Skip the jar salsa and make your own delicious Mexican tomatillo salsa instead! It is fresh, tangy, and slightly spicy, and is made with only five ingredients and a few minutes to make.
What is salsa verde?
Salsa Verde is Spanish (and also Italian) for “green salsa.” Salsa Verde Mexicana is tomatillo based and has a multitude of uses. For example, it can be used for dipping chips, as a topping for tacos and tamales, or as an ingredient for Chicken Pozole Verde, Enchiladas Verdes and Chilaquiles Verdes to name just a few!
The best part is how fast and easy this Salsa Verde recipe is to make. Once you try homemade, you won’t be going back to the jarred kind!
Simple and delicious
Salsa Verde Mexicana requires only five ingredients — all you need are fresh tomatillos, garlic, onion, jalapeño or serrano (or both), and cilantro. It is fresh, tangy, and slightly spicy. You’ll be amazed at how much better this homemade tomatillo salsa recipe tastes than the store bought kind!
What’s the Difference Between Green Tomatoes and Tomatillos?
Green tomatoes are hard, unripe tomatoes while tomatillos are a different type of fruit in the nightshade family. While tomatillos are sometimes called “tomate verde” which means green tomato, they are actually quite different.
Tomatillos are less sweet, more acidic, and have less water than unripened green tomatoes. The tomatillo is a staple in Mexican cooking, which makes sense since they originate from Mexico.
TIP: The outer husk of the tomatillo must be removed prior to use. You can easily remove them by hand. After, you’ll notice a sticky residue on the fruit. Don’t worry! Just wash it off under cool water.
Because tomatillos have a specific flavor profile and a much meatier texture, I do not recommend substituting green tomatoes for this recipe.
TIP: Boiling, roasting, or otherwise cooking the tomatillos makes them taste a little sweeter than raw. If you want more of an acidic taste, leave them raw!
If you’re on a diet, this homemade salsa will be your new best friend
My mom always has to remind me that homemade salsa verde is a healthy condiment because I like to eat A LOT of it. But it’s just a bunch of fruit and vegetables!
This tomatillo salsa recipe is gluten-free, dairy-free, vegetarian, and vegan. It’s also Whole30, Paleo, and Keto friendly and has zero Weight Watchers Points. Eat to your heart’s content! It’ll make just about everything taste better.
How to make tomatillo salsa verde
After removing the husks, boil tomatillos for about 15 minutes. Remove them from the water and allow to cool before blending.
Roast the garlic cloves in their skins in a dry pan until skin is charred, about 10 minutes. Cool and remove skins. This adds so much flavor!
TIP: To remove garlic skin, place the clove under the broad side of your chef’s knife and smash with the heel of your hand. Now the skin should easily slide off.
While I like all of my salsas nice and spicy, I know not everyone has a tolerance for heat.
TIP: If you want your salsa verde to be on the mild side, simply remove the seeds and ribs from inside your peppers. This is where most of the capsaicin (the spicy stuff) lives. Just be sure to wash your hands very thoroughly before touching your face or using the restroom. Trust me.
In a blender place the cooled tomatillos, chopped peppers, garlic, onion, cilantro (if using), and salt and blend for about 1 minute. Be sure to place the lid on the blender before powering on so you don’t end up wearing it.
Salsa Verde should be a bit chunky, so don’t blend for too long. Taste and add more salt if needed.
Trust me, once you have this homemade tomatillo magic, you’ll never go back to the jarred stuff.
How to use
Here are a few recipes that use Salsa Verde Mexicana.
- Chicken Pozole Verde
- Salsa Verde Shrimp with Rice
- Pork Chops in Salsa Verde
- Roasted Chicken and Salsa Verde Tamales
- Pulled Pork Enchiladas in Salsa Verde
- Margherita Mexican Pizza (Tlayuda)
- Bacon-Wrapped Shrimp with Jalapeño
- Chilaquiles with Roasted Tomatillo Salsa
More Homemade Salsa Recipes You’ll Love
- Chile Pasilla Oaxaqueño Salsa
- Chile de Arbol Salsa
- Pico de Gallo
- Salsa Casera de Jesusita
- Roasted Tomatillo-Chipotle Salsa
- Mushroom, Jalapeño, and Cilantro Salsa
Watch this video to see how quick this salsa can be made.
Did you make this recipe? Rate it below and leave me a comment to let me know how it turned out!
Salsa Verde Mexicana
- 3 cups water
- 8 tomatillos, husks removed and rinsed
- 3 serrano or jalapeño pepper, stemmed and roughly chopped
- 2 garlic cloves
- ¼ onion, chopped
- 1 handful cilantro (optional)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Boil tomatillos for about 15 minutes. Remove tomatillos from the water and allow them to cool before blending.
- Roast the garlic cloves in their skins in a dry pan until skin is charred, about 10 minutes. Cool and remove skins.
- In a blender place the cooled tomatillos, chopped peppers, garlic, onion, cilantro (if using), and salt and blend for about 1 minute.
- Salsa should be chunky. Add more salt if needed.
- I do not recommend substituting green tomatoes for this recipe.
- Like it spicy? Use serranos
- Like medium salsa? Use jalapeños
- Extra mild. You can remove the seeds and ribs of the peppers if you want to reduce the heat of the salsa.
- Leftovers: This salsa verde will keep well in the refrigerator, covered, for at least 1 week.
This salsa verde recipe was originally published in 2011 and published in the Muy Bueno cookbook. I have added a video, rewritten, updated photos, and republished it to share frequently asked questions.
Photography by Jenna Sparks