Habanero Salsa

Okay let me give you a little warning about this salsa: It is not for the faint of heart. Its spicy. Make your eyes water spicy. With that said, it’s not all about the heat, this salsa has a wonderful flavor.  Despite the fact that my mouth feels like its on fire, I often find myself eating the whole bowl. It is full of fresh tomatoes, cilantro, onions and garlic. All you need is perfectly salted tortilla chips and you have one of my favorite summer time snacks.

There has been a long standing salsa feud in my house. Ryan loves the fresh salsa that you buy in the refrigerated section. While I think it tastes pretty good, I have yet to find one that has the heat that I want. As a result, I always buy a jar of habanero salsa. It has that spiciness that I am looking for, but lacks the freshness Ryan craves. That is where this salsa recipe comes in hand, it has all the freshness of sweet tomatoes, cilantro, onions and garlic as well as a kick, and I do mean kick, from one fresh habanero pepper.

To give you a little perspective, on the heat scale habaneros rate between 200,000 and 300,000 scoville units. Jalapenos on the other hand are usually somewhere around the 2,500 to 10,000 range. So yes, habaneros are spicy. I also find if you make this salsa a day ahead of time, it gets even spicier. If you are nervous about the heat, you can substitute 1 jalapeno for the habanero if you like. And if you are a glutton for punishment, add an extra habanero.

Habanero Salsa Recipe

Makes 1 1/2 cups Prep Time:


  • 3 medium tomatoes, cut in quarters
  • 1/2 medium onion, cut in half
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 habanero, cut in half (after cutting the habanero, DO NOT touch your eyes before washing your hands. You can also use a plastic glove while cutting it.)
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar
  • 1 handful cilantro
  • kosher salt to taste



Place all ingredients except salt in a food processor. Pulse about 8-10 times or until desired texture, you can make it as chunky as you would like. Season to taste with kosher salt.


Chill for 20 minutes. Serve.


If you make this for your 4th of July party, you might want to double the batch as it tends to go pretty fast when there is cold beer around. Enjoy!

Leave a Comment

  • Reply
    July 12, 2017 at 9:22 am

    I just wanted to say that I stumbled across this recipe about two years ago and use it (with some personal tweaks) ALL THE TIME. Super spicy and super delicious.

    • Reply
      Des @ Life's Ambrosia
      July 16, 2017 at 9:02 pm

      Yay! I am so happy to hear that!! :)

  • Reply
    Jefferson Davis
    May 24, 2015 at 2:26 pm

    What if I make a double batch but with 1 habanero? Would that be too weak or still very hot?

    • Reply
      Brooke Del Carmen Rodriguez
      November 5, 2017 at 10:07 pm

      It would be too weak, all the other ingredients doubled would simply just hide the habanero spice

  • Reply
    Frank Buehner
    May 30, 2011 at 10:05 am

    Very nice recipe and with one habanero, seeds and veins removed, it is just a pleasant spicy salsa. Next time, I’ll add two peppers. This recipe is pleasant and does not add the halepeno taste to the salsa. Nice, I recommend it.

  • Reply
    August 4, 2009 at 5:27 pm

    Wow, this is one my husband would like. He’s a chile head and we used to grow habaneros until my 3 year old bit into one. Ouch! Once the kids are a little older we’ll grow them again. :-)

  • Reply
    July 2, 2009 at 10:58 am

    Thank you for your comments about my blog Chelsy, Liz C and Katrina! I am glad you like the food and the photos. And I will most definitely keep it up, a girl’s gotta eat so why not share it? :)

  • Reply
    July 2, 2009 at 6:54 am

    Your food and photos look fabulous. This salad would probably make me choke and die. ;) But my husband would love it! He loves that burn and watery eyes feeling.

  • Reply
    Liz C.
    July 1, 2009 at 6:30 pm

    I agree that this is the perfect salsa! And your pictures are absolutely divine. I aspire to someday take a decent picture. Well, before I die anyway. ;-)

  • Reply
    July 1, 2009 at 2:16 pm

    I just wanted to tell you I love your website. It’s beautiful, the pictures are beautiful and the food always looks delicious! Keep it up, I have a feeling you will end up with a huge following!