Tomatillo Salsa Verde

SalsaMexicanPaleoTomatillo

3 methods for making homemade 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 distant relative of a tomato from Mexico, the naturally tart tomatillo (pronounced “toe-mah-TEE-yo”). A tomatillo looks like a little green tomato covered with a husk, and is more closely related to gooseberry than it is to tomato.

Tomatillos for making homemade salsa verde

Salsa verde is really easy to make from scratch, all you need are tomatillos, onion, jalapeño, lime, and cilantro.

To make the salsa verde, you will need to cook the tomatillos, which you can do by either boiling them, broiling them in the oven, or pan roasting them. All three approaches are quick and easy, though with broiling or pan roasting, you get added flavor from the searing of the tomatillos.

Then it’s a quick spin in the blender with the other ingredients, easy!

how to make 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.

Garlic is optional. You can either cook a few cloves with the tomatillos in any of these steps, or add one or two raw garlic cloves when you go to blend the salsa.

Ingredients

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

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. Add a few garlic cloves in their skin (if using) Place under a broiler for about 5-7 minutes to lightly blacken the skins of the tomatillos.

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.

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 Pulse in blender: Place the cooked tomatillos, lime juice, onions, garlic (if using), cilantro, chili peppers in a blender or food processor and pulse until all ingredients are finely chopped and mixed.

4 Season to taste with salt. Cool in refrigerator.

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

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Links:

Botanical information on the tomatillo, from Purdue University

Salsa Verde Chicken Bake here on Simply Recipes

Grilled Tomatillo and Corn Salsa

Chile Verde

Tomatillo Salsa Verde

Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

More from Elise

189 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Frank`

    I’ve been making salsa Verde for many years. This recipe is spot on!!! Love it!!

  2. Ilza

    I rated this already (1 star) When I mentioned the RAW onion, I’ll need to refer to other recipes, but I think some of the onion should probably be cooked/boiled/roasted, with a little raw mixed in at the end for texture & flavor. The flavor of raw vs cooked onion is very different. Maybe, the issue was the amount of the raw onion, idk. I will make it again, but as is, this recipe needs adjusting.

  3. Ilza

    I boiled my tomatillo. I think the raw onion makes this a fail. Some raw onion for texture would work, but this recipe was no where near what the local restaurants serve. I live close to the Mx border, so the locals here know how to make this salsa. I think I’ll check a site from Mx for a better recipe. Also, Mx YouTubers talk about boiling tomatillo no more than 2 minutes. Otherwise they become bitter. My husband says his Mx mother follows the 2 minute rule, btw.

    xxxxxyyyyy

    Show Replies (1)
  4. Lily

    I made it for my boyfriend! He loved it!

    xxxxxyyyyy

  5. Malcolm

    Looks Delicious!

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