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Habanero Salsa

Habanero Salsa is a fresh spicy salsa recipe made with tomatoes, onions and habanero peppers. Perfect alongside homemade tortilla chips!

Okay let me give you a little warning about this habanero salsa: It is not for the faint of heart. It’s spicy. Make your eyes water spicy. With that said, it’s not all about the heat, this salsa has a wonderful flavor.

It is full of fresh tomatoes, cilantro, onions and garlic. All you need is perfectly salted tortilla chips and you’ll have one of the ultimate summer time snacks.

Chip dipping in habanero salsa.

There has been a long standing salsa feud in my house. My husband 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 (Mrs. Renfro’s religiously). It has that spiciness that I am looking for, but lacks the freshness my husband craves.

Side photo of habanero salsa in a blue bowl.

That is where this habanero 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.

How hot are habanero peppers?

If you’ve read my guide to chili peppers, then you know that peppers are measured on the scoville scale. 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.

Hand holding habanero.

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.

What ingredients do you need spicy habanero salsa?

Overhead photo of ingredients needed for habanero salsa.

TOMATOES: Vine ripened, roma or hot house tomatoes will work the best!

HABANERO PEPPER: All of the heat is in the seeds and veins inside. If you want to cut down on the spiciness you can remove those.

ONION: Use yellow or white onion.

GARLIC: As much as I love garlic, just one clove for this recipe since it’s raw.

VINEGAR: Distilled white vinegar is fine.

CILANTRO: I love pop of color and the freshness that it adds. That being said, the salsa would be just as good without if you’re one of those people that doesn’t care for it.

SALT: It’ll bring out the flavor of each fresh ingredient.

How do you make habanero salsa?

It seriously could not be easier! All you have to do is combine the tomatoes, onion, habanero, cilantro, garlic and vinegar in a blender and pulse.

Overhead photo of habanero salsa ingredients inside blender.

Pulsing is important. Don’t simply turn on the blender or the salsa will be too watery. Simply pulse for one second at a time until the salsa reaches desired consistency.

Close up of chip dipped in habanero salsa

My favorite way to serve this habanero salsa is with chips, obviously. However, it’s also good drizzled over tacos or nachos!

Looking for more ways to spice things up? Check out these other Habanero Recipes:

Habanero Hot Sauce

Chorzio Nachos with Habanero Chimichurri 

Habanero Chili

More Appetizer Recipes:

Corn Salsa

Queso Dip

Fried Pickles

Note: This post was originally posted in 2009. Updated with nutritional facts, photos and tips in 2021.

Overhead photo of habanero salsa with peppers and chips.

Habanero Salsa

Habanero Salsa is a fresh spicy salsa recipe made with tomatoes, onions and habanero peppers. Perfect alongside homemade tortilla chips!
5 from 17 votes
Prep Time 25 mins
Total Time 25 mins
Course Easy Appetizer Recipes
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 1 Servings
Calories 29 kcal



  • 3 medium tomatoes cut in quarters
  • 1/2 medium onion cut in half
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 habanero cut in half
  • 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.


Nutrition information for estimation purposes only.


Calories: 29kcalCarbohydrates: 6.2gProtein: 1.2gFat: 0.3gSodium: 46mgFiber: 1.6gSugar: 3.7g
Tried this recipe?Mention @lifesambrosia or tag #lifesambrosia!
Keywords: fresh salsa, habanero, hot salsa, salsa, snack

Leave a Comment

Recipe Rating

  • Reply
    October 14, 2023 at 6:25 pm

    5 stars
    Great recipe but needed one more habernero, a pinch or two of cumin and pepper. Rest of it is spot on. Delicious fresh-style salsa. Wife and I couldn’t stop munching.

    • Reply
      October 14, 2023 at 6:33 pm

      Love those additions! Glad you and your wife enjoyed it, Drew!

  • Reply
    August 26, 2023 at 7:31 am

    5 stars
    My friends celebrate every time I make this and bring it to a party. Several have told me that I should sell it locally. I use habanero peppers from my garden and roma tomatoes, from which I remove most of the seeds. Spicy and amazingly delicious!

  • Reply
    September 23, 2020 at 10:37 am

    5 stars
    This is amazing. I made no modifications and it’s delicious! We are going to have this polished off in no time. Thanks for the great and easy recipe!

    • Reply
      September 23, 2020 at 6:25 pm

      You are welcome! So happy you enjoyed it!

  • Reply
    Hamzeh Awadallah
    September 18, 2020 at 8:40 am

    5 stars
    How much does this make?

    • Reply
      September 18, 2020 at 1:09 pm

      About 1 1/2 cups :)

  • Reply
    June 18, 2019 at 11:10 am

    5 stars
    Nice salsa recipe! I can get enough salsa in my life this time of year! Can’t wait to make this! Thanks so much for sharing :).

  • Reply
    Analida Braeger
    June 16, 2019 at 6:55 pm

    5 stars
    That salsa is calling my name , Im a lover of all things spicy and salsa! This looks so perfect to enjoy on a hot summer day

  • Reply
    June 16, 2019 at 11:37 am

    5 stars
    This might be a little hot for just chips and salsa for me but I would love to use it as a topping for chicken or enchiladas or something with a little cheese to it! A nice kick in the pants surprise, and I like your suggestion for pairing it up with beers!

  • Reply
    Nicolas Hortense
    June 14, 2019 at 5:42 pm

    5 stars
    Very nicely done my friend!! Can’t go wrong with a good salsa as an appitizer (:

  • Reply
    Rebecca Blackwell
    June 14, 2019 at 9:06 am

    5 stars
    I love, love, love Habanero peppers even though they don’t always love me back. It’s a dysfunctional, one-sided relationship, but I don’t care. I’m going to make this salsa this weekend anyway. :-)

  • Reply
    Mama Maggie's Kitchen
    June 13, 2019 at 4:21 pm

    5 stars
    This dish looks SO deliciously good. I wish I could eat that right now!

  • Reply
    June 13, 2019 at 10:47 am

    5 stars
    Thank you for the warning – I love spicy salsa! And you’ve got a wonderful amount of tomatoes here – the more the better! ;-)

  • Reply
    June 13, 2019 at 12:49 am

    5 stars
    Salsa can never be hot enough for me so this is definitely my kind of salsa! Cannot wait to make this!!

  • Reply
    June 12, 2019 at 2:43 pm

    5 stars
    So I can never make anything spicy enough for my fiance. He is always grabbing more jalapenos, sriracha, hot sauce. whatever! I can’t wait to make this for him and actually knock his socks off with it. Thanks :)

  • Reply
    Jacquelyn Hastert
    June 12, 2019 at 11:05 am

    5 stars
    Pass me the chips! I could snack on this salsa all day, every day!

  • Reply
    Veena Azmanov
    June 11, 2019 at 10:07 pm

    5 stars
    Best party snack option to some crunchy and yummy stuff with this Salsa.

  • Reply
    March 24, 2019 at 6:21 pm

    5 stars
    This is a great fresh salsa that has some heat. I added an additional habanero as i live by the motto the hotter the better. Great garden flavor compliments the heat.

  • Reply
    June 29, 2018 at 4:15 pm

    4 stars
    Secret is a small amount of cumin. Shh!

    • Reply
      June 29, 2018 at 9:58 pm

      I’ll have to try that!

  • 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!

  • Des

    Hey! I'm Des!

    Welcome to Life’s Ambrosia where Dinner is served and memories are made. Here you will find over 1000 tried and true recipes for every possible occasion. In the last 10 years, this blog has helped millions of families put dinner on the table and create food memories. Let me help you too.

    Read more »

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