Homemade Chunky Salsa Recipe for Canning That’s Farm Fresh and Delicious

by M Caroline
affiliate disclosure

I’ve canned ever since I was knee high to my Mom in her kitchen on the farm.

I’d help pick tomatoes ripe from the garden, and I’d watch as she transformed them into delicious tomato salsa or canned tomatoes. Months later, I’d pull those jars of salsa from the shelf, and with one bite they’d transport me back to those sun drenched days of summer.

dipping chip in chunky salsa recipe for canning in white bowl

For me, canning is the most fun to do as a group. It’s a way to bring the family together by sharing our love of great food, and good times.

I learned to can in my Mom’s farmhouse, and now my husband and I are teaching our son and daughter how to can home grown tomatoes from our garden.

kids helping can fresh homemade tomato salsa

At 12, our son is a fantastic help, and our daughter, who’s nine, is pretty close behind.

We get them to help with everything from harvesting home grown tomatoes fresh from the vine, to peeling tomatoes, to filling jars with farm fresh homemade salsa.

my canning helpers hard at work, haha
My canning helpers not so hard at work helping me take photos.

The secret to this homemade salsa recipe for canning with fresh tomatoes is to start with the freshest ripe tomatoes you can get. Choose tomatoes with no blemishes or rotten spots.

If they’re grown in your own garden, so much the better, but a great second choice are tomatoes fresh from a local farm. Home grown peppers, onions, and garlic are a nice touch too, but the main ingredient that makes or breaks the taste in this recipe are the tomatoes. Also make sure you pick up a good quality tomato paste, as cheap tomato paste can taste acidic or even have a metallic, tinny flavor.

beautiful farm fresh tomatoes in a glass bowl

We use Roma tomatoes, since they’re more meaty, meaning this cooked salsa recipe will be thicker and less watery. That said, you can use any type of tomato you want, but the salsa will be a less thick than with Roma tomatoes.

Homemade Chunky Salsa Recipe for Canning

This chunky salsa recipe for canning is made from big, juicy chunks of tomatoes, onions and peppers, but you can chop them more finely if you prefer. It will still turn out great!

Since our youngest doesn’t love spicy salsa, we’ve only added two jalapeno peppers, so this is a mild salsa recipe for canning, but adding six jalapenos will give it a nice medium spicy kick. Ten or more jalapenos  will make it hot and spicy. This is a tasty homemade salsa with sweet peppers and a touch of vinegar and sugar and lemon juice for flavor and acidity.

This is a fairly small batch, making five 500 ml (16 oz) jars. Just double or triple the batch if you want to make more.

While we’ve been making this homemade salsa for years, it’s similar to the Fresh Veggie Salsa recipe on Bernardin’s website. Check out the Bernardin for more yummy canning recipe ideas, plus everything you’ll need to start canning, including helpful instructions, education (canning safety is so important!), and great canning products and tools.

You can find all the Bernardin products and anything else you’ll need at Canadian Tire or Walmart.

Bernardin canning products with tomatoes and peppers

Ingredients

Don’t let the list of ingredients scare you! This is an easy salsa recipe – the most time consuming part is the chopping, and you can speed that up with a food processor.

  • 7 cups (1750 ml) chopped tomatoes (about 10 Roma tomatoes)
  • 2 cups (500 ml) coarsely chopped onions
  • 1 cup (250 ml) coarsely chopped bell pepper. We used 1/2 cup of yellow bell pepper, and 1/2 cup of green bell pepper to add color.
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 can (156 ml) tomato paste
  • 3/4 cup (175 ml) white vinegar
  • 2 tbsp commercial lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) chopped cilantro, lightly packed
  • 1/3 cup white sugar

Canning equipment you’ll need

If you’re just starting out, consider picking up a home canning starter kit, which will have everything you need!

  • 5 x 500 ml (16 oz) mason jars
  • 5x SNAP LID® sealing discs
  • 5x screw bands
  • canner and canning rack
  • nonmetallic utensil (to remove air bubbles)
  • jar lifter, canning funnel, and magnetic wand (for putting hot sealing discs on jars). These are all optional, but helpful, and you can get them, plus a helpful nonmetallic bubble remover/headspace gauge in the Bernardin home canning utensil tool kit.

Instructions for this homemade chunky salsa recipe

First, you need to sterilize the mason jars. To do this, put the five clean 500 ml mason jars on a rack in a water canner, and then cover jars with water and heat to a simmer (180°F/82°C).

Heat the SNAP LID® sealing discs. You don’t need to boil them, but keep them in hot water at around 180°F/82° Celsius instead. Keep jars and sealing discs hot until ready to use. You don’t need to heat screw bands.

Add cool water until the canner is about 1/2 full, and place rack inside. Place on stove, but don’t turn on the heat yet!

Now, get the ingredients ready.

First, remove the tomato peels. We remove the peels by dipping the tomatoes into boiling hot water until skins begin to loosen, and then dunking them in cold water, and then removing the peels.

removing tomato peels

Chop the tomatoes into coarse chunks. I don’t remove the seeds, but you can if you wish. This is a chunky recipe, so you’ll get big, tasty chunks of tomato in every bite of this canned salsa recipe with fresh tomatoes.

Next, chop the bell peppers in coarse chunks, and chop the garlic, jalapeno peppers and cilantro. If you have sensitive eyes or skin, use rubber gloves to remove seeds and finely chop jalapeno peppers.

homemade chunky salsa recipe ingredients ready to can

Add tomatoes, onions, green pepper, jalapeno pepper, garlic, tomato paste, vinegar, lemon, white sugar, and cilantro in a large stainless steel saucepan and bring to a boil. Stir until salsa is the desired thickness (about 30 minutes).

Now, you’re ready to add the salsa to the canning jars.

Ladle the salsa into a hot jar to within 1 cm (1/2 inch) of the top rim. Use a nonmetallic utensil to remove air bubbles. Add more salsa once air bubbles are removed, if needed.

Tip! Using a canning funnel can make this a lot less messy!

Using a clean, damp cloth, wipe the rim of the jar to remove excess salsa.

homemade salsa with sweet peppers ready to add canning seal
Ready for sealing disc lids!

Now, you’re ready to put on the sealing discs.

Center a sealing disk on top of a clean jar. Gently screw the  screw bands until you get some resistance. Continue screwing down the screw bands until fingertip tight. Repeat with all the jars.

Next, add the jars to the canner.

Now, add the filled and sealed jars to the canner rack.

Tip! If you have two people handy (canning is more fun as a group anyway!), it’s helpful to have one person hold the canning rack to prevent slips, and another place the jars carefully into the rack.

Lower the canner rack into the water. At this point, the water is cool.

Important! Ensure that all jars are covered by at least one inch (2.5 cm) of water.

My littlest helper keeping an eye on the canning progress
My littlest helper keeping an eye on the canning progress

Now, you’re ready to cook the salsa.

Put the cover on the canner, and turn on heat to high, bringing the water to a full rolling boil before starting to count processing time.

Boil the jars for 20 minutes (at up to 1000 feet or 305 m in altitude).

When the 20 minutes are done, turn off the heat, remove the lid, and wait five minutes.

Next, remove the jars. Do not tilt the jars, and put them upright on a heat resistant surface.

Tip: A jar lifter can make this much easier!

Stand upright, undisturbed until cool. Don’t re-tighten the screw bands, as this may break the seal.

practicing with the Bernardin jar lifter and magnetic wand for sealing lids
Practicing with the Bernardin jar lifter and magnetic wand for sealing discs

Now, it’s time to check if the jars are sealed.

After the jars are fully cooled, check the jar seals.

If the sealing discs are sealed to the glass jar, the sealing discs will curve downward and will not move when pressed with your finger.

Lucky you! Your homemade chunky salsa recipe for canning is ready to eat!

chunky and easy homemade canned salsa ready to eat

For jars that are sealed, remove screw bands, and then use a damp cloth to wipe the dry bands and jars. Store screw bands separately or replace loosely on jars.

Label your delicious home canned chunky tomato salsa and store the jars in a cool, dark place.

Important: Jars that are not sealed should be popped into the fridge and used within a few days.

Want to learn more?

Check out the Bernardin website here for great recipes, canning tips and products, or follow Bernardin on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

homemade chunky salsa and chips

Have you canned before? What’s your best salsa recipe for canning? Tell us in the comments – we’d love to know!

Looking for some more savory goodness? Check out our taco dip recipe!

Yield: 5

Homemade Chunky Salsa for Canning

homemade chunky salsa and chips

This chunky salsa is made with garden fresh tomatoes and just the right blend of chunky with a hint of sweetness.

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes

Ingredients

  • 7 cups (1750 ml) chopped tomatoes (about 10 Roma tomatoes)
  • 2 cups (500 ml) coarsely chopped onions
  • 1 cup (250 ml) coarsely chopped bell pepper.
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 can (156 ml) tomato paste
  • 3/4 cup (175 ml) white vinegar
  • 2 tbsp commercial lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) chopped cilantro, lightly packed
  • 1/3 cup white sugar (optional)
  • Canning equipment
  • 5 x 500 ml (16 oz) mason jars
  • 5x SNAP LID® sealing discs
  • 5x screw bands
  • canner and canning rack
  • nonmetallic utensil (to remove air bubbles)
  • Optional: jar lifter, canning funnel, and magnetic wand

Instructions

    1. Sterilize the mason jars and canning supplies, and heat the SNAP LID® sealing discs in hot water.
    2. Remove the tomato peels, and chop the tomatoes into coarse chunks.
    3. Chop the bell peppers in coarse chunks, and chop the garlic, jalapeno peppers and cilantro.
    4. Add tomatoes, onions, green pepper, jalapeno pepper, garlic, tomato paste, vinegar, lemon, white sugar, and cilantro in a large stainless steel saucepan and bring to a boil. Stir until salsa is the desired thickness (about 30 minutes).
    5. While salsa is cooking, add cool water until the canner is about 1/2 full, and place rack inside. Do not place on heat yet!
    6. When salsa is cooled, add the salsa to the canning jars using a sterile spoon.
    7. Put on the sealing discs and screw on the screw bands.
    8. Add jars to the canner, and lower rack. Jars must be covered by at least an inch of water.
    9. Cover and cook on on medium high heat until boiling.
    10. Once boiling has started, continue boiling the jars for 20 minutes more (at up to 1000 feet or 305 m in altitude).
    11. When the 20 minutes are done, turn off the heat, remove the lid, and wait five minutes.
    12. Next, carefully remove the jars and cool.
    13. After the jars are fully cooled, check the jar seals.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

50

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 11Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 1mgCarbohydrates: 3gFiber: 0gSugar: 2gProtein: 0g

All information and tools presented and written within this site are intended for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and any nutritional information should only be used as a general guideline.

27 comments

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27 comments

Darlene October 17, 2018 - 10:14 am

Hello M. Caroline (& Bernardin),
Moments ago I just took a batch of your “Chunky Salsa” from a water bath. Oh my, it is so delicious. One bite and it is our favourite. It is Salsa Perfection. I have been looking for that perfect thick chunky salsa recipe for years. How thrilled we are to find it here on theparentspot site. (I wish I found it prior to making 2 other recipes :-)). In our home this will be the only salsa recipe made for years to come. It will be quad tripled for sure. Tomorrow I will make another batch. It will be so pretty in my new box of Bernardin smooth sided bottles.
Thank you so much for sharing your recipe M. Caroline.
Darlene
Nova Scotia

Reply
M Caroline October 18, 2018 - 10:58 am

Hi Darlene, that’s wonderful – I’m so glad you liked it! We just finished our last jar and my husband’s begging me to make more before there aren’t any fresh tomatoes to can this year! 🙂

Reply
Debi Trumper July 23, 2019 - 8:59 am

I see 1/3 cup of sugar in the ingredients list, but not in the directions listed. Was this put on there mistakenly? I don’t want to attempt making this until I am sure. Would hate to omit or add and screw this up.

Reply
M Caroline July 23, 2019 - 9:36 am

Hi Debi, thanks for catching that! Yes, the sugar should be in the directions listed. I’ve added it in.
The salsa would turn out fine without it, but I like a little sugar in mine for taste!

Reply
Debi Trumper July 24, 2019 - 12:11 pm

Excellent, thank you very much. I plan to attempt this recipe this week or next. Wish me luck! Hopefully it turns out just as delicious as yours looks! Happy canning!!!

Reply
Amanda August 16, 2019 - 4:01 pm

Do we have to put the sugar in it for canning purposes? I made a batch last night and I’m not sure that I like the sweet flavor very much. I might try again without it. Have you ever added salt to it?

Reply
M Caroline September 1, 2019 - 3:45 pm

Hi Amanda, No the sugar isn’t necessary. You could leave it out, or reduce the amount if you like. I haven’t added salt to this recipe, but we tend not to salt our food a lot here. You could try adding salt a half teaspoon at a time, and taste to see how you like it. Let me know how it works out!

Reply
Becky McGinn August 20, 2019 - 6:22 pm

Getting my missing ingredients tomorrow. Can’t wait to make some fresh salsa from my garden fresh veggies !!!

Reply
Nancy August 25, 2019 - 11:25 am

where does the lemon come in?

Reply
M Caroline August 25, 2019 - 2:51 pm

Hi Nancy! You add it to the saucepan at the same time as the tomatoes, vinegar and everything else. Added it to the recipe instructions.

Reply
Dave Holdridge August 25, 2019 - 2:17 pm

Salsa is tasty but I think we’ll scale back the sugar next time…like the chunky style !

Reply
Nancy Rolfe August 31, 2019 - 2:47 pm

When we made this recipe, we only got a 3 1/2 jar yield. I put the 3 jars in the canner and processed it as it said to. Will my jars I had process okay? I put some empty jars (just water, no lids) so they wouldn’t break the other jars.

Reply
M Caroline September 1, 2019 - 3:42 pm

Hmmm… that’s odd. I always have a bit extra. I’d take the 1/2 full jar, pop it in the fridge, and eat it up within a week. I’d be worried the salsa would start to discolor because of the extra air, or that it may not have sealed properly.

Reply
Nancy Rolfe September 1, 2019 - 9:02 pm

If the lids popped, they would have sealed properly, correct? I also left the cilantro out as I have a daughter who is allergic. The tomatoes were from my garden, But we did measure to make sure we had 7 cups chopped.

Reply
Justine September 24, 2019 - 10:08 am

Chunky salsa is the best! Can’t wait to try this one!

Reply
Janelle Heath November 12, 2019 - 12:59 pm

The best recipe I’ve tried in a long time! Family favorite!

Reply
Shadi Hasanzadenemati December 12, 2019 - 10:57 am

I’m making this for the weekend, I bet everyone is going to devour it!

Reply
Jenn December 12, 2019 - 11:07 am

Nothing beats homemade salsa! Thanks so much for the detailed recipe – love it!

Reply
Martha February 26, 2020 - 1:47 pm

Now it is March (almost). Now I have to plan my garden again for extra tomato plants for all the salsa I plan on making. I really don’t care for Cilantro, is it really, really necessary? Nancy, how did the salsa taste without the cilantro? Well it is only 1/2 cup lightly packed, maybe i will do a batch with & 1 without. Will let you know, this fall 2020.

Reply
M Caroline February 26, 2020 - 2:00 pm

Hi Martha!
I haven’t tried it without the cilantro, but I’m sure it will be fine! I’m a cilantro lover, though!
Enjoy making it in the fall, and let me know how it works without cilantro!
– Micki

Reply
Patty June 22, 2020 - 2:29 pm

Have you tried this and adding some fresh peaches? I made this last season and it was wonderful. I’m making it again this year, but am also making another batch and going to add some peaches for peach salsa.

Reply
M Caroline June 24, 2020 - 2:19 pm

I haven’t tried peaches, but I bet it would be delicious! Let me know how it works out!

Reply
Joel Graeter June 28, 2020 - 3:20 pm

This salsa is good but way too sweet for our family. The kids now call it Sweet and Sour Salsa!
The sweetness of the salsa negates the need for salt. Next time I will try 3-4 Tablespoons of sugar and add 1-2 tsp salt.

Reply
Jennifer August 27, 2020 - 4:33 am

I am going to make this tomorrow. My only questions is about the heat. I have one child who will not eat spicy and then my other child and I will eat some spicy. Would this be considered mild, medium, or hot?

Reply
M Caroline August 27, 2020 - 9:25 am

Hi Jennifer! This is a mild salsa with a tiny bit of heat from the jalapeños. Make it without the jalapeños for a mild salsa.

Reply
Cheryl September 5, 2020 - 9:07 am

I’m making this today and adding habaneros. We like spicy. Thanks for sharing.

Reply
Yvonne Boyd September 20, 2020 - 12:56 pm

Wow, some of the best homemade Salsa! Saving this as a favorite. We made one batch mild and another with some habaneros. Perfect way to use up those last of the tomatoes!

Reply

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