Silver KitchenAid® food processor on kitchen counter

How to Make Food Processor Salsa

Make fresh salsa bursting with flavor with very little effort simply by using a food processor. A food processor is capable of chopping in quick bursts that allow you to control the texture of your salsa more easily, and since you’re not chopping everything by hand, you’ll have your delicious salsa ready to eat in very little time.

When it comes to making homemade, restaurant-quality salsa, all you need are a few fresh ingredients and the right equipment. Whether you’re making any variety of salsas like a sweet mango salsa, a more traditional pico de gallo, a thin salsa roja or getting more adventurous with less traditional food processor recipes like a smoothie recipe, a food processor will get your creation to just the right consistency.

Black KitchenAid® food processor with salsa ingredients Black KitchenAid® food processor with salsa ingredients

Food Processor Salsa Recipe

Besides a food processor, you’ll need a few other kitchen tools to get started on your salsa. In addition to the ingredients, be sure to have a sharp knife and cutting board handy for the first stage of rough vegetable cutting. You may also need a handheld citrus juicer to help avoid any unwanted seeds from falling in. If you don’t have a citrus juicer, use a mesh sieve or your hands to catch pulp and seeds as you squeeze the lime. You’ll also need a bowl for the salsa, a spoon for serving and a basket or bowl for chips.

Coral food chopper next to bowl of guacamole and limes Coral food chopper next to bowl of guacamole and limes

Fresh Salsa Ingredients

These ingredients are a general guide to make a delicious and fresh salsa, however, feel free to update the recipe based on your tastes and creativity.

  • Tomatoes - Fresh, ripe tomatoes will give you excellent, flavorful notes to your salsa, especially meatier ones like beefsteak or Roma tomatoes.
  • Red onion - You can also substitute with white onion.
  • Garlic cloves - The fresher the better, since garlic has tons of flavor.
  • Jalapeno - Make sure to remove all seeds, or use bell pepper instead if you prefer a milder salsa. For a bolder, spicier kick, you can opt for habanero or serrano chiles.
  • Cilantro 
  • Fresh lime juice (or vinegar) - To help marry all the flavors together for a bright, flavorful punch.
  • Ground cumin
  • Sugar (optional) - Not necessary, but the sugar can help to balance the acidity of the tomatoes.  
  • Salt and pepper
Salsa being transferred from food processor work bowl to a serving bowl Salsa being transferred from food processor work bowl to a serving bowl

How to Make Fresh Salsa with a Food Processor

Step 1: Rinse vegetables

Since you’ll be working with fresh ingredients, always rinse all your veggies. 

Step 2: Cut vegetables to size

Depending on the size of your veggies, you can simply half or quarter them, since you’ll be adding them to the food processor. For larger batches of salsa, or simply if you want to cut down on prep time, the 3-in-1 feed tube in the KitchenAid® 13-Cup Food Processor lets you process a variety of ingredients of different shapes and sizes, so you spend more time enjoying your creations and less time prepping.

Step 3: Add onion and garlic

They need a slightly longer processing time, so add them to your food processor first and give them a quick pulse.

Step 4: Add other ingredients

Add all other ingredients, seasonings and lime juice to the food processor and pulse in one to two-second increments until you achieve a fine consistency that is well combined but not pureed. 

Step 5: Transfer to a bowl 

Use a spoon or spatula to help transfer the salsa to a serving bowl and garnish as you wish.

Step 6: Enjoy!

Enjoy your freshly made salsa with some tortilla chips or as a flavor complement to a perfectly seared steak. Additionally, chilling your salsa in the fridge can really help the flavors pop even more.

Black KitchenAid® food processor with mango in work bowl Black KitchenAid® food processor with mango in work bowl

Food Processor Salsa FAQ

Do types of tomatoes matter?

Tomatoes with less water content are better for salsa. Beefsteak and Roma tomatoes are a great choice for a more traditional salsa since they're less watery than other varieties, and fresh tomatillos are perfect for a bright salsa verde. Though less commonly used in salsa, cherry and grape tomatoes can also be used, as they offer a sweeter note to the recipe. Avoid using heirloom tomatoes. Though delicious, they’re not ideal for salsa because of their high water content and seeds.

When do you add ingredients?

Firmer ingredients like jalapenos, garlic and onion should be added to the food processor first before adding the tomatoes which don't need as much pulsing time. Doing this will allow you to get that perfect chunky texture instead of a thin, soupy consistency. For an excellent salsa that can elevate your Taco Tuesday with bright flavors and texture, try this Mango Pineapple Salsa that is great for a summer lunch.

What's the difference between salsa and pico de gallo?

Pico de gallo is a chunkier form of salsa with larger chopped ingredients that are visible in every bite. It’s typically hand chopped for that extra chunky consistency, and it’s usually used as a topping for dishes as opposed to a dipping sauce like salsa. Salsa has a thinner consistency with its ingredients more finely chopped and blended. You can also create a similar, chunkier texture to that of pico de gallo with the KitchenAid® 13-Cup Food Processor with Dicing Kit, though it may still be a slightly more processed consistency than if chopping by hand.

How long will homemade salsa last?

If covered tightly and stored in the refrigerator, homemade salsa can last between five to seven days. Storage is a breeze with the latched storage lid that comes with the KitchenAid® 13-Cup Food Processor, so you can process and store all within the same bowl. 

Close up of mango salsa

Can I make this salsa recipe spicy?

While some of the ingredients in salsa can have a bit of a kick, you can adjust the heat to your liking. Add more jalapeno for an extra punch, or substitute with green peppers or poblanos for a milder flavor. You can also play with spices like cayenne pepper, or smoked paprika to add a touch of spice and depth. If you’re really looking to spice things up, try creative new recipes like mango habanero salsa or incorporate canned chipotle peppers.

Should your salsa be chilled?

While not absolutely necessary to chill before eating, sticking it in the fridge for about 15 minutes after prepping will allow the flavors to blossom for a bright salsa bursting with flavor.

What kind of food processor is best for salsa?

The food processor that’s best for salsa greatly depends on your own preferences and how much salsa you’re making. If you are making a smaller batch and don’t mind doing a little more hand-cutting and prepping, then a chopper will do just fine. However, if you prefer to do less prep work, or if you are making larger quantities of salsa, then a food processor with a larger capacity, like any of the KitchenAid® larger capacity food processors can be a better option.

What if I Don’t Own a Food Processor?

If you don’t own a food processor, then don’t fret–you can still make excellent salsa by using your blender. Just make sure to pulse your ingredients instead of blending to achieve that yummy salsa texture. You may get a smoother, more liquid salsa with your blender, but still delicious and full of flavor. Using a blender, like the K400 Variable Speed Blender from KitchenAid, can also be a good alternative if you’re making a large batch of salsa with a variety of textures, like this big-batch salsa verde with roasted tomatillos.

Shop KitchenAid® Food Processors

Food processors are mighty and versatile tools that have a number of uses and can come in handy in any kitchen. If you are in the market for a food processor, KitchenAid has a variety of food choppers and food processors that can help you create masterful recipes in your kitchen.


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