Salsa is an essential component of Latin American cooking and is typically made with ingredients like tomatoes, chiles, cilantro, onion, salt, and lime or lemon juice. While homemade salsa can be tasty and even fun to make occasionally, sometimes all you want is the best store-bought salsa for convenience.
The only problem is that there are hundreds of types of salsa on the market, so choosing the one that meets your needs can be challenging. Rather than scouring the ingredient lists and reviews for all of these salsas, we’ve made it a little easier. Below are the 10 top store-bought salsas, as well as information on how to choose the right one for your next Latin American meal.
Tostitos Medium Chunky Salsa is an excellent choice for all your Mexican dishes, especially if taco night is a staple at your house. It comes in a pack of four and offers a rich, spicy flavor with chunks of vegetables throughout.
Another fantastic option is Pace Medium Chunky Salsa, which comes in a huge 64-ounce bottle to last practically forever. Pair it with chicken, eggs, or other dishes to enjoy a new taste sensation that you’ll keep coming back for.
Quick Comparison: Top 10 Best Store-Bought Salsas
With Tostitos Medium Chunky Salsa, you get four large jars at 15.5 ounces each. This is more than enough salsa for even a large family that subsists mostly on Latin American recipes. It’s known for offering a great texture and a reasonable amount of spice, which makes it ideal for gatherings with lots of people who have varying palates.
Those who prefer something a little subtler than other varieties will enjoy this offering. However, it can be a little runnier than some brands, so it may not be perfect for some dishes. Otherwise, it comes at a reasonable price and has enough spice to kick your favorite recipes up a notch or two.
Those who prefer a medium to hot salsa will find plenty to appreciate in this Pace Medium Chunky Salsa. It’s a great ready-to-eat salsa that works well at parties and can complement a variety of dishes beautifully. While it is a chunky style salsa, the chunks aren’t overly large, so those who prefer smooth salsa may find this is an exception.
This salsa is filled with flavor from the onions, tomatoes, and jalapeno peppers used in the ingredient list. It also comes in a convenient plastic jar that is easy to pour, so everyone can grab as much as they want on taco night.3. Desert Pepper Trading Company Salsa Divino
When you want a salsa that is mild but still packs in the taste, Desert Pepper Trading Company Salsa Divino is an excellent choice. It comes made with mild green chiles, tomatoes, lime juice, onion, garlic, vinegar, and cilantro to offer a delicate but delicious addition to any meal. It’s known to pair well with chicken fajitas, shrimp nachos, grilled fish tacos, and more.
All of the ingredients in this salsa are high-quality, and the salsa itself is vegetarian, gluten-free, and all-natural. Also, those who really fall in love with its flavor can take advantage of the option of buying a six-pack instead of one jar at a time. Single jars are also available for those who use less salsa regularly.4. Frontera Gourmet Mexican Jalapeno Cilantro Salsa
This 16-ounce dip, Frontera Gourmet Mexican Jalapeno Cilantro Salsa, comes with a bit more heat than the other salsas we’ve looked at so far. This salsa is a favorite of many with plenty of spice from the jalapenos paired with the smoothness of tomatoes.
For an authentic, bold taste, this salsa is just as good on plain tortilla chips as it is on other dishes. This makes it one of the best multipurpose salsas on our list and those who try it often make it their new normal when it comes to Mexican dishes. The unique taste is just one reason that you should give this salsa a try at least once.
5. Taco Bell Verde Salsa Sauce
If you’re looking for a salsa with a hint of sweetness and a touch of heat, Taco Bell Verde Salsa Sauce offers it in spades. Instead of using tomatoes, the main ingredient is tomatillos, which makes the salsa a vibrant green color. Each bottle of the salsa contains 7.5 ounces of liquid and boasts a medium level of heat for a great all-around option for families, parties, and other gatherings.
Taco Bell is a favorite fast food joint for many, but you may not know that they also offer a variety of sauces, just like this one, that can add a bit of spice to chips, tacos, or chicken dishes. The only thing that is missing is just a bit of extra heat, which means the salsa is more of a mild to medium than a true medium condiment.
6. 365 Everyday Value Organic Roasted Verde Salsa
If it matters to you that your salsa is healthy and organic, 365 Everyday Value Organic Roasted Verde Salsa could be the answer to adding flavor to your Latin American dishes. Many will enjoy the zesty flavor that this salsa brings to the table, whether used as a dip for tortilla chips or a topping for a taco salad. However, it might be a little bit on the sweet side for those who prefer a good dose of heat.
7. Green Mountain Gringo Medium Salsa
Each of the jars of Green Mountain Gringo Medium Salsa comes in a 16-ounce size and offers an inexpensive option for the average home. It has a unique flavor that is bright and sweet but without using extra sugar like many other brands. This is a vegetarian salsa that can be enjoyed by nearly anyone, but it’s not confirmed to be vegan-friendly.
The taste of this salsa comes from ingredients like ripe tomatoes, tomatillos, onions, apple cider vinegar, fresh jalapeno pepper, and others. All herbs, spices, and vegetables are handpicked to ensure the top flavor every time you make a taco or plate of enchiladas. However, it doesn’t have a ton of heat, which may be a negative for some.
8. La Victoria Suprema Medium Salsa
La Victoria Suprema Medium Salsa offers an authentic Mexican flavor through the use of tomatoes, bell peppers, and plenty of spice. The brand is well-known and a staple of kitchens around the world despite using only a few simple ingredients to bring the salsa together. This jar is 24 ounces, so you can be sure to make several meals for the family before running out.
Also, the tomatoes used in this blend have been grown in the same fields in California since the 1910s, which means every batch is going to have the same delicious taste. The salsa comes from a recipe originating in Mexico and offers an excellent choice for those who want a bit of heat without a hint of onion.
9. FRONTERA Gourmet Mexican Roasted Habanero Salsa
This Frontera Gourmet Hot Mexican Roasted Habanero Salsa has a lot going for it. It’s a roasting salsa, so you get a unique taste that is paired with hot peppers for those who want real heat in their Mexican dishes like nachos and tacos. It combines spicy habaneros with slow-cooked garlic, cilantro, and fire-roasted tomatoes for something unique compared to other salsas on the market.
In addition to being excellent for traditional Mexican dishes, it can also be used as a marinade for Mexican grilled chicken or vegetables. As with other recipes from Frontera, this one traces back to Mexico, and you can taste that in every bite. If you love hot salsa when you order Mexican at a restaurant, this is an excellent choice.
10. Herdez Roasted Medium Salsa Verde
Our last salsa on the list is another delicious salsa verde. Herdez Roasted Medium Salsa Verde has the distinctive green color you would expect along with the roasted taste that is more common in red salsas. Instead of using tomatoes, the bulk of the salsa consists of tomatillos, which makes the salsa tangier than it is sweet or heated.
This is a popular salsa in Mexico and the Southwest United States due to the great balance of flavors, the reasonable level of heat, and the great taste. However, it is going to be thinner than some salsas, so you want to make sure you have some napkins on hand once you start digging in.
Key Considerations When Buying the Best Store-Bought Salsa
In this section, we’ll guide you through the salsa-buying process so you can find the perfect option for you. First off, we want to talk about heat levels so you don’t end up with a salsa that is so hot that it burns your mouth (or so mild that it adds nothing to your dish).
Choosing the Ideal Salsa Heat Level
One of the most important things to consider when buying salsa is the heat level. The good news is that in most cases, salsa is broken down into one of three categories: mild, medium, or hot.
Mild Salsa is Perfect for Beginners
For those who have been eating salsa their entire lives, mild salsa might not be the right choice. However, beginners who start to warm up just looking at a chili pepper might find this is the ideal choice. The amount of peppers and chiles in a mild salsa is going to be much lower than any of the other options.
If you’re looking for a great salsa for your nachos or tacos, but you prefer sweetness to heat, this is the way to go. Most of the ingredients in a mild salsa have a limited amount of heat.
Medium for People Who Want Reasonable Heat
If you aren’t sure which salsa you should buy for a group, a medium is often a great choice. It’s not quite as sweet as a mild salsa, but it also isn’t going to be as heated as a hot salsa. A medium salsa provides a good balance between sweetness and spiciness, which makes it pair well with everything from pasta to tortillas, and more.
Hot for Everyone Who Loves to Feel the Burn
Now we come to the hottest of the hot, something that is best for individuals who have always enjoyed spicy food and pile on heaps of salsa to all their meals. If you’re looking to bring the heat with your next meal, consider a hot salsa. These will usually be labeled “hot” and contain a variety of peppers, including chilis, habaneros, jalapenos, and others.
Selecting the Right Ingredients and Texture for Store-Bought Salsa
Another thing to consider when you’re buying salsa is the texture. Some people love to have chunks of tomato and onion in every bite, while others want a smoother consistency. You also want to think about ingredients, since allergies, diet, and lifestyle can all play a part in what salsa is right for you.
The Fight Between Smooth or Chunky
Most of the time, salsas will be separated based on their consistency and texture into chunky or smooth. If you have a preference, you can go with that. Otherwise, the best way to decide is by thinking about how you will use the salsa. As an example, smooth salsa works well for an add-on to a dish, while chunky salsa is better suited for chips.
Take a Look at the Freshness of the Salsa
If you care about the healthiness of the salsa you buy, looking for brands with fewer preservatives and unfamiliar ingredients is the way to go. However, you also need to realize that fresh salsa tends to have a shorter shelf-life, so you will need to buy it more often to ensure it’s tasty in your recipes. It can also take on an acidic taste if it sits in your refrigerator for a long time.
Consider Trying New Options for a Unique Experience
If you’ve been using tomato-based salsas for days on end and want to try something new, there are plenty of options out there. For instance, salsa verde has no tomatoes, and guacamole salsa has avocados along with things like pineapple and corn. Regardless of your taste, there’s sure to be a salsa on the market that becomes a fixture in your kitchen.
Common Types of Store-Bought Salsa to Choose From
It’s important to know the differences between types of salsas so you have an idea of precisely what you’re buying. Some of the more common versions are listed below, along with some information about what makes them unique.
Pico de Gallo – Also called salsa cruda or uncooked salsa, pico de gallo is made with ingredients like peppers, tomatoes, onions, cilantro, and lime juice. Those who want extra heat can choose a variety that includes bell peppers, jalapenos, or serrano chiles. This salsa is ideal for nachos and tacos since it’s not liquid and can even be added to a salad for some extra zest.
Red Salsa – Red salsa, also known as salsa roja, is the version that almost everyone has tried before. It’s made from red tomatoes, which gives it a bright red color, and it is often used to top meat, burritos, and other dishes.
Corn Salsa – This is a salsa with no tomatoes and is instead made of sweet corn, jalapeno, onion, lime, cilantro, and chili powder. This is great on tacos with the addition of cotija cheese for a snack or meal for the whole family.
Salsa Verde – Salsa verde is a green salsa that is typically made with tomatillos instead of tomatoes. Chimichurri, which is a green sauce from Argentina, is also considered a type of salsa verde. However, it uses parsley and cilantro to gain the green color the salsa is known for.
Salsa Ranchero – Those who are fans of roasted foods may find that salsa ranchero is the best option for their kitchen. It has the tomato-based salsa you’re used to but with a smoky taste underneath due to using charred tomatoes. It also has Worcestershire sauce, which pairs well with the smokiness of the tomatoes.
Everyone is going to have their thoughts on what the best store-bought salsa is based on taste, presentation, and texture of the food. However, you can count on the 10 salsas above to bring something extra to every meal you make. Find the one that sounds perfect for your next burrito, taco, or plate of nachos and enjoy it as soon as it reaches your door.