What do you do when you have an abundance of tomatoes to use up? You make 5-Minute Fresh Garden Salsa, of course! Grab a bag of your favorite tortilla chips and get ready to dig in.

Fresh Garden Salsa in bowl with tortilla chips

It seems like all summer long, we wait patiently for tomatoes. You get one here and there, but for the most part, you stare at the clusters of green tomatoes hanging heavy on the vines, wondering if they’re ever going to ripen. And then—boom! The end of August rolls around and you have ALL THE TOMATOES and no idea how you’re going to use them all.

Before you offload them onto your neighbors and relatives, you have to make at least one batch of this 5-Minute Fresh Garden Salsa recipe. (And if you make one batch, you’re going to want to make another. Trust and believe!) It couldn’t be easier and it lives up to its name: it’s done in a snap and it tastes super fresh because it’s not cooked like some salsa recipes.

What You’ll Need

Of course, you don’t need a garden to make fresh garden salsa. Tomatoes are also cheap and abundant at the farmers market this time of year, and if you subscribe to a CSA box, you probably have heaps of tomatoes on hand. Here’s a rundown of the ingredients you’ll need:

  • Tomatoes – You can use any kind of tomatoes here, so this is the perfect opportunity to put those funky heirloom varieties to good use. Tomatoes that are cracked or misshapen are also ideal for salsa making!
  • Jalapeño pepper – Cut the ribs out for a milder salsa, or swap the jalapeño for a spicier pepper if you like your salsa with a kick.
  • Shallots – A small white onion will work, too.
  • Garlic
  • Cilantro – You can omit the cilantro if you’re not a fan. Totally fine!
  • Salt
  • Ground pepper
  • Fresh lime juice
  • Sugar – Just a pinch will cut the acidity.

Do You Peel Tomatoes for Salsa?

Good question! Normally, a salsa that is cooked would use peeled tomatoes because the skin can become tough, but in a fresh garden salsa like this one, there’s no need for peeling.

How to Make 5-Minute Fresh Garden Salsa

I think the best thing about this recipe is that there’s no chopping veggies—the food processor does the work for you! Here’s what you’ll need to do:

Prepare the tomatoes. Quarter the tomatoes, then use a spoon or your fingers to scoop out the seeds. This step ensures that your salsa isn’t soupy! Place the tomatoes in a colander in the sink so they can continue to drain while you work on the rest of the recipe.

Make the salsa. Add the jalapeño, shallots, garlic, cilantro, salt, pepper, and lime juice to your food processor. Add the drained tomatoes, then pulse the mixture until it reaches your preferred consistency.

Season and serve. Taste the salsa and add a pinch of sugar if it’s a bit too acidic, then season with additional salt and pepper, if needed. Serve immediately or refrigerate in an airtight container.

5-Minute Fresh Garden Salsa in bowl with tortilla chips in foreground

Tips for Success

This fresh garden salsa recipe is so simple, you really can’t go wrong! Here are a few tips to help make sure it turns out perfect.

  • Be careful with the jalapeño. If you have a stretch of hot, dry weather, the jalapeños you grow will be hotter because they produce more capsaicin in these conditions. If you like a mild salsa, you might want to start with half a pepper, then taste the salsa and add the rest if needed.
  • Stir between pulses. To make sure your salsa has a uniform consistency, you might have to scrape down the sides of your food processor and stir the ingredients between pulses. 
  • Don’t use grape or cherry tomatoes. It’s too much of a pain to get the seeds and juices out of small tomatoes.

Serving Suggestions

Everyone knows that salsa is good with tortilla chips and Mexican food, so here are some new ways to put your garden salsa to use:

  • Pair scrambled eggs or an omelet with salsa and warm tortillas.
  • Top your next baked potato with salsa and shredded cheese.
  • Spoon salsa over chicken or fish for dinner.
  • Make salsa mac by stirring salsa into your favorite mac-and-cheese recipe.
  • Use it as a sauce for cooking meat in your slow cooker.
  • Swap it for ketchup on your next burger.
  • Garnish black bean, beer cheese, or another favorite soup with a heaping spoonful of salsa.

How Should I Store Fresh Salsa?

Fresh garden salsa can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week. Don’t attempt to can this salsa—a canned salsa needs to have a very specific pH level for safety purposes, so it’s best to use a salsa recipe that has been developed specifically for canning. Because tomatoes do not need to be balanced before freezing, you can freeze this salsa—it will last about 2 months in the freezer, but be aware that the texture will change when thawed, resulting in a thinner salsa with softer tomatoes.

Overhead shot of Fresh Garden Salsa with tortilla chips
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Fresh Garden Salsa in bowl with tortilla chips

5-Minute Fresh Garden Salsa

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  • Author: Country Cleaver
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: Appetizer
  • Method: Food Processor
  • Cuisine: American


This chunky, garden-fresh salsa is the best way to use homegrown tomatoes!


Units Scale
  • 1 pound Fresh Ripe Tomatoes, quartered and seeded
  • 1 Jalapeno, halved and seeded
  • 2 Shallots, peeled
  • 2 cloves whole Garlic, peeled
  • 1/2 cup Fresh Cilantro Leaves
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/4 tsp Ground Pepper
  • 1/4 cup Fresh Lime Juice, from 2 Limes
  • Pinch of Sugar


  1. Quarter and seed the tomatoes; this will remove excess moisture. Place the tomatoes in a colander to continue to drain them as you prepare the remaining ingredients. Into a food processor, place the remaining ingredients, the jalapeno, shallots, whole garlic cloves, cilantro, salt and pepper, and fresh lime juice. Add tomatoes into the food processor.
  2. Pulse the salsa until it reaches your desired consistency, between 5-6 times. Test the flavor, and if a pinch of sugar is needed to reduce the acid level, this is a good time to add it. Serve immediately, or place in an airtight container in the fridge