Chili’s Salsa Recipe: Better Than the Real Thing

Close-up view of Chili's salsa recipe, prepared and served in white dish.

Back when my kids were young, Chili’s was a regular dining destination. There was always something on the menu the kids would love — plus margaritas, chips, and salsa for the grown-ups.

This Chili’s salsa recipe is reminiscent of the original, with a smidge more flavor. It’s perfect with salty tortilla chips on an easygoing Saturday afternoon. Add a margarita and grilled cheeseburgers for a satisfying and casual meal.

Chili's copycat salsa recipe.
©Blog Chef.

Chili’s salsa copycat recipe: What to expect

  • Taste: This recipe uses canned tomatoes for convenience, and they don’t disappoint on flavor. The taste is fresh and bright, thanks to the added garlic and cilantro.
  • Texture: As long as you don’t over-process your ingredients, this salsa should be slightly chunky.
  • Foolproof factor: The only mistake you can make is pureeing the ingredients so that your salsa has no texture. Avoid that by pulsing the blender in the processing step, rather than running it constantly.  
  • Timing: You can make the salsa in 15 minutes or less. I like to put it in the refrigerator for a couple hours before diving in, so the flavors can blend.

Chili’s salsa ingredients and how to use them

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You’ll use these ingredients to make this copycat Chili’s salsa recipe.

  • Canned tomatoes and green chilies: The recipe calls for one 14 ½ oz can of tomatoes with green chilies. If you have chilies on hand (I do), you can substitute a 14 ½ oz can of diced tomatoes plus your own green chilies.
  • Whole canned tomatoes: You’ll also need a 14 ½ oz can of whole, peeled tomatoes, which delivers a nice texture to the salsa.
  • Canned, diced jalapenos: 4 teaspoons of canned jalapenos bring the heat. You can increase or decrease this ingredient to suit your taste. You can also use a different chili pepper if you’d like but choose something that’s roasted or canned.
  • Yellow onion: One quarter of a yellow onion provides sweetness and texture.
  • Garlic salt: A ½ teaspoon of garlic salt adds a little tang. If you’re sensitive to salt flavor, use garlic powder instead and add salt to taste at the end.
  • Cumin: Cumin is (my opinion of course) the MVP of Mexican seasonings. Nothing tastes quite like it, so don’t plan on substituting it. You could omit the ½ teaspoon cumin if you prefer a blander, more tomato-y flavor.
  • Garlic: You’ll need 1 fresh garlic clove, peeled. If you substitute canned garlic, be prepared to add more to taste.
  • Sugar: A ¼ teaspoon of sugar amplifies the flavors of the tomato.
  • Fresh lime juice: 1 tablespoon of fresh lime juice (or bottled if that’s what you have) adds a nice zing.
  • Fresh cilantro: ¼ chopped cilantro finishes things off and adds nice color to the salsa.

Equipment

Having these kitchen tools on hand will make this salsa prep much easier.

  • Cutting board: You’ll use a cutting board like this one on Amazon to chop your onion, garlic, and cilantro.
  • Chef’s knife: The chef’s knife is an all-purpose cutter than can handle chopping, slicing, mincing, and dicing. If you’re in the market, Henckels has one for a reasonable price on Amazon. Consider also investing in knife-sharpening stone to keep it sharp.
  • Food processor: You do need a food processor here. You’ll place all the ingredients in the bowl of the process and pulse the motor to combine and chop everything without pulverizing your tomatoes.  

More salsa recipes

If you enjoy this Chili’s salsa recipe, here are a few more options to play with:

  • Fresh tomato salsa recipe: No canned tomatoes here. Simply chop up fresh tomatoes, bell pepper, onion, cilantro, and jalapeno, and mix everything in a bowl.
  • Mango salsa recipe: This is a bright, fun combo of mango, cilantro, red bell pepper, and jalapeno.
  • Kiwi salsa recipe: If you’re in the mood for something different, kiwi salsa is your answer. It’s a delicious mix of kiwi, avocado, green onion, cilantro, and jalapeno.  

Now, it’s time to learn how to make Chili’s salsa. See the recipe card below.

Yield: 16 servings

Chili's Salsa Recipe

Close-up view of Chili's salsa recipe, prepared and served in white dish.

This is an easy and fun salsa recipe that comes together quickly using canned tomatoes, plus fresh onion, garlic, and cilantro.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 14 1/2 oz can tomatoes and green chilies
  • 14 1/2 oz can whole canned tomatoes (with the juice)
  • 4 teaspoons canned diced jalapenos (canned, not pickled)
  • ¼ cup diced yellow onion
  • ½ teaspoon garlic salt
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon sugar
  • 1 garlic clove (minced)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro

Instructions

  1. Place the jalapenos and the onion into a food processor. Pulse a couple of times. Add the canned tomatoes and green chilies and the whole canned tomatoes, juices and all. Add garlic salt, sugar, cumin, minced fresh garlic, lime juice, and cilantro. Process all of the ingredients by pulsing until they are well-blended.
  2. You can enjoy this salsa immediately, but the flavors will develop over time. For best results, pour salsa into a container, cover, and place into the refrigerator. Chill for at least 2 hours. Serve with your favorite tortilla chips.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

16

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 12Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 109mgCarbohydrates: 3gFiber: 1gSugar: 2gProtein: 1g

Nutrition information isn’t always accurate.

3 thoughts on “Chili’s Salsa Recipe: Better Than the Real Thing”

  1. YummMMMm. What an easy recipe Chef Bobby! I made the salsa this evening and only used a little so far because I plan to use it all tomorrow night on some Huevos Rancheros… (as soon as I find a recipe for them) 😉

    p.s….. Love the cilantro!!! ♡

  2. I make this salsa (double batch) a few times a month and it only lasts a few days at my house! My family raves about it ALL the time and it is now a MUST to bring to any family function or party, as well as make when we’re craving salsa. I will never buy jar salsa ever again!
    A few things I do different. I add more cilantro bc we love it. When I double the batch I use a can of original rotel and then one mild rotel to give it spice. I use fresh jalapeno but very little bc it goes a long way. Its best to make the night before so all the flavors can combine together. Oh and I don’t put sugar in it.
    YUMMM

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