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

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Showing 4 of 73 Comments

  • Paul

    Made the salsa verde one week ago and placed the remainder in the refrigerator.
    How long will it keep?

  • mayrie Lovin

    Used tiny pineapple tomatillos to make this Verde and it was amazing.

  • Maureen Moore

    I have been looking for a good “go to” salsa verde…just found it! I broiled the tomatillos with a few garlic cloves as suggested…it was a huge hit with my family. Coming from San Diego we are very picky about salsa…this recipe did not disappoint!

  • Jim F

    I’ve been making green salsa similar to this for a few years now. One variant I like is to not roast all of the vegetables. I leave a couple of tomatillos, some onion, and some of the chilis raw to add some additional flavor. The acid from the tomatillos brightens up the flavor. I also usually include a couple of mild chilis like Anaheim.

  • 'CAGEY'

    > Thank you for this recipe. I’ve made it several times now and almost have it memorized! I like to add a tsp of cumin, a tsp of oregano, a tbls of El Yucateco Kutbil~Ik Habanero sauce and instead of salt, I add a tsp of chicken bouillon. YUMMO!

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