This mango habanero salsa combines the tropical flavour of mango with the spicy heat of habanero peppers. It’s the perfect mix of sweet and spicy, a.k.a. swicy (get it?). And if you love spicy food as much as I do, it’s the perfect condiment for you.
Serve chunky mango salsa as an easy vegan appetiser with your favourite tortilla chip. Or use it as a swicy taco sauce, a grilled meat and fish topping, or make mango habanero sauce for chicken wings.
But it gets even better. With the same handful of ingredients, you can choose one of two delicious versions of this spicy mango habanero salsa recipe: a smooth salsa (saucy roasted mango habanero salsa) or a zesty chunky salsa (vibrant and fresh raw mango habanero salsa).
Keep reading for your spicy mango salsa tips and tricks, or go straight to the section that interests you:
- Roasted vs fresh salsa (& why you’ll love both!)
- Salsa ingredients and substitutes
- How to make roasted mango habanero salsa
- How to make raw mango habanero salsa
- Mango salsa variations
Or, if you’re no salsa newbie, jump straight to the habanero mango salsa recipe card (with instructions for smooth roasted or chunky raw salsa).
Why you’ll love mango habanero salsa (and which version to choose)
Which version is better? Smooth and smoky, roasted habanero mango salsa or vibrant and fresh raw habanero mango salsa?
As someone who frequently makes both versions, I can assure you they are BOTH utterly delicious. It’s a matter of personal preference – that also depends on your ingredients and time constraints.
On a warm day, I am team quick-and-easy fresh salsa all the way. It’s my favourite salsa dip for tortilla chips. But on cold days, I opt for the smoky depth of flavour from roasted salsa. It’s a great sauce for tacos and wings!
Compare the two techniques to find the best mango habanero salsa for YOU!
Roasted mango habanero salsa
Smooth, spicy mango sauce with a sweet, smoky flavour:
- The smooth salsa is a great sauce for tacos, wings or grilled meat.
- It’s super easy to make – but does require time in the oven and a food processor or blender.
- It uses easy-to-find ingredients, and you can use frozen mango in the winter months.
- The ingredients are vegan and naturally gluten-free.
Raw mango habanero salsa
Super fresh chunky salsa with great texture:
- It’s perfect spooned over grilled meat or fish tacos or scooped with tortilla tips for the easiest appetiser.
- And it’s quick and easy to make without equipment – no roasting, no cooking, no blending, just chopping!
- It requires the same easy-to-find, fresh ingredients. But for this simple salsa, fresh is best. So, use beautiful, ripe mangoes for the best results.
Salsa ingredients and substitutes
This homemade mango habanero salsa recipe requires a few simple ingredients:
- Mango: It adds a sweet tropical flavour to the spicy salsa. Use a ripe yet firm mango. You can use defrosted frozen mango for the blended roasted salsa but not the chunky raw version. Or substitute mango with pineapple for tangier fruit salsa.
- Habanero peppers: If you can’t find spicy habanero peppers, use scotch bonnet peppers for a similar heat. Both peppers range from 100,000 to 350,000 on the Scoville scale. Or, if they are too spicy, use jalapeño peppers instead for a mild heat.
- Onion: The sweetness of the red onion complements the mango and adds a crunchy texture to the raw salsa. If you don’t have red onion, use yellow or white onion instead.
- Tomatoes: You can leave the tomatoes if you don’t have any, though they add a nice texture and colour to the otherwise yellow mango salsa. Use medium-sized roma tomatoes or small tomatoes, like cherry or grape tomatoes.
- Red bell pepper: Finely diced bell pepper adds crunch to the raw salsa and a sweet, smoky flavour to the smooth salsa. You can also try yellow or orange, but I love the vibrant colour of red bell peppers.
- Fresh lime juice: It adds acidity and freshness to the salsa to balance the hot peppers and sweet mango. You can substitute lemon juice in a pinch, but Mexican flavours always pair better with lime.
- Cilantro: The fresh coriander leaves add freshness to the salsa. But you can omit it if you’re not a fan.
- Salt: Salt elevates the flavours of all the ingredients. Use sea salt or kosher salt.
I also include a few mango salsa variations you can try next time to keep your plant-based salsa game strong – and exciting.
How to make roasted habanero salsa
Roasting the ingredients for your smooth mango habanero salsa is a great way to add depth of flavour. Try this roasted mango habanero salsa recipe, and use your spicy salsa as a hot sauce or dip.
Step 1: Prepare ingredients for roasting
Preheat a conventional oven to 450 °F (230 °C).
Cut the red pepper in half. Remove and discard the cores, veins and seeds. Slice medium-sized tomatoes in half (or keep small tomatoes whole), and cut the red onion into four wedges. Remove the habanero stem and either leave it whole or half the habanero and deseed it for a less fiery salsa.
Place the sliced tomato and bell pepper cut side down on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Add the onion quarters and whole habaneros. Drizzle with olive oil.
Step 2: Roast ingredients in a hot oven
Place the baking sheet in the top third of the preheated oven.
Check on the roasting veggies after 15 minutes. If the habaneros look nice and charred, remove them and return the rest of the veggies to the oven for another five to ten minutes.
The veggies should be charred and wrinkly.
For a darker char, finish the cook with a quick broil (grill using the top element) – for about one or two minutes. But keep a close eye. The veggies can burn in an instant.
Step 3: Blend with the remaining ingredients
Remove the skin from roasted red pepper and tomatoes with a gentle pinch and discard.
Transfer the roasted veggies to a food processor bowl – reserving one of the habanero chillies. Roughly chop the mango flesh and add it along with ½ teaspoon salt.
Blend until smooth (or stop at your preferred consistency if you prefer a chunkier salsa). Taste and add the second habanero only if the sauce is not too spicy. I like to add both.
Add the lime juice and chopped cilantro. Give the mix a short pulse and taste again. Adjust with more lime juice, salt and black pepper to taste.
Pour the sauce into a bowl or airtight container and chill for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavours to mingle.
Store leftover mango habanero salsa for up to 5 days in the fridge (or freeze it in small portions for a month or two).
How to make chunky raw mango salsa
If you’re looking for a quick and easy salsa recipe that packs a spicy punch, try making a vibrant raw mango habanero salsa.
This delicious recipe is great for those who love fresh ingredients with the perfect combination of fruity and spicy flavours.
I like to use small multi-coloured tomatoes for the fresh salsa, but you can also use roma tomatoes.
Finely dice the red onion, tomatoes and red bell pepper. Mix the diced veggies in a large bowl and strain off any tomato juice.
Cut the peeled mango flesh into small cubes and add to the diced veggies.
For a milder salsa, deseed and devein the habanero. Then finely chop the spicy habanero (with or without seeds).
Add the chopped habanero, fresh cilantro and lime juice to the bowl of diced veggies with half a teaspoon of salt. Stir well to combine and have a try. Add more salt and black pepper to taste.
Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavours to meld together. And serve chilled.
Refrigerate leftover salsa for 3 to 5 days in an airtight container. Strain off excess moisture before serving.
Mango habanero salsa variations
Mango salsa is a refreshing and flavourful addition to any meal. This versatile condiment pairs well with everything from grilled fish and chicken to tacos and tortilla chips.
While this mango salsa recipe includes diced mango, red onion, red bell pepper, tomato, habanero, lime juice, and cilantro, there are many variations you can try to add different textures and flavours to your dish.
1. Mango tomato salsa
Mango tomato salsa is a classic combination of sweet and tangy flavours. The sweet, slightly acidic taste of ripe summer tomatoes is delicious paired with the tropical sweetness of fresh mangoes.
To make this variation, swap the red bell pepper for another two medium-sized tomatoes (or different-coloured heirloom tomatoes).
Use this variation with the roasted or raw salsa versions.
2. Pineapple habanero salsa
Pineapple habanero salsa is another swicy (spicy + sweet) variation perfect for those who like some heat in their salsa.
To make this variation, use pineapple chunks in place of the mango.
Use this variation for raw or roasted pineapple salsa (add the pineapple chunks to the roasting tray for extra sweetness).
3. Mango avocado salsa
Mango avocado salsa is a deliciously creamy twist on the classic mango salsa recipe. The creamy texture of the avocado plays well with the spicy habanero and sweet and tangy flavour of the mango.
To make this variation, add diced avocado to the chunky mango salsa recipe.
Use this variation with raw mango salsa.
4. Mango corn salsa
Mango corn salsa is a great way to incorporate extra crunch into your salsa. The sweet corn kernels add a delicious texture to the tropical salsa.
To make this variation, add a cup of cooked and cooled corn kernels to your chunky mango salsa recipe. I like to grill the corn on the BBQ in summer.
You can also upgrade your vibrant mango corn salsa into mango corn salad with a handful of crumbled cotija cheese (or feta).
Use this variation with raw mango salsa.
5. Mango black bean salsa
Mango black bean salsa is a protein-packed variation that turns this dip into a great side dish. The combination of mango, black beans, and red onion creates a colourful and flavourful dish perfect for summer barbecues.
To make this variation, add a cup of cooked black beans to your traditional mango salsa recipe. You can also use canned black beans – drain and rinse them first.
Use this variation for raw mango salsa.
How to use mango habanero salsa
Mango habanero salsa is a versatile condiment to add a zesty and spicy kick to your meals. Here are some of our favourite ways to use this flavourful salsa:
- Topping for tacos, nachos, burritos, quesadillas, fajitas or enchiladas: Mango habanero salsa is the perfect topping for any Mexican dish. Add a generous spoonful of salsa to your tacos, nachos, burritos or quesadillas for an extra burst of flavour. Or take your fajitas and enchiladas to the next level by topping them with mango habanero salsa.
- As a dip: Fresh mango habanero salsa is already a perfect raw vegan dip for tortilla chips. But you can also use it to liven up other creamy dips or to revive frozen guacamole. Or try this homemade guacamole with a few spoons of mango habanero salsa for the ultimate game-day dip.
- Use as a salad dressing: Add a new twist to your salad with a mango habanero salad dressing. Mix leftover roasted mango habanero salsa with extra lime juice and a splash of water. The tangy flavour of fresh lime juice and sweet mango pairs perfectly with crisp greens and veggies.
- Add it to salad and grain bowls: Looking for a way to spice up your grain bowls and salad bowls? Add a scoop of mango habanero salsa to your bowl for a bold and tropical flavour.
- Spoon it into burgers, sliders or wraps: Mango habanero salsa is a delicious accompaniment for your favourite sandwiches and wraps. Add a dollop of the salsa to your burger, slider or wrap for a tropical flavour boost.
- Top grilled tofu, chicken, fish or steak with salsa: Mango habanero salsa is also a great addition to any grilled proteins. The swicy salsa complements the smoky char of the grill, making it a perfect addition to your barbecue.
Frequently asked questions
If you want less heat in homemade salsa, remove the seeds and membranes from the habanero peppers before blending. Or substitute spicy habanero peppers with mild jalapeño peppers instead. And serve overly spicy shop-bought salsa with sour cream or yoghurt to mellow the heat.
Yes, you can eat habanero raw, roasted or boiled. Habanero peppers are one of the spiciest peppers measuring a whopping 100,000 to 350,000 Scoville heat units. To reduce the heat, remove the seeds and membrane.
Mango salsa is excellent paired with most Mexican food. Add it to tacos and burritos, or spoon it over guacamole. And serve mango salsa with grilled chicken, meat or fish. For a vegan option, you can even spoon it over harvest bowls and rice bowls.
- Food processor (optional)
- 2 to 3 medium-sized tomatoes, or 2 cups of small tomatoes *
- 1 red bell pepper
- ½ red onion
- 2 habanero peppers*
- 1 tablespoon olive oil, only necessary for roasted salsa
- 2 mangoes, ripe yet firm
- ½ cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped
- 1 lime, juiced for 2 tablespoons of lime juice
- sea salt and black pepper, adjusted to taste
Fresh chunky mango habanero salsa
- Finely dice the tomatoes, red bell pepper and onion. Mix the diced veggies in a large bowl and strain off any tomato juice.
- Peel the mangoes and cut the mango flesh into small cubes and add to the diced veggies.
- For a milder salsa, deseed and devein the habanero. Then finely chop the spicy habanero (with or without seeds). Add the fresh cilantro, lime juice and half of the habanero to the bowl of diced veggies along with ½ teaspoon of salt. Stir well to combine and have a try. Add the rest of the habanero if you are happy with the extra heat and adjust salt and black pepper to taste.
- Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavours to meld together. And serve chilled.
- Refrigerate leftover salsa in an airtight container for 3 to 5 days. Strain off excess moisture before serving.
Roasted mango habanero salsa
- Preheat a conventional oven to 450 °F.
- Cut the red pepper in half. Remove and discard the cores, veins and seeds. Slice tomatoes in half, and cut red onion into four wedges. Remove the habanero stem and either leave it whole or half the habanero and deseed it for a less fiery salsa.
- Place the sliced tomato and bell pepper cut side down on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Add the onion quarters and whole habaneros. Drizzle with olive oil. And place the baking sheet in the top third of the oven.
- Check on the roasting veggies after 15 minutes. If the habaneros look nice and charred, remove them and return the rest of the veggies to the oven for another 5 to 10 minutes. The veggies should be charred and wrinkly. If not, finish the cook with a 2-minute broil (grill using the top element). But keep a close eye. It can burn in an instant.
- Remove the skin from roasted red pepper and tomatoes.
- Transfer the roasted veggies to a food processor bowl – reserving one of the habanero chillies. Roughly chop the mango flesh and add it along with ½ teaspoon salt. Blend until smooth (or stop at your preferred consistency if you prefer a chunkier salsa). Taste and add the second habanero if you are happy with more heat.
- Add the lime juice and chopped cilantro. Give the mix a short pulse and taste again. Adjust with more lime juice, salt and black pepper to taste.
- Pour the sauce into a bowl or airtight container and chill for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavours to mingle.
- Store leftover mango habanero salsa for up to 5 days in the fridge.
- I prefer medium-sized tomatoes (like roma tomatoes) for the smooth roasted salsa. And small heirloom tomatoes or cherry tomatoes for the fresh salsa add a pop of colour.
- Habaneros are very spicy. And one habanero chile for every sweet mango is my perfect ratio. Adjust the number of habanero peppers based on your desired spice level. And if you prefer milder heat, replace the habanero peppers with jalapeño peppers.
- Wear gloves when handling spicy peppers to avoid burning hands.
- Use ripe yet firm mango for the best fresh salsa.
- But you can also use softer or defrosted frozen mangoes for the smooth roasted salsa.
- This homemade mango habanero salsa can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for 3 to 5 days.