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Dip Your Chips into the Best Salsa, as Chosen by Expert Cooks

Our experts dipped into 10 different jars to find the very best salsa on store shelves. Find out which brand you need for your next snack attack.

Every editorial product is independently selected, though we may be compensated or receive an affiliate commission if you buy something through our links. Ratings and prices are accurate and items are in stock as of time of publication.

Tkp Salsa Test SqTMB Studio

Searching for the Best Salsa

Whether you’re topping your tacos or munching on tortilla chips, salsa provides the perfect blast of flavor to many dishes and snacks. Even if you make a mean homemade salsa, it’s nice to have a solid store-bought salsa on hand for those times when you just want to crack open a jar and dig in.

Once in a while, you’ll encounter a jarred salsa that’s so good you could eat it all in one sitting. Other times, store-bought salsa lingers in the back of the fridge because it just doesn’t satisfy your snack cravings. So what’s really the best salsa? Our Test Kitchen had to find out!

overhead view of salsa in a bowl near flour tortillas on a cutting boardTaste of Home

How We Judged Store-Bought Salsa

Just like all our taste tests, our Test Kitchen staff sampled all the products blindly to avoid any bias. For this test, that meant our pros dipped tortilla chips into ten of the most popular store-bought salsa brands. Each was judged according to these three categories:

  • Flavor: Our Test Kitchen was looking for freshness, spice and a little bit of heat.
  • Consistency: The best salsa shouldn’t be too watery or thick—somewhere in the middle is ideal.
  • Appearance: Since salsa can add a pop of color to dishes and snack trays, we looked for salsas that looked bright and full of real ingredients.

While we sampled ten, just four salsas exceeded our team’s expectations and can be called Test Kitchen-Preferred.

Mateos SalsaVia Merchant

Most Complex Salsa

Mateo’s Gourmet Salsa

When you open a jar of salsa (or even make it at home), you expect a handful of basic flavors, like tomato, onion and pepper. Really tempting salsas, though, bring layers of flavor. That’s the case with Mateo’s Gourmet Salsa.

From the very first dunk, testers noted many ingredients beyond the basic. “There’s a lot of cumin which is really unique and yummy,” says Sarah Tramonte in the Test Kitchen. This earthy spice is common in Latin American cooking and is essential in many spice blends, including taco seasoning.

Sarah Fischer in the Test Kitchen also noted a good dose of cilantro which really took this salsa to the next level. A bit of this herb really can brighten up salsa.

When blended with the deep red tomatoes and a bit of pepper (this medium salsa was more on the mild side), this salsa is one our team cannot stop dunking into.

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Tostitos Chunky SalsaVia Merchant

Best Chunky Salsa

Tostitos Chunky Salsa

When it comes to more rustic or chunky salsas, you can’t beat this snack aisle classic. Tostitos Chunky Salsa has great texture along with visible chunks of tomato, green pepper and onion.

Combined together, these ingredients are vibrant red that beckons you to dip just one more chip or top one more taco. Our testing team also thinks that this salsa has a nice kick; not too overwhelming, but exactly what our team expects of a medium spicy dip.

Overall, this is just one of those people-pleasing products that no one will be able to resist at your next Taco Tuesday.

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Late July SalsaVia Merchant

Best Smooth Salsa

Late July Organic Salsa

Not everyone is a chunky salsa fan. For those that prefer a jar full of salsa with a smoother texture, our Test Kitchen recommends Late July Organic Salsa.

This vibrant red salsa is incredibly appealing with a very tomato-forward flavor. However, this jar holds more than just tomato. “There are some really good flavors and mild heat,” says Sarah Fischer. You’ll find notes of green pepper, jalapeno, garlic and chili in this jar of salsa.

While this smooth salsa is terrific for dipping chips, it’s also a great ingredient in these salsa-based recipes. The smooth consistency makes it easy to stir into this slow-cooked Southwest chicken dinner, nacho dip and stuffed peppers.

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Pace Chunky SalsaVia Merchant

Best Budget Salsa

Pace Chunky Salsa

We know that salsa isn’t the item that’s going to make or break your grocery budget, but it never hurts to have a solid budget option in your cart. For $2.24, you can get a 16-ounce jar of Pace Chunky Salsa. That’s less than half the price of any other salsa option we tried! If you’re hosting a big backyard bash, that’s the salsa you’ll want to have on hand. Use those savings to buy a few more avocados for the homemade guac.

But don’t get it twisted: Affordable doesn’t mean you’re sacrificing taste. Pace has a great chunky texture with plenty of green pepper and onion throughout. The tomatoes in this salsa taste ripe and sweet—a great counterbalance to the onion.

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Test Kitchen Preferred LogoTaste of Home

Check Out More Test Kitchen-Preferred Products

Our Test Kitchen is constantly testing kitchen gadgets, cleaning gear and food looking for brands that deserve the right to be called Test-Kitchen Preferred.

If you’re looking to fill your pantry and fridge with the best products, check out these tests:

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Lisa Kaminski
Lisa is an editor at Taste of Home where she gets to embrace her passion for baking. She pours this love of all things sweet (and sometimes savory) into Bakeable, Taste of Home's baking club. Lisa is also dedicated to finding and testing the best ingredients, kitchen gear and home products for our Test Kitchen-Preferred program. At home, you'll find her working on embroidery and other crafts.