Roasted Tomato Salsa

The deep, caramelized flavors of roasted tomatoes and onions alongside the smokiness of the chipotles equals an incredibly good salsa.

Roasted Tomato Salsa

I love this salsa recipe, and make it every year for Fourth of July (and throughout the summer). While it appears deceptively average, it actually delivers electric flavor with each bite. This recipe delivers a deliciously vibrant, earthy, and slightly smoky-tasting salsa. The deep, caramelized flavors of roasted tomatoes and onions alongside the smokiness of the chipotles make for a richly beautiful and balanced combination. And, that color! It's beautiful.

Fourth of July Roasted Tomato Salsa


Initially, I sat on this recipe for six months, waiting (and waiting) for tomato season. I waited through citrus season, asparagus season, and a good chunk of the stone fruits. Every few weeks I'd flip through my pocket-sized notebook and there it was, a messy scribble of black pen spanning three-quarters of a single page. The black letters were there to remind me of the deliciously vibrant, earthy, and slightly smoky-tasting salsa I jotted down while visiting friends in New Zealand. It is a salsa richly red in hue, accented with tiny flecks of green cilantro. We stayed with in Wellington for a week, and Hadley made it for us one evening.

Tomatoes and onions on a plate after roasting.

Why this Salsa?

There are so many things I love about this salsa. The deep, caramelized flavors of the roasted tomatoes and onions alongside the smokiness of the chipotle makes for a richly beautiful and balanced salsa. The other thing I love is the texture. This salsa has a rustic, hearty texture which comes from pureeing a portion of the ingredients toward the beginning of the process, and then hand-chopping the majority of the roasted tomatoes and onions. With the roasted ingredients, it is a bit more effort, to be sure, but the payoff is big.
Fourth of July Roasted Tomato Salsa Recipe


A number of you tipped me off to some great variations in the comments, and I'm going to highlight a few. Michelle noted, "This salsa was fabulous. I used a pasilla chile along with the the chipotles and it turned out awesome...It was wonderful on corn tortillas with homemade refried beans and a little cheese." Abby says, "I like salsa on my baked potatoes – cutting out the fat of butter!" And Kitt weighs in with, "If you have a smoker pan, another thing try is smoking your tomatoes and other vegetables on the grill. It’s an amazing flavor."

Not just for chips, this is the perfect salsa recipe for use on nachos, tacos, eggs, veggie burgers, quesadillas, kabobs

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Roasted Tomato Salsa

4.6 from 20 votes

If you don't have a guajillo pepper, no worries - just leave it out of the recipe. The salsa will still taste delicious with just the roasted tomatoes and chipotles. You can also substitute another type of chile if you like. The reddish-brown guajillo are known for their strong, complex and earthy flavor, and medium heat. Feel free to experiment with more readily available chiles from your area until you find one you really like to play off the flavors of the chipotles and roasted tomatoes. Two chipotles can be very spicy, consider yourself warned. Start with one, or even one-half a chipotle if you or your family are heat-sensitive, and work up from there.

  • 2 pounds Roma tomatoes (or similar), cut in half lengthwise
  • 1 medium white onion, cut into six wedges
  • 1 large garlic clove, halved
  • a couple pinches of finely ground sea salt
  • 2-3 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium dried guajillo chile pepper, soaked in boiling water until softened, and then drained
  • 1 -2 chipotles in adobo sauce (canned)
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
Roast Ingredients
  1. Heat oven to 400F degrees. Now gently tossed the tomatoes, onions, garlic, and salt with the olive oil in a large bowl. After they are nicely coated arrange in a single layer, tomatoes cut-side facing up, across a parchment-lined baking sheet. Roast in the oven for 25-30 minutes or until the tomatoes start to collapse and the onions begin to caramelize a bit. Remove from the oven.
Puree, Chop, and Combine:
  1. Puree the chiles (both the guajillo and chipotles) with the roasted garlic and two roasted tomato halves. Chop the remaining tomatoes by hand (once they've cooled a bit). Chop and add the onions as well. Season with salt generously, and stir in the cilantro.

Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
25 mins
Total Time
35 mins
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Recipe Rating


How long would you expect this salsa to keep? Thanks!


    Hi Cat! I like to enjoy it within 4-5 days.

    Heidi Swanson

Salsa yummmy!

Kartavya Jain

Salsa, salsa and MORE salsa! It actually looks better and maybe even healthier if it's home made.


I made this using coriander out of a jar as the local store coriander was not at its best. Still tasted good. Used pepperdew peppers and fresh onion. Yummy. Lasted several days.


This salsa was fabulous. I used a pasilla chile along with the the chipotles and it turned out awesome. The tomatoes lost their skins easily so I ended up just taking them all off. It was wonderful on corn tortillas with homemade refried beans and a little cheese.


Heidi! I am honored that our Christmas salsa was a fave of yours! Those were some good times! I think it is so funny that you posted about it because I just made the salsa the other night and I hadn't made it since your visit in Dec. It being winter down here in NZ, we had to use good quality caned whole tomatoes and because we were in a hurry, we used fresh garlic and onion *unroasted*. I have to say, it was a different beast to the roasted version but amazing none the less. Especially in the middle of winter!


Does anyone know how long this would keep for if jarred? Sounds like a nice jar of this would make a great, personal gift, along with some homemade chutney and jam.


I love this! I must admit I will have a difficult time getting those roasted veggies all the way to the salsa stage. I am hooked on them. What a great recipe. Thanks.


This recipe sounds delicious. I love the idea of summer sweet tomatoes roasted along with all the other ingredients. Nothing beats home-made salsa!

Monika Korngut

Well, I couldn't find the guajilo peppers, but I'm still making and bringing this to a barbeque tomorrow. Thanks for the recipe!


Thsi recipe looked so good and I have a party to go to on the 4th so I made it tonight...and it's terrific! I roasted everything on the grill (and I happened to have had some leftover grilled onions in the fridge, so I didn't even need to make those). I didn't have guajillo peppers, so I used a small onza roja and a chipotle meca from Native Seeds. It is wonderul! Thanks!


sounds fabulous! i found guajillo peppers (yes, out here in stlouis!!!) at penzeys spices. are such an inspiration! i have enjoyed cooking out of "super natural" for some time now and continue to be amazed how simple and wholesome your approach to food is! thank you!!!


That looks outstanding, but like Pookha said, I would sneak a habanero or two into it--I like it SPICY!


I appreciate the fact that salsa has become an American classic!


It's amazing how roasting can completely change tomatoes. They go from something light and summery, to something deep and rich and complex. I make roasted tomato soup in the winter because roasting tomatoes can disguise sub-par piece of fruit, but the other day I made the soup with some toms from my garden, and it turned out great. I even included some that were still a little green and it added a nice tangy element to the soup. I love your blog, read it all the time! bk

Blake Killian

My dad just brought me 10 gallons of fresh tomatoes from his garden. This recipe will be the hit of the July 4 party I am invited to. I am so excited. Thanks Cathy


Lot of grillers out there, I see. I, too, grill the ingredients. Guajillos are lovely, although I'm not adverse to sneaking a bit of habanero in there. (I'm a chilehead).


I like salsa on my baked potatoes - cutting out the fat of butter!


My standard salsa roja is very similar, though without the guajillo chile. I'm going to have to give that a try!

Magpie Ima

I do a similar salsa, but instead of roasting I grill the tomatoes, peppers and onion and garlic over hardwood. Grant mentioned using it on steak above, but I also love to spoon it over grilled swordfish or halibut.

Jennifer Hess

sounds great!! much better than a store-bought salsa


If you have a smoker pan, another thing try is smoking your tomatoes and other vegetables on the grill. It's an amazing flavor. (Supposedly you can use a smoker pan on your stovetop, but I toss mine on the gas grill. I don't really trust the assurances that little smoke will escape, since even a little smoke will go a long way toward "perfuming" my house.)


I think I maybe love roasted salsa even more than fresh. Rick Bayless has a recipe where garlic and jalapenos are roasted along with the tomatoes. Then I just mash them all up in the molcajete, and also serve the salsa in it. I've had some cherry and grape tomatoes ripen so far, and a few other regular-sized ones should be ready this week, and man, am I waiting for those!


... I love all the word play here. fire. red. spicy. hot. I'm not so good at following full recipes, but I think I'll roast some tomatoes as a nod to your timely post.

shuna fish lydon

I love the flavor of chipotle, and need to head out to Tractor Joe's to get some tomatoes!

Deborah Dowd

This sound scrumptious. I am so making this Wednesday!!! Thanks Heidi.


Mmmmmmmm, I just read this recipe before grocery shopping, now I know exactly what to take to the 4th of July party and have added the ingredients to my grocery list! This sounds great, thanks!


I made cooked salsa similar to this recently. However, I broiled my tomatoes, to blacken the skin and I roasted three jalepenos over an open flame. I love the sound of this salsa though, and the chipotles and guajillo peppers. It's bliss with chips but along the central coast of California, between Santa Barbara and Big Sur, it's popular to spoon it over a thick, grilled steak with a nice charred crust. I wish I had one now.


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