Delicious salsa; this simple Mexican-inspired sauce is an unbeatable addition to tacos, burritos, fajitas, and of course, nachos. But while we all know just how great salsa is, what we really want to know is can you freeze salsa for later?
The short answer is yes, which means that it’s possible to have a ready supply of salsa stored in the freezer, and ready to be thawed when it’s Tex-Mex Tuesday.
However, some salsas freeze better than others. We have a few tips and tricks for you to use when storing salsa in the freezer to achieve the best results.
Let’s take a look at the best way to freeze salsa at home!
What is salsa?
Before we get into the details of freezing homemade salsa or store-bought salsa, let’s take a look at what we actually mean when we talk about salsa.
- In Spanish, the word salsa simply means sauce, but in the context of Mexican and Tex-Mex cuisine, salsa has a much more specific meaning.
- Mexican salsas vary from one region to the next, but generally, they are a combination of tomatoes, onions, garlic, and spices such as cilantro, pepper, cumin, and others.
- There are a few popular types of salsa that you’ll find in the store or that you can prepare at home - they are similar, but the distinctions are important when it comes to freezing, as you’ll see further along in this article.
- Different salsas have different consistencies, and the distinguishing factor is cooked and uncooked salsas.
Individually, each salsa can be as spicy as you desire with added jalapenos or chilis. The most common varieties of salsa we’ll be looking at freezing in this article are the following:
- Salsa roja: the most popular salsa is red salsa, commonly prepared using cooked red tomatoes, peppers, onions, garlic, and chilis.
- Salsa verde: green salsa is cooked with green tomatillos, green peppers and chilis, and other spices. Salsa verde is usually thick and often pureed.
- Pico de gallo: one of the most well-known salsas, pico de gallo is the freshest salsa, prepared using uncooked tomatoes, onions, and spices such as cilantro.
Is salsa healthy?
Of course, with so many fresh vegetables, it’s wonderfully healthy!
Can you freeze homemade salsa?
In our opinion, the best salsa is always going to be homemade salsa. Luckily, you can freeze homemade salsa!
However, before you start chopping up chili peppers and tomatoes, it’s important to note that not all homemade salsas freeze equally:
- Salsas have many tomatoes in them, which can give you a watery texture once the salsa has been frozen and then defrosted. If you’re freezing homemade salsa, it’s super important to make sure that you remove as much excess water as you can.
- Simply put, the thicker your homemade salsa, the easier it’s going to be preserving salsa by freezing. For this reason, fresh salsas such as pico de gallo don’t freeze as well as thick, cooked salsas like salsa roja or salsa verde.
There are a few simple ways to thicken up your salsa:
- For starters, you can puree your salsa in a food processor for a thicker sauce. This is how a salsa verde is prepared, and these salsas are easy to freeze and thaw.
- You can also leave your salsa to cook for longer on the stovetop to simmer down all that excess juice.
- You can add tomato paste if things are too watery, or you could use cheesecloth to drain out the excess liquid once the salsa has been cooked.
It’s best to freeze your homemade sauce in resealable salsa containers or ziplock bags: separate your sauce into individual portion sizes and freeze the portions separately to make things easier when defrosting.
To give you an idea on how to best prepare homemade salsa with the intention of freezing it here’s a quick freezer salsa recipe (for salsa roja.)
Freezer friendly homemade salsa recipe (salsa roja)
- 15 fresh tomatoes, finely chopped
- 2 onions, finely chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 red bell peppers, finely chopped
- ½ c of freshly chopped cilantro, chopped
- ¼ c of freshly squeezed lime juice
- 3 tsp of cumin powder
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Cayenne pepper powder and jalapenos*
The quantity of cayenne pepper powder and the number of jelapenos you add to the recipe depends entirely on your tastes and how much spice you enjoy!
- Finely chop your fresh tomatoes, onions, and red bell peppers. If you have jalapenos, chop these too, and mix everything together with minced garlic cloves in a large saucepan.
- Add freshly chopped cilantro, then squeeze in fresh lime juice.
- Season the ingredients with cumin, salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper powder.*
- Place the saucepan on the stovetop and bring the salsa roja to a boil while stirring continuously.
- Once it comes to a boil, immediately lower the heat, and leave your salsa to simmer for at least 45 mins.
- Allow the salsa to cool, then place in resealable containers for freezing.
Salsa roja isn’t traditionally pureed, but you can thicken the sauce this way to make it more freezer-friendly. Puree or blend before you add the salsa to the saucepan and begin to boil it.
How to freeze salsa FAQ
Can you freeze store-bought salsa?
Okay, so not everyone has the time to prepare a big batch of homemade salsa for freezing, in which case, you’re probably wondering if you can freeze your store-bought salsa.
Store-bought salsa can be frozen, but remember, it’s probably going to be quite watery when you thaw it later.
- If you’ve already opened your jar of salsa, then transfer the leftovers to a resealable container or zip lock bag for freezing.
- If you haven’t opened the jar yet, you might be tempted just to freeze it. This isn’t a good idea, though, because jars can crack due to pressure changes if the seal isn't broken. You should transfer the contents to a resealable container or ziplock bag for the best results.
Freezing salsa in glass jars isn’t advised, as you don’t want broken jars in your freezer. However, if you don’t have any other containers, make sure the jar is depressurized and leave space at the top (don’t fill the jar to the brim.)
How long does salsa last in the freezer?
So how long can you keep your salsa frozen, and how long is salsa good for? If kept in resealable containers, then your salsa will stay fresh for at least 4 months.
After this time, the sauce itself can start to break down, which will result in a loss of taste and texture when you come to defrost the salsa—leaving you with a watery, not so tasty freezer homemade salsa!
How long does salsa last in the fridge?
Fresh salsa will keep for a week in the refrigerator, but longer than this - and it will start to turn for the worse.
How to defrost salsa?
- For the best results, salsa should be removed from the freezer and left to defrost on its own accord in the refrigerator before you serve it.
- Thawing takes several hours, so ensure that you leave plenty of time between defrosting and serving up those nachos.
- Add some fresh cilantro or a squeeze of fresh lime juice to the salsa when it’s defrosted to give the salsa that extra level of freshness it might have lost in the freezer.
- If you are in a hurry, you can defrost the salsa on low power in the microwave before leaving it cool down in the microwave. However, using the microwave can result in a watery consistency, so be prepared to drain the excess liquid after defrosting in the microwave.
Can you freeze salsa verde?
Our article has primarily focused on freezing salsa roja, but freezing salsa verde is actually an easier process. Salsa verde tends to be thicker and smoother than salsa roja, making it easier to keep the taste and texture overtime when it’s frozen.
Follow the same process to freeze and thaw your homemade or store-bought salsa verde.
Can you freeze pico de gallo?
Freezing pico de gallo is a different matter from freezing salsa roja or salsa verde, as pico de gallo is uncooked.
No-cook freezer salsa can be done, though, but you need to accept the fact that your defrosted pico de gallo won’t be anywhere near as fresh as the original, as the vegetables are going to break down.
So, can you freeze salsa?
Whether it’s homemade or store-bought, you can freeze salsa, but remember to make the most of our tips and tricks to get the best out of your frozen salsas.
The thicker the salsa, the better it’s going to freeze, and the fresher it’s going to taste when thawed later on.
Freezing fresh salsa is a great way to keep a large supply of it in your kitchen for tacos, nachos, or any of your other favorite Mexican-style dishes.
So, why not bookmark our article and stock your freezer with salsa!