Grilled Tomatillo and Corn Salsa

You know what the secret is to amazing salsa? The grill. Get some char on the main ingredients (in this case tomatillos and corn); the resulting smoky flavor is out of this world. It’s why “fire roasted” canned tomatoes are so perfect for Mexican and Tex Mex recipes. Grilling your tomatillos will make a regular tomatillo salsa unforgettable.

Grilling tomatillos couldn’t be easier. You just husk them and put them on the hot grill until they are lightly charred. The best way to grill corn for this salsa is to leave the corn in their husks and put them on a hot grill and grill them until the husks are completely blackened all the way around. That way the corn absorbs the smoky flavor of the corn husks as it cooks.

Great with chips or a salsa for tacos.

Grilled Tomatillo and Corn Salsa Recipe

  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: Makes 6 cups.

This recipe makes a batch of salsa big enough for a crowd. Feel free to cut the recipe in half.



  • 3 pounds of tomatillos, husks removed, rinsed clean
  • 2 corn cobs, husks still on, OR 2 cups of cooked corn (Trader Joe's has frozen roasted corn which would work great)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapeño, minced (remove seeds for less heat)
  • 3-4 Tbsp lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/8 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 cup finely diced red onion


tomatillos with and without husks charred tomatillos on grill

Prepare grill for direct, high heat. Place the tomatillos directly on the grill. Turn occasionally until charred in several places, and the color indicated the tomatillos are cooked and changes from vibrant green to olive green.

2 If you are grilling the corn as well, place the corn cobs, still in their husks, directly on the grill. (If you are using fresh corn, there is no need to soak them in water.) Grill until the husks are completely charred and blackened all around. (See How to Grill Corn on the Cob.) The flavor from the charred corn husks will cook into the corn as it grills. Remove from grill. Let cool. Strip off the burnt husks and silks from the corn cobs. Use a sharp knife to cut away the corn kernels from the cobs.

3 Place the tomatillos, cilantro, garlic, jalapeño, lime juice, salt, cayenne, cumin and oregano in a food processor. Pulse until puréed, with a few remaining chunks of tomatillos.

4 Stir in the corn and minced red onion. Adjust seasonings, add more salt to taste.

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How to Grill Corn on the Cob

Tomatillo Salsa Verde

Grilled Tomatillo Corn Salsa


  1. Librarian Lavender

    This recipe looks really wonderful. I’m definitely going to give it a try!

  2. Gary

    Just what the 4th of July was waiting for. I am going to make enough for a big crowd and hope we will have enough for both the 4th and the soccer game Saturday. Great picture too.

  3. RD

    This sounds pretty good. We love grilled corn on the cob. This recipe makes quite a lot. Any idea how long it would last in the fridge? Would it freeze well? Thanks.

  4. sammy

    Would it be too weird to have a salsa with grilled tomatoes and grilled tomatillos? err…I know very little about cooking.

  5. Matt Robinson

    Bookmarked and happening soon, love this salsa, Elise!

  6. A

    This looks delicious and healthy! I can’t wait to try it! Thank you.

  7. Mimi

    Love this salsa! I usually roast my tomatillos and corn in the oven. Now I have to try it outside!!! Thanks for the recipe!

  8. Judy @Savoring Today

    Love the sound and the look of this salsa, it’s time to try something different from our usual tomato salsa while the grill is fired up!

  9. Dean E.

    Much agreed about the grill, although in lieu of using one, the tomatillos can be broiled. I’d also suggest dry-roasting the garlic (in its papery skin) and chilies on a medium-hot comal (or cast iron pan) for extra-roasty flavor. After the chills and garlic are blackened on all sides, let them cool before removing the skins. ¡Sabroso! Muchas gracias.

  10. Carol at Wild Goose Tea

    I am taken that this is a green salsa. I can visualize it on the appetizer table with the bowl of chips along side the traditional red salsa. Since it’s summer I am thinking barbecues. But it would fit in well at Xmas too.

  11. Carmela

    It looks delicious!

  12. Sandy S

    This recipe looks like it would be fabulous! I actually prefer green salsas. Though I have to admit I have very little experience with using tomatillos. I am so envious of everyone who can use a grill! Sadly, using a grill is one of the no-nos of our apartment building. After reading everyone’s posts I am going to try some of the oven and stove top suggestions to give it a GO! Move over ‘red onions in seasoned rice vinegar’! You may have a new refrigerator buddy!

  13. Chris

    Made this yesterday for the World Cup game. Followed to a T – this was delicious! I pulsed it too much, so next time I will be cognizant of that so it stays somewhat chunky.

    We make your salsa verde at least twice a month, so this was a fun change. Thank you!

  14. Matt Smith

    I loved this and can’t wait to make it again. Took it to a church picnic yesterday and it was gobbled up.

    In my case, it didn’t taste “grilled” to me. It might be because my wife brought home corn cobs that were already shucked; they had to be grilled without the husks on. Next time I will try grilling the corn as specified. I think I will also try putting some soaked wood chips on my charcoal for some extra smoke.

    Even without the grill flavor, it was delicious. Thanks for the recipe!

  15. Darlene Donaldson

    Anyone know if this recipe can be safely canned?

    • Elise

      I don’t think there’s enough acid in it to water bath can it, but you should be able to pressure can it.

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