Chili’s is known for their fresh, flavorful red salsa — now you can make it at home with this easy copycat recipe!
Copycat Chili’s Salsa
Growing up in West Virginia, our options for good Mexican food were limited. And believe it or not, Chili’s was arguably the best salsa in town!
Chili’s was considered a “special occasion” restaurant in our family. We rarely went out to eat except for birthdays or other celebrations. At the time, Chili’s was one of the nicer places in our area.
Now, I know that Chili’s is not a Mexican restaurant (I live in Texas, so we actually have legit Mexican and Tex-Mex food here!) But boy, were those chips and salsa a treat when we did get to order them! I love how it is thick and full of tomatoes, but also finely chopped so you can completely coat your tortilla chips in that salsa goodness.
And let me tell you, even though I can have my pick of authentic Mexican food anytime now, I still have to admit that Chili’s makes pretty darn good salsa! There’s a reason it is famous!
This chili’s salsa is so close to the original and is so easy to make! It’s way cheaper than dining out at a restaurant and it tastes just like the original because it’s made with fresh ingredients. Plus, it only takes about 5 minutes of total time to whip up a batch! It doesn’t get any easier than that!
What is Chili’s Salsa Made Of?
Chili’s salsa recipe is surprising easy to re-create at home because it uses just a handful of simple ingredients: tomatoes, peppers, onions, salt, and spices. It also has a pinch of sugar, which doesn’t make it sweet but rather, it balances out the heat of the jalapeño peppers. It’s the perfect blend of sweet and spicy!
For your convenience in re-creating this recipe at home, we’ve included shop-able ad links to some of the products and supplies used. Read our disclosure policy here.
- Diced Tomatoes (28 ounce can)
- Ro-Tel (10 oz can)
- 1 Jalapeño (diced)
- 1 Small Yellow Onion (diced)
- 1/4 tsp Sugar
- 1 Tablespoon Garlic
- 3/4 tsp Salt
Optional Garnish Ideas
- Fresh Cilantro
Kitchen Tools Used
- Add all of the ingredients to a large food processor or blender.
- Pulse until everything is well combined and there are no large chunks. You want the consistency of a thick puree.
- Once you have your salsa made, you can enjoy right away. However, if you have a bit of extra time to let it chill, it will taste even better! A couple of hours of chilling allows the flavors to really mingle.
- Serve with your favorite thin corn tortilla chips or you can use this salsa to jazz up your favorite protein!
- Add a squeeze of lime juice for a little extra zestiness!
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Ro-Tel?
Ro-Tel is a brand name for a specific blend of canned tomatoes and green chilis. You’re welcome to substitute a generic brand though! What you’ll want to look for is a canned product labeled: diced tomatoes with green chilis.
Another option would be to use two cans of tomatoes (instead of one big can of diced tomatoes plus the rotel). Then you’d add a small can of diced green chilis to the mix and boom! You’ve got your own homemade rotel!
How Long Does Homemade Salsa Last?
Please keep any leftovers refrigerated. Homemade salsa can stay good in the fridge for up to a week. I recommend storing your homemade salsa in a mason jar with a lid, or another similar airtight container.
How Do You Make Jalapeños Less Spicy?
Chili’s salsa is not known for being super spicy, but it is not necessarily mild either because it uses fresh jalapeños. However, there are a few tricks to take some of the bite out of those spicy peppers!
The first step is to remove the seeds and the veins from inside the pepper. A lot of the pepper’s spiciness comes from those seeds, so this is the quickest way to make them not so hot. Be sure to use gloves when handling peppers and do not touch your eyes or face!
Next, soak the peppers in cold water for at least 30 minutes. This will help take out more of the heat!
If you want a very mild salsa, you can omit the jalapeños altogether.
Can You Use Real Tomatoes Instead of Canned?
One of the reasons we use canned ingredients is because there is far less excess liquid than if you use whole tomatoes. I grow tomatoes in my garden and yes, they taste amazing! But whole tomatoes require that you remove the middles and you’d end up needing a lot of them to make this recipe. So to keep things easy and closest to the original, we used canned tomatoes. If you’re looking for that authentic Chili’s flavor, this is the way to go!
More of our Favorite Tex-Mex Recipes
Chili’s Copycat Salsa Recipe (Printable Recipe Card)
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Copycat Chili's Salsa Recipe
- Food processor
- 28 oz Diced Tomatoes
- 10 oz Rotel
- 1 Jalapeño diced
- 1 Small Onion diced
- 1/4 Teaspoon Sugar
- 1 Tablespoon Garlic
- 3/4 Teaspoon Salt
- Add ingredients to a large food processor.
- Process until everything is well blended and no large chunks remain.
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