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How to Make Blazingly Spicy Homemade Salsa

Updated on August 10, 2014

Excellent Salsa Awaits...

My first and most favorite of recipes!

If you're like me, you get tired of grocery store salsas FAST. They're too heavy on the tomato, they've been cooked before being bottled (hint - not fresh!), and they're bland and lack real heat. I am also a big fan of non-chunky salsas, and enjoy something very scoopable and robust in its uses (I've had co-workers use it on hamburgers, and my girlfriend has used it to help flavor taco meat. What will you do?).

My recipe is lovely. Just give it a try, and you'll see. It's customizable for your spice-level, too! (To a degree. It's either very spicy, or super spicy, or even spicier than that. You can't make it not spicy, of course. It just does't work).


  • 2 medium vine-ripened tomatoes (sliced)
  • 1/2 large red onion diced (chopped)
  • 6 habaneros (chopped)
  • 3 jalapenos (chopped)
  • 15 slices hot banana peppers (from a jar)
  • 1 fresh lime (juiced)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 -3 cloves garlic (roasted - instructions follow)
  • 2 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 2 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tsp oregano
  • 1.5 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1.5 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 0.5 tsp habanero powder
  • 6 -8 stems of fresh cilantro leaves


  1. The only special note is for the garlic, which I like to quickly roast in a toaster oven. I just loosely wrap the garlic cloves in aluminum foil after cutting the heads off, and then add just a little bit of olive oil and cook on 400 for about 10 minutes.
  2. Everything goes in the food processor once prepared as noted in the ingredients list above. Depending on the size of your food processor, you might need to let it run for a few seconds and stir it once or twice before adding all of the ingredients.
  3. I mostly focus on the food processor's chop function, but like to finish off with a few good seconds of grinding. I enjoy salsa that's decimated to the best of a food processor's abilities (which is desirably not to the same level that a blender would provide).
  4. Results! Yield should be about 3 cups of salsa, which should remain wonderfully fresh (refrigerated) for about a week.
  5. Health! Did you know that a single habanero pepper can have more than three times the vitamin C of an entire orange? Not to mention that there are numerous other potential health benefits of spicy foods. I'll share more in the links section below. See what you think!
  6. Note: While you can probably get away without these for this specific recipe, I usually recommend wearing gloves while preparing the habanero peppers. Vinyl powder-free gloves from the grocery store will suffice.
Cast your vote for Habanero Salsa Recipe

Not spicy enough?

My first step to increase the heat level is always to use 8 or 9 habaneros from the get-go instead of 6.

Beyond this, you could try adding another tablespoon of cayenne pepper, followed by an additional teaspoon of both habanero powder and crushed red pepper. I recommend keeping the proportions of habanero and crushed red about equal from this point forward for consistency purposes. This addition will thicken the sauce up a bit, but it can handle it for a while more. You can probably get away with stirring it by hand at this point (sans food processor - with a spoon or something). Keep going until you find your desired taste.

STILL not spicy enough?

On the to extract sauces! Start with a half teaspoon or so. But be careful - things will quickly get devastatingly hot.

You'll find a couple of recommendations further down on this lens.

The cat demands you try it

My cat, Flurries (aka laserkitty), wants to reiterate that everyone who loves spicy food loves this salsa.


Helpful products

An assortment of helpful products for salsa creation, along with assorted spicy favorites.

Cuisinart Mini-Prep Plus 4-Cup Food Processor, Brushed Stainless
Cuisinart Mini-Prep Plus 4-Cup Food Processor, Brushed Stainless
A great price for a wonderful food processor. It's large enough to handle the above salsa recipe, as for any additional uses you might find for it. Very powerful and easy to use.
Blair's Ultra Death Sauce
Blair's Ultra Death Sauce
A great sauce for heating up entire dishes with a single small drop (or making salsa unbearable with several larger drops! Whatever floats your boat). This is great to have just for the novelty, as well (and provided that you like spicy food to some degree, and/or a good challenge every now and again). I mean, you even get a skull keychain!
Sonoran Spice Ghost Pepper Powder 1.5 Oz
Sonoran Spice Ghost Pepper Powder 1.5 Oz
The brand of ghost pepper powder that I previously purchased is no longer available on Amazon. This product was very highly rated, however, and will definitely be the next on my list. If you get it first, let me know what you think. If you're familiar with ghost peppers, you'll know that pure ghost pepper powder should be fun to experiment with.

Comments, suggestions, ideas, anything!

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