Pappasito’s Salsa – fresh roasted salsa never tasted so good

Make fresh Pappasito’s Salsa just like they do. Fresh pan-roasted vegetables make a delicious salsa that will put any jarred salsa to shame.

homemade salsa with tortilla chips

You can judge the quality of a Mexican or Southwestern restaurant by the salsa it serves. Salsa means “sauce” in Spanish, and there are dozens of different varieties out there to try.

The distinctive taste of this salsa recipe comes not only from its use of unusual seasonings like celery salt and oregano but also through the technique of pan roasting the ingredients. This recipe takes less than thirty minutes to prepare, and it is a healthier and much more flavorful alternative to store-bought salsa.

Why a Roasted Salsa Recipe?

Most people think of tomato-based salsas as fresh and bright in flavor with more than enough acid to pucker their lips. But there is a subtler side to salsa.

This recipe is a bit sweeter with just enough heat from the peppers to cut through its richness for a more balanced flavor profile. Roasting vegetables helps to increase the sweetness level of the salsa through caramelization without adding too much additional sugar to the recipe.

pappasitos salsa ingredients

The Origins of This Salsa

The recipe below is inspired by the salsa served at Pappasitos Cantina restaurants. Pappasitos Cantina has multiple locations throughout Texas and Georgia and has been serving freshly made food since 1976. The chain is well-loved by many locals.

It is a favorite stop for visitors who are craving quality and authentic Mexican and Southwest dishes. But not everyone is lucky enough to live near a Pappasitos Cantina. Now, no matter where you live, you can experience the one-of-a-kind taste of the famous Pappasitos salsa any time you want when you make this homemade salsa version of the original.

Extra Hints For Making Pappasito’s Salsa

  • Always use the freshest ingredients you can find. Canned tomatoes may be acceptable for other salsa recipes, but not in this one. Ripe tomatoes have a dense flesh that won’t water down your salsa and holds up well during the roasting process.
  • Be careful when cutting the jalapeno pepper. If you are particularly sensitive to peppers, wear gloves and wash your hands immediately after handling. Remove the seeds and any white bits with your fingers. With a sharp knife, trim the top layer of the inside of the pepper to tame its spiciness.
  • Use a vegetable cutter. Not everyone has a food processor or prefers a smoother salsa. Instead of chopping everything by hand, use a vegetable chopper with the smallest dice attachment. It only takes a few minutes, and you won’t have to worry about turning your salsa into a puree.
  • Perhaps the best way to enjoy the unique taste of this cooked salsa recipe is to serve it slightly warm alongside a bowl of freshly made tortilla chips. But this salsa is so good that you will want to add it to everything from hamburgers to scrambled eggs.

Here are three other recipes which go great with Pappasitos salsa:

Chipotle Mexican Grill Guacamole
Chipotle Mexcian Grill Carnitas
Copycat Chilis Southwest Egg Rolls
Restaurant Style Refried Beans

copycat pappasitos fresh roasted salsa and tortilla chips

homemade salsa and tortilla chips

Pappasito’s Salsa

You can make Pappasitos salsa at home, it's so easy to make this salsa at home. 
5 from 2 votes
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Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: Pappasitos Recipes, Pappasitos Salsa
Servings: 8
Calories: 19kcal


  • 1 1/2 pounds tomatoes pick the most fresh and ripe tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup diced white onion
  • 1 minced jalapeno pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 fresh poblano pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper


  • In a moderately hot skillet that has been sprayed with a cooking spray brown the coarsely chopped Pablano pepper and jalapeno pepper. Brown and stir until the skins have turned dark on many sides of peppers. ad tomatoes and brown them until the skins on the tomatoes have turned a dark brown on several sides, remove the pan from heat.
  •  Put the onion in a hot skillet that has been removed from the heat and stir. In a food processor add celery salt, oregano cilantro, sugar, garlic salt, and pepper. Pour peppers, onions, and tomatoes and add water a little at a time, the process just enough to chop to a medium consistency but not to a smooth paste, leave a little chunky. Remove from processor and pour in hot skillet turn up heat quickly stir for 3 min and serve hot.


Calories: 19kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 0g | Fat: 0g | Saturated Fat: 0g | Cholesterol: 0mg | Sodium: 223mg | Potassium: 184mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 625IU | Vitamin C: 23.2mg | Calcium: 10mg | Iron: 0.3mg
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About Stephanie Manley

I recreate your favorite restaurant recipes, so you can prepare these dishes at home. I help you cook dinner, and serve up dishes you know your family will love. You can find most of the ingredients for all of the recipes in your local grocery store.

Stephanie is the author of's Dining Out in the Home, and's Dining Out in the Home 2.

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Reader Interactions


  1. Jason fawcett

    Pappasitos doesn’t use roma tomatoes in its salsa. The use regular tomatoes but they roast them. They also use jalapeños and Serranos. And white onion and cilantro. And their season salt which I can’t remember the recipe for. The jalapeños and serranos are roasted as well. This is as close as I can get you folks.

  2. Carl B

    I followed this recipe exactly and I can tell you that it did not have that wonderful roasted flavor of Pappasito’s. I was truly disappointed and will not make this again.

  3. Nicolefreeman77

    Definitely NOT Pappasito’s salsa. I don’t even know where to begin in making changes/alterations to this recipe but I just know that this is not the “sito’s salsa” that my family feasts on embarrassingly too often!

  4. Cmkemp

    We tried this recipe and found it to be very delicious and much like the one at Pappasittos. It does take a bit of time to make but is well worth the effort.

  5. Cmkemp

    We tried this recipe and found it to be very delicious and much like the one at Pappasittos. It does take a bit of time to make but is well worth the effort.

  6. rob

    I use this recipe often and it is the best one I have found. I do not add the water as the tomatoes usually have enough and often add more cilantro, depending on how strong the flavor is of the cilantro I buy. Also, I typically make two batches – a mild batch with 2 jalapenos and a spicier batch substituting habaneros (2-4) for the jalapenos. I always need to “salt to taste” afterwards prior to serving, but everyone who tries it loves it.

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