Magazine cover image Get the Fall Issue

The Best & Worst Store-Bought Salsas—Ranked!

Find out which salsas can make or break your diet.
The Best & Worst Store-Bought Salsas—Ranked!

Whether you need to entertain guests or your family's taco night is just around the corner, it is always good to have a jar of salsa on hand. This classic sauce has evolved into a variety of forms since it became popular in the US in the 1970s, and it has become a staple of the American pantry. If you make a homemade salsa, you can easily tailor it to almost any diet, but what if you don't have the time to throw one together and need to grab a jar of one of the many store-bought salsas from the supermarket?

Commercial salsa can sneak in hidden empty calories by adding sugar, while many brands bolster their products with extra salt. With so many options available, finding a salsa to best suit your eating plan can seem perilous. In order to solve this conundrum, we slogged through the aisles to rank which store-bought salsa best suits your diet and which salsas will leave your Taco Tuesday in ruins.

How we judged the salsas

To decide which store-bought salsa would be most and least healthy, we first ranked by sodium. If the sodium content matched, it was then ranked by calories and sugar content. The Food and Drug Administration recommends that, at most, 10 percent of your daily sugar should come in the form of added sugars, which equates to about 50 grams. From this amount, we gauged which salsa would be the best.

Whether you are making a chip and dip spread to entertain guests or need to find the best salsa to top off your burrito, here are the best and worst picks

The best store-bought salsas

5

Frontera's Mango Key Lime Salsa

frontera mango key lime salsa in jar

Per 2 tbsp: 15 calories, 0 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 170 mg sodium, 2 g carbs (0 g fiber, 1 g sugar), 0 g protein

If you're looking for a fruitier salsa option with less sugar, Frontera's Mango Key Lime Salsa is your best bet! However, it does have a higher sodium count compared to others, but not as much sugar. Compared to our other "best" store-bought salsas, it ranks last in this category due to the calorie count and sugar count.

4

Goya's Medium Salsa Verde

goya medium salsa verde in jar

Per 2 tbsp: 10 calories, 0 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 170 mg sodium, 2 g carbs (0 g fiber, 0 g sugar), 0 g protein

Coming in with the lowest added sugar count is Goya brand salsa verde. While this salsa will only add a tiny 10 calories to your appetizer or meal, it does pack in 170 mg of sodium, so don't pour it on too hard. When it comes to finding a salsa that won't sneak sugar in, this brand is your best bet.

3

On The Border's Mild Salsa

on the border mild salsa in jar

Per 2 tbsp: 10 calories, 0 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 140 mg sodium, 2 g carbs (0 g fiber, 1 g sugar), 0 g protein

With one gram of sugar and 140 mg of sodium, On The Border's signature salsa gains its fame from taste, not from added empty calories. The considerable cut in salt means that you won't throw off your daily balance if you want to indulge a bit more in this sauce. If you enjoy the salsa's namesake restaurant, by all means, try out this salsa.

RELATED: 150+ recipe ideas that get you lean for life.

2

Newman's Own Medium Salsa

newmans own medium salsa in jar
Courtesy of Newman's Own

Per 2 tbsp: 10 calories, 0 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 105 mg sodium, 3 g carbs (1 g fiber, 1 g sugar), 1 g protein

Newman's Own made a splash when it was first introduced in 1982, and their signature salsa ranks as one of the healthiest on the market. With only one gram of sugar and a minuscule 105 milligrams of sodium, this salsa can do little harm to your waistline.

1

Desert Pepper's Peach Mango Salsa

desert pepper peach mango salsa in jar

Per 2 tbsp: 15 calories, 0 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 25 mg sodium, 4 g carbs (0 g fiber, 3 g sugar), 0 g protein

Desert Pepper's Peach Mango Salsa may have a higher amount of sugar (and calories) compared to some of the other store-bought salsas listed,  but it has an incredibly low sodium count. If you are looking for the best salsa in terms of sodium intake, this one is your best option. However, if you care more about the calories or sugar, your best bet would be to go with one of the other salsas in our "best" list.

The worst store-bought salsas

4

Chi-Chi's Thick & Chunky Medium Salsa

chi chis medium salsa in jar

Per 2 tbsp: 10 calories, 0 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 170 mg sodium, 2 g carbs (0 g fiber, 2 g sugar), 0 g protein

You know you are entering dangerous territory when your dip includes four grams of added sugar. Chi-Chi's salsas are ubiquitous and commonly appear on store shelves, but watch out—with the extra 170 milligrams of sodium, you won't do your diet any favors if you select this option.

3

Newman's Own Mango Salsa

newmans own mango salsa in jar
Courtesy of Newman's Own

Per 2 tbsp : 25 calories, 0 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 220 mg sodium, 6 g carbs (1 g fiber, 5 g sugar), 0 g protein

Newman's Own produces not just one of the unhealthiest salsa, but also the most sugar-packed! With five full grams of sugar per serving, this salsa jams almost 1/5 of your recommended added sugar intake for the day into just two tablespoons. If you are hosting a get-together and need a salsa, make sure to cross this off your list.

2

TIE: La Victoria's Fire Roasted Salsa Verde & Ortega's Homestyle Medium Salsa

ortega and la victoria salsas

Per 2 tbsp: 10 calories, 0 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 250 mg sodium, 2 g carbs (0 g fiber, 1 g sugar), 0 g protein

These two brands have a tie, given that they have the same amount of calories, sugar, and sodium! La Victoria's & Ortega's brands may only have 10 calories for 2 tablespoons, but they both have a very high amount of sodium at 250 milligrams for two tablespoons.

1

Tostitos Chunky Salsa (Mild)

tostitos chunky salsa mild

Per 1 oz: 10 calories, 0 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 250 mg sodium, 2 g carbs (1 g fiber, 2 g sugar), 0 g protein

Coming in last for store-bought salsas (in terms of sodium) is Tostitos Chunky Salsa. Plus, even though two grams of sugar may not seem like a lot, it starts to add up. With a serving size that equals less than two tablespoons, it's certainly not the best option to choose from.

Get the Fall Issue

Featuring delicious weight loss recipes, quick and easy sheet pan suppers, slow cooker tips and much more!

Erich Barganier
Erich Barganier is a health and food writer. Read more
Filed Under