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Salsa Verde

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Bursting with tanginess, smokiness, and a hint of fiery heat, this salsa verde is delicious with just about everything, from chips to tacos and more.

Salsa Verde

While traditional salsa features a tomato base, salsa verde, which translates to “green salsa,” gets its name from the predominant use of green ingredients. It is made with tomatillos, a small green fruit with a tart flavor, as the primary ingredient along with green chili peppers, such as jalapeños or serranos, cilantro, onions, garlic, and lime juice. Salsa verde has a tangy, zesty flavor with a smoky undertone achieved by roasting the vegetables. Of course it’s delicious with tortilla chips, but there are endless other ways to enjoy it: use it as a sauce for enchiladas, quesadillas, or tacos, 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 verdeTransfer the salsa to a bowl and serve warm, at room temperature, or slightly chilled.

Video Tutorial

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Salsa Verde

Bursting with tanginess, smokiness, and a hint of fiery heat, this salsa verde is delicious with just about everything, from chips to tacos and more.

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


  • 1¼ 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
  • ⅛ teaspoon sugar
  • ¾ 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.)

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Per serving (12 servings)
  • Serving size: 1/4 cup
  • Calories: 53
  • Fat: 4 g
  • Saturated fat: 1 g
  • Carbohydrates: 4 g
  • Sugar: 2 g
  • Fiber: 1 g
  • Protein: 1 g
  • Sodium: 153 mg
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

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  • Recipe was perfect as written. I’ve tried a few other salsa verde recipes that were hit and miss. I’ll be saving this one for the next time I get tomatillos in my crop share box.

    • — Mariah on September 26, 2023
    • Reply
  • 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?


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

  • Easy and delicious, such vibrant flavors! Didn’t have cilantro, so I subbed parsley and lime juice. Worked great.

  • 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.

  • I added serrano and kept seeds, it’s delicious!

    • — Autumn M French
    • Reply
  • Easy and delicious

  • 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.

  • So easy and delicious! No jalapeño, so used a couple of mystery hot peppers from the garden. ZOW!

  • 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!

  • So easy to make and so delicious! I will use more jalapeño next time! Wonderful flavor!

  • This recipe looks great. Quick question – can you use canned tomatillos? Any change to the recipe steps?

    • — Christine Brown
    • 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!

  • 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.

  • Love this! I make this often, but add poblano peppers as well. Great with fish.

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