If you’ve tried to make your own salsa at home, then you’ll probably have noticed it often ends up far too watery. Store-bought and restaurant quality salsa is usually yummy and thick, but that’s not as easy to achieve when you’re making it yourself at home.
Typically, the reason for this is in the ingredients you used to make it. The most common reason behind homemade salsa that turns out watery is your choice of tomatoes.
Tomatoes are a key ingredient in salsa, so it is understandable that these would have an impact on the finished product.
If you want to avoid having your homemade salsa turn out watery, try using Roma tomatoes, rather than just any tomatoes. They’re easier to work with than other varieties, allowing you to remove most of the water from them before you start on your salsa.
Once you have your Roma tomatoes, you should begin preparing them for your salsa by slicing them in half. This allows you access to the mushy goo on the inside of the tomatoes so that you can scoop it out (either with your knife or a spoon) and set it aside.
Simply leave the gooey parts of the tomato out of your recipe and just use the harder parts. This will avoid your homemade salsa becoming watery. To avoid food waste, you could store them in your fridge and use them the next time you make tomato sauce for a soup, stew, or pasta.
How Can I Thicken Salsa Without Cornstarch?
When a stew, soup, or sauce is too thin, one of the best ways to thicken it is with cornstarch. However, cornstarch is far from ideal when it comes to salsa.
If you want to prevent your salsa from becoming too watery, you can drain the tomatoes before adding them. To do this, cut the tomatoes the day before you want to use them and place them in a colander inside a bowl in the refrigerator overnight.
That leftover liquid? It makes for a fantastic refreshing drink 🙂
Alternatively, you could use Roma tomatoes and scoop out the gooey insides, as we mentioned earlier.
But if you have made your salsa, only to find that it has become watery, then neither of these methods will be any good. Instead, you will need to add something to the recipe to thicken it up. If you are a fan of avocado, then this is a good ingredient to use.
Simply cut up a fairly soft avocado and add it to the mixture, and this will make it a lot thicker.
If you do not like avocados, then you can also use tomato paste to do this job. Simply squeeze some tomato paste into the mixture and stir thoroughly. You should end up with a finished result that is much thicker than before you added the paste.
Why Is My Homemade Salsa so Watery?
Your homemade salsa turned out watery because the main ingredient in the salsa is tomatoes. And tomatoes are a fruit that contains a lot of moisture, which it releases easily when cut.
Generally, when you make salsa, you do not intend to eat it all at once, so this means that the salsa will sit for a while. This is the main reason why cornstarch cannot be used to thicken salsa up, as if you were to use it, it could cause your salsa to become dangerous to consume.
But when your salsa is left to sit, you will find that the tomatoes that you used in the mixture will begin to break down. This is completely unavoidable and will only become worse the longer that your salsa is left to sit.
This is often why you will find a pool of liquid at the bottom of your salsa bowl. While it is unavoidable, there are some ways that you can reduce the amount of water that will come out of your tomatoes.
One way to do this is to remove the seeds from the tomatoes before you add them to the mixture. Alternatively, you could follow the instructions that I gave you earlier to avoid your salsa from becoming watery.
Is Salsa Supposed to Be Watery?
Although a watery salsa isn’t always pleasant, in some cases this is just the way that the mixture is supposed to be.
There are quite a few varieties of salsa, so depending on the recipe that you follow you might find that the mixture is more watery than you might expect.
Generally, how watery your salsa should be will depend on whether you are using it fresh or if it is being canned. A fresh salsa recipe, like pico de Gallo, shouldn’t be very watery as the fresh ingredients within it shouldn’t have begun breaking down by the time that you consume it.
Although depending on the way in which you prepare your tomatoes, you might find that it is slightly watery.
Whereas, if you can your salsa then you should prepare for it to be watery when you use it at a later date. This is because the salt that is added to the mixture will cause the other vegetables within the salsa to begin to break down.
This will not impact the taste or healthiness of your salsa, but it will make it more watery.
So in short, if your salsa is fresh then you shouldn’t expect it to be too watery. But if you have canned your homemade salsa, then there is a good chance that it will become watery over time. But it will still be safe to eat.
What Can I Add to Salsa to Make It Better?
If you are feeling adventurous, then there are lots of things that you can add to your salsa to spice it up. You may want to add extra ingredients to your salsa to switch up the flavor, or simply want to thicken up the texture.
Either way, there are lots of things that you can add to your salsa recipe to make it better.
If you just want to make your salsa thicker and bulkier, you can add a variety of ingredients to it. These ingredients include raw or fried onions, diced tomatoes, diced avocados, jalapeño peppers, even sweet corn.
All of these ingredients will perfectly complement the existing ingredients in your recipe, making it thicker without changing the flavor.
Alternatively, if you want to add some new ingredients to your salsa to change the flavor then there are also lots of options. If you want to make your salsa sweeter, then you might choose to add some diced pineapple or mango into the mixture.
The great thing about salsa is that you have a lot of freedom with the ingredients that you can add to it. This means that you can easily use trial and error to add different things to your mixture until you find the salsa recipe that is perfect for you.
Which Onions Are Best for Salsa?
Another key ingredient in salsa is onion, and choosing the right type to use can be a real pain for many budding chefs. Onions come in a variety of options, but it is generally accepted that white onions are the best type to add to your salsa.
This is mainly because it is white onions that are used in traditional Mexican cuisine, and a lot of people choose to stick to these original recipes.
White onions have a slightly sharper taste than the other types of onions that you can buy, and this allows them to balance better with the tomatoes in the recipe.
However, this doesn’t mean that you have to use white onions. They are usually the best option, but if you don’t have them available then it isn’t the end of the world. If you only have red or yellow onions at hand then these will do the job just as well.
You may also choose to avoid using white onions if you aren’t a fan of sharp tastes. Mexican food is, traditionally, very spicy and white onions add to this taste, but it isn’t always for everyone.
So if you prefer milder food then it is perfectly fine to substitute white onions with an option that is less sharp in flavor.
Homemade salsa will often come out watery, but not if you use the techniques we shared with you today.
Either use Roma tomatoes, as you can easily take out their gooey and watery insides, keeping the liquids to a minimum, or drain the tomatoes for a while in your fridge. Alternatively, you could add a few ingredients to it. Our favorites are onions (browned or raw), peppers, and corn.
I specifically asked if I could use tomato paste to thicken watery salsa, it was not addressed. I do not have Roma tomatoes but can dice up more regular tomatoes in larger pieces. Can I add tomato paste or not? Please advise. Thank you
Yes, you can add tomato paste. But not too much, as tomato paste has an intense, saturated taste that may overshadow the freshness and zestiness of the salsa.
Also, dicing up regular tomatoes is a great idea. If they’re too watery, set a sieve inside a bowl and give them a squeeze so that you can get rid of any excess moisture.
My best advice is to start with 1 tablespoon of tomato paste and 2-3 diced tomatoes (depending on the size of the fruit). Then give it a taste and work your way up as necessary!