Growing up, I was notorious for devouring cup after cup of salsa at the local Tex-Mex restaurant — so much so that I would distract my parents so I could take their salsa, too. To me, fire roasted restaurant-style salsa encapsulated everything delightful in this world: tangy flavor accompanied by a creeping warmth. 

Roasted restaurant-style salsa wasn't what I cooked at home, though. That honor goes to its equally delicious cousin, salsa verde. But when I moved out of Texas — where chips and salsa are free and abundant — for college, I craved the salsa I ate at Tex-Mex joints that I no longer had access to. 

It took time to replicate that same smoky, spicy yet refreshing salsa. Here's a fire roasted restaurant-style salsa that you can easily make at home (but be sure to open a window when charring the peppers!):

Fire Roasted Restaurant-Style Salsa

  • Prep Time:10 secs
  • Cook Time:30 secs
  • Total Time:40 secs
  • Servings:4
  • Easy


  • 4 tomatoes
  • 2 jalapeños
  • 1/2 onion
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1/4 bunch cilantro
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Izzie Ramirez
  • Step 1

    In a skillet or nonstick pan, place freshly washed tomatoes, jalapeños, garlic cloves, and halved onion. Char until skins on tomatoes and jalapeños are blackened, approximately 10-15 minutes.

    Izzie Ramirez
  • Step 2

    Once charred, slice the jalapeños in half and remove the seeds. (Or keep, if you prefer a spicier salsa!)

  • Step 3

    Toss the tomatoes, onion, garlic, jalapeños, and cilantro into a blender or food processor. Pulse until well-blended.

  • Step 4

    Finish with cumin, salt, and pepper.


This story was part of Brainfood 2021 for recipe development segment.