This authentic mango habanero salsa uses traditional Mexican techniques to make the perfect sweet and spicy salsa. It’s bold, fresh, flavorful and the perfect pairing with everything from tacos, tortilla chips, to proteins and so much more!
Mangoes can be delicious in smoothies, but even better when paired with spicy habaneros in a salsa. The sweetness of the mango is the perfect tropical fruit to combine with the super hot habanero peppers, making this salsa a must have on the table to pair with everything from tacos to enchiladas or scooped by the handful with some fresh tortilla chips!
Why this recipe works
- It’s made with the freshest of fresh ingredients.
- This salsa is much better than any store-bought salsa! Especially because it’s made without preservatives or any weird added ingredients.
- It’s made using authentic Mexican techniques passed down from my mother-in-law, so you know it's gotta be delicious!
- It pairs two magical ingredients - habaneros for spice (like extra-hot!) and mangoes for sweetness - to create a perfect combination of a spicy yet sweet salsa.
- This recipe is gluten free and dairy free.
Habaneros are a spicy chili pepper, and a must-have ingredient for this salsa recipe! Habaneros typically come in a bright red or orange color, but they can also be yellow, green or even purple! They are found in the produce section and are tiny - about 2-6 centimeters long. Habaneros are quite spicy (about 76 times more so than jalapeños) and have a kind of fruity or tropical and light smoky flavor.
Mangoes are a great pairing with habaneros because they balance out the heat. The tropical flavor also matches that of the pepper. There are hundreds of varieties of mangoes, but any will do! Just make sure to pick one that is slightly ripe (too ripe and it might be better matched for a smoothie). You can tell as it should give like an avocado when squeezed - just enough when pressed. If you can’t find mangoes, substitute with pineapple - this keeps the salsa slightly tropical and sweet!
Roma tomatoes are a must-have for salsa-making and are a staple ingredient in Mexican cuisine. Substitute for heirloom tomatoes.
As with any traditional Mexican salsa, charring the tomatoes and onions first are an absolute must. This adds extra flavor and if you have the time, it shouldn't be skipped! If you have a gas stove you can char tomatoes on the open flame, but for a safer bet the broiler is best!
To do this, half the roma tomatoes and place them skin side up on a lightly oiled baking sheet along with the quarter white onion and garlic cloves.
Broil for about 5 to 8 minutes, until there’s a char - this adds a ton of flavor to the salsa!
Let the tomatoes, onion and garlic cool for a few minutes. While you wait, cut the mango and half the habaneros (use 1-3 habaneros depending on what level of heat you want!).
Add the chopped mango and halved habanero(es) to the blender along with cilantro, lime juice, the charred onion and garlic, and salt.
Blend until reaching a pureed consistency and the habaneros are in small pieces. (You can absolutely use a food processor too!)
Finally, add the charred tomatoes (keep the charred skins, we love the flavor it adds!) to the pureed salsa. This helps keep the salsa at a chunky, thick consistency rather than blending all at the same time! Blend for 15-20 seconds, until the tomatoes are broken up and the salsa forms.
Serve immediately or store in the refrigerator in an airtight container for a few hours to let the flavors combine.
Honestly, my favorite way to eat salsa is by the spoon or with a handful of homemade tortilla chips (read: the whole lot). It’s also great served in or on tons of different options, like:
- In a carnitas burrito
- As a dipping sauce for quesadillas
- To spice up some chorizo con huevos
- As a topping for tacos like fried fish tacos
- To add spice to some beef enchiladas
- Served with a refreshing avocado salad
Chunky vs smooth salsa. While there’s no right or wrong way to enjoy a salsa, a tried and true Mexican salsa is blended together into a liquid consistency, unlike the equally delicious but different chopped pico de gallo. For this habanero mango salsa, add the charred tomatoes last so as to keep the salsa on the thicker side. However, if you want a super smooth salsa, you can keep on blending!
Use gloves. This is not the time to be brave and risk it all for the salsa - habaneros can cause a lot of pain if you touch your eye or other parts of your body after handling. I highly suggest using gloves while touching and cutting the habaneros in this salsa.
Mild, medium or hot. I love some heat, but when I want a salsa, I want uninterrupted tortilla chip dipping and minimal heat. For a mild salsa, I suggest using only 1 habanero - remember the salsa will get hotter as it sits. For an extremely mild salsa, you can even swap out the habanero for a jalapeño (76-100 times less spicy!). For a medium salsa, I suggest adding 2-3 habaneros. Anything in the hot+ range, I suggest trying 3 habaneros and adding more to taste.
Make ahead. Making this mango habanero salsa ahead is the best! It tastes great served a day or two later. Just remember that, as with all homemade salsas, the heat increases over time.
Storage directions: Store homemade salsa in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-5 days.
Freezing directions: You definitely can freeze salsas (I suggest using Souper Cubes!), but the consistency and texture will not last the same as fresh.
Habaneros are rated at 100,000-350,000 on the Scoville Chart. For reference, a poblano pepper is 1,000-1,500 and a jalapeño pepper is 5,500.
Nope! If you prefer a really mild salsa or you have difficulty with spice, then I would suggest removing the seeds. The salsa will still have spice!
A salsa always has a more liquid consistency than a chopped pico de gallo. However, to achieve a chunkier salsa, pulse the ingredients at a minimum and watch closely while blending. We also add the tomatoes last so as to keep the salsa at a thicker texture.
The great thing about this salsa is it’s flexible with your taste. Start with one habanero and add more per preference. I suggest starting with 1-2 and then adding a third if you want to bring the HEAT!
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Mango Habanero Salsa
- Blender or Food Processor
- 1 mango
- 1-3 habaneros read more below
- 3 roma tomatoes
- ¼ white onion peeled
- 2 cloves garlic peeled
- ¼ cup cilantro
- ¼ cup lime juice about 1-2 limes
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Preheat oven to broil.
Slice roma tomatoes in half and set skin-side up onto a lightly oiled or aluminum foil lined baking sheet.3 roma tomatoes
Add white onion and garlic onto baking sheet.¼ white onion, 2 cloves garlic
- Broil for 5-8 minutes, until tomato skins have char.
- Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly, for a few minutes.
Remove stems from habaneros and slice in half lengthwise (I highly suggest use gloves to avoid touching your eyes/face). For those who prefer minimal heat, I suggest removing the seeds.1-3 habaneros
Cut and peel mango into large cubes.1 mango
Add cubed mango, habanero, cilantro and the broiled onion and garlic cloves to a blender or food processor with lime juice and salt.¼ cup lime juice, ½ teaspoon salt, ¼ cup cilantro
- Process/blend until mango chunks are a smooth pureed consistency (or if you prefer a chunkier salsa, barely pulse for 15-seconds).
- Add charred roma tomatoes (keep on charred skins, they add extra flavor!) and blend on low for 15-20 seconds, until tomatoes are broken into smaller chunks but not fully pureed. This keeps the salsa thick and chunky.
- Transfer to a bowl and serve immediately or allow flavors to sit in the fridge (cover the bowl) for a few hours.
- Reminder: salsas get spicier as they sit, so while the habanero mango salsa may be mild or medium to begin with, it may get to a more hot level of heat over time.