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Copycat Chili’s Salsa (+Video)

This Super Simple Copycat Chili’s Salsa whips up in five minutes. Tomatoes, onions, a special blend of seasonings and a touch of jalapeño.


This salsa is so easy to make and whips up quickly. Chili’s Salsa has a nice, smooth flavor and consistency that doesn’t drown out the flavor of whatever other food you eat it with. I think this salsa tastes a lot, if not better, than the salsa they serve at Chili’s restaurants.

small, clear bowl of salsa in a basket with tortilla chips.


Should homemade salsa be cooked?

No. It does not need to be. If you are using fresh tomatoes, you will want to par-boil the tomatoes to remove the skins. Then you will want to gently cook them until they turn soft to make for a nice, smooth salsa.

Why do some people add vinegar to salsa?

If you are going to can salsa or you purchased jarred salsa, you will notice there is some sort of additional acid added like vinegar. This is to prevent any type of dangerous bacteria from growing. But for fresh salsa that you will be eating right away, it is not necessary.

How is traditional salsa made?

The basic traditional salsa is simply made with tomatoes, onion, chili peppers and spices. That is the salsa base recipe and other ingredients can be added from there to suit your tastes.

How do you make salsa spicier?

If you like it really hot, add more jalapeño and include the seeds. The heat from a jalapeño comes from the seeds and the veins/pith.

Why do you add sugar?

It is a really small amount of sugar and you don’t taste it. It is just there to cut the strong acidity from the tomatoes.

How do you store leftover salsa?

Leftover salsa should be stored in a covered container in the refrigerator. It will last up to a week. If you are going to can this salsa, you will need to add about a tablespoon of lime juice or vinegar before following proper canning procedures.

Copycat Chili's Salsa in a clear bowl with a hand dipping a tortilla chip into the salsa.


  • can of Rotel (diced tomatoes and green chiles)
  • can of whole peeled tomatoes
  • jalapeno
  • yellow onion
  • garlic
  • garlic salt
  • kosher salt
  • ground cumin
  • sugar
Rotel, Peeled Whole Tomatoes, Onion, Garlic Salt, Kosher Salt, Cumin, jalapeno.


This is easiest in a food processor but you can use a blender too. Place jalapeño and onion in the food processor.

diced onion and jalapeno in a food processor.

Process it for a few seconds.

fully blended onion and jalapeños in a food processor.

Add in the rest of the ingredients.

the rest of the salsa ingredients added into the food processor.

Process all ingredients for just a few more seconds, keeping it slightly chunky (not a puree.)

fully processed salsa in a food processor.

Put into a bowl with a lid (I like to put mine in mason jars). Chill for several hours (overnight is best). This step is really important because this is a salsa that just gets so much better over time. After a few hours, the flavors really blend and the flavor is enhanced. Trust me, it makes a big difference in the taste.

overhead view of salsa in a small bowl surrounded by tortilla chips.


Copycat Chili's Salsa

Copycat Chili’s Salsa

This Super Simple Copycat Chili's Salsa whips up in five minutes. Whole tomatoes, special blend of seasonings, onion and jalapeño. The best!
4.96 from 24 votes
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 12


  • ½ jalapeño, cut into chunks (you can remove veins and seeds for less spice)
  • ½ yellow onion, cut into chunks
  • 15 ounce can tomatoes and green chiles (like Rotel)
  • 15 ounce can whole peeled tomatoes, do not drain
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon sugar


  • Place 1/2 jalapeño, cut into chunks and 1/2 yellow onion, cut into chunks into food processor. Process it for a few seconds.
  • Add 15 ounce can tomatoes and green chiles, 15 ounce can whole peeled tomatoes, do not drain, 1 teaspoon garlic salt, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin and 1/4 teaspoon sugar and process all ingredients for just a few more seconds, keeping it slightly chunky (not a puree).
  • Put into a bowl with a lid (I like to use a large mason jar) and chill in the fridge for AT LEAST SEVERAL HOURS (overnight is even better).
  • Then serve with tortilla chips.


YouTube video


  • Please do not eat right away. YOU MUST let this marinate for several hours (overnight is best.) Trust me, this makes a HUGE difference.
  • Add fresh cilantro if you enjoy the taste.
  • A blender can be used in place of a food processor.
  • For less heat, remove the veins/pith and seeds from the jalapeño after slicing.
  • You don’t taste the sugar, it just helps cut some of the strong acidity from the tomatoes. 
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: Mexican


Calories: 15kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Sodium: 442mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g

Nutritional Disclaimer

“The Country Cook” is not a dietician or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is an estimate. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, we recommend running the ingredients through whichever online nutritional calculator you prefer. Calories and other nutritional values can vary quite a bit depending on which brands were used.

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Originally published: April 2011
Updated & republished: December 2021

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Recipe Rating


  1. This was so easy and delicious but a bit salty for our tastes. I will switch to garlic powder next time and half the amount of Kosher salt. I love the lime juice suggestion too!

  2. 5 stars
    This recipe is perfect! This was my first time ever making salsa and it was so good!! I used 1 whole jalapeño and will not be making that mistake again. I will try 1/2 jalapeño next time.

    1. I am supersensitive to spice so I can completely understand that. Plus, some jalapeños are larger than others or spicier than others. If you remove the seeds, that really helps cut down on the heat as well. 🙂 So happy you enjoyed it!