Tomatillo Salsa Verde

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.

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


  • 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


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.

roast tomatillos for making homemade salsa verde roasted tomatillos for homemade salsa verde

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 roast tomatillos for salsa verde brown the tomatillos in a skillet for salsa verde

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.

pulse tomatillos and salsa ingredients in a blender for salsa verde blend salsa verde ingredients

4 Season to taste with salt. Cool in refrigerator.

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

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  • Cathy

    Good recipe although i think boiling the onion with the tomatillos would have made them less strong of an onion flavor.


  • Sharon

    How did I live so long without knowing how to make this.Thanks.

  • Brian K.

    Excellent recipe! If you want to cook the tomatillos and retain the flavor, try STEAMING them with a fold out steaming basket. Load your water up to the bottom of the basket (about 2.5″) bring to boil and cover pot; it takes @ 15 minutes (we live at 6400′). Doubling the recipe gives me two quarts of Sauca Verde – enough for two weeks.

  • Jacqui

    Just a quick question. Would you suggest making this day of or the day before? I’m cooking for a wedding and would like to use this recipe but am hoping to make it the day before. Will it be as good?

  • Annie

    Love this recipe! I followed as best I could. I didn’t have quite enough tomatillas, so I did add 1 tomato. The smell in the house reminds me of my in-laws kitchen in Mexico! Oh- I also added corn. Awesome! Thanks!

  • Patti

    This looks good. Do you think I could can it?

  • Jogueto

    I use one jalapeño and one poblano pepper since I don’t like it too hot. I broil everything together but the cilantro leaves; I finely chop everything with a butchers knife instead of the blender then add a little salt and yum!

  • Jan F

    Tomatillo salsa is my favorite! This looks like a great recipe. I believe I read somewhere that tomatillos are not related to tomatoes but are a relative of gooseberries, hence the papery skins. I make a green chicken enchilada with tomatillo salsa. Thanks for sharing your recipe.

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Jan, tomatillos are related to tomatoes in that they are of the nightshade family (along with eggplants and peppers). They are the same genus (Physalis) as cape gooseberries. They’re great, aren’t they? I too love making green chicken enchiladas with the salsa. So good!

  • 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?

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Jan, tomatillos are acidic, more acidic than tomatoes, but not bitter. If it’s too sour I would skip the lemon juice next time. Green bell peppers can have a vegetal or bitter note, but none are called for in this recipe, only chile peppers which are spicy. So I have no idea what might be causing the bitterness of your batch.

    • Sam Daruvala

      When you over cook the tomatillos, they tend to become bitter.

  • 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?

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Wilma, great question! I haven’t tried freezing this salsa so don’t know what to tell you.

      • Wilma E.

        Ok. When I make it I’ll try freezing some and let you know how it turned out.

        • Peggy

          We make a chile verde sauce very similar to this for pork butt. We freeze it in individual servings and it is great. Don’t see why the salsa would not freeze just as well.

    • John borso

      Hi Wilma I have froze salsa before it does lose some of the flavor but the nice thing is let it come up to room temperature and adjust the seasoning and it will be right back. A little Salt and fresh chopped cilantro does wonders

  • 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.

  • Paul

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

    • Elise

      Hi Paul, it would be as if you bought store bought salsa, opened the jar, and put it in the fridge. There is plenty of vinegar so the thing you have to look out for is mold. If you see mold, it’s time to throw it out.

      • Jeff

        Do you use vinegar in this recipe? I did not see it in the ingredient list. Vinegar would make this salsa last longer otherwise I would say you have a week tops to finish it all.

  • 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!

    • Bonnie Shannon

      BROIL EVERYTHING, ONIONS, PEPPERS, TOMATILLOS AND THEY WOULD BE GREAT IN BLENDER OR NINJA WITH FRESH CILANTRO, GARLIC AND I used lemon off the tree instead of lime. Beautiful and everyone loved it, and I am from San Diego, CA. Love my Ninja and roasting all!

  • 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!

  • Jean

    I made this recipe as written and it was delicious cooled. The only thing I did for my party was to place it in my small crockpot on low. It was wonderful warmed!!! A restaurant we frequent uses a tomatillo salsa that is served warm & it is heavenly! I tried it & it was demolished handily!!!


  • Pat Willey

    The easiest way to roast tomatillos, green or red tomatoes, jalapenos, lon green chiles, etc. is to cut them in half (length-ways for the peppers) and place cut-side down on a jellyroll pan (Iuse stainless pans). Place them in the oven on a high rack and broil them until roasted nicely (7-8 minutes in my oven). No need to turn them. Use them in your recipe along with the juice. Once you try this method, you will never do the old method of turning them on a skillet again. You will save both time and energy.

    • Pat Willey

      Garyods mentioned this in a previous post. I don’t mean to highjack his comment.

  • Jay

    can this salsa be canned? I was hoping to put some away for later in the winter.

    • Elise

      Hi Jay, great question. Every “expert” book recipe I consulted on canning tomatillo salsa didn’t make sense, adding so much vinegar to the salsa it would make it completely inedible. Tomatillos are naturally more acidic than tomatoes, so they should be easy to can. But I always try to consult an authoritative source and I haven’t found one yet. So, what I do is I can them they way like them, and then just keep them in the fridge.

      • Cora

        But how long will it keep in the fridge after canning?

        • Elise

          I keep mine for up to a year, until tomatillos come in season again.

      • Janette

        Why can’t you just can them without vinegar. That is how I put up my tomatoes. Never had a problem. Just used the pressure cooker.

        • Elise Bauer

          If you use pressure canner you don’t need to add vinegar.

  • Richard Broyles

    We also use tommies fresh, right straight into salads all the time. It’s amazing how sweet they actually can be. Or my wife uses them to juice with for her liquid lunches !!

  • keith herring

    My sauce is very tangy and tart.

    Fresh tomatillos can be quite tart. You may want to balance that tartness with a little sugar, to taste. ~Elise

  • Suzanna

    We just built a new greenhouse on our farm in Costa Rica and I have a bumper crop of tomatillos for the first time. I don’t have an oven but would like to roast them in a frying pan. Would that work?
    Thanks for your help

    Yes, I would suggest quartering them and frying them in an olive-oil coated skillet, like I did with this recipe for scrambledeggs with tomatillos. Once soft you can purée. ~Elise

  • norita

    Made it for my husband, and he loved it! I also enjoyed it. I will be making it again tonight and next week for family coming in for spring break. Thanks for saving me!

  • Hellionz

    The Taco truck I normally buy my green salsa wasn’t out today and I was craving bad. So went to the grocery and the can stuff just wasn’t going to cut it. So I “asked” google for Mexican Green Salsa and this recipe came up first. I got all what I needed, tried it and WOW!! Guess the guy in the taco truck ain’t gonna see me anymore. :/)

  • Just a guy

    This is an absurdly easy process. I just made a batch to slather over chicken tacos and now have more than enough to go on top of my breakfast omelette.

    I think next time I will broil the jalapeños and a few garlic cloves in the pan with the tomatillos.

    I may even toss in a Thai chile for a bit more heat.

  • ken

    I was looking for a chicken recipe and found this on this site which then brought me to this Salsa Verde recipe.

    It looked almost too simple, so I tried it. I followed the directions exactly (oven broiled) except that based on some of the reviews I added one additional chile and I also added 3 cloves of chopped garlic. Used my immersion blender and in about 30 seconds I had the BEST Salsa Verde I have every tasted!

    Great job, thanks.

  • AnnieBeeBop

    fantastic! I made this for tacos and everyone heaped it on. I’m gonna chips tonight to take care of those pesky leftovers.

  • Liana

    Awesome awesome salsa! I have been in the kitchen almost every night cooking up dishes I find on your website; after moving back into my parents house, I finally have a fantastic kitchen to work in. I recently traveled back to Massachusetts for my college’s homecoming and brought NY bagels for my friends who request them. I always bring extra, which I was able to barter with a farmer for a pound of his famous tomatillos. I am so glad I did, and so is my family…this salsa was unbelievably delicious, especially since I had never even heard of the fruit before. Thanks for all the recipes, yummyyyyyy! :-)

  • Stefanie

    How long does the salsa keep for? I made it an it is DELICIOUS. It will be a go-to for me for the rest of my life :)

    Probably up to 5 days in the fridge. ~Elise

  • JoniD.

    I’m curious. The recipe author said that tomatillo’s are “related” to tomatoes. Does that mean they are a fruit as well? I think they taste a little bit like a tomato when they are cooked. Can anyone tell me are they an actual member of the tomato family? thanks.

    According to the Wikipedia, tomatillos are the same family, but different genus from tomatoes. They are fruit. ~Elise

  • martin d

    This is a great recipe but I thought it was a little too mild. Second time I made it I left the seeds in the serrano peppers and it was perfect.

  • Chris

    I just made this salsa and it’s fantastic! I love that I don’t have to buy it in a jar, full of sodium. Thanks! Tonight, it’s your chicken enchilada recipe!

  • Garyods

    Thanx for the recipe. I’ve been fumbling around trying to blacken whole tomatillo’s under a broiler or over a grill. Turning them was usually a pain as they had started to soften.

    (Slapping forehead – cut them in half dummy before they go under the broiler.)


  • Beekeeper

    I just found out this week that you can pressure can anything and not worry about what’s in it. You just find the lowest pH ingredient and can it per that ingredient’s time in the Ball Blue Book. If you are nervous about this info, call your local extension service and verify. Good luck!

  • Becky M

    Tried this recipe, it’s fantastic. Very very tasty! Everyone at my party loved it. :) thumbs up!

  • Candy D

    I love the salsa Verde at Moe’s, so I found yours while looking for one to adjust for my spice level and allergy. I am allergic to onions and by doctor’s orders also cannot eat things that are too spicy. To substitute for the onion, I used four big cloves of Elephant Ear Garlic, and to keep the heat down I chose two fresh Anaheim Peppers. I removed the seeds and ribs from the peppers, then roasted them in the broiler with the tomatillos. I also, exchanged the sugar for Splenda. It is great on chips, but equally wonderful on my first attempt at making tamales from scratch.

  • Pat Elfer

    I love the idea of the recipe is great…..
    Yes just a little sweet will make the next batch a little less sugar. Thanks

  • TSpencer

    Roast the onions and peppers as well, throw in a couple garlic cloves… when processing, add a couple avocados and about a third cup of sour cream. If you simmered instead of roasting, use a little of the broth to thin if needed, or if you roasted them, use a little chicken broth. This is GREAT as a dip or over grilled chicken!

  • Elizabeth Goodman

    This salsa verde pairs especially well with caramelized roasted cauliflower, as in the Orangette cookbook.

  • Rich Greninger

    We added 1/2 of a green tomatillo (4 cm dia.) to our chinese chicken stir fry (about 4 cups of completed food)! It added some tartness which caused the dish to be even more tasty (I had 3 helpings my wife had two)!!

  • André L Michel

    I grew up with salsas; verde, roja, borracha, negra and many others. I like the recipe you gave, but I would skip the sugar, add garlic and a lot more chiles (serranos, whole with seeds and veins). Some times you cook the onions and the garlic, unless you prefer the raw taste, and add the cilantro once the tomatillos have cooled.


    Oh my goodness. My husband & I LOVE any type of green sauce. I had never made any before making this recipe last night. I always follow a recipe to the T the first time I make it so I know what it is “supposed” to taste like.
    This is AMAZING! Super easy & quick. I roasted the tomatillos in the broiler. A snap to make & far better than anything in the store. I was done in less than 30 minutes.
    Elise you get an A+ as usual! Thanks for wonderful recipes.

  • Angie

    Anyone know how far ahead I can make this salsa verde? How long will it last in the refrigerator?

    As is, it will last several days in the fridge. If you want it to last more than say, 3 or 4 days, you should make the salsa and then bring it to a simmer for 10 minutes on the stove, pour into a clean jar, seal, let cool, and then store in the fridge. ~Elise

  • Maggie

    Just tried this, it was super!

  • Mechelle

    I love this recipe. It tastes like the salsa verde at our local Mexican restaurant. Thank you.

  • Kristin

    This is really good! Like it was mentioned in a previous post, I used green onions, both the white & green parts, in place of the onion. In addition, I substituted garlic salt for the salt part, and a can of diced green chilies for the jalapenos. You have to try this!

  • Katie

    This is a great salsa verde recipe. It has a simple and authentic flavor. A big hit in my house.

  • first time gardeners

    Today we picked our first toms and cilantro.We made your verde, we skiped the sugar. It turned out great.LOVE IT!

  • Mary

    Just wanted to say I really enjoyed the salsa. I used it for an enchilada recipe I tried and was very happy with fresh salsa that tasted great! Thanks so much, I didn’t know how easy it was to make! Now I will make it for chip dipping as well.

  • Wendy

    My cooking club is having a Mexican feast this weekend (I know, Cinco de Mayo has passed- but look at how much we can save on the half off decorations!). I am going to make your salsa verde and want your opinion- is it better to make the day before and let sit in the fridge overnight or can it be made the day of (our cooking club is one where we actually spend the day cooking together)? We LOVE your recipes.

    Hi Wendy, in my opinion, it makes no difference. You can easily make this ahead. ~Elise

  • Ann

    I am planning on making this recipe but have two questions: 1) how spicy is it? and 2) if it is spicy how can I tone it down. -TY

    The spiciness depends on how many chilies, and how spicy they are, that you put in. If spiciness is an issue, I would start with a quarter of one jalapeno, and keep adding until you have the spiciness level you like. You can also leave out the chiles entirely if you want the salsa completely mild. ~Elise

  • Tim Ross

    I made this recipe last night broiling the mysterious Tomatillos. The salsa was quite good I even added an avacado which I thought helped give it some body. Be careful when adding lime I added a bit too much influenced by my gastro-hubris.

  • libet sparks

    With this recipe I don’t add any sugar but I do add one hass avocado, it is very delicious.

    The sugar is just to take the edge off of the acidity of the tomatillos. I’m sure it would be quite delicious with a chopped avocado. ~Elise

  • Jenny

    I’m going to try out your recipe soon, and would like to use it to make enchiladas…is there anything else I would need to do to use it as an enchilada sauce?

    It’s ready to go as an enchiladas sauce. ~Elise


    esta muy bien su recerta, pero me gustaria saber como le hago para que la salsa de tomatillos verdes cocidos no me quede acida.

  • Nikole

    I made this tonight and added a couple of ingredients – a tablespoon of olive oil and a teaspoon of chopped garlic; it’s the best salsa verde ever! Thanks Elise for the inspiration; it was a great addition to my fish tacos.

  • Rey

    Another variation is throwing the tomatillos (after peeling and rinsing) on the grill and cooking until they are carmelized and blackened.

  • JoAnna

    Are you supposed to peel the tomatilos after you broil them?

    No need to. The peels aren’t that thick, and they have all that wonderful roasted flavor. ~Elise

  • Steve

    I made this recipe yesterday – it is really good and simple to do. I reccomend using more chiles than the recipe here calls for, I used 6 serranos and I think it could stand a couple more.

  • Mark Desjardins

    Although this recipe does not specifically state what kind of lime juice to use, I believe the juice from the tiny Key Lime is the best. This smaller lime is also grown in Mexico.

  • Andrew

    Thanks for the recipe! I just now made a batch and it came out absolutely fantastic! My mods: roasted the tomatillos & 2 jalapeño on the grill; peeled & *mostly* seeded the jalapeño; used a mix of 1/4 small white onion & two scallions; a handful (probably 1/2 c.) of cilantro; used a whole lime for the juice. It’s tasting *wonderful* fresh from the food processor, and I’m sure now that it’s in the fridge to get the flavors partying, it’ll be great with our dinner tonight.

  • leanne

    I love this recipe and I was wondering, is it suitable for canning? I tried freezing it and the texture was a bit odd after it was thawed.

    As is, this recipe is not suitable for canning. For salsa canning I imagine that you would need to simmer all ingredients together for at least 10 minutes before sealing in sterilized jars. But I wouldn’t base a canning recipe on this suggestion, instead do research online to find a specific recipe suitable for canning. There are all sorts of perils when canning low acid foods such as this. ~Elise

  • salsa lover

    I agree with ariadna—fresh tomatillos are best (uncooked) for salsas. At least that’s how it’s done here in southern california. And serranos have a richer flavor that jalapenos just don’t match (they are spicier though). I also add a habanero or two to my salsa verde, and a few cloves of garlic. Yum!

  • jennbec

    I just got my first taste of FRESH tomatillos this summer and have absolutely fallen in love. In fact, just last night I took 5+ pounds of them and made a massive batch of salsa verde to freeze. I love using mine in squash blossom quesadillas and for soup. There are two recipes on my blog if you’re curious:

  • gaby

    Thanks for the recipe. It’s great.

  • bettyannmanghi

    WoW what a great recipe! Today we celebrated my daughter’s 2nd birthday and we made your tomatillos salsa. It was a big hit especially with me. Since the theme was Dora the Explorer we got some tostados and refried beans and mexican style sour cream, avacados, cilantro, roast and shredded chicken and the like and voila, instant sucess. Thanks again for your quick and easy recipe!

  • Jim Faley

    I tried your recipe last night and used it for an enchilada sauce – it was killer. I did doctor it up a bit – a little water to thin it out some, and some mashed avocado to tone down the acidity. Everybody loved it. thanks.

  • Jim Faley

    I tried your recipe last night and used it for an enchilada sauce – it was killer. I did doctor it up a bit – a little water to thin it out some, and some mashed avocado to tone down the acidity. Everybody loved it. thanks.

  • Ariadna

    Hello, Elise… As I had mentioned in another post, I am Mexican. Your recipe definitely looks good!! Another thing you can do, if you want, is to make the salsa from fresh tomatillos, without broiling them, chile serrano, not jalapeño, and cilantro. You can use the molcajete or the blender; if you use the latter, you push the botton intermitently, so the ingredients don’t get totally smooth. After that, you add the salt and the onion, chopped. If you don’t want the tomatillos totally raw, roast them on a Comal; the broiler in the oven is so not necessary. Try it, I hope you like it.

  • Gina

    I accidently purchased tomatillos thinking I could substitute them for green tomatoes for a different recipe. A bit of research told me otherwise! So I found this recipe and wow! I will be using tomatillos much more often!

  • 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!

  • beckiwithani

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

    • Sally Singleton

      I also use the red chili pods and roast them is the oven as well. Then I blend them with the tomatillos and garlic and salt. Put a little water to blend them but not to much because you want it thick. Makes a fantastic salsa for chips or is great in the morning with tortilla and egg.

  • 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~

  • 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!