Copycat Baja Fresh Salsa

Fire up the grill to make this wonderful Copycat Baja Fresh Salsa. Grilling the vegetables until charred produces a smoky salsa like no other. It’s so easy to make and so delicious, it’ll become your new go-to!!

copycat baja fresh salsa in front of tacos

We used to have a Baja Fresh in our city, but sadly it closed down. I’m not sure why because I loved it! It was really fresh (the name doesn’t lie) and fast and like most things that seem to be better for you around here, they’re gone in a flash. Instead, we get things like Burger King to take the place of El Pollo Loco (Burger King? really??). Who would rather have Burger King than fresh grilled chicken and all the sides you want?

Both Baja Fresh and El Pollo Loco really made an impression on me. What I loved the most about Baja Fresh, though, was their “black” salsa. I call it black salsa, but I guess it’s real name is something like fire-roasted or charred tomato salsa. Whatever its name, it’s my favorite salsa ever!!


The black color of this copycat Baja Fresh salsa is due to the charred tomatoes and jalapeños. And when I say charred, I mean charred. Like blackest black charred. Not roasted.

So how do you do this? Put the cut tomatoes on the grill on high heat for about an hour. That’s right, an hour on high!! About a half an hour into the tomatoes charring, put the jalapeño(s) on the grill to also get as charred as possible.

charred tomatoes and jalapeno


  • Freshly squeezed lime juice
  • Chicken stock (or broth)
  • Fresh garlic
  • Olive oil
  • Fresh cilantro
  • Salt and pepper to taste

The whole thing gets whirred in a blender until smooth.

baja fresh salsa in blender


Every salsa ever made has onions in it, but I am NOT an onion person (can’t stand them!) so I left them out. If you ARE an onion person and want to add them, place a couple of halved onions on the grill with the jalapeño(s) and continue to char for about a half an hour.


Anything!! You can dip tortilla chips in it, put it on tacos, serve it with quesadillas, mix it with sour cream or Mexican crema for a perfect cold dip for regular chips and/or veggies, or stir it into soups and Instant Pot recipes, like my Mexican Bean Soup! You’re only limited by your imagination, so BYOC (be your own chef)!

charred tomatoes and jalapeno with lime and cilantro

Fire up that grill to make this amazing Baja Fresh style “black” salsa. It’s so different from the usual salsa, I wouldn’t be surprised if it becomes a favorite of yours, too!

copycat baja fresh salsa in front of tacos

Copycat Baja Fresh Salsa

Fire up the grill to make this wonderful Copycat Baja Fresh Salsa. Grilling the vegetables until charred produces a smoky salsa like no other. It's so easy to make and so delicious, it'll become your new go-to!!
Print Recipe
CourseAppetizer, sauce
CuisineAmerican, Mexican
Keywordbaja fresh, Gluten Free, salsa
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time1 hour
Total Time1 hour 5 minutes
Servings4 cups


  • 10 large tomatoes
  • 2 jalapeños (more or less to taste)
  • 1 lime
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 to 1½ cups chicken stock (as needed to thin salsa)
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ½ cup fresh cilantro
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • Slice tomatoes in half and place each half skin side down on a grill over high heat and grill for a half an hour. Add jalapeños to grill and continue to grill tomatoes and jalapeños for another half an hour, or until very charred and blackened.
  • Remove from grill and put tomatoes, jalapeños, garlic, lime juice, olive oil, fresh cilantro, salt and pepper, and half the chicken stock in a blender and puree. Add more chicken stock as needed for a thin, pourable salsa.


*The recipe makes a LOT of salsa, which can be divided into smaller servings and frozen for about 3-6 months.  

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