Difference Between Picante and Salsa

Picante vs Salsa

The popularity of Mexican food is increasing day by day in US. After all, Mexico is a southern neighbor and a sizeable number of Mexicans live inside US, as well. This has led to acceptance of Mexican cuisine in restaurants and even grocery stores, in US where one can see Mexican sauces being sold. Two such sauces are Salsa and Picante. Both are made from tomatoes and chilies making them quite similar in looks and taste. This leads to confusion as many consider them to be the same which is, however, not the case. This article attempts to highlight the differences between Salsa and Picante for such readers.


Salsa is a Spanish word that means sauce. While it is a fact that most people think of a tomato sauce when salsa is spoken in front of them, salsa can be made using mangoes, chilies, pineapples, or even peaches but Salsa made with tomatoes remains the most popular sauce in Mexico. It can be made at home or one can buy canned salsa from the supermarkets. The easiest of ways to make Salsa is to make it using tomatoes, onions, chilies and cilantro leaving it uncooked. However, people experiment a lot, and there are dozens of ways to make complicated Salsa sauces by adding on different ingredients and adding to the aroma and flavor of the sauce, as well.


Picante is a Spanish word that roughly translates to hot or stingy. However, it is hard to tell if picante sauce is any hotter than salsa if one purchases readymade Picante from a grocery. The ingredients found in Picante are similar to those found in Salsa with the sauce made with tomatoes, onions, chilies, salt, sugar, and peppers, in addition to several spices. However, what one notices is that this sauce is smooth and has a far greater consistency than Salsa. The ingredients in Picante are mixed thoroughly to make for a smooth sauce.

What is the difference between Picante and Salsa?

• While, in US, Salsa and Picante are sold as different sauces from Mexico, the fact is that Picante remains a variant of Salsa with same ingredients and thinner than salsa.

• Picante is a word that translates into hot but one find picante sauce not much spicier than salsa.

• Salsa is chunkier than Picante.

• The word Salsa in Spanish means sauce.

• There are companies selling Salsa Picante, which means spicy or hot Salsa.

• Salsa contains pieces of tomatoes and onions whereas the ingredients are thoroughly mixed in the case of Picante.