Spicy habanero peppers, sweet mango, crunchy tomatillos and fresh cilantro and lime come together in this simple salsa perfect for summer. Enjoy it with chips as an appetizer or serve on top of steak, chicken, pork or seafood for easy added flavor.
Looking for the perfect summer salsa? Well, look no further my friends.
This chunky mango habanero salsa has it all.
It’s easy to make (we’re talking only a handful of ingredients), combines sweet tropical flavors with spicy heat all highlighted by bright and fresh ingredients and best yet, serves as an addicting appetizer or the perfect complement to almost any protein you can dream up.
This salsa is the stuff summer eating is made of.
And on the opposite side of the spectrum, this pomegranate salsa is a true winter gem!
INGREDIENTS TO MAKE MANGO HABANERO SALSA
Not including salt and pepper, this salsa uses just 7 ingredients!
- fresh ripe (but not too ripe!) mangos
- habanero pepper
- red onion
- lime juice
- extra virgin olive oil
- salt & pepper
HOW TO MAKE FRESH MANGO HABANERO SALSA
My favorite part about the salsa is that everything is prepared fresh.
There’s no roasting or cooking whatsoever involved in this recipe.
It’s a chunky style salsa that doesn’t require you to blend or process anything and can easily be scooped up by a chip.
I’ve always preferred chunky salsa to the drippy kind (it just runs off the chip!) and that’s what this is.
To make the salsa, dice and mince all the ingredients.
As this is the only prep work of the whole recipe, give it some care.
The mango should be diced big enough to have to be chewed but small enough where a few pieces can fit on a cracker or chip.
Everything else should be a fine dice as they play a supporting role in the salsa.
The habanero specifically should be a very fine dice as you want its heat dispersed well throughout the salsa, trust me on that one.
Once all the ingredients are prepped, add them to a large bowl.
Squeeze the fresh lime juice on top, drizzle the olive oil into the bowl and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Mix all the ingredients together until well combined.
HOW SPICY ARE HABAERNOS?
According to the Scoville heat scale, habaneros are quite a bit spicier than jalapeños. Up to 140 times hotter in fact.
That said, they have a totally different flavor than jalapeños with more of a “sweet” heat.
That’s why you’ll often see habaneros used in hot sauces that also have tropical fruits in them and why they go so well in this mango salsa.
Weirdly, I find the spice level of habaneros much more tolerable than jalapeños at times despite the drastic difference on the Scoville scale.
I think it all comes down to the flavor profile and while I’ve used jalapeños in many salsas before (like this honey lime Sablefish with jalapeño corn salsa), I do now prefer habaneros, especially when paired with sweet fruit like the mango here or pineapple.
WHAT KIND OF MANGO SHOULD I USE?
As the star of the show, the mango is an important ingredient in this salsa.
Any type of mango will work. I used the smaller more kidney shaped ataulfo mango here but regular mangos are also fine.
The mango should be ripe but not overly ripe for this salsa.
The sweetness of a ripe mango makes this salsa taste best but an overly ripe mango will be too mushy and not hold up well when diced.
If you find cutting mango to be a royal PIA (which I totally get, although you can check out the easy method I use in my lobster mango avocado salad recipe video), just buy the pre-cut mango in the store.
Sure, it costs more but it is quite a nice convenience.
You’ll likely want to dice it a bit smaller that what the store does but at least the headache of removing it from the pit and skin is done for you.
Did you know dogs can eat mango too? So feel free to share a chunk or two with your pup while preparing this salsa!
HOW TO SERVE MANGO HABANERO SALSA
Ok, now for the good part – eating this salsa!
The best part about a chunky salsa is there are multiple ways to enjoy it.
Option 1: serve with your favorite crackers or tortilla chips and dig into the bright, spicy and refreshing flavors as an appetizer.
Option 2: use the salsa as a topping for any protein of your choosing. It goes amazingly well with chicken, pork, steak and seafood. I particularly love it with a flaky white fish for summer like cod or halibut.
The combination of a mango salsa and fish never gets old. It’s on almost every restaurant menu in the summer for good reason!
And, it’s probably why this mango shrimp recipe is one of the most popular ones on this site.
Option 2 is probably my most favorite way to enjoy the spicy salsa and it’s mostly because it’s just such a simple way to add big flavor to any basic meal.
Spoon on top of a simple skillet pork chop and it’s definitely not simple in taste any more! Want to make these grilled harissa pork chops and skip the peach salad that goes with it? Add this mango habanero salsa instead.
Dot across some grilled citrus shrimp skewers and you take a tasty meal to a whole new level.
Another delicious use is as a topping for tacos!
In fact, it has a very similar vibe to my sweet and sour tofu recipe just without the sticky sauce.
MAKE IT YOUR OWN!
Because this recipe is super simple, it’s easily customizable to your preferences.
Maybe you like things extra spicy? If so, add another habanero pepper to the salsa.
Don’t want to use mango? Swap out another tropical fruit like pineapple or papaya.
Both will go great with the habanero and you’ll still get that perfect sweet and spicy flavor combination.
Not a cilantro lover (I do feel for those of you who think it tastes like soap)?
Use fresh basil instead. It’ll still bring that pop of bright freshness to the salsa.
Want to bulk it up? Try added some charred/grilled corn to the salsa. Or, some shelled and cooked edamame. Alternatively, try this mango black bean salad recipe instead!
Those additions almost make it more of a meal at which point you could easily enjoy it over rice.
In fact, I do just that with this sweet potato salsa often because it’s so hearty!
TIPS & SUGGESTIONS
I find that I enjoy the flavors in this salsa a bit more when it’s made and then has the chance to sit for an hour or two.
Everything sort of melds together better and the heat of the habanero calms down a bit as it sits in the lime juice.
The salsa stores well in the refrigerator for this reason and can easily be enjoyed over the course of a few days.
If you find the salsa too spicy after making it, a pinch of sugar can help tone things down.
And, if you prefer drippy salsas to chunky ones like this, just blend the ingredients in your food processor or blender to achieve the desired texture.
MORE MANGO RECIPES TO TRY:
Mango Habanero Salsa
- 1 1/2 cups diced mango about 2 small Ataulfo mangos or 1 large regular mango
- 1 habanero pepper seeded and diced
- 1/4 cup diced red onion
- 1/2 cup diced tomatillos
- 1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro
- juice of 1 lime
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and stir until well combined.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Serve with crackers or as a topping for any protein.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition information can vary for a variety of reasons. For the most precise nutritional data use your preferred nutrition calculator based on the actual ingredients you used in the recipe.
Gina Matsoukas is the writer, founder, photographer and recipe developer of Running to the Kitchen — a food website focused on providing healthy, wholesome recipes using fresh and seasonal ingredients as much as possible. Her work has been featured in numerous media outlets both digital and print, including MSN, Huffington post, Buzzfeed, Women’s Health and Food Network.