We tasted over 25 products to find the best store-bought salsa. Here are our top picks.
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6 jars of salsa on a designed background
Credit: Courtesy of the Merchants

There's a reason salsa is a popular condiment. Not only can it be used as a topping for tacos or paired with tortilla chips as a dip, it's also endlessly customizable. Whether you prefer it spicy or mild, chunky or smooth, salsa is a definite crowd-pleaser. And while homemade salsa is delicious, it's not always convenient to make, which is where store-bought salsas come in handy. 

"Choosing salsa as a condiment is a great way to up your vegetable intake. If you're short on time, there are several pre-made salsas that can be a convenient and healthy addition to your plate," explains Jessica Ball, M.S., RD, associate nutrition editor at EatingWell. "When you're buying pre-made salsas, one thing to keep in mind is the milligrams of sodium on the label. Choosing a salsa that is lower in sodium can help you keep your intake in check, which is important for heart health and maintaining a healthy blood pressure."

To narrow the field, we blind-taste-tested 26 products that met our nutrition parameters. We tried each salsa paired with a tortilla chip, and made notes about the taste, texture and flavor. We found that Green Mountain Gringo was the best option overall. Read on for our full list of the best jarred salsas that are a must-buy on your next trip to the grocery store.

Our Product Recommendations

3 jars of Green Mountain Gringo Salsa on a designed background
Credit: Green Mountain Gringo

Best Overall: Green Mountain Gringo

Green Mountain Gringo was a favorite at every spice level with our testers. The salsas stood out in mild, medium and hot varieties, with each salsa having its own unique and delicious flavor. The mild salsa, which features tomatillos and pasilla peppers, was praised for its balanced acidity. Our testers were also a fan of the salsa's consistency, especially when compared to others in the category, which were too liquidy. 

The medium salsa is also made with pasilla peppers and gets its subtle heat from jalapeños. Our testers noted that despite it being a jarred, shelf-stable product, Green Mountain Gringo's medium salsa tasted fresh. Plus, the texture of the salsa had good chunks of peppers, tomato and onion. 

Finally, the hot salsa from Green Mountain Gringo relies on jalapeño and serrano peppers to achieve heat and spice. Our testers loved the spiciness and thought the heat built nicely, rather than overpowering the palate upon first bite. Whether it's mild, medium or hot, you can't go wrong with any of Green Mountain Gringo's options, making it our clear winner. 

Nutrition info for Green Mountain Gringo Mild Salsa, per 2-Tbsp. serving

10 calories, 0 g total fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 85 mg sodium, 2 g carbohydrates, 1 g fiber, 1 g sugar (0 g added sugars), 0 g protein

Nutrition info for Green Mountain Gringo Medium Salsa, per 2-Tbsp. serving

10 calories, 0 g total fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 80 mg sodium, 2 g carbohydrates, 1 g fiber, 1 g sugar (0 g added sugars), 0 g protein

Nutrition info for Green Mountain Gringo Hot Salsa, per 2-Tbsp. serving

10 calories, 0 grams total fat, 0mg cholesterol, 75mg sodium, 2 g carbohydrates, 1 g fiber, 1 g sugar (0 g added sugars), 0 g protein

Nature's Promise Organic Mild Salsa
Credit: InstaCart

Best Budget-Friendly: Nature's Promise Organic Mild Salsa

If you're looking for a delicious salsa at an affordable price, Nature's Promise Organic Mild Salsa is the perfect choice. Among all of the salsas we tasted, which ranged in price from $1.99 to $5.99, Nature's Promise was priced at the lower end of the scale at $2.69 for a 16-ounce jar (Editor's note: prices may vary depending on location). With 15 servings per jar (2 tablespoons is one serving), that works out to about 17 cents per serving.

Aside from its budget-friendly price, this salsa also delivered on flavor. While tomato was the predominant flavor, our testers enjoyed the subtle smoky notes within the salsa, which were balanced by the sweetness of the fruit. Although the salsa features jalapeño peppers, the heat is mild and would be a tasty addition on any table. 

As a bonus, Nature's Promise salsa is also certified organic, meaning the product has met all of the USDA's certification requirements. So you get not only a tasty, affordable salsa but also one produced with consideration of the environmental impact of its ingredients. 

Nutrition info for Nature's Promise Organic Mild Salsa, per 2-Tbsp. serving 

10 calories, 0 g total fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 115 mg sodium, 2 g carbohydrates, 0 g fiber, 1 g sugar (0 g added sugars), 0 g protein

Organics Chunky Salsa Mild
Credit: ACME

Best Mild Salsa: O Organics Chunky Salsa Mild

Whether you're planning dinner for the family or hosting friends for taco night, choosing a mild salsa is a smart choice as tolerance for spice varies by person—and that's why everyone will love the mild salsa from O Organics. This product stood out to our testers for its minimal spice, yet tasty flavor. One tester called the product a crowd-pleaser, and you'll agree after the first bite.

Based on the name, the salsa promises to be chunky, and our testers felt that promise was delivered. The chunks of tomato and pepper were clear in each scoop. While the salsa is chunky, the consistency is also smooth, a balance that our testers appreciated, especially compared to other mild salsas where the consistency was too loose. 

Nutrition info for O Organics Chunky Salsa Mild, per 2-Tbsp. serving 

15 calories, 0 g total fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 140 mg sodium, 3 g carbohydrates, ≤1 g fiber, 1 g sugar (0 g added sugars), 0 g protein

Trader Joe's Thick and Chunky Salsa
Credit: Trader Joe's

Best Medium Salsa: Trader Joe's Organic Thick & Chunky Salsa

If you're looking to turn the heat up, Trader Joe's Organic Thick & Chunky Salsa was the best choice in the medium spice category. Our testers were big fans of the spice level in this product, with one tester saying it had "nice heat on the aftertaste." Another tester thought the heat built slowly, so it didn't overwhelm her palate after the first bite. The subtle heat is achieved with jalapeños and cayenne pepper.

Aside from the heat, the consistency of the salsa also stood out. Its chunky texture was appreciated by our testers and was a distinct contrast to some of the less-preferred salsas in the category, which were too loose or had too much liquid. 

The winning endorsement came from one tester (who doesn't like to shop at Trader Joe's) who said they would buy the product. With 10 medium salsas tried, Trader Joe's Organic Thick & Chunky Salsa stood out on taste and texture, making it a clear winner. 

Nutrition info for Trader Joe's Organic Thick & Chunky Salsa, per 2-Tbsp. serving 

10 calories, 0 g total fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 135 mg sodium, 2 g carbohydrates, ≥1g fiber, 1 g sugar (0 g added sugars), 0 g protein

Conclusion

The type of store-bought salsa you choose depends on your tastes. Green Mountain Gringo is sure to be a winner at any spice level. If you're looking for a budget-friendly option, Nature's Promise Organic Mild Salsa is tasty and affordable.

The Test

To narrow the field, we researched and read the labels of over 40 products, and selected the ones that fit the following nutrition requirements: ≤100 calories and ≤140mg sodium per serving (read more below about the nutrition parameters). To source products, we visited five grocery stores (Hannaford, Shaw's, Price Chopper's Market 32, Trader Joe's and the grocery section of Target) to find any available products that met the requirements. For the taste test, a blind tasting was set up. Each tester tried the product with a tortilla chip, as that is a common and popular way to enjoy salsa. We took notes commenting on the taste, consistency and heat level.

Nutrition Parameters

When buying store-bought salsa, an important nutrition parameter to consider is sodium, which is often high in shelf-stable, processed foods. While the recommended daily sodium intake for adults is 2,300 milligrams or less, according to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the Food and Drug Administration notes that Americans eat an average of 3,400 milligrams of sodium per day. Eating too much salt can have a negative effect on your body, including making you feel puffy or bloated, prone to headaches or eczema and more. Limiting sodium is also important if you're trying to follow a heart-healthy diet. A high intake of sodium over time can lead to high blood pressure, or hypertension, which, if left untreated, could lead to a heart attack or stroke. 

That's why we chose products that fit EatingWell's nutrition parameters for the category of dips/salsas: ≤100 calories and ≤140mg sodium per serving. This criteria aligns with the American Heart Association's Heart-Check program, a program that helps consumers identify products that are heart-healthy. (The calories aren't an issue with salsa, which is mainly made with veggies, like they might be with a creamy dip.)

Our Expertise

Alex Loh is the assistant digital editor at EatingWell. She is passionate about food and cooking, and has over two years of experience with the brand. She has written over 15 product guides and has tested hundreds of products, including chef's knives, saucepans and salad spinners. For this piece, she consulted a registered dietitian and associate nutrition editor at EatingWell, Jessica Ball, M.S., RD, for her insights about nutrition. The testers included registered dietitians and food editors.