Thursday, July 26, 2012

DIY Rotel Recipe

I posted in the spring about the huge garden we planted in the backyard.  Well, some plants didn't exactly make it (green beans, lettuce, sweet peppers!), and it looks like a huge weed patch, but boy, do we have tomatoes.  Almost every day we were getting "harvests", as I like to call it, of this size.

I had been giving a lot away and trying to eat my share of them, but we couldn't keep up.  I tried to think of things we like to eat with tomatoes and thought, hmmm, I sure do use a lot of Rotel.  It's easy, full of flavor, and doesn't add any fat to the recipe.  It's not that expensive, but I wanted so badly to make use of our tomato crop; however, I don't can.  So, I looked around for some tips and different recipes and came up with this one.  You can store it in the freezer and eat within the next 8 months.  Because I grew my own tomatoes and cilantro (and had everything else on hand in my pantry), 10 cans of Rotel cost me $1.25 to make-which I spent on fresh peppers.  That is $.12/can!

DIY Rotel

  • 1 gallon ripe tomatoes peeled and chopped 
  • 2 large Anaheim peppers, chopped 
  • 2 large Poblano peppers, chopped (or use all Anaheim)
  • 3 Large (or 5 small) fresh Jalapenos, chopped
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons salt
  • 2 Tablespoons minced garlic
  • Cilantro to taste (I food process and freeze from fresh, so it was about 3 tbsp)
  • Juice of one Lime
  • 1 Tablespoon onion powder (not pictures and totally optional)
  • First, you will need to peel your tomatoes.  Prepare a large pot with boiling water.  Cut a shallow "X" through the skin on one side of your tomatoes.  Place in boiling water for 30 seconds, followed by an ice water bath.  I boiled my tomatoes in shifts and just kept adding them to the ice water bowl.  Every once in a while, I added fresh ice.  Leave them in the water until they cool completely, about 5 minutes.

  • Next, peel all of the tomatoes.  It is super easy!  It peels right off.  I peeled and placed them back in the water so that they had a little cushion.  Once peeled, dice all the tomatoes and put into a large pot.

  • Next, dice all of your peppers.  I am usually one who will use a produce sack or lunch baggie as a barrier between my hands and the peppers so that I don't have to worry about the oils getting on my hands and then in my eyes.  BUT, since I had a lot of peppers to chop, my cheap self bought a bag of latex gloves for $1.  It looks like a lot of peppers, but don't worry.  It will cook down!
  • Place the peppers and the rest of your ingredients in the pot. Cook on medium for about 45 minutes.  It should reduce slightly.  Once done, cool completely.  Store in freezer safe containers in 1 1/2 cup increments and freeze!  Again, enjoy in any recipe that calls for Rotel for the next 8 months.  For more information about freezing tomatoes, I found this article.
 Use in any recipe that calls for Rotel and you will love it!


  1. I am so excited to try this! My MIL has a huge surplus of tomatoes and we use Rotel like crazy! Thank you for sharing! I love your blog!

  2. I'm so glad I found you on Pinterest! Can't wait to try this recipe - thanks!! :)

  3. I am so excited tO have found you on Pinterest. I love using Rotel but we do not buy food in metal cans...sO that presents a problem of using store bought Rotel. I will be making this shortly.

  4. I love Rotel, but I love this homemade version better!

  5. Could you use the same recipe and use a hot bath method to seal in mason jars?

  6. I also would rather can. Is it possible?

    1. Absolutely. I didn't know how to can at the time (nor did I have the supplies for it!), but you can definitely can this recipe!

    2. This looks wonderful and what I really like is the lack of sugar! I just finished canning 24 pints of salsa and the ingredients aren't really that different at all. That recipe used a pressure canner for 30 minutes at 10 lbs of pressure for pints. That's how I'll be processing these, I think. Thank you so much!

  7. Can I use fresh cilentro and how do you process and freeze it?


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