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What else can salsa be used for?

Salsa is a versatile condiment that can be used for much more than just dipping tortilla chips. While many people enjoy salsa with Mexican food, it can also be incorporated into a variety of other cuisines and dishes. From sandwiches to casseroles to salad dressings, salsa can add a flavorful kick to meals. Read on to discover new ways to use salsa in cooking and as a condiment.

Using Salsa as a Marinade

Salsa makes an excellent marinade for meats, vegetables, and more. The acidity helps tenderize meats while the blend of flavors infuses them with taste.

Meat Marinade

Try marinating chicken, beef, pork, or fish in salsa before grilling or baking. The chart below provides recommended marinade times for different meats:

Meat Marinade Time
Chicken 30 minutes to 1 hour
Steak 1 to 2 hours
Pork chops 2 to 4 hours
Fish 30 minutes

When ready to cook, remove the meat from the salsa marinade and pat dry. Discard used marinade.

Vegetable Marinade

Salsa also nicely flavors vegetables. Marinate chopped veggies like peppers, onions, mushrooms, or zucchini in salsa for 15-30 minutes before grilling or roasting. The salsa’s acidity helps break down the vegetables while the seasonings infuse flavor.

Salsa Salad Dressings and Vinaigrettes

Liven up salads by using salsa as a flavorful salad dressing. Simply whisk together salsa, oil, and other desired ingredients to create a bold vinaigrette.

Basic Salsa Vinaigrette

– 1/4 cup salsa
– 3 tablespoons olive oil
– 1 tablespoon lime juice
– 1/2 teaspoon honey
– Salt and pepper to taste

Whisk ingredients together until smooth. Toss with greens, vegetables, beans, or grains.

Creamy Salsa Salad Dressing

– 1/2 cup salsa
– 1/4 cup sour cream or plain Greek yogurt
– 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
– 1 tablespoon lime juice
– 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
– Salt and pepper to taste

Whisk ingredients together until thoroughly combined. Pour over salad.

Salsa Toppings and Accompaniments

Liven up a variety of dishes by serving them with salsa either on the side or spooned on top.


– Eggs – Top scrambled eggs or omelets with a dollop of salsa.
– Avocado toast – Spread mashed avocado on toast and top with salsa.
– Breakfast tacos or burritos – Add salsa to fillings or use as a condiment.

Burgers and Sandwiches

– Cheeseburgers – Top with sliced avocado and salsa for a flavorful combo.
– Grilled cheese – Spread the inside of the sandwich with salsa before grilling.
– Chicken sandwiches – Salsa nicely complements grilled or crispy chicken.


– Use salsa as a base sauce in place of tomato sauce.
– Top pizzas with salsa along with vegetables, beans, meat, etc.

Nachos and Potatoes

– Load nachos with salsa, beans, cheese, etc.
– Top baked potatoes with salsa and fixings like cheese, bacon, and scallions.


– Add salsa to leafy green, grain, pasta, or bean salads.
– Use salsa as a dressing rather than pouring on top (see dressing ideas above).

Quesadillas and Tacos

– Mix salsa into the filling for quesadillas, tacos, burritos, etc.
– Serve salsa on the side for dipping and drizzling.

Cooking with Salsa

Don’t limit salsa to just a topping or dip – incorporate it into cooked dishes and baked goods for a flavor boost.


Stir salsa into casserole fillings like enchiladas, lasagna, mac and cheese, etc. The chart below provides guidelines for amounts based on an 8×8 casserole dish size:

Salsa Amount Flavor Impact
1/4 cup Mild
1/2 cup Moderate
1 cup Very bold

For a creamy enchilada casserole, mix 1 cup salsa into 1 1/2 cups shredded chicken, 1 can beans, and 8 oz. cream cheese. Stuff into tortillas, top with cheese, and bake.


Add anywhere from 1/4 to 1 cup of salsa per batch of chili to infuse flavor. Saute salsa with the ground meat and spices before adding other ingredients.

Soups and Stews

Stir salsa into soups and stews near the end of cooking to gently heat through without overcooking. Try adding 1/4 to 1/2 cup per 4-6 servings.

Baked Fish

Cover fish fillets with a layer of salsa before baking. The salsa will form a flavorful crust while keeping the fish moist.

Queso Dip

For easy queso, combine 1 cup salsa, 1 cup melted cheese, and 1/4 cup cream cheese. Serve warm with tortilla chips.

Baked Eggs

For huevos rancheros, bake eggs in a salsa-coated pan. Top eggs with more salsa and garnish with avocado, cheese, etc.


Mix 1/2 cup salsa and 1/4 cup breadcrumbs or oats into the ground meat before shaping into a loaf. Glaze more salsa on top.

Salsa Breads and Muffins

The flavors of salsa wonderfully translate into quick breads and muffins. Try these recipes:

Salsa Cornbread

– 1 cup cornmeal
– 1 cup flour
– 2 teaspoons baking powder
– 1/4 teaspoon salt
– 3/4 cup milk
– 1/3 cup salsa
– 1 egg
– 2 tablespoons oil or melted butter

Mix dry ingredients. Whisk wet ingredients separately then fold into dry just until combined. Pour into greased 8×8 pan. Bake at 400F for 20 minutes.

Salsa Cheddar Muffins

– 2 cups flour
– 2 teaspoons baking powder
– 1/2 teaspoon salt
– 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
– 1 cup milk
– 1/2 cup salsa
– 1 egg
– 4 tablespoons oil or melted butter

Whisk dry ingredients together. In another bowl, mix remaining wet ingredients. Gently fold wet into dry just until combined. Scoop batter into greased muffin tin. Bake at 400F for 18-20 minutes.

Homemade Salsa Recipes

Making fresh salsa at home opens up even more possibilities for use. Customize flavors to suit your tastes.

Basic Homemade Salsa

– 2 cups diced tomatoes
– 1/2 cup diced onion
– 1 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped
– 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
– 1 tablespoon lime juice
– 1 garlic clove, minced
– 1/2 teaspoon salt

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl. Let flavors meld for 30 minutes before serving.

Mango Pineapple Salsa

– 1 mango, diced
– 1/2 pineapple, diced
– 1/3 cup diced red onion
– 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
– 1 tablespoon lime juice
– 1/2 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped
– 1/4 teaspoon salt

Gently mix all ingredients together. Chill for 1 hour before serving to allow flavors to blend.

Peach Salsa

– 2 peaches, diced
– 1/4 red onion, diced
– 2 tablespoons lime juice
– 1 tablespoon honey
– 1/4 cup chopped basil
– 1/2 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped
– Pinch of salt

Stir ingredients gently together in a bowl. Let sit for 30 minutes before serving.


As you can see, salsa is endlessly adaptable in cooking. Whether using jarred salsa or homemade, incorporate this flavor-packed condiment into marinades, dressings, baked goods, casseroles, and more. With a few simple ingredients, salsa can spruce up all kinds of dishes beyond Mexican cuisine. So grab a jar or make a fresh batch and experiment with new ways to cook with salsa.