Tomatillo Salsa Verde

Tomatillo salsa verde, a delicious Mexican green salsa made with roasted tomatillos, chile peppers, lime juice, cilantro, and onion.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

Growing up we always had a choice of two kinds of salsa – a red tomato salsa which we made from scratch, and a salsa verde, or green salsa, which we got from a bottle (Victoria brand).

As a kid I always thought that green salsa was made from green tomatoes, but actually it is made with a Mexican relative of a tomato, the tomatillo (pronounced “toe-mah-TEE-yo”), which looks like a little green tomato covered with a husk. Here are three quick and easy ways for making Salsa Verde.

Tomatillo Salsa Verde

Tomatillo Salsa Verde Recipe

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: Makes 3 cups

To cook the tomatillos, you can either roast them in the oven, brown them on the stovetop, or boil them. Roasting in the oven or browning on the stovetop will deliver more flavor. Each way works, though boiling is a more common way to cook the tomatillos.


  • 1 1/2 lb tomatillos
  • 1/2 cup chopped white onion
  • 1/2 cup cilantro leaves
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar (optional)
  • 2 Jalapeño peppers OR 2 serrano peppers, stemmed, seeded and chopped (you can use whole for more heat if you want)
  • Salt to taste

I like to include a few garlic cloves in with the oven roasting method.


1 Remove papery husks from tomatillos and rinse well.

2a Oven Roasting Method Cut the tomatillos in half and place cut side down on a foil-lined baking sheet. Place under a broiler for about 5-7 minutes to lightly blacken the skin.

tomatillo-roasted-1.jpg tomatillo-roasted-2.jpg

2b Pan Roasting Method Coat the bottom of a skillet with a little vegetable oil. Heat on high heat. Place the tomatillos in the pan and sear on one side, then flip over and brown on the other side. Remove from heat.

pan-roasted-tomatillos-1.jpg pan-roasted-tomatillos-2.jpg

2c Boiling Method Place tomatillos in a saucepan, cover with water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove tomatillos with a slotted spoon.

3 Place the cooked tomatillos, lime juice, onions, cilantro, chili peppers, sugar (if using) in a blender or food processor and pulse until all ingredients are finely chopped and mixed. Season to taste with salt. Cool in refrigerator.

salsa-verde-blender-1.jpg salsa-verde-blender-2.jpg

Serve with chips or as a salsa accompaniment to Mexican dishes.

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Botanical information on the tomatillo, from Purdue University

Simple tomato salsa

husked tomatillos

Showing 4 of 83 Comments

  • CK

    I love how versatile this recipe is. I’ve made it twice this summer, the first time broiling the tomatillos and using lots of cilantro, and it turned out really well and very bright green. The next time I tried pan roasting them along with the jalapeño and a little bit of sweet corn (and I didn’t have any cilantro) – it turned out really different (more yellow too) but quite delicious! Playing around with this recipe has been a huge help in getting through our CSA share!

  • Jan Schaller

    I made some last night and its bitter, big time! And reason why? Boiled, drained, added garlic, onion, green Pepper, lemon juice, sea salt, cilantro. Food processed it, tried it was very bitter, overnight in fridge– still bitter. Anything I can all?

  • Jan Brandt Florez

    I made this green salsa. I chose the cast iron skillet to roast the onion, 2 jalapeños, and the tomatillos. I think I should have cooked the tomatillos longer. I used more onion and cilantro and more lime juice. Squeezed a whole lime into it. My family liked it. Sitting in the fridge for at least an hour really helped all the flavors. Super easy to make. I will try the oven next time for the tomatillos.

  • Wilma E.

    Can I freeze the salsa without losing flavor?

  • Terry Vazquez

    I tried the supermarket brands, Victoria and Herdez and they were so SOUR I couldn’t use either brand. So much LIME JUICE! I felt the sauce needed some onion and garlic and this recipe seems to be what I would like. Can’t wait to try it. Love the idea that I can control the amount of ingredients.

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