Canning Salsa - a Recipe You Can SAFELY Adjust to Your Personal Tastes!

Homemade, canned salsa is not only good for you*, it adds kick to just about any meal. The trouble is, there are just a handful of tested, safe salsa recipes for canning. And you can't mess around with their ingredients....unless you want botulism, that is. The good news is I have an excellent salsa recipe designed for canning. My husband - a true salsa connoisseur - adores it. So much so, he won't eat grocery store salsa. This recipe also has a huge following online; it's the recipe most canners seem to prefer.

Funny thing is, you won't find it on the sites I usually recommend for canning recipes (Ball and the National Center for Home Food Preservation), and as far as I know, it's not in any book. That's because the inventor of this recipe, a woman known to most only as Annie, was just an ordinary canner like you and me. However, in her day, Extension Offices were willing and able to do limited testing on recipes that were brought to them. So Annie brought her delish salsa to her Extension Office and adjusted it until their labs proclaimed it safe for canning.

Happily, there are some changes you can make to the recipe. You can adjust it's hotness; you can omit certain ingredients. You can also eat it right after canning it, if you like a rather sweet salsa. Or, you can let it sit a month or more before eating it, so the flavor meld together. (That's my recommendation.)

Before you begin, though, it's a good idea to review the guidelines for boiling water bath canning. And please read through the entire recipe, including the notes at the bottom about substitutions or omissions. I do recommend trying the salsa as is first - it's uber yummy!

Canning Annie's Salsa

8 cups tomatoes, peeled, chopped, drained**
2 1/2 cups chopped onion (approximately 1/4" chop; about 1 1/2 average-sized onions)
1 1/2 cups chopped green bell pepper (approximately 1/4" chop; about 1 bell pepper)
3 - 5 jalapenos, chopped (I use 4) ***
6 garlic cloves, minced or diced fine
2 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
2 tablespoons canning salt
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/3 cup granulated sugar****
1 cup vinegar (must be 5% acidity; I use apple cider vinegar)*****
16 oz. (2 cups) tomato sauce
16 oz. (2 cups) tomato paste

1. Put all ingredients in a large, non-reactive pot and bring to a boil. Boil for 10 minutes.

2. Ladle into hot pint sized or smaller canning jars, leaving 1/2" headspace. Wipe jar rims. Add lids and screwbands.

3. Process in a boiling water bath canner for 15 minutes.******

Makes about 6 pints. I recommend allowing the canned salsa to sit for at least a month, for best flavor.

* Tomato salsa is low in calories, contains healthy spices, and is a good source of lycopenes, a type of antioxidant found in tomatoes - especially cooked tomatoes. 


** Any type of tomato is fine, except green tomatoes. To peel fresh (not frozen) tomatoes, click here for instructions.

*** Both green and red are fine. To make the salsa more spicy, you may decrease the sweet peppers and increase the jalapenos accordingly. Or use hotter peppers (like serranos or habaneros). Do not exceed a total of 1 3/4 cup of peppers total (sweet and jalapenos).

**** It's okay to decrease or even totally eliminate the sugar in this recipe.

***** If desired, you may substitute the vinegar with bottled lemon or lime juice; you may also use some bottled lemon/lime juice and some vinegar, but the total measurement of the combination must be 1 cup.

****** If you live at a high altitude, read this important information about adjusting canning times.

MORE CHANGES YOU MAY MAKE: The cumin, salt, pepper, and cilantro may be reduced or eliminated. You may also reduce or eliminate the tomato paste.

THANK YOU to the Master Canners at GardenWeb's Harvest Forum for introducing me to this recipe and all the safety guidelines associated with it.


  1. Can I add extra garlic without causing problems for canning?

    1. There is garlic in this recipe. Are you asking if you can add more? Or are you asking if you can add garlic to other canning recipes? It is always ok to add DRY seasonings to canning recipes, but fresh herbs, including garlic, can affect the pH of the product, and could potentially make the recipe unsafe to can. In this salsa recipe, you could use LESS fresh garlic, but not more.