Tomatillo Salsa Verde

Tomatillo salsa verde (green) chili is the backbone to a host of Mexican dishes. I use my blender for this salsa, mixing a few basic ingredients (tomatillos, onion, garlic, cilantro, and a jalapeño pepper), and then adjust the flavor to my preference.

Enjoy as a salsa with chips or use it for green enchiladas, a sauce for pork chile verde or as a condiment to any Latin meal.

A clear jar of homemade salsa verde with a sliced line on the side with a jalapeno.

Tomatillo Green Chili Salsa Recipe

Some of my favorite salsa ingredients are cilantro, onion, and garlic, so I use plenty in this recipe.

On the other hand, I’m a wimpy salsa eater when it comes to the added heat from chili peppers, so I start with one small or medium sized jalapeño.

Once I get the basic ingredient then I taste the sauce along with my husband and son’s taste testing opinions.

Green salsa made with tomatillos with tortilla chips.

They like a hotter salsa, so between the tweaking the spices we quickly end up with a medium full flavor salsa.

This chili verde recipe has just enough heat from the jalapeños that doesn’t leave us sniffling or dabbing perspired foreheads!

Ingredients to make tomatillo salsa verde.
Ingredients for Salsa Verde

What are tomatillos?

These funny looking fruit are a relative of the tomato family, but not a green tomato. You’ll find tomatillos with a papery outer skin that you will peel away and discard. You’ll notice a sticky residue that the husk leaves on the tomatillo.

Tomatillos are not sweet like the red tomatoes we serve with our salads. This fruit (yes, tomatoes are fruits!) are tart giving it the unique taste to Mexican sauces.

Cleaning Tomatillos

Preparing the tomatillos is easy. Most times you will purchase tomatillos with the husk on. Remove the husk and wash the tomatillos with cool water. Don’t worry about removing all of the sticky residue on the tomatillos. It won’t affect the taste of the sauce since we won’t be blending up the skins.

How To Cook Tomatillos

For this salsa verde recipe you can either simmer the tomatillos on the stove top or roast the in the oven.

My preference is to roast the tomatillos under the broiler. The heat will char and blister the skin protecting the pulp, cooking it to a soft and tender texture.

Don’t worry about the skin getting dark. For this recipe we only use the pulp of the tomatillos, and the skin will be discarded.

Roasted tomatillos in the oven to make salsa verde.

How to Prepare the Jalapeños for Tomatillo Green Chili Salsa

I use jalapeño or serrano peppers for this sauce. The seeds in the chili peppers can be potent, which you’ll learn more about below, so protect yourself by using gloves or after handling the peppers rinse your hands well in cold water.

DO NOT touch your lips or eyes after touching the peppers.

First, clean the peppers and then cut the stem off and slice in half.

These little guys are spicy hot, especially the white pith! Photo January 2012

Should the Seeds be Removed When Making Tomatillo Green Chili Salsa?

If you are concerned about the heat it’s important to know that the pungency (or heat factor) of chile peppers is measured in multiples of 100 Scoville units.

Jalapeños range from 5,000 – 25,000. The hottest pepper is the Ghost Pepper coming in at 1,000,000 units. Now that is HOT!

Also note that the heat doesn’t come from the seeds. Capsaicin is the compound where the heat comes from and is located in the white pith or membrane or the pepper.

A little bit of the capsaicin will be on the seeds, which is why you don’t want to touch your eyes or mouth when preparing the jalapeños. Use your judgement when leaving or removing the seeds.

Personally, it’s a habit for me to remove the seeds when making green chili salsa.

Pepper Heat Index

When shopping for peppers, I always remember, the smaller the chili the hotter the bite!

Pepper Heat Index visual
Photo source: Culinary Services Group

Making Tomatillo Salsa Verde

Once you have prepared the ingredients and cooked the tomatillos the only step left is to blend all the ingredients together.

STEP 1 : Add ingredients to a blender

Now that the tomatillos are roasted and the skin has been removed add them to a blender or food processor with the onion, garlic, cilantro, jalapeno, cilantro and lime juice.

STEP 2 : Blend Ingredients

On the blender use the pulse function and blend 3 or 4 times to combine all the ingredients.

Recipe Ideas Using Tomatillo Green Chili Salsa

You can get super creative with this green chili salsa. Here I browned some pork, added the sauce for a Pork Chili Verde dish.

Chile Verde – Photo from 2012

The sauce is tasty all on it’s own, and great with chips. Make your own Baked tortilla chips and salsa!!

Baked Tortilla Chips for tomatillo salsa verde

Mmmmm, now we’re going to add it as a condiment on top of fried or baked chicken taquitos or top on the beef air fryer chimichanga.

The Tomatillo Salsa Verde is so versatile. Add it to any protein, use the sauce for green chili enchiladas, skillet chicken enchiladas or add it on top of eggs.

Green salsa made with tomatillos with tortilla chips dipped in the sauce.

The possibilities are endless! Let me know how you use this tomatillo salsa verde!

Green salsa made with tomatillos with tortilla chips.

Tomatillo Salsa Verde For Mexican Dishes

Make your own tomatillo green chili salsa and adjust the heat to your preference. Use as a dip with tortilla chips or as a base for Mexican dishes like chile verde or enchiladas.
5 from 8 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Condiment
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: chili, green chili, Salsa Verde, sauce, Tomatillo Salsa Verde
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 4 -6 servings
Calories: 19kcal
Author: Sandra Shaffer


  • 6 approximately 2 pouds tomatillos
  • 3/4 cup white onion chopped
  • 3/4 cup cilantro leaves
  • 2 garlic cloves chopped
  • 1 lime freshly juiced
  • 1-2 jalapeño peppers stemmed, seeded, and chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


  • Clean tomatillos by removing the husks and rinsing well. Place tomatillos in a saucepan, cover with water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes, turn the tomatillos to ensure even cooking OR
  • Halve the tomatillos and broil (skin side up) for 5-7 minutes. Let cool.
  • When the tomatillos are cool enough to handle, remove the stems and put all the ingredients in a blender or food processor.
  • Now comes the most important part, taste your sauce! Every jalapeño has a spicy life of its own. Some super hot and others not as potent. I seed my jalapeños and start adding slowly. I usually end up using one whole chili pepper, adjusting my recipe to the flavor I like.


After blending taste the sauce and adjust by adding more jalapenos, or salt to your preference.


Serving: 1g | Calories: 19kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 1g | Sodium: 179mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g


Please note that the nutritional information provided are guidelines and may vary based on the brand of products used. For your specific nutritional goals use My Fitness Pal or Verywell Fit recipe calculators. All content within this site is not intended as medical diagnosis or treatment and should not be considered a substitute for professional medical expertise.

This recipe was first posted in January 2012. It has been updated with new photos and additional information on May, 2021.

Thirsty For A Mexican Cocktail?

Give this green chili salsa a try, and serve it with a cold cerveza, paloma cocktail, low sugar margarita or Spanish sangria!

Homemade salsa verde made with tomatillos is a simple recipe that can be enjoyed as a dip, or sauce on Latin dishes. #sauce #salsa #chili #green #tomatillo
Hugs Sandra Signature

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  1. Our Latino neighbors planted 1/2 acre of tomatillos in our garden. They harvested probably close to a ton of them and we put about 100 pounds in our freezer. Many of the tomatillos were ripened to dark purple. They showed us how to make salsa, which also included a Roma tomato. Using riper tomatillos, our salsa turned out purple. They put water to cover the tomatillos, tomato, and jalapeño peppers, but I will chop them and use less water next time . Also they didn’t add any acid, but I will add some lemon or lime juice.

    1. Mmmm, a bowl of pozole sounds wonderful right now! I don’t think I’ve ever had it with a green chili base, only red chili. I bet it is just as tasty!

  2. I am all over this salsa, Sandra! It’s bee-yew-tee-full! I always wanna play with tomatillos when I see them at the store. Now I have an excuse! Chips, taquitoes, chili verde… yuuuuuuuuum…………….. 🙂

    1. It’s so easy to make too! I’m lucky because I have a few Latin grocery stores to shop at, and they stock the best tomatillos!

  3. ooh wow! This looks amazing! I didn’t know that smaller peppers = more spicy! Wow, your tomatillo salsa verde (did i spell it right? yes. phew! lol) looks amazing and it’s so versatile. I think I would love this one since I’m crazy about spice!

  4. Hi Jasline! You can leave the chili peppers out, and add some cumin (1 tsp) or chicken broth (1 tsp, instant granules) for added flavor without the spice! Definitely play with the flavors to suit your preference!