Charred Tomato Salsa

Skip the jarred stuff and make a spicy, smoky salsa from scratch
38 Ratings
100% would make again
Charred Tomato Salsa
Photo: Meghan Uno/Tasting Table

Cinco de Mayo is nigh, but this salsa is good for year-round snacking: Charring all of the vegetables before blending creates a smoky salsa that pairs perfectly with a cold, tart margarita.

Feel free to play around with the recipe. If you want more heat, add another pepper. If you're a wimp (like many of us), take one out. Switch out the tomatoes with tomatillos for a smoky green salsa verde. You do you—just make sure you don't run out of chips.

Charred Tomato Salsa

Recipe from the Tasting Table Test Kitchen

Yield: 2¾ cups

Prep Time: 10 minutes, plus cooling time

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes, plus cooling time


1 pound (4 medium) plum tomatoes

2 jalapeño peppers

2 garlic cloves

½ white onion, cut into 4 wedges

¼ cup roughly chopped cilantro

2 tablespoons lime juice

1 teaspoon agave

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Tortilla chips, for serving


1. Heat a cast-iron skillet over high heat. Working in batches, sear the plum tomatoes, jalapeños, garlic and onion until charred all over, 5 minutes for the tomatoes and garlic, and 8 minutes for the jalapeños and onion.

2. Transfer all the charred vegetables to the bowl of a food processor and let cool completely. Add the cilantro, lime juice and agave, then pulse until a chunky purée forms. Season with salt and pepper, then transfer to a bowl. Serve with tortilla chips.

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