Tomatillo Salsa Verde

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 72 Comments

  • Stephanie

    Aren’t tomatillos fantastic? I personally used them for the first time while on my five-day Mexican food kick, leading up to Cinco de Mayo. Chicken Chilaquiles, and they were so good!

  • Jacquie

    I browse through the recipes you have posted here all the time but this is the first time I have posted an entry to you. I just wanted to tell you that I made this tomatillo salsa verde last night after seeing how simple this recipe was. I was a bit nervous seeing as though I’ve never worked w/ tomatillos before. This was DELICIOUS and inspired me to make a whole Mexican themed dinner. Thank you so much for posting it~

  • beckiwithani

    I’ve been using this recipe for a few months now after finding it on your archives. Very, very good! Thanks.

  • Jen

    We have been making salsa verde for the last few years after learning how to make it from some friends from Chiappas, Mexico. If you want even better taste and flavor, use a mocajeta (like a mortar & pestle, but made from lava rock) instead of a blender or food processor. Much more authentic! We like adding green onions rather than white, and we boil the tomatillos instead of broiling them. it’s one of our favorite things to make, and it is really good on potato salad, believe it or not!

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