A Shockingly Good Yet Simple Zucchini Salsa Canning Recipe

Do you love zucchini but get overwhelmed by how many fruits your plant produces? I feel you. I love finding zucchini in the garden, but I can only make so much zucchini bread. Zucchini salsa has quickly become a family favorite.

I love to preserve what I grow in my garden, creating a pantry full of shelf-stable foods. Most of the year, I only shredded the zucchini and froze it for the occasional bread, muffin, and brownie recipes.

Is It Safe to Can Zucchini?

I heard about making zucchini salsa awhile ago from a friend, but I wasn’t sure, so I had to do some research about is it safe to can zucchini. When you think of preserving zucchini, canning doesn’t usually come to mind.

The National Center for Home Food Preservation says that canning summer squash, including zucchini, isn’t recommended because of the uncertain food processing times. Squash is a low-acid vegetable, and you have to pressure can these types of foods. There hasn’t been enough studies to let us know the appropriate length of time to process to kill off all the bacteria.

They did offer a recipe to safely can zucchini, and that was to create zucchini pineapple. Interesting, right?

You are able to can zucchini pineapple because the high levels of acid in pineapple make it safe. The NCHFP does recommend recipes for bread and butter zucchini pickles – which are delicious. I tried those as well!

Gather Up The Supplies

Zucchini Salsa

Salsa is a high-acid recipe, so that means you don’t need a pressure canner. That makes a lot of people happy, even though I have a secret love affair with my pressure canner.

It doesn’t have an explosive problem like so many people think. It’s just misunderstood.

You’ll need the regular canning supplies for water bath canning, such as:

You’ll also need other supplies, such as a cutting board, but most kitchens already have those.

How to Make Zucchini Salsa

For the most part, zucchini salsa is a straightforward recipe. The longest part is grating the zucchini. You need 12 cups of zucchini. I used green and yellow zucchini; it all tastes the same.

Grating Zucchini

Usually, you want to soak the grated zucchini in salt for at least a few hours to help draw out the moisture. Rinse well after the salt soak.

Next up, you have to dice onions and peppers. I use jalapeno, and I often stick a few cayenne peppers into the mix as well to kick up the heat for my husband. He’s a heat addict, so each season, I usually make a hot batch for him and a normal one for the rest of us.

Zucchini Salsa Peppers

Next, dice up those tomatoes. You can toss them into a food processor if you want as well. Ideally, you don’t want a liquid – chunks are good since it’s salsa.

Zucchini Salsa Tomatoes

This is a great recipe to use to get rid of all those blemished tomatoes. No one ever knows that the tomatoes you used weren’t beautiful.

Once everything is ready, all of the ingredients need to go into a large stockpot to cook down. Truly, that’s all there is to it. Salsa needs to cook down for at least 45 minutes to boil off some of the water and to integrate the flavors throughout the salsa.

Zucchini Salsa

Once the salsa is put into the jars, process in the water bath canner for 15 minutes for pints and 20 minutes for quarts.

That’s all you have to do. I take this salsa with me to family parties, and it’s always a hit!

Zucchini Salsa
5 from 2 votes

Zucchini Salsa

It's the perfect salsa for your pantry with a bit of sweetness paired with heat

Author Bethany Hayes


  • 12 Cups Grated Zucchini
  • 2 Cups Diced Onion
  • 1 Green Pepper Chopped
  • 1 Red Pepper Chopped
  • 3-4 Jalapeno Peppers Diced
  • 12 Cups Fresh Tomatoes Chopped
  • 3 1/2 TBSP Canning Salt
  • 1 TSP Turmeric
  • 1 TSP Cumin
  • 1 TSP Garlic Powder
  • 1 TSP Black Pepper
  • 1 1/2 – 2 1/2 TBSP Red Chili Peppers
  • 1 TBSP Mustard Seeds
  • 1 1/2 Cups Brown Sugar Light
  • 2 Cups White Vinegar


  1. The first step is the longest. Grate the zucchini. You can cover the zucchini with pickling salt and let sit in the refrigerator overnight or several hours to dry out moisture. You can skip this step; I often do, and simply let the mixture to boil longer to remove more of the liquid.

  2. The next day or a few hours later, drain and rinse the zucchini well.

  3. Dice up the onions, tomatoes, and peppers. Remember you can adjust the heat of this recipe by adding or reducing peppers.

  4. Put the grated zucchini, tomatoes, onions, and peppers into a large stock pot. Turn it in on medium-high heat.

  5. Add the turmeric, garlic powder, cumin, black pepper, red chili peppers, mustard seeds, brown sugar, and vinegar. Bring up to a boil.

  6. Once boiling, bring down the heat to medium and let the mixture cook for 45 minutes to an hour, depending on how much liquid is in the tomatoes. You might have to cook for longer if the tomatoes are watery.

  7. Ladle the hot salsa into hot jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Don't forget to wipe down the rims before adding the lids and rings.

  8. Process in a water bath canner for 15 minutes (pints) or 20 minutes (quarts).

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    1. Yes! This is one of the only ways that you could can zucchini. I have two more jars leftover in my pantry, and it’s still good over a year later!

  1. I’m excited to try this recipe. Do you peel your tomatoes first? You also have a typo… instead of bread and butter zucchini you wrote breast. Oops.

    1. Can I just say.. I’ve had a rough day and this typo caused me to have a good 5 minute laugh? Hahaha Thank you! This post is nearly a year old and you’re the first one to catch it.

      Anyway, no I don’t peel my tomatoes. I’m a lazy canner. You absolutely could, but since it’s already chunky, any pieces of skin don’t bother me.

  2. Hi! We are so excited to try this recipe this evening! I have a few questions….. How many pints/quarts do u get out of a batch roughly? And when u salt soak the shredded squash do u just use straight salt? Or a salt water soak? I thought just salt, but actual recipie says to “drain and rinse squash” so figured I better ask. I thank you in advance for your reply!

  3. I have researched that the only way to can zucchini is by pickling. Would this be considers “pickling” because of the vinegar and sugar?

    1. I didn’t include that and I wish I did. I do believe I got around 8 pints because it was a full canner load.

    1. You could, but it’s best if the salsa is still hot when you can it. You would need to heat it back up again then can it.

  4. 5 stars
    What a wonderful way to use zucchini! I made this today and it’s extremely tasty! I’ll do another batch soon. I did not include the part where the seeds are of the zucchini. I found the tomatoes create most of the liquid. I boiled it for about an hour. Delicious!!!

  5. 5 stars
    Hi! The recipe is great…I was wondering if I could add canned pineapple to this recipe remove the mustard seeds maybe cut the sugar down a half cup and still keep the safety integrity for canning? Thank you!

    1. You can alter the sugar and remove the mustard seeds. Pineapple shouldn’t be a big deal; keep the vinegar and acidity level to ensure it’s safe for water bath canning.

  6. I just made this recipe. I cut everything in half because I’m lazy & didn’t want to shred more zucchini. My family loves the flavors! Great recipe!!

    1. So happy that you all enjoyed it! It’s become one of my favorite snacks. I have several zucchini on my counter that will become more salsa soon!

  7. 5 stars
    I am a beginner and found this very easy.
    To add to your lazy canning, I would suggest a quick and painless way to grate zucchini: a food processor with cheese grater! Chop the zucchini to fit the feeder and within minutes you have your 12 cups!

  8. Do you just follow this same recipe when you use pineapple zucchini salsa? I’m looking forward to making this. Thanks in advance.

  9. I made one batch, didn’t have quite 12 cups zucchini so added about 2cups yellow squash seeds and all. I do think I forgot the tomatoes though. Making a second batch today and it def looks different. But the first batch was delicious and nobody noticed the missing tomatoes!!

  10. If I skip the salting and soaking of the zucchini, do I need to add salt to the mixture? I made one batch using the salt soak and one without the salt soak. The one without the salt soak taste like it needs salt added. I also reduce the sugar to 1/2 cup to lighten up the sweetness. This salsa is a big hit around here.

    1. Yes! I think salt is a must-need in this recipe, so if you want to skip that, add salt. I can’t be too sure how much you need. I would experiment, but don’t add too much at a time.

    2. Made this recipe today….only had 10 cups of tomatoes. I added 2 small cans of tomato paste. I did all the vegetables in my food processor on pulse and chopped the tomatoes by hand. Makes a great consistency. Cooked for an hour. Did not have light brown sugar so I used 3/4 c of dark brown sugar and 3/4 c of pure cane sugar. I also skipped the chilies and added 8 jalapeno peppers. Turned out great!

  11. Hi
    I will have an excessive amount of zucchini’s this year which is great since I made zucchini salsa last year and will triple this year. However I was not aware of the danger. I followed all canning protocols. Can you send me the complete recipe and information as it’s fragmented here? Thanks if you can

  12. 5 stars
    Love this recipe!
    I want to be a lazy canner too- how much salt do you put in the mix if you don’t do the overnight salt soak?


  13. I grate the zucchini and freeze. When I’m ready to made the salsa (which is excellent! ), I thaw and squeeze out the liquid, no salt needed.

  14. Can the sugar be omitted completely? I want sugar free salsa. My ball canning book has sugar free salsa recipes (that include tomato and vinegar so there is acidity) but I’m nervous about adding the zucchini. Is the sugar essential?

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