Lazy Cherry Tomato Salsa Recipe

  • By: Linda Simpson
  • Date: November 13, 2022
  • Time to read: 9 min.

We’ve been harvesting a lot of cherry tomatoes recently.

Normally, cherry tomatoes are mostly for fresh eating since it would be crazy to peel them for sauce or other canning projects…

…but since I hate peeling pretty much everything (carrots, peaches, potatoes, etc.), I stopped peeling my tomatoes long ago.  I just zap them with my immersion blender for sauce, ketchup, jam, and salsa.  

If I peeled my tomatoes, there’s no way I’d have two whole shelves in the pantry filled with tomato products.  There’s just no way, not enough hours in the day.

This means I can take advantage of that delicious, superpowered cherry tomato flavor for all my canning projects — it doesn’t just have to be a summer treat.

This salsa is my way of turning a bazillion cherry tomatoes into something wonderful.  I’m sure we’ll have it with tortilla chips and in burritos, but what I really want it for is breakfast.  I like fried eggs with salsa and tortillas for breakfast, and this salsa is my secret stash that I’m not sharing with anyone.

Unless they ask.

And then I’ll probably end up frying eggs for both of us.

Lazy Cherry Tomato Salsa Recipe

adapted from the recipe for “Spicy Tomato Salsa” in the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving, p. 205.

Makes: 6 pint jars

Cook Time: 45 minutes or so


  • 12 c. roughly chopped cherry tomatoes, stems removed (it’s fine to do a quick, sloppy job with this chopping, you just want to get an accurate measurement of 12 c. of tomatoes and not 8 c. of tomatoes with a bunch of air pockets)
  • 3 c. diced onions
  • 1 c. tightly packed chopped cilantro
  • 15 cloves of roughly chopped garlic
  • 6 fresh cayenne chilis (or whatever you have)
  • 3/4 c. apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 c. fresh lime juice
  • 1 tbs. sea salt

Prepare boiling water canner, jars and lids.

Combine all the ingredients in a big, heavy-bottomed pot.  

Cook on medium heat for about 20 minutes, until everything is simmering and tender.  

Puree with an immersion blender (or whatever you use to puree things).  Feel free to leave the salsa a little chunky if you like.

Cook for another 20 minutes on medium heat, stirring occasionally until it’s slightly thickened.

Ladle into hot jars, leaving 1/2″ headspace. Process pint jars for 15 minutes.  

Remember to adjust for altitude if necessary.  (Half pint jars also get fifteen minutes of processing time, if you don’t want to do pints).

P.S. You can definitely use whatever tomatoes you have for this, it doesn’t have to be cherry tomatoes.

Lazy Cherry Tomato Salsa”

  1. Little SisSuper yum! Wish my plants made enough for this, but maybe I can scare some up.
  2. emmycooksThat sounds good! I’m planning to roast tomatoes and make tomato jam tomorrow–maybe I should set aside enough for salsa too….
  3. IvanhaynesHaha love it I am the same with peeling tomatoes, just not high enough on my list to worry about! Love the recipe I will add it to my list!Reply
  4. anonymous3891This sounds really tasty. Is it acidic enough to processes in a boiling water bath at high elevation?
    1. Carolineyes, as long as you adjust the processing time for your elevation.
      1. anonymous3891Awesome! Thank you
  5. Corinnagoing to try this right now. I have cherry, roma, and I don’t know what other types of tomatoes to do. LOL And I’m the only one that eats them, so salsa it is!!
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  8. RachelAny idea what 12c would convert to in pounds/ounces?Reply
    1. Carolinenot sure, sorry
  9. CarolJust took my 4 c. measure & weighed it, came out to 1-1/2 lbs. So I would think that 12 c, would weigh 4.5 lbs. Hope this helps.
    1. Carolinethanks!
  10. Margaret CleggDo you have to boil the cans? Can’t I just give it away in small jars for people to eat right away? I see packages of salsa in the grocery store in plastic containers all the time….i have no canning utensils or skills.
    1. CarolineYou can absolutely just put it in the fridge and not bother canning it.
  11. mrsunclefuzzyhave you ever tried to freeze this instead of canning it I am really leery about my canning skills and would hate to poison my family.
    1. CarolineI’ve never frozen it but I’m totally sure it would freeze just fine.
  12. Sara BaileyUsed your recipe today! Thanks!
  13. RachelI made the recipe today–so good! Used 3 different tomatoes & 4 different chilis–will definitely make this again.Reply
  14. TraceyIs it normal to look very watery when simmering?Reply
    1. Carolineyes, just cook it down until it thickens.Reply
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  16. CindyThank you so much for the tip! It came out awesome!Reply
  17. KimMaking this right now with some habanero’s…sounds great. Only recommendation I have for people if using a hot water bath is to always used lime juice/lemon juice from a bottle. Its the only way to have a constant percentage to keep your ph right and be safe to can with. Thnx for the recipe
  18. SabrinaIs it Ok to eat if the vinegar was not added?Reply
    1. CarolineIt’s only okay if you eat it fresh and don’t can it. Refrigerate it for up to a week if you do this. It’s NOT okay to eat if it was already canned without the vinegar.Reply
  19. Heidi fullerI’ve made this twice now, gave it a little more heat the second time. It is by far the best salsa I’ve had, never mind made! DH is raving, and I love that there is no peeling, seeding or chopping into tiny bits. Will be making again and again, thank you!!!!Reply
    1. CarolineI’m so glad you like it!Reply
  20. DianeMine is on the stove now after harvesting 100’s of cherry tomatoes. Can’t wait to try it out.Reply
  21. Veronicawhat happen if i mess up with headspace, :/ I just realize i did it wrong! help
    I really love the recipe, I triple this and is delicious.Reply
  22. Melissa Megi Meyerthis is goooooood stuff!!!!!!Reply
  23. AlisonQuestions – can I substitute lime juice for the vinegar? And can I roast the cherry tomatoes (oven) before making the salsa? Oh yeah – does adding cumin do anything to the acidity? Sorry that was 3!Reply
  24. kynaI made this today. I added hatch chillies, that I roasted first. I also didn’t seed the jalapeños, another lazy fix. Definitely some of the best salsa that I’ve made! Thanks for the recipe!Reply
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  26. KathrynI made this, and the vinegar came out pretty strong. Any suggestions for me?Reply
    1. CarolineKathryn- most canned salsa recipes call for a lot of vinegar to make it safe to water bath can all the vegetables. If you don’t like the taste, I would omit the vinegar and freeze it instead.Reply
      1. kathrynCaroline, Hi there. you can see I’m back here for this recipe a year later. I added a bit of sugar and reduced the amount of sugar and we loved it. Thanks for keeping your page up and running so I could find this recipe again!
  27. ElizabethI made this last night. It was so yummy! We had a mix of tomatoes (red cherry, small yellow tomatoes that look like squash, and roma tomatoes), and I just threw them all in there. Amazing!Reply
  28. EllieI know that in the UK cilantro means coriander – I don’t have fresh, can I use dried instead?Reply
  29. EllieHi just made this. It was really watery after I pureed it – I did leave some chunks in. I cooked it down to thicken it a bit. It tasted lovely but I only ended up with 1.5 litres (5 x 300 ml jars) and not the 6 pints (about 3 litres) mentioned above. Some of my toms were a bit squishy – the type they were, not old lol! Do you think I should use firmer toms next time? It was still a bit runny going into the jars and I could see bits of skin. Hoping it’ll thicken up. Starting to wonder now if I should have cooked it even longer. I’m used to salsas being chunky so didn’t want to end up with tomato soup! Tasted lovely tho xReply
  30. madzanexCan I use pickling/canning salt in place of the sea salt?Reply
    1. CarolineYes, just taste to your own preference. Reply
  31. amandaWhat is your altitude that you’re canning at?Reply
  32. Mary EllenWhat happens if you can this without the lemon/lime juice. We have health issues that don’t allow the acid and when doing anything with tomatoes, we add baking soda to remove acidity. Can it be done?Reply
    1. CarolineIf you want to remove the acid, you need to freeze or eat fresh. The acid makes it safe for water bath canning.Reply
  33. EileenOMG thank you so much for this recipe! I’m so excited to try this! My mother-in-law has so many cherry tomatoes and I have a ton of plum tomatoes that I have been searching what I could do with them. I’m trying this today and I’ll post when it is finished. This also makes great gifts! Happy canning everyone!Reply
  34. MariannMade this today with all cherry tomatoes. Canning right now. I used 4 jalapenos & 1 Serrano for a medium heat. Otherwise followed the recipe to a T. Taste tested & added a little more salt for personal preference. Very yummy.Reply
  35. sueI did this recipe yesterday,I had 4 defferent kind of cherry tomatoes ,it made 8 (2 cups) jar,thank you I love itReply
  36. MirandReblogged this on The ABCs and commented:
    I made this tonight for freezing instead of canning. Added two jalapenos and a little more garlic. Great way to keep high-sodium salsa products out of your home and use up cherry tomatoes.Reply
  37. TrishThis is a great recipe. I also used an array of tomatoes and a few different peppers. No seeding of the jalapeños either!! I love the “lazy” parts of the recipe. Also used 2\3 parsley and 1\3 cilantro. Thanks so much!Reply
  38. lynneI really appreciate the recipe and looked to the comments for endorsement of taste! They were here! I followed the recipe, which was easy, and my only comment is that the vinegar is very strong. Far too strong for me. I’ll use this to cook. If anyone has a recommendation for a less vinegary also I would appreciate it — or one that uses this recipe but gives us the minimum vinegar permitted. Thank you.Reply
    1. CarolineFor canned salsa, this is the minimum vinegar. If you want to reduce the vinegar you need to freeze or eat fresh. The vinegar is to acidify the vegetables and make it safe for water bath canning.Reply
      1. Kris Oberhauser BishopI use a tomato sauce recipe that adds brown sugar to help mask the taste of the vinegar- it works great. I also added a little lime zest to a batch last year and it was really nice.
  39. batelm2014I love salsa! This recipe will go so well with my tacos!! Thanks for sharing.
  40. madzanexSecond year canning this recipe. Its a hit, my husbands friends can not get enough Lol. Thank you for a awesome recipe, we just love it !!!!!Reply
  41. TrishThis is such the bomb!! Second year making it. First batch was just a little thin but my husband, who loves spiced up tomato soup threw in some croutons and ate it as soup! Adapt and overcome. I use any tomatoes I have and never dissapointed, friends lap it up. I work 2 jobs, not counting handling my husband’s band, No time to peel….Thank you thank you!! Yum Yum!!
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