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A corn tortilla chip being dipped into a bowl filled with finely chopped salsa fresca made from tomatoes, chilies, onion and cilantro.

Salsa Fresca Recipe

  • Author: Lisa
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x


This simple vibrant Mexican salsa is made from fresh raw ingredients, takes very little time to prepare, and will add zesty flavor and heat to anything you serve it with. Nothing beats this juicy fresh salsa for dipping crunchy tortilla chips - especially in the summer when tomatoes are at their ripest and best.


Units Scale
  • 1 pound ripe tomatoes, finely diced (2 cups)
  • 1/2 white onion, finely diced (3/4 cup)
  • 2 jalapeños, seeds and ribs removed and finely diced (1/2 cup)
  • 1/3 cup chopped cilantro leaves or more, to taste (from 1 bunch)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lime juice or more, to taste (from 2 juicy limes)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt or Kosher salt or more, to taste

Optional Add-Ins

  • 1-2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, finely minced or pressed through a garlic press
*Read the notes below before you shop for ingredients.


  1. Combine all the ingredients in a medium bowl. 
  2. Taste and adjust the flavors to your liking by adding additional salt, lime juice or cilantro
  3. Let the salsa sit for 5-10 minutes to allow the flavors to meld.
  4. Serve this salsa fresca soon after it's made when the colors and flavors are their brightest and freshest. Serve it as a dip with tortilla chips; as part of a Mexican meal, or as a topping for eggs, burgers, sandwiches, soups, grilled chicken, fish or beef.


Tomatoes: Use the ripest most flavorful tomatoes you can find. I often use Little Guys cherry tomatoes or Backyard Farms cocktail tomatoes because both of these brands tend to have delicious ripe tomatoes all year long. The smaller tomatoes are a bit more challenging to chop than large ones. You'll need a sharp knife and a little patience.

White Onion - You can substitute red onions or even scallions. If the sharp bite of onion bothers you, soak the chopped onion in cold water for 5 minutes and then drain out the water. This is a great trick for mellowing the sharpness of onions when using them raw in a recipe. 

Jalapeños - The hottest part of a chili pepper is the white ribs and the seeds. I always cut away the ribs and remove the seeds because I can't take the heat. If you like a lot of heat, by all means use the seeds. Or you can amp up the heat even more by using Serrano chilies which are about 4X hotter than jalapeños.

Cilantro - I don't recommend substituting another herb here. If you are not a fan of cilantro, omit it and add a clove of finely minced garlic and a few pinches of cumin - delicious!

Lime Juice - It's hard to determine how much lime juice is needed before tasting the salsa, as some tomatoes are already quite tangy and others have little to no tang. Also, some limes are very juicy and other are dry. I suggest you buy 2 or even 3 limes. Add a tablespoon of juice at a time until you're happy with the balance of flavors in the salsa.

Storage: Salsa fresca will keep for 4 days in the fridge in an airtight container. The colors and flavors lose a bit of vibrance over time but the salsa is still delicious.

  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: no cook
  • Category: Salsa
  • Method: Mince
  • Cuisine: Mexican

Keywords: quick fresh raw salsa, summer salsa