Salsa is one of the most versatile ingredients that give life to many dishes.
What’s “chips and salsa” without the salsa?! Or nachos? Tacos? Homemade chili? Burgers?
As you can see, we love our salsa.
Come on, what can’t you use salsa for when it comes to savory dishes?
But imagine the horror as you look in your pantry and fridge, ready with your dish, only to realize that… Gasp! No more salsa?!
The world doesn’t end there, folks.
You can still find an excellent salsa substitute that will go perfectly with your recipe.
Read on as we share our top recommendations!
- The Best Salsa Substitutes
- Frequently Asked Questions
The Best Salsa Substitutes
Salsa is a unique ingredient, with that refreshing taste of vegetables (especially tomatoes) and seasoning.
Fun fact: Salsa refers to a wide variety of Hispanic condiments with varied textures, whether smooth to chunky!
But we get that some people may be allergic or not like tomatoes (how could you?) or just run out of it.
So, what are you going to do?
Try these other excellent ingredients that can make your dish an amazing one!
1. Chopped Tomatoes or Tomato Juice
When you think of salsa, you think of tomatoes. After all, that’s the central ingredient!
So it comes as no surprise that chopped tomatoes are a good substitute.
All you need to do is chop up any tomatoes you have left in your fridge to replace salsa.
We recommend adding a bit of sugar and seasonings like garlic powder to balance the acidity.
Fun fact: Try roasted tomato for a bit of a change, which gives your dishes a slightly smokier flavor. It goes well with cooked meat like ground beef!
No fresh tomatoes? No problem!
You might have tomato juice on hand, another excellent substitute.
That said, take note that tomato juice has such a different consistency, so be wary of how much you add as this can affect your dish’s texture. Moreover, we recommend adding salt and sugar to help with acidity levels.
You can also experiment with other fruit juices, such as orange juice.
You won’t get the same flavor you want from orange juice, but you get slight sour and sweetness, which tastes excellent in different dishes.
- The Best Tomato Substitute For Your Delicious Up & Coming Dish!
- What’s the Best Diced Tomatoes Substitute? (Try This First!)
2. Pasta Sauce or Tomato Paste
While pasta sauce and tomato paste might sound like odd ingredients to replace salsa, it works!
If you’re using tomato paste, add some water to achieve a more authentic flavor.
Whether you use pasta sauce or tomato paste, we recommend adding other ingredients like garlic powder, Mexican oregano, or even fresh cilantro to make it taste better. These aren’t the best options, but it doesn’t hurt to experiment since they are readily available.
3. Ketchup or Hot Sauce
Yes, it’s another unconventional substitute, but it still works. That said, some people disagree with this replacement, so it’s a hit and miss.
Since ketchup is tomato-based, you can try it yourself, adding other seasonings to come closer to the salsa taste you need. Add salt, chopped red onion, or even dried cilantro for that extra flavor!
You can replace salsa with hot sauce any time, and you’ll love the kick it gives to your recipes! This ingredient consists of chili peppers, vinegar, and salt.
It’s almost similar to salsa but has none of the vegetables, so you can consider adding some for flavor and texture.
That said, this sauce is pretty spicy and a lot sourer than salsa.
You can use about 1/8 teaspoon of it to replace a cup of salsa, adding a few flavorful ingredients for enhanced flavor.
Fun fact: We recommend using Chipotle hot sauce for its fantastic taste of all the different hot sauces available!
4. Picante Sauce or Taco Sauce
If you love spicy sauces, you’ll want to use Picante sauce as a substitute.
It is a smooth and pureed sauce with a chunkier texture, which might not be the most similar to salsa.
This sauce consists of tomatoes, chilies, garlic, and seasoning, and that’s similar to sala!
Taco sauce is an excellent replacement for salsa for, well, tacos, but you can also use it in other applications.
It’s a great dipping sauce for chips burritos, among other dishes, thanks to its smokey, spicy, and unique flavor.
We love adding it to cooked ground beef and shredded chicken salad!
5. Guacamole or Mexican Sour Cream Dip
Guacamole is a different sauce than salsa, but it’s an excellent substitute.
You also have fresh vegetables in guacamole, such as diced avocado, onion, and even tomatoes.
Add some heat by adding basil, minced garlic, more tomatoes, or even canned hot peppers!
Mexican sour cream dip is such a unique replacement, but it will give you an explosion of different flavors you may appreciate!
You can either buy sour cream in the supermarket or make some of your own with cheese, onion, salt, flour, garlic, and other spices.
You can’t go wrong with a cheese dip as your substitute!
It’s one of the perfect substitutes for salsa, especially when you have nachos or chips.
While you can do a processed cheese product, make your cheesy substitute at home!
We recommend mixing two parts shredded cheddar cheese with one part cream cheese and one part sour cream or mayonnaise.
You may also add diced scallions, a drizzle of olive oil, de-seeded jalapeno, or other jarred hot peppers.
If you plan on adding other seasonings, mix that in with the cheese and place it in the fridge for an hour to let the flavors develop.
Heat your cream cheese mixture in the microwave on medium heat for a warm dip. Alternatively, you can also use a slow cooker or double boiler on medium heat.
We love doing this as the cheese melts perfectly on our dishes, though this won’t work if you use a processed cheese product.
Ensure you serve immediately to prevent the cheese from hardening or getting cold!
7. Vegetables with Lime Juice
Vegetables are another great substitute, especially if you want a tasty, filling, and nutritious dip.
Mix corn, avocado, tomatoes, onions, among other vegetables and seasonings you want to add.
We suggest adding garlic, salt, cilantro, and pepper for added flavor. Also, drizzle a bit of lime or lemon juice or red wine vinegar to add more acidity.
We also like to mash our vegetables with a potato masher, blender, or food processor for a creamier consistency. Serve immediately as the veggies may get soiled.
8. Meat or Baked Beans
Another unconventional substitute, meat, gives you a more filling and delicious dish or appetizer.
Make this substitute by combining shredded chicken, chopped onions, peppers, and corn. Combine that with a few sour cream lime juice dollops, and mix everything up to season and serve.
No time to cook chicken?
Canned tuna can work, though it may not taste the best for other people! Beef may work too, mixed with a warm cheese dip and beans.
If you’re vegan, try beans!
Baked beans may not sound like an option, but you’ll be surprised by how well it works! If you love the taste of beans, make a few adjustments to replace salsa.
You get a tomato-y, earthy flavor!
You can also add other ingredients like chopped onion and minced garlic to add more flavor, like salsa. Refried beans or white beans are a great option!
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Besides tortilla chips, what goes well with salsa?
We love cheese, guacamole, and taco sauce with chips!
2. Do I need a blender or food processor to make salsa?
Using these appliances is recommended when making your salsa, but you can also manually chop your ingredients.
3. Are taco sauce and salsa the same?
These are not the same sauces, but you can use taco sauce to substitute for salsa.
Wrapping It Up
Whether you need a substitute for fruit salsas or Chile-based salsa, we got you covered with our list!
Check these ingredients out and let us know what you have to think.