A recipe for roasted chipotle salsa that ups the flavor with canned chipotles in adobo sauce, adding a smokey depth - and a bit more spice - to this Tex-Mex condiment. Make a big batch to water-bath can or freeze - or make a smaller batch to eat right away.
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While I love my staple thick canned salsa recipe, I'm always willing to try another recipe that adds a new flavor to the mix, especially a safe-for-canning recipe.
I love chipotle peppers in adobo sauce - they have such a depth of flavor and add not only spice, but a wonderful smokiness to anything they're in (like this delicious chipotle bbq sauce and these shrimp tacos).
So when I found a recipe that not only used chipotles, but also roasted the vegetables, I just had to adapt it for a more typical salsa.
I used this canning recipe from BHG, but wanted it less sweet and with just the tomatoes and peppers.
In adapting it, I replaced the peaches with tomatoes and left out the honey completely (peaches are slightly more acidic than tomatoes, so I used a bit less and added 1/4 cup of lime juice, both for flavor and acidity to err on the side of caution). All other fresh vegetable ratios stayed the same as the published recipe.
And wow - the taste of this is incredible. The smokiness from the chipotles in adobo really add a depth of flavor that makes you want to add this to all the things.
I've been making this for a few years now, along with my staple salsa, during the garden harvest and it's really nice to have a couple varieties on the shelf.
Do you have to can this?
No - you can eat it right away and store in the fridge for a week or so if you eat a lot of salsa (or make half a recipe).
Or you can freeze it. The added benefit of freezing is that you can add anything you want to it (like cilantro, more garlic, peppers, etc.) that you can't with canning.
I hope you like this salsa version as much as we do!
Roasted Chipotle Salsa Tutorial
What is chipotle salsa made of?
You'll need basic salsa ingredients to make this recipe:
- lime juice (bottled only if canning)
- olive oil
And the ingredient that sets it apart:
If you have a garden and you grew all the produce, you get bonus points!
You'll start the recipe by roasting the vegetables in a 400 degree oven.
Toss halved peppers, quartered onions, and peeled garlic cloves with half the oil on a large baking sheet, then arrange the peppers so they're skin side up.
On another large baking sheet, drizzle the remaining oil evenly and then place halved tomatoes with the cut side down.
Need a large baking sheet for all your roasting and sheet-pan meal needs? This USA pan is the BEST sheet pan/cookie sheet I've ever had. Things hardly stick to it, it cleans easily and heats evenly with no warping. So wish I had bought it sooner!
Roast all the vegetables for 30 minutes, remove both pans and then cover the pepper-onion pan with foil to steam for 10-15 minutes.
While they're steaming, remove the skins from the roasted tomatoes - this is optional, but recommended especially for the thicker, puffed up skins.
You have two choices on chopping the tomatoes:
- If you'd like a chunkier salsa, roughly chop them with kitchen shears or a knife and then dump all the juice and tomatoes into a large stock pot.
- For a smoother, restaurant-style salsa, pour the tomatoes and juice into a food processor and pulse a few times to evenly chop before adding to a large stock pot.
Once the tomatoes are taken care of, remove the foil and peel the skins off the peppers as best you can. They tend to become hard in the salsa, but again if it doesn't bother you you can skip this part.
Add the roasted peppers, onions and garlic to the food processor along with the chipotle peppers in adobo (as you can see, there's no need to wash in between processing the tomatoes).
Process until they are chopped as small as you'd like and then add to the stock pot with the tomatoes.
Tips for Using Chipotles in Adobo Sauce in Recipes
- When a recipe calls for a few chipotles, as most do because they are spicy, you'll want to use a fork to remove the peppers and then use a spoon to add some of the sauce along with it. I just eyeball the amount of sauce, but it's probably a teaspoon or so for each pepper.
- What to do with the leftover peppers? Freeze them in an ice cube tray - add one pepper to each section of tray and then evenly divide the sauce between them. Freeze solid, pop out and add to a labeled freezer container. Now they are ready for any other recipe that calls for a few chipotles in adobo sauce. (Note that they will stain white ice cube trays so you may want to keep a tray just for freezing foods like this.)
Add the remaining ingredients to the stock pot and bring to a boil over high heat.
Reduce heat to keep the salsa at a low simmer and cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Once your salsa is cooking you have a couple options:
- Eat right away and store in fridge for a week.
- Let cool down, transfer to freezer-safe containers with an inch of headspace for expansion, label, and freeze for a year.
- Can in boiling water to store on the shelf for up to 18 months.
Easy Steps to Water-Bath Can Salsa
If you are new to water-bath canning, or you'd like a refresher, watch this quick video I made while processing pickled green beans - the same steps apply to everything we are able to can in boiling water:
While the salsa is cooking, fill a boiling water canner with a rack (this is my absolute favorite canner with a glass lid to monitor the boil - I wish I had this a lot sooner in my canning journey!), and set it on high to start heating.
Prepare 6 pint jars by washing well, filling with the hottest tap water, and leaving them in the sink to stay warm.
Gather your other canning supplies next to the stove: new canning lids (washed and dried - no need to heat in a pot like they used to do), rings for lids, a ladle, stainless steel canning funnel (plastic will leach when used with hot foods like this), and jar lifter.
Pro Tip: I like to use a small tray next to the stove for filling the jars - it makes for super easy clean up - just take the tray to the sink and rinse when you're done!
Once the salsa is ready, empty the water out of one jar and ladle the salsa into it, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Wipe rim with a damp rag or paper towel, attach lid to fingertip tight and place on rack in canner.
Repeat until all the jars are filled.
Note: If you don't have enough in the last jar to get to 1/2-inch below the rim, refrigerate that jar, don't can it without enough in it.
Lower rack, cover canner and bring to a full roiling boil. Start the timer for 20 minutes, and lower the heat to keep the jars at a low, steady boil. Monitor the boil throughout.
When the timer goes off, remove the lid, turn off the heat, and set the timer for another 5 minutes.
Remove the jars with the jar lifter to a towel-lined surface and let cool 12 to 24 hours before removing the rings, testing the lids, labeling and storing in a cool, dark place.
Roasted Chipotle Salsa FAQs
A chipotle is a smoked and dried ripe jalapeño pepper (meaning allowed to turn red). They can be sold in the dried form and made into a powder, but are often used in a canned version, like this recipe, where the dried peppers are in an adobo sauce, a smokey, tomato spiced sauce.
Since chipotle peppers start out as jalapeño, both rate on the Scoville Scale at 2500-8000 heat units, so they are about the same in spice. This heat rating is considered hot, but not as hot as habaneros.
If you are canning this to be shelf stable, you cannot use fresh cilantro since that would be adding a low-acid ingredient to the tested recipe. You can always add it when opening and it would be a fresher taste then anyway.
If you are freezing, feel free to add as much as you would like.
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Roasted Chipotle Salsa (Can or Freeze)
- 2 large (20x14) sheet baking pans
- Food Processor or knife and cutting board
- 6-quart or larger stock pot
- canner and canning supplies, optional
- 3 medium onions, cut in half and then quartered
- 3 poblano or anaheim mild green chilies, halved and seeded
- 4 medium jalapeno chilies, halved and seeded
- 9 garlic cloves, peeled
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 6 pounds roma/paste tomatoes, cored and cut in half
- 3 small to medium chipotle peppers in adobo (about 3 tablespoons)
- 1 cup vinegar (cider vinegar preferred)
- 1/4 cup lime juice (or lemon juice)
- 2 teaspoons canning salt or sea salt (or to taste)
- 2 teaspoons oregano
- 1 ½ teaspoons black pepper
- 1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin
- Heat oven to 450 degrees.
- Mix all the peppers, onions and garlic on a large baking sheet, tossing with 1 tablespoon of the oil. Arrange the peppers cut side down.
- Drizzle the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil on a second large baking sheet and place the tomatoes cut side down in one layer.
- Roast the pans 25 to 30 minutes, turning half way if needed for even cooking and tossing the onions and garlic as needed for even browning.
- Remove the pans and immediately cover the pan with the pepper mixture with foil for 10 minutes to steam the skins.
- Meanwhile, remove the tomato skins and roughly chop or add to a food processor, pulsing a few times to chop evenly. Add tomatoes and all their juices to a 6-quart or larger stock pot.
- Lift foil from pepper mixture and use a sharp knife to remove the charred skins of the peppers. Add all the vegetables and the chipotle peppers to the food processor, pulsing to chop evenly. Scrape the vegetables into the stockpot.
- Add all the remaining ingredients (vinegar, lime juice and spices) to the pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes, stirring often.
- Serve immediately and store in fridge for a week or freeze or can for longer storage.
- TO FREEZE: Let mixture cool then add to freezer-safe containers leaving a 1-inch headspace for expansion. Label and freeze for up to a year.
- TO WATER-BATH CAN: Prepare 6 pint canning jars (wash and keep warm), fill canner (or large stock pot with a rack) with water and start heating. Gather lids, rings, damp rag/towel, and jar lifter.
- Ladle salsa into one hot jar at a time leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Wipe rims, attach lids and place onto rack in canner. Repeat for all jars.
- Bring water in canner to a full boil and start timer for 20 minutes. Lower heat to keep jars at a lower boil, monitoring through the canning time to keep at a steady boil.
- When timer goes off, turn off heat, remove lid and set timer for 5 minutes more. Remove jars using jar lifter to a towel-lined surface.
- Let cool 12 or more hours before removing rings, testing lids for seal, labeling and storing in a cool, dark place for up to 18 months.