Salsa makes everything better, and it’s probably our favorite condiment. The word simply means “sauce,” and can be many things—a smooth purée, a chunky relish, a potent dip. These recipes are perfect for a variety of uses: as dips for your tortilla chips; a braising liquid for pork; a creamy, spicy cloak for shrimp; and more. We even like to eat some of them right off the fork (pineapple salsa, we’re looking at you). So whether you like it spicy or mild, a good coating of salsa or just a thin layer, we’ve got the recipe for you.
Apricots’ ripe acidity lend themselves well to this cooked fruit salsa, simultaneously tangy and sweet. This recipe ran with Karen Solomon’s web exclusive story
Preserve the Season: Apricot Salsa. Get the recipe for Apricot Salsa with Mint »
Bahians like to finish this chunky salsa with a bit of juice from the moqueca, or whatever dish it is meant to accompany. The term lambão comes from the Latin lambere, “to pass the tongue over something.” In Bahia, the traditional malagueta chiles are said to ward off negative energy associated with some of the orixás, or spiritual beings. Look for malaguetas and pimenta de cheiro at farmers’ markets, or substitute drained jarred malaguetas from a Brazilian grocer and fresh serranos.
Get the recipe for Brazilian Chile and Tomato Salsa (Molho Lambão) »
Get the recipe for Cucumber Salsa »
This salsa verde has a fresh, tangy sourness (and kick of heat if you like) that helps cut through richness.
Get the recipe for Corn Tamales with Tomatillo Salsa »
Chilean Tomato and Pepper Sauce (Pebre)
This salsa is spicy—use it sparingly!—as any serious salsa should be. Its flavor is all chili and garlic, and does well atop nachos, burritos, and eggs. If you’re feeling daring, go for big scoops with your favorite bag of tortilla chips.
Get the recipe for Chile de Arbol Salsa »
Tropical fruit adds sweetness and acidity to this fragrant, spicy salsa. The tart pineapple is a perfect foil for rich meats, stewed chicken, and roasted fish.
Get the recipe for Fresh Pineapple Salsa (Salsa de Piña) »
This fruity tomatillo salsa layered with queso fresco and avocado slices can be served as a side dish or as an appetizer with warm tortillas.
This fruity-spicy southeast Mexico staple is ideal on enchiladas or huevos rancheros.
This creamy all-purpose salsa is great on tacos filled with carnitas or grilled cactus.
Toasting dried chiles until they’re brown and brittle creates a dark, smoky salsa that complements robust meats such as lamb and goat.
This smooth peanut sauce, a take on a traditional salsa from Chiapas, is delicious spooned on roast chicken or shrimp.
Roasted garlic adds sweet depth to this classic green salsa, best served over steak, tacos, or rice and beans.
Try this tart, cooked salsa, a contemporary creation by Roberto Santibañez, spooned over seafood.
Pineapple’s firm texture and sweet-tart tang is perfect for salsa and an ideal foil for rich meats.
Get the recipe for Salsa de Piña Picante »
This earthy roasted salsa is traditionally pounded to a smooth paste in a molcajete, but a food processor works just as well.
This Acapulco-inspired pico de gallo gets a briny boost from olives and capers. Serve it spooned over grilled fish or chicken.
Get the recipe for Salsa Playera de Lujo (Fresh Tomato and Olive Salsa) »