Spicy Habanero Salsa Recipe (Easy!)

Spice lovers, get ready for this spicy habanero salsa recipe. The first bite will trick you by starting sweet and then finishing with a bold, spicy kick. This salsa is perfect for scooping up with salty tortilla chips, on top of fish or chicken, and even with eggs!  Enjoy it chunky, coarse, or smooth as a hot sauce! A food processor can make this recipe in less than five minutes.

Spicy habanero salsa in a ramekin surrounded by chips.

Watch How To Make Spicy Habanero Salsa

YouTube video
Hand squeezing lime into salsa.

Recipe Snapshot

EASE: Super Easy
FLAVOR: Spicy!
COURSE: Salsa, Topping
TIME: Less than 5 Minutes

About This Recipe

Spicy habanero salsa raises the heat with fresh peppers, delivering a more intense punch than your average salsa. Combined with tomatoes, garlic cloves, and other simple ingredients, this homemade salsa has a great, well-rounded, fresh flavor. 

This homemade salsa pairs perfectly with your favorite Mexican dishes, including eggs, chicken, and fish. Did I mention tacos? It’s perfect with street or fish tacos. But don’t overthink it—it’s just as amazing when enjoyed simply with a cold beer, salt, and lime tortilla chips. It’s the kind of salsa that steals the show at any salsa bar, especially during a Super Bowl party!

Now, let’s talk about the spice level. Yes, this salsa is spicy, but the beauty of homemade is that you control the heat. I recommend starting with a quarter of a habanero pepper or even less. Then, add more pepper until you reach your desired heat level. Remember, adding more is possible, but you can’t take it back once it’s in there.

Ingredients

Recipe ingredients (onion, cilantro, tomatoes, jalapeno, habanero, cumin, garlic and salt).
  • Fresh Medium-Sized Tomatoes: The salsa base is fresh tomatoes, which provide a juicy, slightly sweet foundation. I recommend using Roma or larger tomatoes.
  • White Onion: Adds a sweetness once blended. 
  • Habanero Peppers: The show stars, habanero peppers, are known for their intense heat and fruity undertones. They pack a significant punch, ranking high on the Scoville scale. These peppers infuse the salsa with a fiery kick that spice lovers crave.
  • Jalapeno Peppers: Jalapeño peppers add a milder spiciness than habaneros but also balance the overall flavor.
  • Fresh Cilantro: Brings freshness that complements and balances the spicy elements.
  • Fresh Garlic Clove: A staple in salsa, garlic adds a robust flavor that deepens the overall profile. 
  • Cumin: Cumin provides a warm, earthy flavor.
  • Fresh Lime Juice (Optional): A squeeze of lime juice adds a zesty, acidic touch that cuts through the heat and enriches the overall flavor.

Safety Note: Wear gloves when handling habanero peppers. These guys are high on the heat scale, and a little on your hands can easily cause burning, especially if you touch your eyes.

Additions and Substitutions

  • Canned Tomatoes: You can substitute fresh tomatoes with fire-roasted tomatoes.
  • Mango: Add fresh or frozen mangos and add a sweet twist.
  • Orange Juice: Adds citrusy sweetness to help mellow out the spiciness.
  • Oven Roasting: Roast the tomatoes, jalapenos, and onion in the oven for 15-20 minutes before blending for a deeper flavor.
  • Red Bell Pepper: Add for a sweet flavor and crunchy texture.
Make a Salsa Bar!

Salsa Recipes

Spicy habanero salsa in a ramekin surrounded by chips.

Spicy Habanero Salsa

Spicy habanero salsa is perfect for heat-seeking salsa lovers. This easy restaurant-style salsa is perfect with tortilla chips or on top of your favorite Mexican dishes. 
5 from 2 votes
Print Rate
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: hispanic, Mexican
Servings: 12 people
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes

Equipment

  • Food Processor

Ingredients

  • 1 pound tomatoes Roughly eight Roma tomatoes or four medium-sized tomatoes.
  • 0.5 white onion
  • 1 -2 habanero peppers
  • 1 jalapeño pepper
  • 0.25 cup cilantro
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 0.25 teaspoon cumin
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • lime (optional)

Instructions

  • Safety First: Wear gloves when handling habanero peppers. These guys are high on the heat scale, and a little on your hands can easily cause burning, especially if you touch your eyes.
  • Chop Ingredients: Cut the tomatoes in half. Remove the seeds and watery interior. Coarsely chop the tomatoes, onion, habanero peppers, jalapeño peppers, and cilantro.
  • Blend: Place all ingredients in the food processor and pulse to the desired consistancy.
  • Remove Excess Water: This recipe is inherently watery, and for best results, you will want to remove the excess water and strain using a fine mesh or cheesecloth.
  • Serve: with lime wedges on the side. Guests can squeeze extra lime juice for added zest.

Video

YouTube video

Notes

Storage:
  • I recommend enjoying this salsa the day after making it.  Over time, it will become more and more watery.  Store the salsa in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days. 
Note on Spice Level:
  • This salsa can be quite spicy due to habanero peppers. Start with less and add more as needed. Remember, you can always add more heat but can’t take it back once it’s in there.
Serving Suggestions:
  • Enjoy this salsa with tortilla chips, over tacos, or as a condiment for grilled meats. It’s also great with scrambled eggs.

Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
Spicy Habanero Salsa
Amount per Serving
Calories
 
21
Calories from Fat 9
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
1
g
2
%
Sodium
 
6
mg
0
%
Carbohydrates
 
5
g
2
%
Fiber
 
1
g
4
%
Sugar
 
3
g
3
%
Protein
 
1
g
2
%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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4 Comments

  1. I am currently in my kitchen making this salsa for my nephew and myself. We LOVE HOT and SPICY salsas. Growing up I remember going to my moms favorite Mexican restaurant, she always got the fresh salsa(hot) and fresh made chips. She took a chip dipped it in salsa piling it high on chip and most times would ask them for something hotter, saying if her nose didn’t run from 1st bite it wasn’t hot enough for her. A few of the employees were impressed others called her crazy. My nephew is always trying to get me to let him eat different peppers raw seeds and all. And yes he ate a whole habenaro in one bite.. that’s crazy
    Will update after we finish making this recipe and try it out. Can’t wait!

    1. HAHA, that’s an awesome story! My husband says something similar; it’s only good if the top of his head sweats. I am a bit worried about your nephew, habaneros are hot. Let me know how it turns out, I hope my recipe does not disappoint.

    2. 5 stars
      *Ok UPDATE* This salsa was a major major hit tonight . Instead of eating with chips we added it on top of our white rice. DEFINITELY made the rice disappear way faster then usual. Great recipe . I’m looking forward to trying more of your recipes. Thanks

      Michele & nephew Noah from Las Vegas nv

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