HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >


best prepared salsa?

i've just discovered mrs. renfro's...i've tried a few varieties and so far like them all. haven't tried ghost pepper yet. i never thought i'd like a store bought brand. i usually go to my corner restaurant and buy a big container. any other favorites out there?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I have a big garden and can my own salsa(s). But, once I am out (about now, usually) I fall back on Mrs. Renfro's. I like the Hot (not very hot, actually) Mexican Salsa the best.

    1. Papalote Salsa from the Papalote Mexican Grill. Its the same salsa they use at their restaurant, just jarred up. It has a cult following in San Francisco and was even featured on Throwdown with Bobby Flay. If you live in California, you can get them from Whole Foods. But if not, just have it shipped to you. Yes, there is shipping but they lower the price when you buy 3 jars. 3 jars would cost $22.64 if you buy it from Whole Foods (only in California) or $24.74 with shipping all the way to the east coast. I would get the 3 jar variety trio to test which you like the best.


      4 Replies
      1. re: iamreptar

        About $34 for 3 jars to Florida, and they dont take AmEx.

        1. re: Veggo

          You were supposed to scroll down to their 3 pack. It seems that you chose to buy 3 separate jars. Though, just checked, the cost with shipping is actually $28.34 if you choose priority mail flat rate. Basically, you're just paying $6 shipping vs. buying it directly from Whole Foods or their restaurant.

          1. re: iamreptar

            Thanks, I'll see if I can re-do my order.

            1. re: Veggo

              Were they able to accommodate your request to change? That's a nice factor if they were.

      2. I've tried a lot of jarred salsas, but luckily Tostitos is my favorite so far. Better than anything I ever made, anyway!

        2 Replies
        1. re: coll

          Thank heavens someone else believes the Tostito salsa is the best. Unfortunately they don't sell it in Puerto Vallarta and I have to bring a supply from Canada.

          1. re: mexivilla

            I like it and I'm not afraid to admit it. Best of all, I get it by the half gallon at BJs for $6.50. I do go through salsa. But for once, that's not the reason I buy it; I truly think it's simple and perfect.

        2. We like Green Mountain Gringo medium hot salsa. It was made originally in a home kitchen in Chester VT and that's where we first bought it while renting a home nearby. For quite a while it was the only place we could buy it so we always stocked up before heading home. Now it's available everywhere it seems.

          It's full of flavor and the ingredients are all the things we like: "Ripe Tomatoes, Fresh Onions, Fresh Tomatillos, Fresh Jalapeño Peppers, Fresh Pasilla Peppers, Apple Cider Vinegar, Fresh Cilantro, Fresh Parsley, Fresh Garlic, Sea Salt, Spices". Terrific with their Masa Harina corn flour and blue corn flour tortilla strips.


          5 Replies
          1. re: Gio

            This is my hands down favorite as well. It's fantastic, and as hard as I try every canning season, I can't make anything that even comes close.

            I really think it depends on what you think of as salsa. There are two camps: salsa that is more like fresh or pico de gallo, with evident and firm-ish textured, identifiable pieces of whatever is in it and a more uncooked flavor, or a ketchup-y salsa that is a cooked puree with nondescript and/or few chunks of anything.

            Green Mountain Gringo is definitely in the former category, which is why I love it.
            My only complaint is that the medium isn't hot at all and the hot is too hot for many. I have resorted to mixing hot and medium to get it right.

            1. re: splatgirl

              I find Tostitos to be in the first camp, too. I can usually only get medium, it has a little bite but I add some hot sauce if the occasion calls for it.

              1. re: splatgirl

                3rd on the GMG salsa. It's definitely the best shelf-jarred salsa I have tried.

                There are some good "fresh" salsas that I have tried in the refrigerated section of stores, but the name is escaping me right now.

              2. re: Gio

                That's been mentioned before and I tried it and liked it. Thanks for the reminder.

                1. re: Gio

                  That was my friend's sister making that Green Mountain salsa.

                  It's good.

                  So is Tostitos.

                  So is Trader Joes, even though I generally don't like their stuff.

                  My current favorite is Frontera Grill's salsas.

                2. I'm in Houston, so we are admittedly spoiled with too many options. Probably have 40 to choose from in my grocery store, and at least half of those are made in Texas. One of the bigger brands is Jardine's. If it happens to make it as far as Boston, they have some pretty good options. A hot peach version that's interesting. If you brave Wal-Mart, you might find it there.

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: arashall

                    Jardines regularly shows up in the food section at TJ Maxx and HomeGoods here in Boston.

                    Spike's has entered the Boston market in the last few years, and is consistently fresh tasting and yummy. That said, both the black bean and con queso versions are disgusting, but I find that to be true of just about all jarred varieties of same.

                    Third for Herdez as well.

                    1. re: Jenny Ondioline

                      Seriously? At Home Goods? That amazes me, because I don't consider it to be a specialty item in any way. Just grocery store salsa.

                      1. re: arashall

                        Probably a specialty item for most markets. I don't know how they source though, just imagining. I have seen Jardines I think, but not in the local supermarket for sure (NY).

                      2. re: Jenny Ondioline

                        where have you seen spike's and herdez plse.?

                        1. re: opinionatedchef

                          Any Star Market, or at least any of the ones I shop at regularly (Packards Corner, River Street Waltham and Brighton Mills, in that order).

                      3. re: arashall

                        I have DL Jardines in my fridge right now. The cilantro green olive in medium. You are right, its good stuff

                      4. Rick Bayless' Frontera salsa is my go too. The tomato salsa is bright with chunks of tomato which have a natural texture that you don't often find in jarred salsa. The chipotle flavor is my favorite for its combination of heat and sweetness.

                        1. Fresh salsas from Sabra are surprisingly good. They actually taste - no pun intended- fresh.

                          1. Herdez Salsa Casera is wonderful. We started getting it in Mexico whenever we went. It is now available in the US.

                            We used to get some great fire roasted salsa, but we can't find it any more. It might have been Arriba (jar is similar), but I thought it was made in New Mexico.

                            4 Replies
                            1. re: travelerjjm

                              i like the herdez salsa, too! i use the verde quite frequently.

                              1. re: travelerjjm

                                It's el pinto salsa from NM. It's the best! You can sometimes get it at sams club in a big container. We love both the red and roasted green Chile salsa.

                                1. re: mariars

                                  El Pinto is good, we used to eat there a lot when I was a kid. This salsa was different, though.

                                2. re: travelerjjm

                                  I used to buy Arriba! fire roasted too and haven't been able to find the jar labeled as such. I just checked their web site and it claims all the salsas are fire roasted, so I might give them another try.

                                3. I always buy Jack's Garden Fresh Gourmet from Costco. It is perishable (sold in the refrigerated case near the hummus and tzaziki sauce), comes in a big square plastic jar, and it's incredible. Tastes a lot better than many restaurant salsas I've had.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: Big Bad Voodoo Lou

                                    All their salsas are available at my grocery, and each one is spectacular.

                                    1. re: Big Bad Voodoo Lou

                                      Costco's Kirkland brand organic chunky medium heat is good. I like the idea of it being organic at a reasonable price.

                                    2. Dessert Pepper Trading Company (http://desertpepper.com). Either the Roasted Tomato Chipotle Corn Salsa or the Corn Black Bean and Red Pepper Salsa. They also make an excellent Black Bean Dip.

                                      1. I ate a lot of salsa in Arizona, and most jarred products weren't up to snuff... but Goldwaters was always welcome!


                                        3 Replies
                                        1. re: Booklegger451

                                          Isn't Goldwater's a department store? My mother still has a "charge card" from there.

                                          1. re: C. Hamster

                                            I'm pretty sure it's a different Goldwaters. I'm more curious if it has any connection to Arizona's favorite politician, Barry Goldwater.

                                            Edit: Well, here we go, from their website:

                                            "Welcome to Goldwater’s Foods. I started this company in 1989 with my mom, Joanne Goldwater and my aunt, Peggy Goldwater Clay. My grandfather was the late Senator Barry Goldwater who instilled in me the appreciation and the beauty of the Southwest and family tradition. We’ve created our line to reflect that"

                                            I guess they ARE related to Barry Goldwater.

                                            2nd Edit: Double wow... Goldwaters Salsa was started by Barry Goldwaters grandson. Goldwaters department store was started by Barry Goldwaters grandfather. So, all related in some way!

                                            1. re: Booklegger451

                                              In addition to her "charge card," mom still has an AuH2O button from '64

                                              Maybe I can score some salsa on the internets

                                        2. I like Santa Barbara salsas: http://www.sbsalsa.com/indexprod.html

                                          Their hot Salsa Taquera is my favorite, but we mostly use the mild pico de gallo since my SO can't handle the heat in the taquera.

                                          1. Target makes a really nice one that has corn kernels and black beans in it. Yum.

                                            Otherwise, Tostitos or Pace are good for supermarket brands.

                                            1. I love Salsa Lisa's hot version. It's in the refrigerated section. It's very fresh tasting with a good kick. Made here in Minnesota but I noticed it's available in California and some states on the east coast. A tablespoon or two mixed with mashed avocado makes a very good guacamole.

                                              I'm hooked on Mrs. Renfro's salsa verde. I love to add it to chicken tortilla soup.

                                              1. I just thought of another jarred salsa that I really like. It's the Number 9 Salsas from Paino Organics. Not sure how widely available it is, but it's really good stuff!

                                                1. I really like Whole Foods store brand Cantina-style salsa in the refrigerated section

                                                  1. ATK put a "recommended" on Pace Chunky Medium, but still recognized that home made is always best.

                                                    1. I like Frontera, TJ's salsa verde & tomatillo & roasted yellow chili, & yes, Pace Picante for certain applications....

                                                      1. We used to have a brand named Frog Ranch here in central Ohio in some stores.It was amazing for salsa out of the jar, lil pricey though. Med. was like (mild/med).

                                                        1. Recently discovered a brand called Texas Texas that is surprisingly good.

                                                          1. Frontera mango and tomatillo mixed together. I had a party and a few people said it was the best (jarred) they'd had.

                                                            1. La Mexicana Hot or Medium salsa is excellent. very fresh.

                                                              1. Believe it or not...
                                                                The hands-down best salsa for the money is Price Chopper's Medium Chunky Salsa - $2 a jar! Possibly even the best regardless of money.

                                                                1. Got a hold of Mrs. Renfro jarred salsa. Not bad at all.

                                                                  1. Does Mrs. Renfro's have a lot of vinegar in it? I find that most jarred salsas have too much vinegar tang for my taste. My favorite is Trader Joe's Salsa Especial, but we only have one Trader Joe's here and it's not always convenient to get there. I've tried Green Mountain Gringo, El Pinto, as well as some of the Frontera Grill salsa and they all have too much vinegar. I do like Herdez, but it's not very hot.

                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                    1. re: gmm

                                                                      Try the refridgerated salsa or pico de gallo at trader joes, no noticable extra vinegar in those.

                                                                      1. re: gmm

                                                                        I was at Winco today and saw a brand of refrigerated salsa I haven't seen before - Maria's Salsa Company. I love roasted salsas that have little bits of charred veggies so I grabbed a tub of the Salsa Tatemada. The ingredient list is short - roasted jalapenos, Roma tomatoes, salt and garlic. I really like the flavor, but it's much too hot for my palate. They don't appear to have a website, but they do have a Facebook page, and it looks like only a couple stores currently carry it. I will definitely try the other flavors,