What’s Inside: Today, I’m diving into the world of homemade salsas, and not just any salsa, but a fiery, tangy, and utterly delicious recipe for canning Chipotle Tomatillo Salsa. This moderately spicy salsa recipe comes from one of my favorite canning books, The All New Ball Book of Canning and Preserving.

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I’ll walk you step-by-step through the process of making the salsa, and then show you how to can it in my favorite canner, the Nesco Smart Canner (Amazon).

Key Takeaways

  • Roast the tomatillos, onion, and garlic in a 425 degree oven for 20 minutes
  • Blend the roasted vegetables plus the other ingredients in a blender until smooth.
  • Fill the canning jars to 1/2″ headspace. Check the headspace after debubbling.
  • Water bath can for 25 minutes, adjusting for altitude.

Canning Chipotle Tomatillo Salsa in the Nesco Canner (Video)

Check out the video above, for step-by-step instructions and a demonstration of both making the chipotle tomatillo salsa, and canning it in the Nesco canner.

The All New Ball Book of Canning and Preserving (Amazon) is my new favorite canning book. It’s the book I used for the recipe in this article, and it has a ton of other delicious canning recipes as well as recipes that incorporate your home canned food.


Our salsa project begins with gathering our ingredients:

  • 2 lbs of husked and washed tomatillos
  • 1 small unpeeled onion
  • 4 cloves of peeled garlic
  • 1/4 cup of fresh lime juice (roughly 3 large limes)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 3 to 4 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce

Note: This recipe for chipotle tomatillo salsa is from the All New Ball Book of Canning and Preserving (Amazon).

Roast the Tomatillos, Onions and Garlic

Since this is a small batch canning recipe, I was able to fit all of the vegetables that needed to be roasted onto the baking sheet that fits into my counter top oven. I covered the baking sheet with foil, for easy clean up. Next, I put the husked and washed tomatillos stem side down, and the quartered onion, skin side down. I wrapped the peeled garlic cloves in foil, and placed them in a corner of the baking sheet.

Start by preheating your oven to 425 Degrees F.

You’ll roasting the tomatillos, onion, and garlic to add a rich, smoky flavor to your salsa. Arrange your tomatillos stem-side-down, onion peel-side-down, and wrap your peeled garlic in a piece of foil tucked away in the corner of your baking sheet.

Bake these for 20 minutes until they start to char and soften.

Here’s what the tomatillos and onions looked like after coming out of the oven. The onion was slightly charred, and the tomatillos were beyond chard. They had pretty much cooked through, and had “exploded.”

Heat Your Canning Jars

While you’re roasting the vegetables for the salsa, it’s a good time to get your canning jars and canner ready.

I find it helpful to fill the canner with the jars you need for the salsa, plus any extra jars needed to make a full canner load. In this case, I put 5 half pint jars into the canner, plus a couple of pint jars. The recipe states that it will fill 4 half pints, but I always like to have an extra jar ready to go, just in case.

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The extra pint jars are so that I’ll run a full canner, which is important for safely processing the salsa. I also like adding the extra jars because they’ll keep the jars of salsa from toppling over while processing.

Once the canner is full of jars, I poured in enough water to cover the jars, and then using the “Brown” feature on the Nesco, heated the water and the jars. Once the water got hot, I turned off the canner, and kept the lid down so the water and jars would stay hot.

The purpose of both of these thing is because since this is a hot pack recipe, the salsa, jars, and water in the canner all need to be hot.

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Blending the Chipotle Tomatillo Salsa

After putting the onions and garlic into the blender, I carefully poured the tomatillos from the baking sheet into the blender.

Once your roasted veggies have cooled enough to handle, peel the onion and discard the skins.

Now, it’s time to blend! Toss in the onions, tomatillos (including the juice), garlic, lime juice, salt, and chipotle peppers into a blender.

I ran the blender until the salsa was nice and smooth.

Start blending on low to prevent splattering, then gradually increase the speed until the mixture is smooth.

Filling the Jars

Pouring chipotle tomatillo salsa from a blender into canning jars.
It was easy to pour the salsa from the blender right into the jars. This is one plus of using a blender instead of a food processor to blend up the salsa.
Using a headspace tool to measure the amount of headspace in each jar. The chipotle tomatillo salsa recipe called for 1/2" headspace.
After debubbling the jars, I used a headspace tool to make sure that I had the required 1/2″ headspace.

With your chipotle tomatillo salsa ready, it’s now time to fill your jars. Aim for a 1/2 inch headspace. I usually use a funnel, but since the salsa is in a blender, I find pouring it directly into the jars works just fine too.

Make sure to debubble each jar and adjust the salsa level as needed.

Using a paper towel dipped in vinegar to wipe the rims on the canning jar.
Wiping the rims with a paper towel dipped in vinegar removes any salsa from the rims, which helps to ensure a good seal.

Once your jars are filled and debubbled, wipe the rims with a vinegar-dipped paper towel to ensure a clean seal. Place the lids on top and screw them on until they’re fingertip tight.

The Nesco canner (Amazon) is the canner that I’ve been using for years now. I simply love it! If I had to buy only one canner, this would be it. I love that it can handle quarts and can water bath and pressure can. It’s the perfect size, and is often available at a better price than other electric canners. If by chance you can’t get the Nesco, check out the Carey Canner, also available on Amazon. These are the exact same canners, so get whichever one is cheapest at the time.

Place Your Filled Jars into the Nesco Canner

Pouring hot water into the Nesco canner that is filled with jars.
I find it helpful to have extra hot water on hand in case I didn’t heat enough water in the canner. Add extra hot water if needed, so that the jars of salsa are covered with an inch of water over the lids.

Now, place your jars into the preheated Nesco Canner (Amazon).

If needed, add more hot water until the jars are covered by about an inch. Secure the lid and set the valve to the exhaust position.

Water Bath Canning the Salsa

pressing the WB/Steam button on the Nesco canner.
Select the WB/Steam button.
Using the time function on the Nesco to bring the time up to 25 minutes.
Press the time button until it reaches 25 minutes, adjusting for altitude. If you happen to go over (which is what happened to me), hit the minus button on the left to bring the time back down to 25 minutes.

Chipotle tomatillo salsa is a water bath recipe, so start off by hitting the WB/Steam button on the Nesco canner (Amazon) control panel.. Press the time button, until you hit 25 minutes, adjusting for altitude.

Pro tip: If you don’t understand how altitude impacts canning, be sure to check out this article, where I explain how to adapt canning recipes based on altitude. In my case, I due to my altitude, I needed to add on an addition 5 minutes of processing time, so I set the timer for 30 minutes.

At this point, you’ll see what is called the “digital chase.” Basically, that indicates that the canner is working, but the canning process hasn’t actually started yet. What you’re waiting for at this point is for a steady stream of steam to come out of the pressure valve. This could take as much as 30 minutes.

Once you see the steady stream of steam, hit the start button again, and then the canner will beging to count down.

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Let the Salsa Cool

When the timer hits zero, let the canner cool for a bit before carefully removing the jars. Let them cool for at least 12 hours before testing the seals.

And there you have it! A batch of homemade Chipotle Tomatillo Salsa, safely canned and ready to enjoy whenever you please.

Chipotle Tomatillo Salsa Taste Test

tasting chipotle tomatillo salsa
I’m smiling because I’m happy with the flavor of this chipotle tomatillo salsa. It has just enough kick to make it a good option for a wide variety of people, including those who like it hot, and those who can’t handle salsa that is too spicy.

This was the first time that I ever made this particular salsa, so I was curious to see what it would taste like. Thankfully, after filling up 4 half pint jars with the salsa, I had a tiny bit left that I didn’t can. This gave me an opportunity to taste it, without opening a jar.

It’s got a tart kick from the lime juice and tomatillos, balanced out by a medium heat from the chipotle peppers. Since it’s not overly spicy, it’s a good salsa to serve when you have some people who like it hot, and others who don’t. It’s flavorful enough to satisfy everyone, but mild enough that in small doses, should be fine for those who can’t handle a lot of heat.

It’s definitely one I’ll be making again, and I highly recommend giving it a try! Happy canning!

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Organize Your Canning Life without Breaking the Bank!

My Canning Planner Printables will help you accomplish and keep track of your canning goals and projects so you can stock your pantry with home-canned food your family loves!