Smoked Salsa

By Ben Isham-Smith

Published:

This smoked salsa takes an already delicious salsa and ramps it up a notch with the simple swap of savory, tender smoked tomatoes and vegetables. This spin on the classic Mexican sauce is deeply flavorful and rich, and comes together in no time.

homemade smoked salsa recipe

This smoked salsa recipe is the perfect twist to make your salsa stand out. It combines fresh tomatoes, onion, jalapeño, garlic, fresh lime juice, and an assortment of spices to make a delicious salsa that is sure to be a crowd-pleaser.

Discover how to make smoked salsa, plus a few simple swaps so you can enjoy this recipe a bit differently every time!

homemade smoked tomato salsa

Homemade Smoked Tomato Salsa

As good as homemade salsa is, this recipe takes it up a notch by smoking the veggies before blending them. Smoking the veggies creates layers of flavor and makes for a rich, savory, perfectly balanced salsa recipe with an irreplaceable smoke flavor. 

This recipe takes all the components of your favorite salsa recipe, like fresh tomato, onion, garlic, and jalapeño, then smokes them until perfectly tender. Then, the veggies get blended with fresh lime juice and an assortment of spices. 

With only ten minutes of prep time, this perfect set-it-and-forget-it side gives you more time to focus on the main course – or just relax!

homemade smoked tomato salsa

How to Make Smoked Salsa

In addition to tasting great, making this smoked salsa couldn’t be easier. Even if you’re new to smoking vegetables, you will have no problem making this smoked salsa.

  1. Prep: Preheat the smoker to 250°F and prepare the tomatoes and vegetables by peeling and deseeding as necessary
  2. Smoke: Add tomatoes, onion, jalapeño, and garlic to a grill basket. Place on your smoker or grill’s grates and smoke with the lid on for 60 minutes, or until the ingredients are fork-tender.
  3. Blend: Transfer the smoked veggies to a blender or food processor. Add lime juice, cilantro, and spices. Blend until it reaches your desired consistency.
  4. Taste: Season as necessary, then pulse to combine
  5. Serve: Serve salsa warm or allow to cool in the fridge and serve cold

Ingredients

As mentioned above, the ingredient list for this smoked salsa is essentially the same as a traditional salsa recipe. The difference really comes down to the preparation. 

So, here’s exactly what you’ll need to make this smoked salsa recipe:

  • Tomatoes: Most tomatoes will work equally well in this recipe, though the smaller the tomato, the faster they will smoke. We recommend going for plum or Roma tomatoes.
  • Red Onion: Imparts added flavor, but can be swapped for yellow onion for a sweeter taste.
  • Jalapeno: Adds spice but can be swapped for smaller, spicier peppers or smoked with the seeds, making for a spicier pepper.
  • Garlic: Adds freshness and flavor
  • Lime Juice: Adds essential freshness. For added lime flavor, use the zest as well.
  • Fresh Cilantro: Essential fresh herb that can be added to taste.
  • Salt, Black Pepper & Ground Cumin: Adjusted to taste

Ingredient Swaps & Suggestions

This recipe is great as is, but there is room for some simple modifications to make it truly your own. Here are some of our recommendations:

  • Make a smoked green salsa: Swap red tomatoes for equal portions of green tomatoes and tomatillos
  • Coat veggies in a BBQ rub before smoking for additional spice and savory flavor
  • Make pineapple salsa: Smoke one cup of diced pineapple with the rest of the salsa ingredients
homemade smoked tomato salsa

Smoking Wood

The best wood for smoking homemade tomato salsa is something light that doesn’t overshadow the tomatoes. For this recipe we’ve used oakwood, but you can also use hickory or – if you want a touch of sweetness – try applewood.

Avoid robust hardwoods like mesquite, as it’ll impart too deep a flavor that’ll overwhelm the fresh ingredients in your homemade salsa.

Storage

This recipe for smoked salsa makes four servings, so it should be just enough to satisfy a group of hungry guests. That said, it’s easy to make a double or triple batch of this smoked salsa with little added prep time. 

Leftover salsa can be stored in an airtight container and will keep in the fridge for two to three days. Before serving, stir it well, as the juices will need to be re-mixed with the salsa. 

Alternatively, if you want your smoked salsa to last even longer, you can freeze it in an airtight container – or freezer bag – and it should keep for up to 3 months. When you’re ready to enjoy your salsa again, allow it to thaw to room temperature in the fridge overnight.

Quick Tips

  1. For smoked salsa with a more subtle smoke flavor, omit smoking half of the veggies and blend them in raw instead.
  2. If you don’t have a smoker, you can still add a smoky flavor to your salsa by adding ¼ teaspoon of liquid smoke (like this on Amazon) to the blender
  3. If you don’t have a grill basket, use a cast iron skillet instead
  4. The longer you run the blender, the smoother and thinner the salsa will be
homemade smoked tomato salsa

Smoked Salsa

5 from 1 vote
This smoked salsa takes an already delicious salsa and ramps it up a notch with the simple swap of savory, tender smoked tomatoes and vegetables. This spin on the classic Mexican sauce is deeply flavorful and rich, and comes together in no time.
Print Recipe Pin Recipe
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time1 hour
Total Time1 hour 10 minutes
Course: Appetizer, Sauce, Side Dish
Cuisine: Mexican
Diet: Diabetic, Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Servings: 4

Equipment

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs plum tomatoes halved with stems removed
  • 1 red onion peeled and cut into quarters
  • 2 jalapeno stem removed and de-seeded
  • 3 cloves garlic peeled
  • 1 lime juiced
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro chopped
  • 1 tsp kosher salt or more to taste
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper or more to taste
  • 1 tsp ground cumin

Instructions

  • Preheat your smoker to 250°F (120°C)
  • Place tomatoes, onion, jalapeño, and garlic in grill basket. Place the basket on your smoker or grill grates. Close the door/lid and smoke until the tomatoes are soft and fork-tender, about 60 minutes.
  • Transfer smoked veggies to a blender or food processor. Add lime juice, cilantro, and spices. Blend or pulse until the salsa reaches your desired consistency. Taste and adjust seasonings as necessary.
  • Serve warm or after an hour in the refrigerator. If serving the following day, give it a good stir before serving to mix in all of those flavors.

About the Author

Ben Isham-Smith

A BBQ obsessive, Ben is behind 250+ of The Online Grill’s recipes, as well as countless barbecue guides to help barbecue newbies get to grips with the world’s best form of cooking.


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