. Bring to a boil, covered with a lid, and process for 15 minutes. Ball canning jars in a large pot of water.
  7. Remove the lid and let the jars rest in the hot water for 5 minutes to allow the pressure to stabilize. Carefully remove the jars and let rest, undisturbed, for 24 hours at room temperature.
  8. Ensure all jars have a vacuum seal by removing the rings and pressing down on the lids. They should be concave and not move at all. If the center of a lid bounces back there is not a vacuum seal and the jar of salsa will need to be refrigerated immediately. 8 oz. Ball jars filled with homemade canned salsa on a marble counter.


To ensure safe canning, this recipe was based on the Ball salsa recipe for canning from the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving cookbook.

When you're ready to serve your canned salsa, you can add more heat by stirring in a few drops of hot sauce. I also like to freshen up canned salsa by stirring in some fresh cilantro just before serving.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 95Total Fat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 552mgCarbohydrates: 20gFiber: 4gSugar: 11gProtein: 3g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated by Nutritionix. I am not a nutritionist and cannot guarantee accuracy. If your health depends on nutrition information, please calculate again with your favorite calculator.