Best Store Bought Salsa to Spice Up Your Life

The best store bought salsa can be so many different things. It can be smoky or fresh. It can be spicy or mild. It can come in a can or a jar.

Not to sound like a snob, but I do not typically buy brand name, store bought salsa. How could they ever compare to the pints of fresh salsa I can buy at my local Mexican restaurant? Or something I can whip up at home with vegetables from the farmers market?

But my snobbery was unwarranted and I should’ve realized that sooner. If you can have good jarred marinara sauce or tomato chutney, why can’t you have good salsa from the store? I’m now a store bought salsa convert and I’m here to impart the knowledge I gained during the taste tests we conducted for this ranking. Hopefully I can heal you of your store bought salsa snobbery, too. These are the best store bought salsa brands (including salsa verde, fruit salsa, and avocado salsa, along with the classic red!) that felt fresh, flavorful, and authentic.

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best red salsa

Best Chunky Salsa

On the Border Medium Chunky Salsa

Chunky salsas have to work extra hard to win me over because I’m not a fan of big, wet pieces of tomato. Luckily, On the Border Medium Chunky Salsa brought their A-game to the taste test and made a fan out of me. The first thing I noticed when I dipped my chip is that this salsa is super aromatic. I was warmly greeted by the scent of onion, garlic, and chilies. Another plus is that, unlike most jarred salsas, it doesn’t have a weird citric acid flavor. It tastes like there’s actually lime in it! This is an awesome alternative to homemade salsa if you’re in a pinch.

Credit: Ryan Martin / Walmart

Rating:

8/10

Sporks

best red salsa

Best Salsa in a Can

Herdez Medium Salsa Ranchera

Who knew that you could get such tasty and affordable salsa from a can? I didn’t, but I do now! Herdez makes great salsa (this is only the first time they appear on this list). This canned Herdez medium salsa ranchera is so robust in its tomato-y, chili flavor, perfectly salty, and lightly spicy. The only downside is that it doesn’t come in its own resealable container. But, in reality, you probably won’t have any leftovers when you crack this can open anyway.

Credit: Liv Averett / Instacart

Rating:

8/10

Sporks

best store bought salsa

Best Fresh Salsa

Casa Sanchez Foods Hot Salsa Roja

Casa Sanchez Food Hot Salsa Roja was easily one of the most flavorful refrigerated salsas we tasted during our extensive research. Each item from the minimal ingredient list of tomatoes, onions, peppers, and cilantro shines, while also seamlessly melding with the others to create the perfect restaurant-style salsa. The fact that this salsa comes from the refrigerator section makes it feel extra fresh. It’s not out of this world hot, but it has a nice kick. Casa Sanchez is a great option for store bought red salsa if you prefer something you keep in the fridge.

Credit: Ryan Martin / Amazon

Rating:

8/10

Sporks

best red salsa

Most Surprising Salsa

Pace Restaurant Style Salsa

You’ve probably had regular Pace salsa and think it’s good. You’re right. It is good. But what you need to try, however, is Pace Restaurant Style Salsa. It is incredible. The texture is perfectly pureed and the flavor is supreme. It’s garlicky and a little spicy. I had a clear picture in my mind (or should I say taste in my mouth) of what Pace salsa tasted like, but I was completely sleeping on this rendition of it. It’s easily one of the best store bought salsa brands I’ve ever had. Pair this with some crunchy, restaurant style tortilla chips and you’ll feel like you’re in an actual Mexican restaurant.

Credit: Liv Averett / Target

Rating:

9/10

Sporks

best store bought salsa

Best Mild Salsa

Mateo’s Gourmet Mild Salsa

I can’t believe I’m putting a mild salsa so high on the list, but Mateo’s Mild Gourmet Salsa definitely earned its spot. This salsa had, in my opinion, the perfect texture. It wasn’t completely liquified, but there weren’t any big chunks of cooked tomato either. It felt like a salsa that was made at home in a blender instead of something that was produced in a factory. It’s not named in the ingredient list, but I got a strong hit of cumin the second this salsa touched my tongue. Sometimes mild salsas end up being mild on flavor, but that is not the case here!

Credit: Ryan Martin / Target

Rating:

9/10

Sporks

best fruit salsa

Best Fruit Salsa

Simple Truth Organic Pineapple Habanero Salsa

This is easily the best fruit salsa you can buy at the grocery store. It’s actually hot. The habanero kick pairs perfectly with the sweet pineapple. It’s not overly fruity or sweet. It is so perfectly balanced. This stuff would be incredible on fish tacos or in an al pastor burrito. Good job, Simple Truth! You made a good salsa.

Credit: Liv Averett / Instacart

Rating:

9.5/10

Sporks

best red salsa

Best Smoky

Somos Medium Cuatro Chiles Taqueria Salsa

Somos have topped multiple best lists on Sporked. They are one of our favorite Mexican-owned brands and this salsa was one of the best things we ate the week we tasted it (and we try, like, hundreds of foods each week). This salsa has a wonderful complexity from the four different chiles, some of which are smoked and add an incredible smoky flavor to this salsa. It’s spicy, but not super spicy. Check out Somos! We think you’ll really like this new brand.

Credit: Liv Averett / Instacart

Rating:

9.5/10

Sporks

best salsa verde

Best Salsa Verde

Casa Sanchez Medium Roasted Salsa Verde

Casa Sanchez makes good salsa. That is no surprise. I was surprised, though, that they make salsa verde. And not just any salsa verde, the best store bought salsa verde! I had never seen it before. I’m glad I found it while I was researching for this taste test! It’s absolutely wonderful. If you like chunky, rustic salsa verde, grab a container of Casa Sanchez Roasted Salsa Verde from the refrigerated aisle. The big pieces of garlic, springs of cilantro, and whole pepper seeds will definitely impress you. The next time you buy salsa verde, make sure you buy the best.

Credit: Liv Averett / Walmart

Rating:

10/10

Sporks

best avocado salsa

Best Avocado Salsa

Herdez Guacamole Salsa Medium & Herdez Guacamole Salsa Mild

Herdez Guacamole Salsa in mild and medium is the best avocado salsa we tried in our avocado salsa taste test. It’s true perfection. It’s creamy, acidic, salty, and a tad spicy. There’s tons of cilantro. I regularly buy this salsa and consume it at home. They sell two-packs of it at Costco and it’s quite the deal. I am positive that you will love this Herdez guacamole salsa. It’s incredible!

Credit: Liv Averett / Target

Rating:

10/10

Sporks

best red salsa

Best of the Best

Mateo’s Hot Gourmet Salsa

Mateo’s rules. We love their products. And this is the best store bought red salsa we tried across multiple taste tests. It’s fresh and acidic. Tomatoes and jalapeños are the stars in this salsa, but you get notes of garlic, cilantro, and habanero. The ingredient list is short and there are no weird additives or preservatives. I could eat a whole jar of this stuff in one sitting (but I wouldn’t recommend it). I love you, Mateo’s.

Credit: Liv Averett / Instacart

Rating:

10/10

Sporks

Other Products We Tried:
Sprouts Hot Salsa, Lucky Habanero Hot, Desert Pepper Hot, Casa Sanchez Hot, Patricia Quintana Authentic Mexican Roasted Tomato & Jalapeño Salsa, Green Mountain Gringo, O Organics, 365, La Mexicana Hot, Casa Martinez Habanero, Sprouts Medium, Sprouts Mild, Sprouts Hot, Private Reserve, Desert Pepper, Target Restaurant Style, Pace Hot, Target Medium, Target Mild, Walmart Medium, Mateo’s Medium, On the Border Mild, On the Border Cantina, Casa Sanchez Mild, Casa Sanchez Medium, Del Real

Tostitos Chunky Mild Salsa

Between this and their favorite tortilla chip, Rhett & Link appear to be Tostitos loyalists. They enjoyed the strong flavor and the chunk that this salsa brought to the table.

Share your favorite store bought salsa with us using #SporkedTasteTest for a chance to be featured on our social pages!


About the Author

Jordan Myrick

Jordan is an L.A.-based writer and comedian who believes all food should come with extra sauce. When they're not writing for Sporked, Jordan is at the movies or sharing an order of french fries with their elderly chihuahua.

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  • Regarding salsa, I’d be really curious to hear your opinion of Mrs. Renfro’s Salsas.

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  • I’ve been buying the same salsa my entire life but I bought the On the Border medium chunky the other day and WOW. Truly my favorite store salsa now!

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  • How about store bought Indian foods? Trader joes has theirs and I see a bunch of others in Safeway and King soopers(or krogers and whoever else they are around the country), and then theres the meal ordering company like Cumin club.

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  • I’ve seen a lot of salsa in my day and I have found that Targets good and gather black bean and corn salsa is the absolute best!

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  • Have you guys tried Costco’s two pack red and green salsa? Would love to know what you all think of that one. 🙂

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  • Mateos all day everyday! I lived in texas for some time and never came across anything better. I used to stock up when I went back. When I came to my local grocery store I’ve never been happier!

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  • You’ve gotta try Green Mountain Gringo medium salsa! Mateos is also great happy to see it here!

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  • So you guys have Jack’s Special Salsa over there. It blows everything else out of the water.

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  • Salsa in a Snap by Mama G’s with Rotel, whipped up in blender and sit for a day. Amazing

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  • Best salsa I’ve had is Casa Mamita small batch restaurant style from Aldi. I buy it by the case.

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  • Personally my favorite is Kylitos Hot Salsa in a jar. They also do a habanero, ghost pepper, and even a carolina reaper I believe. For me the hot has a great flavor without too much heat.

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  • My husband loves Mateo’s! We will have to try Casa Sanchez. I hope they sell it near me.

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  • We’re a Meteo’s family over here so I’m happy to see that so high on the list!

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  • I know on GMM Target usually strikes out, but they don’t drop the ball with their salsa. You have to try the Good and Gather Medium Corn and Bean salsa. It’s the best of the best. I’ve tried just about every brand and flavor, this is where it’s at!

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  • as someone with digestive issues, salsa is always iffy with me. FODY makes a great one for those who may have similar issues. Tastes great with no bad reflux, heartburn, or other tummy troubles afterward. If onions or other ingredients can be an issue for you, this is a great option to try

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    • I’m glad to hear it tastes great! I’ve wanted to try it but didn’t want to take the risk blindly lol

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  • I have to say I much prefer Mateo’s Gourmet Cantina Style Salsa to their other variety. It’s the one with the black label. There’s something about the flavor that’s different and addicting

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  • pace’s restaurant style salsa is vastly superior to their original salsa imo 🤷🏻‍♂️

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  • I think that the salsa from the refrigerated section is hands down better than any jarred.

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  • The Pace medium (as well as the Chi-Chi’s medium) are store-bought defaults. Always good, never great. I’m sorry that Frontera didn’t make it to this comparison. I’m trying all their varieties because I like Rick Bayless. By the way, that GMM video is fundamentally flawed from the start. Deciding to go with all the mild varieties is…just wrong. That’s like saying you’re going to compare coffee k-cup brands but you’re only tasting the decaf varieties. Salsa is supposed to have heat, people! Fresh chilis are an essential ingredient like tomatoes and onions! Mild is for children. Children who should be grounded.

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  • I like Herdez Salsa Casera(Hot), now I do tamper just a smidgen by blending it. I don’t add anything, just change the texture. I like it quite a bit, I will try your winner however. Can never have too many salsas to enjoy!

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    • me too! Herdez hot casera (whizzed in the blender for a less chunky vibe) is where it’s at. sometimes if I have an extra fresh tomato or two about, I’ll throw that in too.

      Reply
  • Can we get a best salsa without cilantro for those of us cursed with soap genetics?

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  • I live where Bobby Salazars is from and there are two different restaurants: Bobby Salazars and Sal’s. Both serve the Bobby’s salsa and I have to say, we love it!! I can eat a whole container with just chips. It’s definitely one of the best store bought salsas (even better when you get it fresh!). Locally, the Costcos sell bulk containers of Bobby’s salsa and we buy it all the time for parties or just to have to snack on with chips.

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    • I came to say the same!!

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  • Cowboy Caviar from Trader Joes is my personal favorite!

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  • My favorite from the refrigerated section is “La Mexicana Brand Cantina Salsa.” It is made here in Southern California so might not be available everywhere. It lasts forever in the fridge but tastes so fresh. I use it to make Mexican rice and other recipes too.

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  • I would love if you all ranked store bought salsa verde. I struggle so hard to find a good one that tastes like what you get from a restaurant.

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  • Chichi’s medium chunky is hands down the best salsa. I hope you tried it.

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