Homemade Salsas And Tortillas: The Key To Restaurant-Quality Mexican At Home

16 October 2017
 Categories: Food & Cooking, Blog


Have you ever wondered why you can't seem to make your own Mexican food that tastes as good as the food at Mexican restaurants? It seems like it should be simple. After all, Mexican food is all about simple ingredients like cheese, beans, and tomatoes! Usually, if your at-home Mexican food it not turning out top-notch, the problem comes down to three components: your salsa, your pico de gallo, and your tortillas. Good Mexican restaurants make their own sauces and tortillas, so store-bought is just not going to cut it when you cook at home. Here's how to make your own salsa, pico de gallo, and corn tortillas, which will bring your home cooking up to par with your favorite taqueria's.

Classic Tomato Salsa

This salsa is made with fresh tomatoes, jalapenos, and onions, so it has a much bolder flavor than salsas that are made with canned ingredients. As written below, the salsa has a "medium" level of spice. You can add an extra jalapeno or chipotle pepper for more spice, or cut these ingredients down for a milder salsa.


  • 6 large Roma tomatoes
  • 1 fresh jalapeno pepper
  • 1 fresh chipotle pepper
  • 1 medium red onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil

Remove most of the seeds from the jalepeno and chipotle peppers. Chop these peppers finely, being sure to wear gloves so you don't burn yourself with the juices. Give the medium onion a rough chop, and then slice the tomatoes into quarters. Mince the garlic.

Place the onions and garlic in a saucepan along with the oil. Saute until the onions are lightly browned. Then, add the tomatoes, lime juice, salt, and peppers to the pan. Bring the mixture to a simmer, and simmer for 10 minutes. Use an immersion blender to blend up the salsa to your desired smoothness. Remove the salsa from the heat, stir in the cilantro, and chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Pico De Gallo

Pico de gallo is a fresh, uncooked tomato salsa that really brings authentic Mexican flavor to tacos and burritos. It's always nice to have both classic, cooked salsa and pico de gallo since the two have different textures and flavor profiles. 


  • 2 fresh, firm tomatoes
  • 1/2 a medium red onion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 jalapeno peppers
  • the juice of one lime
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro

Slice the tomatoes in half, and remove the seeds. Then, slice the tomatoes into small cubes. Also finely chop the peppers, onions, and cilantro. Combine all of the ingredients, and let them sit for about 30 minutes. Stir before serving.

Homemade Corn Tortillas

Homemade corn tortillas have a much nicer texture than the ones you buy in the store. They're easier to make than you might think — though you will need a sturdy cast iron skillet.


  • 3/4 cup masa harina
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup water
  • canola oil

Combine the salt, masa harina, and water in a mixing bowl. Stir until a soft dough forms. Divide this dough into 8 portions, and roll each into a ball. Then, use a rolling pin to flatten each ball into a tortilla that is approximately 8 inches in diameter.

Heat a drizzle of canola oil in a cast iron skillet. Place one tortilla in the skillet, and cook for about 30 seconds. Flip it over, and cook for another 30 seconds. Repeat this process, adding oil to the pan as needed, until all of the tortillas have been cooked.

With the homemade components above, you'll have much better luck making restaurant-quality Mexican meals at home. Contact Mexican restaurants in your area for more info.