Extra Salsa? Seven Delicious Salsa Uses To Finish That Jar

The ingredients list for a standard salsa recipe includes some of the most versatile ingredients in the world: tomatoes, onions, and cilantro. And, of course, for many salsas: chili peppers. If you have run out of ideas for using salsa (like as a dip or condiment on its own) and have some left over, you still have options. Here are some of the best ways to use up your extra salsa.

Note: before taking any steps with that extra salsa, consider when you last opened the jar. Salsa can go bad. If it’s been weeks (or months), then it may be best to simply throw it out.

You can also opt to freeze extra salsa, though that comes with some cons as well. Consider how quickly you can use it vs. our options below.

  1. Spanish Rice
    Sometimes called Mexican rice or red rice, Spanish rice recipes typically require all or most of the ingredients that you might see in a typical salsa roja recipe. Having a pre-made salsa ready to go eliminates a few steps and makes the preparation easier. Some vegan recipes may require only two ingredients: rice and salsa, though you will need to add chicken stock for the non-vegan ones. Salsa taquera, salsa verde, and corn salsa all can be used to make versions of Spanish rice.
  2. Queso Dip
    The simplest recipe for queso dip — also known as salsa con queso — consists of an easy-to-melt cheese combined with a salsa roja or salsa fresca. Serve your queso dip with tortilla chips.
  3. Marinade
    The flavor profile of salsa allows it to work well as a seasoning. From the onion and lime juice to the garlic that you find in some salsa recipes, salsa can make a great marinade. Spoon it over chicken, fish or pork that you plan to roast or grill. Another way to use it is to add it to ground or shaved beef to make meat for tacos or fajitas. The acidity of most salsa makes it a particularly useful addition to fajita meat since a tart component is usually a requirement in that dish.
  4. Bloody Mary
    When you think of ways to use up excess salsa, a beverage might not be the first thing that springs to mind. That said, everything in salsa can work as a complement to the famous tomato-based drink. Almost any savory salsa makes a great addition to a bloody Mary. A traditional salsa will have a spicy kick from jalapeños or other hot peppers. The spiciness makes it an even better fit for the world’s most popular savory cocktail. Note that you will have to run most salsas through a blender to make them drinkable – you don’t want your bloody Mary too chunky.
  5. Gazpacho
    The typical gazpacho recipe will include cucumber but aside from that, the ingredients are the same ones that show up in salsa recipes. Add cucumber to your salsa, puree it and you have most of what a gazpacho recipe will require. You may need to add oil, vinegar and water.
  6. Chili
    A typical red salsa will have most of the ingredients that you need for a flavorful chili. Not only will it have chili peppers for a source of heat, but it will also have tomatoes and onions. You have the option of sweating the salsa at the start with your meat or pureeing it to add later for a wetter texture.
  7. Gumbo
    Aside from ingredients like cilantro and lemon juice, most of the ingredients in a standard salsa recipe are found in gumbo recipes as well. Onions, tomatoes, and hot peppers will all work in a gumbo. Cilantro and lemon juice don’t usually appear in the standard gumbo recipe, but they shouldn’t detract from it either. You should be able to use them and still wind up with an enjoyable dish.

UPDATE NOTICE: This post was updated on March 19, 2022 to include new content.
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The best way to use up salsa is to either dump it into your favorite Italian tomato-based sauce recipes or top your Italian dishes with it as you would a Mexican dish!! Lasagna, spaghetti, pizza – it doesn’t matter.

Unless you’re actually in Chicago or New York, chances are your pizza won’t have enough sauce and the sauce it does have will be too sweet so, just top it with some salsa! As long as you haven’t overdone the cilantro (the most ridiculous and blasphemous food fad in history!!) in your salsa, you’re good to go!