bowl of freshly made salsa

How To Can Salsa With a Water Bath Canner

Canning salsa is popular in the Midwest, southern, and western states. Every region has its own recipes; some want more lime juice, while other regions are jalapeno happy.

No matter what recipe you choose as long as you are making a batch, why not double or triple it and preserve the rest for a rainy day? The water bath canning process is really easy to master & doesn’t take much time at all. Let’s get started…

How to Can Salsa - Preserve your own homemade salsa with a water bath canner.

Basically, there are 2 steps to canning salsa. First of all, you’ll make the salsa. The next step will be the actual canning.

salsa prepped for canning

Salsa Recipe for Canning

This is a very mild salsa recipe for canning.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Cooling Time 12 hours
Total Time 12 hours 25 minutes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Mexican


  • Water Bath Canner
  • Jar Lifter
  • Canning Jars, Seals & Rings
  • Bubble Freer Spatula


  • 5 lbs tomatoes about 6 cups
  • 2 lbs green peppers
  • 1 lb onions
  • 3 tbsp canning salt
  • 1.5 cups lemon or lime juice


  • Core and chop the tomatoes into bite-sized pieces. Place them in a large glass mixing bowl.
  • Core the peppers, removing the seeds and membranes. Dice the peppers.
  • Add peppers to the tomatoes.
  • Chop the onions and add them to the tomato and pepper mixture.
  • Add the 1-1/2 cup of lemon juice.
  • Add 3 TBS of canning salt.
  • Add the mixture to your cooking pot & bring to a boil.
  • Simmer for 3 minutes, then set aside.
  • Fill the jars leaving 1/2 inch headspace.
  • Remove air bubbles using the bubble freer spatula.
  • Place the lid on top of the jar & tighten the rim.
  • Place the canning rack down in the pot. Fill to about 1/3 full.
  • With the jar tongs, lower the full jars into the hot water, careful not to tap them together in the process.
  • Once the jars are in the pot, add enough hot water to cover the jars by about 2 inches.
    CAUTION: Do not, at any point, allow cold to touch the hot glass jars, or they will shatter!
  • Boil for 15 – 25 minutes depending on your elevation.
  • When they are finished cooking, carefully remove them to a rack that is out of any draft.
  • Set aside for 12-24 hours to let the seal form. You'll start to hear little dings as the seals take.
  • Double check the seal before storing.


For a spicier salsa add a few hotter peppers such as jalepenos or chiles.
The ratio of peppers & onions to tomatoes is important. After chopping you should have about 6 cups of tomatoes & 9 cups of onion/peppers.
For some salsa recipes for canning, the skin and seeds are removed from the tomatoes. This is more easily done by blanching them and placing them in an ice bath. The skins slide off, then you cut the tomato and squeeze the seeds out.
Keyword fresh tomatoes, salsa

Video: Water Bath Canning of Salsa

Enjoy this video from the Ohio State University Extension office with a step by step process for canning salsa.

Some prefer their salsa heavy on the tomatoes, while others may want more sweet peppers. Regardless of how you like your salsa, there are some universal canning techniques that will help your recipe turn out great every time.

Tips About Preparing the Jars

mason jars using for canning

Here are some pointers for preparing the jars before you start the canning process.

  • The jars, seals, and lids should be sterilized. When This can be done in boiling water or even the dishwater.
  • When you place the freshly cooked salsa in the jars, make sure the jars are already hot, or the jars could shatter.
  • The lids should also still be warm when you are ready to fill the jars. This will help them form a better seal this way.
  • Keep the rim of the jar clean. If there is any food on it, it won’t seal properly.

Additional Tips for Canning Salsa in a Hot Water Bath

Many people use the hot water bath for high acid foods. This means you place the jars in a large stockpot.

  1. When you load the jar, make sure there is an inch of headroom at the top. This gives room for expansion and contraction and enables the seal to set.
  2. Once the jar is loaded be sure to use the air freer spatula to force out any air bubbles. You want to allow air to escape the jar during the canning process. This helps to keep microorganisms out of the jar.
  3. In general, salsas can be canned by boiling in the water bath for 15 minutes at low elevations, or 25 minutes at high elevations. Don’t start timing the cooking time until the water has reached a boil.

Follow the recipe instructions listed above, and you’ll have a great salsa to share with the family & plenty left over for friends!

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