Cherry Tomato Salsa

Turn backyard cherry tomatoes into a colorful – and tasty – salsa.

Cherry tomatoes are colorful, easy to grow, and prolific. So every year I find myself planting several different kinds. This year, I put 10 cherry tomato plants in the ground and they have blessed me with lots of tomatoes. LOTS of tomatoes. There are tiny red cherry tomatoes. Medium sized yellow cherry tomatoes. Beefy purple cherry tomatoes. And what can only be described as a promiscuous cross between the purple and what was supposed to be green cherry tomatoes. The vines are starting to look like Medusa’s hair, wildly writhing all over the place, so it was time to cut them back, and harvest the tomatoes for salsa.

If you avoid making salsa because of all that peeling and seeding of tomatoes (I can’t be the only lazy home food preserver, can I?), cherry tomato salsa is the answer. The end result is a bit juicy, but you can thicken each jar as you open it if you like. I usually use the loose salsa as is, but it only takes a few minutes to thicken the salsa with a little cornstarch. DON’T thicken it before canning.

This recipe makes a mild-medium salsa. Although there are no additional spices, the flavor is fantastic, due to those sweet cherry tomatoes!

Not sure how to properly use a water bath canner? Check out my free tutorial here before canning your salsa.


 

Cherry Tomato Salsa

Turn backyard cherry tomatoes into a colorful, and tasty,salsa.
5 from 4 votes
Servings 4 pints

Ingredients
  

  • 7 cups chopped cherry tomatoes
  • 3 1/2 cups chopped Anaheim peppers
  • 2 medium jalapeno peppers
  • 1 1/3 cups chopped onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 teaspoons pickling salt
  • 1 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup lime juice

Instructions
 

  • Wash tomatoes and peppers before chopping. Peel onion and garlic.
  • Chop cherry tomatoes (I usually cut them in half or in quarters, depending on size), peppers, onion, and garlic.
  • Combine all ingredients in large saucepan or Dutch oven. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
  • Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Ladle hot salsa into pint jars, leaving ½ inch headspace. Wipe jar rims with damp paper towel.
  • Cover with two-piece lids. Process in water bath canner for15 minutes.
  • Makes about 4 pints of salsa.

by Renee Pottle

Renee Pottle, a freelance writer and Home Economist, is fanatic about all things food. She blogs about canning and food preservation at SeedToPantry.com. Find her professional food writing info at PenandProvisions.com.

August 31, 2020

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77 Comments

  1. Lindsay

    Thanks for the great recipe! I just made a double batch. This is my 3rd or 4th year making this yummy and easy salsa! Hopefully I get some more ripe cherry tomatoes so I can make more!

    Reply
    • Renee Pottle

      Lindsay, so glad you like the recipe! Thanks for returning to the site! Take care.
      Renee

      Reply
  2. JJ S

    Can I use the oven method rather than the water bath with this recipe?

    Reply
    • Renee Pottle

      Sorry, the oven method (also known as open kettle) is not considered a safe food preservation method for anything! Please use water bath processing for this recipe. And thank you so much for asking. It’s important that everyone be aware that some of the old methods are no longer considered safe.

      Reply
  3. Lori

    Do you have to use vinegar? Isn’t the acid from the tomatoes, peppers, and lime juice and salt enough to preserve? Also, do you have to cook the salsa first? I prefer fresco style salsa and like the chunky, fresh texture. Can you just do a water bath on it without cooking it first?

    Reply
    • Renee Pottle

      Lori, you can use the same amount of lemon juice instead of the vinegar, but you must have that amount of acid to make the recipe safe to can. If you want to leave out the vinegar I recommend that you freeze your salsa instead of canning it.

      Reply
  4. MARIBETH HERRICK

    Can I use green cherry tomotoes?

    Reply
    • Renee Pottle

      I think that should work. Let me know if you try it!

      Reply
  5. Debbie Lundy

    I have never water canned. How would I use a pressure canner for this receipe?

    Reply
    • Renee Pottle

      Debbie, I am not a pressure canning expert at all, and cannot find an approved recipe for pressure canned salsa. You could freeze the salsa (I often do this if I am making a small batch).

      Reply
    • Cari S.

      You can water bath can in your pressure canner by not putting the lid on. Use a cookie sheet to cover your canner. As long as your jars are covered by 1 i nch of water that can freely boil, any larger heavy duty. pot and cover functions as a water bath canner.

      Reply
    • Pilar knight

      Just get a large pot with a rack on the bottom make sure your jars are covered with water by about 2 inches. Bring to a boil cover and process for the time indicated. Way easier than pressure canning.

      Reply
  6. Cheri Boles

    This recipe looks so easy and delish. Did you roast your Anaheim peppers before chopping up or just use fresh ones? Also, I want to add a few more jalapenos, so do I sub those in place of a few Anaheim? Thanks!

    Reply
    • Renee Pottle

      Cheri, I used fresh Anaheim peppers. Yes, you can substitute one type of pepper for another, as long as the total amount stays the same.

      Reply
  7. Sue

    Can I make this salsa with Roma tomatoes that I dice!

    Reply
    • Renee Pottle

      Yes you can!

      Reply
    • Shannon

      Can you triple the recipe?

      Reply
      • Renee Pottle

        Yes, as long as you have a big enough pot!

        Reply
  8. Katie Schroyer

    Hi. Can you make two quarts instead of 4 pints? Changing the processing time?

    Reply
    • Renee Pottle

      Katie, so sorry – you should stick to pints. I don’t know of any salsa recipes that are approved for quart jars. For safety reasons, salsa should be canned in pint or half-pint jars. Of course, you could always freeze quart jars of salsa. I sometimes do this, when it’s the end of the season and I only have enough tomatoes to make one or two jars. Great question though. Thanks.
      Renee

      Reply
      • Kori

        If you have extra left after filling your 4 pint jars can you use a 1/2 pint and can the rest?

        Reply
        • Renee Pottle

          Kori, yes, you can do so. Or just place the extra in the refrigerator and use that up first.

          Reply
  9. Faith A Oltz

    I’m wondering if I can safely can this recipe in half pint jars?

    Reply
    • Renee Pottle

      Absolutely! I would use the same processing time though.

      Reply
  10. Jacilyn

    Thank you so much for this – I am new to water bath canning and swimming in cherry tomatoes so this recipe is sure to be a lifesaver!

    I saw in the comments that you mentioned to wait about three weeks before popping one open to allow the vinegar/acid flavor to mellow. Can you please advise on how long they are shelf stable?

    I can’t wait for my pint jars and jalapenos to come in to get to work. 🙂

    Reply
    • Renee Pottle

      Jacilyn, Properly sealed jars are usually good for 1-2 years. After that food quality suffers remains safe to eat – as long as the recipe was followed correctly and the jar is still sealed. It is my favorite salsa now!

      Reply
      • Tracy Manno

        I thought you needed tomato paste/sauce to balance the acidity? Thanks for the recipe, cant wait to try it. Also, does the skin cook down well?

        Reply
        • Renee Pottle

          Tracy, some salsa recipes add extra tomato paste, but most just use tomatoes and vinegar/lemon or lime juice for acidity. No added paste does make a thinner salsa.

          Reply
  11. Crystal VanVleet

    This also makes great bloody mary mix.

    Reply
    • admin

      Crystal, that’s an good idea! Thanks. 🙂
      Renee

      Reply
    • Joe S

      Stupid question – is the 7 cup measurement before or after cutting up the tomatoes? Since you say you need to follow the recipe exactly for sanitary reasons I want to make sure I’m doing it right.

      Reply
      • Renee Pottle

        Joe, the recipe calls for 7 cups of chopped cherry tomatoes; so after cutting them up 🙂

        Reply
      • Patricia Hegedus

        can I substitute lime juice?

        Reply
        • Renee Pottle

          Patricia, do you want to substitute lime juice for the vinegar? I think that would make the salsa overwhelmingly lime!

          Reply
  12. Anna Renstrom

    5 stars
    Made a batch of salsa following this recipe. It is delicious! I’m still making more and canning it. So glad to have a great cherry tomato recipe, as I have tons of cherry tomatoes!

    Reply
    • admin

      Anna, glad you like it. I am sad this year – not enough cherry tomatoes to make any myself! It’s a paste tomato year here. Enjoy!
      Renee

      Reply
    • Amie Holliday

      Do you peel the tomatoes or live the skin in

      Reply
      • Renee Pottle

        Amie, I leave the skin on. Guess I am too lazy to peel the tomatoes. Cherry tomato skins are usually tender, so there’s really no need to peel.

        Reply
  13. Patti

    I am ready to go but just realized I have no limes, will lemon juice do?

    Reply
  14. Teri C.

    Why couldn’t you process your tomatoes in a blender to get rid of skins? Then cook your tomato salsa.
    I have cooked tomatoes that were cut in larger chunks and pain stakingly fished out as many skins as I could.
    I don’t use a recipe but just add chopped onions, sliced jalapeños or what ever hot peppers you have available, salt, pepper, garlic, a splash of white vinegar and crushed dried cilantro. I cook or slow boil, stirring often until it cooks about have down. It can easily scorch so keep stirring at a slower boil. I sterilize all my jars ready and kept in the hot water with lids. My tomatoes or salsa are screaming hot and I fill the hot jars with the boiling tomatoes and place lids and bands on. I wait till next morning to check for sealing. 99% of the time they seal just fine. Most of the time it doesn’t take long to hear the pinging of the lids.

    Reply
    • admin

      Teri, I am so glad you asked! First up, check out my “Changing Your Salsa Recipe” post coming later this week for a longer explanation.
      You can process your tomatoes in a blender, but then you have tomato puree. Tomato puree needs a longer water bath canning period, added lemon juice, and no other salsa-like ingredients like onion and peppers. I have not found an approved salsa or taco sauce recipe that calls for pureed tomatoes.
      Also, I implore you – do not can salsa made without following a recipe. It is potentially life-threatening. Approved recipes have been tested to make sure there is enough acid (vinegar or lemon juice) for safety. Onions, peppers, cilantro, etc are not safe to water bath can unless they have the correct amount of acid added. Sterilized jars and sealed lids are great, but not enough to ensure product safety. As my Master Food Processor instructor always said, “A sealed jar isn’t necessarily a safe jar!”
      Thank you so much for bringing this topic up. It is an important one!

      Reply
      • Tracey Lacko

        Do I need to peel skins and take seeds out of cherry tomatoes? Or just slice and dice whole?

        Reply
        • Renee Pottle

          Tracey, I can’t imagine peeling and seeding cherry tomatoes, although some people do so. I just slice them up. The skins are usually tender and I don’t mind the seeds in the salsa.

          Reply
      • Ginger Griffith

        Can I use green peppers instead of Anaheim pepper?

        Reply
        • Renee Pottle

          Absolutely – you can use any peppers, as long as the recipe amount stays the same.

          Reply
  15. Carina

    Hi! Can you add cilantro to this? Thanks!

    Reply
    • admin

      That sounds delicious, but – no, you can’t add cilantro to this recipe. It is set up to follow an approved recipe; one that does not include cilantro – which is a low-acid ingredient. Watch for my “Changing Your Salsa Recipe” post later this week for more on this.
      Renee

      Reply
      • Caryn Mclellan

        Can I use different peppers like Carmen, Anaheim, or Serrano?

        Reply
        • Renee Pottle

          Caryn, yes, you can use any kind of peppers as long as the total amount remains the same.

          Reply
  16. Patti Beam

    Do you have any issues with the skins? I made tomato jam and I did not like the skins. I can’t see skinning all these cherry tomatoes and just wondered how the skins were in the finished product. By the way the recipe sounds wonderful.

    Reply
    • admin

      Patti, skinning cherry tomatoes would be torture! No, I don’t mind the skins at all. But I do use small cherry tomatoes, or quarter the larger ones. Sadly, this year I don’t have enough cherry tomatoes to make any – and it’s my favorite salsa. Try a small batch and hopefully the skins won’t be a problem. Good luck!
      Renee

      Reply
      • WBG

        5 stars
        I’ve pushed some of the tomato skins through a sieve, and left some. They seem not as bothersome when there’s a small amount.

        Reply
    • Renee Woods

      I used this recipe, followed it completely. I don’t know what went wrong. The taste is tart or sour. Taste like vinegar. Any ideas? Is it salvageable? I know you say do not change the recipe yet is there something that will offset the taste of vinegar when I open a jar to eat it?
      Thank You

      Reply
      • Renee Pottle

        Renee, perhaps the cherry tomatoes weren’t completely ripe? Once you open a jar, you can add a little white or brown sugar to cut the vinegar taste. For future batches you have a couple of options: make sure to use cider vinegar (it’s less sharp than white vinegar), cherry tomatoes picked at the peak of ripeness will be sweetest, or reduce both the vinegar and lime juice and freeze the salsa instead of canning it. Best of luck!
        Renee

        Reply
  17. Heather graham

    Can I use cherry tomatoes that I have frozen?

    Reply
    • admin

      Heather, you could try. As long as the measurements were taken before they were frozen. The salsa may be a bit thinner but you can always thicken each jar as you open it. Don’t add thickener before canning though. If you try it, let me know how it turns out.

      Reply
      • Maurica

        I have tried your recipe, i think it taste wonderful. The only thing i did different is i blanched then for just a few minutes and took and if you squeeze then while cutting then most of the juice and seed pop out. I had real good luck with it.

        Reply
      • Susie

        Hi there! May I ask why the measurement should be taken before being frozen? I washed a bunch, froze them on sheet pans for a day, then threw them in a gallon freezer bag before thinking to weigh or measure. Am I out of luck?

        Reply
        • admin

          Susie, if the tomatoes are frozen individually then you can just measure them when getting ready to cook. But if they are frozen while all stuck together, they have to thaw before being measured, and that throws the ratio off.
          Renee

          Reply
          • Susie

            Thank you for the response!!
            I made the salsa today with my frozen tomatoes. Since I laid them out on a sheet pan to freeze they were individual little frozen balls. Quick pulse in the food processor while frozen and they measured out perfectly!

          • admin

            Wonderful!

      • Chris Hulsaver

        5 stars
        Great use of all the cherry tomatoes have. We couldn’t eat them all so now I have about 20 pints of salsa. Good thing we like our chips and salsa!

        Reply
        • Renee Pottle

          That’s a lot of salsa. Enjoy!

          Reply
  18. Yong

    My husband and I do not eat spicy foods. Can we omit the peppers, and still can this safely?

    Thank you!

    Reply
    • admin

      Absolutely! Or you can use the same amount of sweet bell peppers instead of the Ahaheim and jalapeno peppers.

      Reply
  19. Kathy Morgan

    Do you have to use citric acid to can this salsa since its a tomato salsa?

    Reply
    • admin

      Kathy, no citric acid needed. The vinegar and lime juice provide enough acidity.
      Renee

      Reply
      • Kathy Morgan

        Thank you, I made my batch of salsa, but I tasted it as I put it in my canning jars. Mine tasted extremely strong vinegar. Im new to canning, but followed the recipe exactly. Any thoughts on what I did wrong or how to fix it?

        Reply
        • admin

          Kathy, as long as you used the correct amounts of ingredients I am sure you did nothing wrong. Most pickled products mellow a bit as they age. Let the jars sit at least 3 weeks after processing and then taste again. I bet it will be perfect! If not, it could be that the tomato variety is quite astringent. Don’t reduce the amount of vinegar and lime juice though; it’s there to assure a safe product.

          Reply
          • Kathy Morgan

            Thanks much! I was thinking that might be the case! It looks beautiful! Thank you for responding so quickly.

  20. Cynthia pope

    5 stars
    Came out so good thank you for sharing we have had a ton of cherry tomatoes this year.I could not find Anaheim peppers so I used green and jalapeno instead came out great

    Reply
    • admin

      Cynthia, that’s great! I am down to only one jar left. Thankfully it will soon be cherry tomato season here.
      Renee

      Reply
      • Ron

        I made this great salsa, as outlined for the first batch. The second batch I added 1 tbsp crushed red pepper flakes to pick up the heat. Thanks for a great recipe.

        Reply
        • Renee Pottle

          Ron, that sounds delicious! Thanks for sharing the idea.

          Reply
        • Peggy

          Can I combine roma tomatoes with my cherry tomatoes for this recipe as long as I stick to a total of 7 cups of tomatoes?

          Reply
          • Renee Pottle

            Absolutely!

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