The Best Salsas to Slather on Everything

Good on chips and pretty much anything

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.

Apricot Salsa with Mint

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) »

Cucumber Salsa

Get the recipe for Cucumber Salsa »

Corn Tamales with Tomatillo 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)

Chilean Tomato and Pepper Sauce (Pebre)
Grilled Salsa

Chile de Arbol Salsa

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 »

Fresh Pineapple Salsa (Salsa de Piña)

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) »

Tomatillo Salsa with Avocado and Queso Fresco (Salsa de Albañil)

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.

Guacamole Taquero

This creamy all-purpose salsa is great on tacos filled with carnitas or grilled cactus.

Salsa de Chipotle Quemado

Toasting dried chiles until they’re brown and brittle creates a dark, smoky salsa that complements robust meats such as lamb and goat.

Salsa de Cacahuate y Chile de Arbol

This smooth peanut sauce, a take on a traditional salsa from Chiapas, is delicious spooned on roast chicken or shrimp.

Roasted Tomatillo Salsa with Chipotle and Roasted Garlic

Roasted garlic adds sweet depth to this classic green salsa, best served over steak, tacos, or rice and beans.

Salsa de Tomatillo y Piña

Try this tart, cooked salsa, a contemporary creation by Roberto Santibañez, spooned over seafood.

Salsa de Piña Picante

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 »

Roasted Tomatillo and Serrano Salsa (Salsa de Tomatillo en Molacajete)

This earthy roasted salsa is traditionally pounded to a smooth paste in a molcajete, but a food processor works just as well.

Salsa Playera de Lujo (Fresh Tomato and Olive Salsa)

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) »