This may be the best salsa yet! Smoky chipotle salsa is a magical blend of fire roasted tomatoes, chipotle peppers in adobo, and the fresh flavors of onion, garlic, cilantro, and lime. 

Overhead view of chipotle salsa in a white dish, surrounded by chips.
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Get your blender out, you have to make this salsa! A food processor will do the job, too. This chipotle salsa is a perfect marriage of smoky tomato and chipotle chile pepper. You’ll want to make a double batch. Make sure you have lots of tortilla chips! And beer. Or maybe this calls for margaritas!

My hubby and I love a little Mexican restaurant up north. Why? Because they have the best salsa ever! We devour the complimentary chips and salsa in about two seconds and always order a second round … before we even get our drinks. It’s almost embarrassing. Okay, it is embarrassing.

The chips are really good but the salsa is the reason we can’t stop eating them. We’ve never had salsa like it before. Until now! Dare I say, this chipotle salsa recipe is a darn good copycat.

According to our waitress, the restaurant fire-roasts their own tomatoes which gives the salsa such a memorable flavor. That’s a time consuming project and I know you don’t want to hassle with that. But guess what? You can buy fire roasted tomatoes in a can at the grocery store. Oh wait, you  already knew that?

A tortilla chip being dipped in salsa.

You can mix this salsa up in about ten minutes.

Everyone loves my restaurant style salsa which is very similar to this recipe without the smoky component. I can’t wait for you guys to try this one!

About this chipotle salsa

The smoky flavor in this fantastic salsa comes from two sources: fire-roasted tomatoes and a couple of canned chipotle peppers in adobo. Chipotle peppers are smoked and dried jalapeño peppers. They pack a little heat but won’t knock your socks off. The adobo sauce they’re canned in is a tangy red sauce that complements the peppers. They’re so good in this cherry chipotle BBQ sauce! Serious Eats has a nice list of chipotle pepper recipes.

Experiment a bit and see how much smoky heat you like. We find that two chipotle peppers is about right for us.

Recipe Tip

What to do with the rest of the can of chipotle peppers? Pack two peppers with some of the sauce into individual snack size zip top bags and freeze them. You’ll be all ready for the next batch of salsa.

Chopped onion, garlic, fresh cilantro, and lime juice are added to this salsa for lots of upfront sassy flavor. Blend the ingredients just until they are the right salsa consistency, perfect for scooping onto tortilla chips or in this healthy Mexican lasagna.

Overhead view of homemade salsa in a blender.

What’s in this blender salsa?

  • Fire Roasted Tomatoes – If you can’t find fire roasted tomatoes, regular diced tomatoes or whole tomatoes will work.
  • Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce – These are what sets this salsa apart. Don’t skip them!
  • Onion – A must-have in salsa, if you ask me.
  • Fresh Garlic – You could also use garlic powder if you prefer a more mild garlic flavor. Try 1/2 teaspoon.
  • Cilantro – I always go heavy on it, but add as much as you like.
  • Fresh Lime Juice – Lime juice balances out the flavors and really brightens up the taste of the salsa.
  • Salt – You don’t need a ton because you’ll probably be dipping salty chips into the salsa, but a little is necessary to round out this recipe.
Tortilla chip being dipped into a bowl of salsa.

How to make this salsa your own

Why mess with perfection?! But….if you’re craving something a little different:

  • You can add a little more heat by increasing the amount of chipotle peppers.
  • If you prefer salsa with fresh tomatoes, try this Pico de Gallo.
  • If you like green salsa with tomatillos, you’ll love my popular salsa verde.
  • Still have a can of cranberry sauce hiding out in your pantry? Try cranberry salsa. It’s so easy, with only two ingredients.
Salsa in a mini enameled cast iron pot.

Storage Tips

Smoky chipotle salsa can be made ahead and stored in an airtight container for up to five days in the fridge. Give it a little stir before serving.

Blender salsa in a bowl, surrounded by chips and cilantro.

More yummy dips

Whether you’re planning a party or just hanging out at home, tortilla chips and a yummy dip are always a good idea. Try:


Chipotle Salsa

4.43 from 7 votes
Prep: 10 minutes
Total: 10 minutes
Servings: 4 cups
This may be the best salsa yet! Smoky chipotle salsa is a magical blend of fire roasted tomatoes, chipotle peppers in adobo, and the fresh flavors of onion, garlic, cilantro, and lime. 
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  • 1 small onion, cut into quarters
  • 1 clove garlic, roughly chopped
  • 2 (14.5 oz) cans fire roasted tomatoes
  • 2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, more if desired
  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro (stems are okay too!)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, more to taste
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • Tortilla chips, for serving


  • Pulse all ingredients in a blender or food processor until no large chunks remain, but not completely smooth.


  • Serving size: 4 tablespoons, nutrition information does not include tortilla chips.



Serving: 4tablespoons, Calories: 5kcal, Carbohydrates: 1g, Sodium: 84mg, Sugar: 1g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Did You Make This?Share a comment and rating below! I love hearing what you think!
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4.43 from 7 votes (3 ratings without comment)

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  1. Hopeful says:

    1 star
    I was skeptical of a recipe using canned ingredients and I should have stuck with my instincts. It does not taste fresh or homemade. Most canned salsas are much better than this. I was excited because it was really quick and easy….just not worth it

    1. Rachel Gurk says:

      We absolutely LOVE this salsa. Did you follow the directions and ingredients as written? Omitting or changing an ingredient will drastically affect the flavor.

    2. Amy says:

      5 stars
      This is outstanding…smoky and delicious…and so quick and easy! After my husband tasted it, we decided to skip the burgers we’d planned for dinner and have chips and the salsa for dinner instead! Thank you for this wonderful recipe!!! I’ll be making it again and again.

      1. Rachel Gurk says:

        So glad you liked it! Chips and salsa for dinner is always a good idea.

  2. Chanin says:

    5 stars
    I just made a batch, and 2 chipoltles made it VERY spicy. We eat a ton of spicy food, but this was a bit too much in a blender salsa. I just added more tomatoes and a bit of honey to mellow it out. Will definitely make again, but start with just 1 pepper before adding a second. (Maybe my peppers were just extra hot).

    1. Rachel Gurk says:

      Thanks for the feedback! It does seem like some peppers are hotter than others, for sure. I’m glad you still liked it!

  3. Bri says:

    Made this for the first time the other night. I was sceptical how it would turn out with the canned goods but it was amazing! I did a half batch but did use a full clove or garlic and the juice of a whole lime :)

    1. Rachel Gurk says:

      So glad you liked it! I have a batch in my fridge right now too :)

    2. Annalisa says:

      5 stars
      This was so delicious! I used fresh tomatoes that I blackened in a dry cast iron skillet. I didn’t have any cilantro unfortunately however I added some dried oregano and ground cumin. Super delicious on turkey tacos, made from leftover roasted turkey from Thanksgiving. Definitely will make again. and again.

      1. Rachel Gurk says:

        So happy you liked it! This is one of our favorites too.

  4. denise says:

    sounds perfect

    1. Rachel Gurk says:

      I just made more last night!