A fresh tomato salsa with a smoky and spicy kick! This recipe was born out of a need to use up leftover canned chipotles in adobo. Instead of tossing them in the fridge just to get moldy, we opted to make this Fresh Tomato and Chipotle Salsa made with roasted tomatoes, onion, garlic and loads of cilantro. It’s fresh, smoky and just spicy enough. Spoon it over tacos or simple enjoy it with your favorite tortilla chips.

Why This Recipe Works

By lightly roasting the tomatoes and onion we achieve a fresh smoky chipotle salsa that’s not overly watery. Roasting evaporates out excess water which results in a more concentrated tomato flavor and less water. 

Instead of using fresh jalapeños for spice, we’re using dried and smoked jalapeños packed in adobo sauce, aka chipotles in adobo. Chipotles add a lovely spice without overpowering the rest of the salsa. We also love the slight smokiness they add.

tomatoes, onion, garlic, chipotles, spices and cilantro on a conter top

Ingredient Notes


It’s important to use Roma tomatoes for this homemade chipotle salsa recipe as they are more meaty and less watery. Look for ripe tomatoes that are deeply red with taught skin. 

Chipotle Peppers

Canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce are dried jalapeños that have been smoked and then rehydrated in a tangy and spicy tomato sauce. For this recipe you will need both the chipotle peppers and the adobo sauce it’s packed in. Look for chipotle peppers in the Mexican section of the grocery store or at any Mexican market.

Coriander Seeds

We love using coriander seeds in our fresh salsa recipes. Not only do they add a bit of texture, but they add tons of fresh coriander flavor without overpowering the salsa. If you don’t have coriander seeds, you can use scant half teaspoon ground coriander or cumin.


If you can, try to use Mexican oregano. If not, marjoram or regular oregano can be used. 

Test Kitchen Tips

  • Don’t be afraid to let the tomatoes and onion get pretty charred. That char adds tons of flavor! The only thing to keep an eye on is the garlic. If the cloves start to get too brown, pull them out as needed. 
  • Do not peel the garlic prior to broiling. The skin will take the brunt of the flame, while the clove will slightly steam and soften.
  • If you want a little more tangy, add a tablespoon or so of fresh lime juice. White vinegar will also work.
  • For some added lusciousness, add a drizzle of olive oil while the salsa is blending.
salsa in a white bowl

What to Serve This Salsa With


How long does this salsa last?

Stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator, this salsa will last up to 1 week.

I don’t like cilantro, can I use something else?

Parsley is a great substitute for cilantro in about any application. 

How should I store leftover chipotle peppers?

It’s important to transfer any leftover chipotles in adobo out of the tin can to an airtight glass container. We recommend placing a layer of plastic wrap over the chipotles as well to make it airtight. 

Fresh Tomato and Chipotle Salsa

5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Yield 2 ½ cups salsa
Category Sauce/Condiment
Cuisine Mexican


A fresh tomato and chipotle salsa infused with smoky flavors and a bit of spice.


  • 4 roma tomatoes
  • ½ large white onion
  • 2 large unpeeled garlic cloves
  • ¼ cup cilantro leaves and tender stems
  • 3 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
  • 1 tablespoon adobo sauce
  • 1 ½ teaspoons honey
  • ½ teaspoon coriander seeds
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano


  • Preheat broiler with rack set in upper-middle position. Arrange tomatoes, onion and garlic on a baking sheet; broil until charred all over, 10-15 minutes. (*remove garlic cloves if they start to burn at all.)
    charred tomatoes, onion, and garlic cloves on a baking sheet
  • Transfer charred vegetables, cilantro, chipotle, adodo, honey, coriander seeds, oregano and ½ teaspoon salt to the bowl of a food processor or blender. Pulse until minced, about 15 (1-second) pulses.
    salsa in a food processor
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste.


Store salsa in a glass airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. 


Serving: 1/4 cupCalories: 20kcalCarbohydrates: 4gProtein: 1gCholesterol: 2mgSodium: 110mgFiber: 1.5gSugar: 2.5g
Like this? Leave a comment below!I love hearing from you and I want to hear how it went with this recipe! Leave a comment and rating below, then share on social media @zestfulkitchen and #zestfulkitchen!
salsa in a white bowl

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About The Author

Lauren Grant is a professional culinary food scientist, food writer, recipe developer, and food photographer. Lauren is a previous magazine editor and test kitchen developer and has had work published in major national publications including Diabetic Living Magazine, Midwest Living Magazine, Cuisine at Home Magazine, EatingWell.com, AmericasTestKitchen.com, and more.

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