Salsa Verde

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This salsa verde is tangy, fiery, smoky, and good on just about everything.

Made from delicious green ingredients — like tomatillos, jalapeños, and fresh cilantro — this salsa verde is tangy, fiery, smoky, and 100% good enough to eat with a spoon. There are endless ways to enjoy it. Serve it with tortilla chips before dinner; use it as an enchilada, quesadilla, or taco sauce; drizzle it over carne asada or chicken fajitas; or spoon it over rice. You really can’t go wrong!

What you’ll need to make salsa verde

how to make salsa verdeThe main ingredient in salsa verde is tomatillos, a tart Mexican fruit that resembles small green tomatoes covered by a papery husk. They’re related to tomatoes but have a distinctive tart flavor. (Note that they are not the same as green tomatoes, which are simply unripe tomatoes.)

You can find tomatillos in most grocery stores. Select ones that are bright green, firm but not rock-hard, and bulging from their husks. (And try to get tomatillos that are fairly uniform in size so that they roast evenly.)

Before using tomatillos , remove the papery husk. You’ll notice that they have a sticky substance on the surface — just rinse them under water and it will come right off.


how to make salsa verde

Place the tomatillos, onions, garlic, jalapeño pepper, and oil directly on the prepared baking sheet and toss with your hands or a rubber spatula. Broil until softened and charred, 10-12 minutes.

how to make salsa verde

Transfer the vegetables and juices to a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Add the salt, cumin, sugar, and cilantro.

how to make salsa verde

Pulse until chunky, then taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary.

how to make salsa verde

Transfer the salsa to a bowl and serve warm, at room temperature, or slightly chilled.

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Salsa Verde

This salsa verde is tangy, fiery, smoky, and good on just about everything.

Servings: About 3 cups
Prep Time: 10 Minutes
Cook Time: 15 Minutes
Total Time: 25 Minutes


  • 1-1/4 lbs tomatillos, husked, rinsed, and quartered
  • 2 small yellow onions, cut into 1-inch wedges
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, left whole (or remove the ribs and seeds for a mild salsa)
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/8 teaspoon sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed fresh cilantro leaves, plus a bit more for serving


  1. Set an oven rack about 5 inches beneath the heating element and preheat the broiler. Line a rimmed baking sheet with heavy-duty aluminum foil.
  2. Place the tomatillos, onions, garlic, jalapeño pepper and oil directly on the prepared baking sheet and toss with your hands or a rubber spatula. Broil until softened and slightly charred, 10-12 minutes.
  3. Transfer the vegetables and juices to a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Add the salt, cumin, sugar, and cilantro and pulse until chunky. Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary. Transfer to a bowl and sprinkle with chopped cilantro if desired. Serve the salsa warm, at room temperature, or slightly chilled.
  4. Note: This recipe is not meant for canning.
  5. Make Ahead: The salsa can be made up to 3 days ahead of time and stored in a covered container in the refrigerator.
  6. Freezer-Friendly Instructions: The salsa can be frozen in an airtight for up to 3 months. Defrost in the refrigerator overnight before serving. (Some of the liquid may separate out when it’s defrosted, or it might get a bit watery, but you can correct that by reheating it.)

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Reviews & Comments

  • Jenn,

    I love your salsa verde recipe, it includes the statement that this is not meant for canning.
    I have a pressure canner. Couldn’t I can the salsa with the same canning time as tomatoes?


    • — Candace on August 19, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Candace, while it may be okay, I don’t know enough about canning to say whether or not it would be safe. Sorry!

      • — Jenn on August 19, 2021
      • Reply
  • Easy and delicious, such vibrant flavors! Didn’t have cilantro, so I subbed parsley and lime juice. Worked great.

    • — Liz on August 1, 2021
    • Reply
  • This was so good and so easy. First time using tomatillos and definitely not my last. Thank you for another great recipe. Love your cookbook too.

    • — Melissa on February 4, 2021
    • Reply
  • I added serrano and kept seeds, it’s delicious!

    • — Autumn M French on January 29, 2021
    • Reply
  • Easy and delicious

    • — Zack Kaufman on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • Simple Excellence!
    Very little prep for such a flavorful sauce. We used this on chili rellenos and in Mexican Green Rice. We love this also on eggs, with tortilla chips, and simply anywhere you use tomato salsa. Thank you for a great recipe.

    • — Rebecca on November 2, 2020
    • Reply
  • So easy and delicious! No jalapeño, so used a couple of mystery hot peppers from the garden. ZOW!

    • — May on August 24, 2020
    • Reply
  • Tomatillo? What’s a tomatillo? When I saw this recipe on my timeline I knew my taste buds had to experience it!
    Well, I found this mysterious tomatillo and let me tell you, this is a lick the spoon, fill the chip, scrape the bowl salsa. I mistakenly bought parsley instead of the cilantro so I resorted to dried cilantro. I would imagine the fresh would be so much better. Also, I found the 10-12 minutes under the 500 degree broiler was not nearly enough time for slightly charred. Jenn, another winner!

    • — Kari Powell on July 29, 2020
    • Reply
  • So easy to make and so delicious! I will use more jalapeño next time! Wonderful flavor!

    • — Michelle on July 16, 2020
    • Reply
  • This recipe looks great. Quick question – can you use canned tomatillos? Any change to the recipe steps?

    • — Christine Brown on July 16, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Christine, fresh would be better but I think you can get away with canned (with no modifications to the recipe). I’d love to hear how it turns out!

      • — Jenn on July 17, 2020
      • Reply
  • Hello! My area doesn’t have tomatillos, can I use green tomatoes?

    • Unfortunately, they won’t work here, Elizabeth – sorry! I would try this salsa instead – it’s very similar; it just uses tomatoes instead of tomatillos.

  • Roasting the Tomatillos and onions really make this recipe. My family loved it!

    • — Rulan Jay Cook
    • Reply
  • Hi Jenn! I was out enjoying my garden this morning with my morning coffee, and was laughing to myself that I needed to work harder to use all the tomatillos that I’m. Going To Have. The plants are loaded with blossoms and teeny fruit. When I went in to check email, guess what was in my inbox?
    HOORAY!😁 I can’t wait till everything is ripe.

  • First time trying tomatillos and it was so easy and delicious! I loved that everything roasted together and then all got thrown in the food processor together. Brought to a friend’s Cinco de Mayo gathering and we ate it room temp with chips, slathered it on tacos, and ate directly from the spoon. So good! 🙂

  • Can the salsa be frozen, or would it turn to mush? I can try making a half-recipe, but I hope the extra can be frozen

    • I think you could freeze it, Judy – just drain off any excess liquid if there is any after defrosting. Enjoy!

  • I made this for a birthday party on the weekend and it was definitely the favourite appetizer!

  • Just made this and will definitely keep recipe on hand! Happy cinco de mayo!

  • Made this last night and used it as a topping for enchiladas. Delicious, impressive and easy!

  • Simple, fast and delicious. Will probably taste even better tomorrow.

  • Delicious! Tangy and spicy. And the best part is how easy it was to make. Have tried other tomatillo based salsa recipes and this is the best one.

  • This isn’t about this recipe, but wanted you to know that I have now read your cook book cover to cover and think it’s one of the best I have ever encountered. Think you hit a home run! Congratulations!! (the stars are for the cookbook…haven’t tried the salsa!)

    • — Gretchen Andeel
    • Reply
    • Thanks for your kind words and for purchasing the book, Gretchen — I’m thrilled to hear you like what you see! I so appreciate your support. 💗

      • I just made this to take to a friend’s for dinner tomorrow night. I am not sure it will make it there; I better hide it! I keep giving it another taste, and another and another….! I wanted to try something new and this was it! Our friends like to try new foods too, so I can’t wait for them to try it. They are serving fish tacos, so I think this will be a nice addition. This salsa is full of flavor and a nice departure from the typical red salsa.

        • — Tonya on June 4, 2021
        • Reply
  • Love this! I make this often, but add poblano peppers as well. Great with fish.

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