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Picante Sauce Recipe - Southwest Style Salsa

Picante Sauce and Chips

Home made picante sauce and chips.

Home made picante sauce and chips.

Picante Sauce or Salsa

Picante sauce or salsa has always been a favorite dipping snack for my family. It is a very healthy snack and is an exellent way to use the fresh vegetables from our vegetable garden. My recipe picante sauce recipe is not overly hot and just has an over all great Mexican flavor!

The word salsa is a Spanish word which refers to any type of sauce. In English, it most commonly refers to the spicy, tomato-based hot sauces of Mexican cuisine. The word salsa is derived from the Latin word for salsa, (salty) from sal, (salt). The American style of picante sauce is a thinner type than what is actually known as “salsa”. The word picante is a Spanish adjective derived from the word picar, which means “to sting”.

Mexican Mocajete

Old style way.

Old style way.

Mexican Salsa

Mexican salsas were traditionally made using a mortar and pestle called “mocajete. They would grind the vegetables up in the mocajete to make their sauces. Mayans also made salsa using the mortar and pestle. Chopping the vegetables with a knife or using a blender has made making picante sauce much easier today!

Of course, you don't have to can your picante sauce. You can make smaller quantities and refridgerate for up to a week, but when I make it, I have to make enough to give away to our kids so I always make enough to can. Between my husband and I, we probably eat a pint of it as we are cooking it!

Canning Equipment Needed

Canning supplies.

Canning supplies.

Equipment Needed

  • Canner or large pot
  • 6 pint jars with lids and rings
  • 1 jar lifter
  • Kitchen tongs, to take the lids out of hot water
  • Don't forget the pot holders!

Cook Time

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

30 min

45 min

1 hour 15 min

6 pints

Fresh Vegetables

Ingredients for making picante sauce.

Ingredients for making picante sauce.


  • 8 cups tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 green (bell) peppers, chopped
  • 2 cups onion, chopped
  • 6 mild jalapenos, finely chopped
  • 8 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 bunch cilantro, chopped
  • 1 12 oz can tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 cups white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon alum
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon celery seed

Combine Ingredients

Hubby is taste-testing, he seems to do a lot of that!

Hubby is taste-testing, he seems to do a lot of that!

Chop tomatoes, onion and green peppers and put in a 4 quart cooking pot. Add chopped jalapeno, garlic and cilantro. Stir in vinegar, and spices. Stir well and add tomato paste. Mix well and bring to a low boil. Start reducing heat to a simmer and simmer for 45 minutes, stiring from time to time. Of course you can always taste-test from time to time too!

Canning Lids in Hot Water

Place canning lids in hot water to soften rubber.

Place canning lids in hot water to soften rubber.

While you are waiting for your salsa to cook, there are a few things you should do. It is very important to sterilize you jars when canning any type of tomato product. You can either sterilize them in the dish washer, which is the easiest, or place them in boiling water for at least 30 seconds.

Place the canning lids in hot water while sterilizing your jars. This will make the rubber seal soft and more likely to seal well.

Processing in Water Bath

Jars processing in pot.

Jars processing in pot.

Pour about 1 inch of water into the bottom of your canning pot and add about 1 teaspoon of vinegar to the water. The vinegar will keep your jars from staining. Bring this water to a boil just before your salsa is ready.

Once the salsa is ready, pour into the sterilized jars, leaving approximately ½ inch of head space. Wipe rim of jar to remove any residue that could keep the jar from sealing. Place the canning lid on the jar, using the kitchen tongs and screw the ring down snugly. Now place jars in the canning pot, which the water in the bottom should be boiling.

Let this process for 15 minutes. At the end of the time, removed jars and place on something heat resistant. As soon as you take the jars out of the canning pot, tighten the rings on the jars. Be sure to use pot holders as the jars are very hot!

Home Made Picante Sauce


It is best not to remove the rings until the jars have cooled down completely. Before removing the rings, push down gently in the center of the lid to be sure it has sealed. If it makes a “popping” sound, your jar is not sealed and should be refrigerated.

Of course you can add more jalapenos for a hotter sauce or less for milder. Picante sauce is one of the healthiest dips you can snack on. There is NO sugar added in my recipe, where other recipes do call for sugar. This is very low calorie and low in cholesteral.

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Margie's Southern Kitchen from the USA on March 16, 2018:

I love salsa, but have not had much luck with canning! I might just try this when tomatoes start getting ripe! Thanks for the recipe Sheila.

Sheila Brown (author) from Southern Oklahoma on August 12, 2013:

Hello ishwaryaa22! I do hope you give my picante sauce recipe a try, I think you will like it. We just made more the other day and already my kids have taken some home with them. Thank you for your very kind comment and of course your vote and share. It is always appreciated. Have a wonderful day! :)

Ishwaryaa Dhandapani from Chennai, India on August 12, 2013:

A well-written recipe hub! With your easy-to-follow instructions and inviting photo, I would like to try your recipe - I am fond of dips and sauces. Well-done!

Thanks for SHARING. Useful & Interesting. Voted up

Sheila Brown (author) from Southern Oklahoma on August 10, 2013:

Hi moonlake! We just made some more yesterday. We were supposed to have 6 pints...but somebody snacked too much while it was cooking and we only came up with 5 1/2. We sent the 1/2 pint home with our son and his wife along with a jar of our pickles. I hope you give it a try sometime. Thank you for stopping by and of course your vote and pin! Have a wonderful day! :)

moonlake from America on August 10, 2013:

It sounds delicious we love salsa. Thanks for sharing this.Voted up and pinned.

Sheila Brown (author) from Southern Oklahoma on July 04, 2013:

Hello Julie! Thank you! We love salsa too, but not too hot. You can always add more jalapeno to make it as hot as you like. I bet you can persuade your fiancé to at least help you make this recipe. I hope you enjoy it. Thank you for stopping by and I appreciate your comment, vote and share! Have a wonderful day! :)

Julie Ritchie from East Sussex, UK on July 03, 2013:

This looks delicious! I love salsa type sauces and I LOVE hot food.

Going to try to persuade my fiancé to make this for me... or perhaps give it a go myself.

Voted up and shared.

Sheila Brown (author) from Southern Oklahoma on August 20, 2012:

Hello alocsin. We love picante sauce and eat a lot of it! This way we can make it to our own taste and I don't have to pay $3. plus at the grocery store for it. I also enjoy sharing it with friends and family. Thank you for your kind comment and vote. I always enjoy hearing from you! Have a wonderful day! :)

Aurelio Locsin from Orange County, CA on August 19, 2012:

I like how not only does the sauce sound delicious, but you also provided a way to process a large harvest and store it. Voting this Up and Useful.

Sheila Brown (author) from Southern Oklahoma on July 30, 2012:

Hi Lesley! My tomatoes are just burning up now. 106 degrees today and it's been about that way for 2 weeks now. I have finally given up on my garden. Kind of sad. But I am getting tired of all the watering. We canned about 50 pints of picante sauce this year. We also did stewed tomatoes and spagetti sauce. Once those tomatoes start to ripen, you are going to be a busy girl! I hope you try to picante recipe and I hope you like it. Thank you as always for stopping in and voting. I always enjoy hearing from you! Have a wonderful day and enjoy those tomatoes! :)

Movie Master from United Kingdom on July 30, 2012:

Hi Sheila, just the recipe I need for all my ripening tomatoes!

Great instructions and photos, thank you and voted up!

Sheila Brown (author) from Southern Oklahoma on July 28, 2012:

Hello moonlake! Having a good sister comes in handy, doesn't it! Thank you for stopping in, commenting and voting, it is always appreciated! Have a great day!

moonlake from America on July 28, 2012:

Looks so good. My sister in Arkansas always makes her own sauce but I have never tried it. I just get some from her. Like your recipe will pass it onto her. Voted up.

Sheila Brown (author) from Southern Oklahoma on July 28, 2012:

Hello Brett! I love salsa too, but not too hot. One of our sons and our daughter must take after their grandpa. They ilke it HOT! We make a batch just for them, adding more jalapenos. I don't know how you all can taste anything over the BURN! LOL I hope you give it a try. Thank you for your votes and share, it is always appreciated! Have a wonderful day!

Brett C from Asia on July 28, 2012:

Bookmarked, as I love Salsa, but never thought of making my own ... which means it can be REALLY HOT :-).

Shared, up and useful.

Sheila Brown (author) from Southern Oklahoma on July 24, 2012:

Hi Peggy! The cumin and cilantro give it more of a "real" Mexican flavor. Thank you for taking time to read, vote and 5 stars! I hope you decide to try it sometime! Have a wonderful day!

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on July 24, 2012:

I love the idea of adding the cumin & cilantro for extra flavor in your southwest salsa recipe. Love salsa! We use it often and like the idea of making it fresh. Thanks for your recipe. Voted up and useful and gave it a 5 star rating. Can almost taste it now! :)

Sheila Brown (author) from Southern Oklahoma on July 17, 2012:

Hello culinary traveler! Sometimes I have to pick an extra bell pepper for my recipes as I will steal a few slices for myself! They are so good! "Hot bath" canning and "pressure" canning are quite different. I was afraid of pressure canning for some years, not anymore. Hot bath canning is very simple and really easy. Some people say that you should pressure can tomato products, but we have been doing the hot bath for 25 years and never had a problem. You should give it a try!

Thank you so much for stopping by and leaving such a wonderful comment! Have a great day!

culinary traveler on July 16, 2012:

This looks amazing - thanks for giving me yet another reason to love bell peppers! I will be trying this very soon. Mmmmmmmmm. And I have to tell you that I have never been comfortable canning things but you make it seem way simpler than what I had envisioned in my mind. Gotta love that!

Sheila Brown (author) from Southern Oklahoma on July 16, 2012:

Hello vespawoolf! We always keep an open bag of chips handy when we make picante sauce. It needs to be taste tested very often! LOL I hope you try some canning, it really isn't has difficult as most people think, especially when you just do the "hot bath" to process. Thank you so much for your wonderful comment and share, it is always appreciated! Have a wonderful day!

Vespa Woolf from Peru, South America on July 16, 2012:

This is a very useful hub...love the step-by-step instructions and photos (especially the hubbie taste testing!) I don't know much about canning but feel motivated to try it now. Thanks so much. Voted up and shared.

Sheila Brown (author) from Southern Oklahoma on July 15, 2012:

Hello Arlene. So glad you like my recipe. Make some of this and keep it put back for emergencies! LOL Thank you so much for your wonderful comment and many votes, it is always appreciated. Have a great day!

Arlene V. Poma on July 15, 2012:

Sigh. I love your recipe, but my tomato crop needs a kick in the pants. If I made this Picante Sauce/Southwest Salsa on a regular basis, my husband will never leave me. LOL! Copied for future reference. UP, useful, interesting and AWESOME.

Sheila Brown (author) from Southern Oklahoma on July 15, 2012:

Hi KoffeeKlatch Gals. I'm glad you like my recipe. I'm sure your daughter will enjoy receiving this as a gift. We have canned about 45 pint jars so far and not done yet! My kids know when they come over, the get to leave with either picante sauce, pickles or pickled okra. I think we make more and more each year. Maybe it's about time they have their own garden. LOL Thank you for you kind comment all many votes, it is always appreciated! Have a wonderful day!

Sheila Brown (author) from Southern Oklahoma on July 15, 2012:

Hello again Carol. I like to include as many pictures as I can as I am a visual learner myself. Canning is really very easy. I hope you give it a try. We have been making this for years and as our family grows, we have to make more. Our kids and their families love it too. Thank you for your kind comment. Have a wonderful day!

Susan Hazelton from Sunny Florida on July 15, 2012:

You have just given me an idea for my middle daughters Christmas gift. I give a homemade and store bought gift to each of my girls at Christmas. Now that they are grown with families of their own it's not always easy to come up with one. My daughter loves Picante sauce. I will have to make a large batch for her. Thanks. Up, awesome, interesting, and useful.

carol stanley from Arizona on July 15, 2012:

Looks yummy! I love the pictures as they are inspiring to get to work making this great sauce. Lots of good ingredients. I have never canned before. How nice to have this wonderful sauce at your fingertips..

Sheila Brown (author) from Southern Oklahoma on July 14, 2012:

Hi Jackie! It is the time of year for canning your vegetables. If you have a problem with salt, it is better to leave it out. I like the jalapeno, but not too much. One of my sons likes his hot, hot, hot! I don't know how he can taste anything through the burn! I'm sure your salsa is wonderful! Thank you for stopping in, reading and commenting, it is always appreciated. Have a great day !

Jackie Lynnley from the beautiful south on July 14, 2012:

You won't believe I made salsa to can yesterday and today. Too bad I didn't get here first. Looks like I got most of this in it but the jalapeno. I made mine with herbs and no salt. (never put sugar either) I love salsa dips but there is salt in the chips, cheeses and so much else you use I decided to forgo it in the salsa and I know I won't miss it. Can always add a little as I go if it is needed but I have a real problem with salt. It turned out really good and can see yours did!

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