Smoky Serrano Salsa

A lot of times I find myself buying salsa at the grocery store. There are a lot of good salsas out there but there is nothing quite like a batch of freshly made, warm salsa. Salsa is easy to make and requires very little effort. In 10-20 minutes you can make your own.

serrano salsa

There are a few things that you can do to speed up this recipe if you want to make it a little faster. I like to keep some roasted serrano peppers in my freezer for quick use. I roast them in a large batch, cut the stems off, and then put them in a container or plastic bag for freezing. If you don’t feel like roasting tomatoes, you can get a 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes. Just realize that roasting imparts a unique flavor to your salsa so you’ll miss out on that if you choose to use canned tomatoes. Also, you will need to mince your serrano peppers if you use canned tomatoes.

Serrano Salsa
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Salsa
  • 1 pound Roma tomatoes
  • 2 Serrano peppers (add more or less based on your spiciness preferences)
  • ½ White onion (finely chopped)
  • 2-3 Garlic clove (finely chopped)
  • 2 tablespoons Sunflower oil (or other vegetable oil)
  • 1-2 tablespoons Apple cider vinegar (optional)
  • 2 Tablespoons Cilantro
  • Salt to taste
  1. Pre-heat a griddle, cast iron skillet, or comal to medium to medium-high.
  2. Place the tomatoes and serrano peppers in the skillet. Allow the tomatoes and peppers to brown and blister. Turn them every once in a while.
  3. The serrano peppers do not need to be fully blackened. Take them off of the heat when they are lightly browned and blistered. They will not take as long as the tomatoes.
  4. The tomatoes are done when they are thoroughly browned with some charred spots and the insides are mushy. Remove the tomatoes from the heat at this point.
  5. Add the oil and the onions and garlic to the skillet. Cook them for around 3 minutes or until translucent. Some caramelization is okay and you may prefer it.
  6. While the onions and garlic are cooking, cut the stems off of the peppers and the tops off of the tomatoes.
  7. Add the tomatoes and peppers to a blender. Pulse until you have a smooth sauce.
  8. Once the onions are translucent or slightly caramelized, add the blended sauce to the skillet, increase the heat to medium-high until bubbling.
  9. Reduce heat to medium low and allow the sauce to reduce for 4-8 minutes or until the desired consistency. I like salsa a little thicker so I let it reduce for 8 minutes. If you want a thinner salsa, reduce it for a less time.
  10. Add the cilantro in the last few minutes before the salsa is done.
  11. Remove the sauce from the heat and serve warm or chill and save it for later.