Authentic Salsa Verde Recipe

This Mexican salsa verde is a staple in Mexican cuisine. Bright, with a delicious herb-ish flavor, and very simple to make. Enjoy over tacos, sopes, or quesadillas. Or use it to make enchiladas, stews, and many more Mexican traditional recipes!

This delicious tomatillo green chili salsa is so delicious and simple to make that you’re never going back to the store-bought version.

Tomatillo Salsa Verde in jars with some ingredients scattered around.

About

Salsa verde is a traditional Mexican sauce made of tomatillos, green chili peppers, cilantro, and onions. Is one of the most popular salsas used not only to accompany tacos and other dishes but also as a base to prepare many Mexican traditional recipes.

Verde sauce has a herbaceous, zesty, and tangy taste. The spiciness can range from mild to very spicy depending on how many chili peppers are used to make it.

It is called salsa verde because of the beautiful bright green color it has, which is achieved by the different green ingredients used, such as green chili peppers, cilantro, and the main ingredient, tomatillos. Verde in English means green.

Salsa verde in a jar, opened.

What is tomatillo?

Tomatillo, also known as husk or green tomato, is a fruit very similar in its use to the tomato that we all know, but with a different appearance and flavor.

Tomatillos are native to Mexico and they are used both cooked and raw in the preparation of sauces, soups, chicken stews, pork ribs in green sauce, and many other authentic recipes.

They look like a tomato miniature in green color that is wrapped in a leafy husk with a paper-like texture.

Tomatillos have a less sweet flavor and are slightly more acidic than ripe and unripe tomatoes. Overall, the flavor is more herb-ish and the inside texture is more compact.

Fresh tomatillos scattered on a concrete surface.

Ingredients & Substitutions

  • TOMATILLOS – In this tomatillo sauce recipe I have used fresh tomatillos. But I have also made this green salsa before using canned tomatillos and frozen tomatillos. In Amazon and other Latin American food stores, you can find large cans of tomatillos ready to use that don’t need to be cooked.
  • GREEN CHILLIES – In Mexico, this tomatillo green chili salsa is made with serrano or jalapeño chiles. But you can also use any other type of hot green peppers.
  • CILANTRO – Fresh cilantro gives lots of flavor to this salsa. There’s no real substitute for this ingredient but you can use some parsley for color and a bit of herbaceous taste if you prefer.
  • ONION – White onion helps to balance the acidity of tomatillos, but you can also make green salsa without it. Is up to you.
  • SALT AND GARLIC – Those are the only two ingredients that I use to season this sauce since I prefer it to taste like tomatillos and not spices.
Ingredients for Mexican salsa verde.

Homemade Salsa Verde Recipe

Place tomatillos and chile peppers in a pot, cover them with water, and cook them until they are tender (about 10 minutes).

Remove them from the water and let everything cool down for about 10 minutes. Reserve the cooking water.

Boiled tomatillos and chili peppers.
  • If you use canned tomatillos, is not necessary to cook them. Just add them to the blender along with the cooked chilies.
  • If you use cooked frozen tomatillos, you should only thaw them and add them to the blender with the other ingredients.
  • If you use fresh frozen tomatillos you have to defrost them first and then cook them as instructed in the recipe.

In a blender or food processor, place the garlic, half the cilantro (including the stems), half the green chilies, and salt. Pour one cup of water and blend on high for half a minute.

Add the other half of the cilantro, onion, tomatillos, and cooked chilies and blend until you get the desired consistency for your sauce.

The sauce blended inside the blender.

Adjust salt to taste, then transfer the green salsa to a bowl or jar and serve or store for later.

Notes

  • The amount of chilies is to your preferences, you can add less or even more, depending on how spicy you’d like your green salsa.
  • If you don’t have onions or don’t want to use them, you can add a pinch of sugar to balance the sour taste of the sauce.
  • I like to first blend the garlic with some of the ingredients to make sure it really incorporates into the salsa, as I don’t like to find garlic bites when I eat it. Feel free to blend everything at once if you don’t care about this.
  • You can also prepare green salsa in a molcajete or mortar instead of the blender.
  • I don’t recommend adding lime juice to this sauce as the tomatillos bring enough acidity.

Recipe Variations

  • Roast it. You can roast the ingredients instead of boiling them. Then use a molcajete or mortar to make a rustic and smoky salsa.
  • Make it creamy. Add Mexican crema or sour cream to the blender to make a creamy version of this sauce and use it to make enchiladas, soups, or pasta.
  • Fry it. Or you can also stir-fry the ingredients in a skillet with a little bit of olive oil.
  • Add other ingredients. Think of this sauce as a base of creamy avocado salsa by throwing some ripe avocado into the mix, or salsa de guajes by using guaje pods.
  • Add texture. Once prepared, place in a bowl and add some chopped onion and cilantro for texture.

How To Eat & Use

This green salsa goes perfectly with pretty much anything, from tacos to burritos, to crispy tostadas and other Mexican snacks. Here are my favorite recipes to pair with:

Chilaquiles verdes with fried eggs.
Chilaquiles made with Tomatillo Salsa Verde.

How To Store

As a Mexican, I have made tomatillo salsa verde several times in my life and since I am living overseas I had to come out with ideas about how to store it. So, those below are the ones that have worked for me so far:

  • In the refrigerator. Place in a glass container with a tight lid and store in the fridge for up to 5 days.
  • Frozen in bags. Use resealable bags and divide the salsa into small portions. Remember to add a tag to the bags with the date of preparation, as it will last only from 3-4 months.
  • In frozen cubes. Fill the molds and put them in the freezer. Once they are frozen, remove the cubes and transfer them to a resealable bag. 3-4 months
  • In sterilized jars. Canning this tomatillo salsa verde is reasonably easy, there are various methods to sterilize and can homemade sauce, use your favorite one and store this green salsa in your pantry for up to 8 months!

More Mexican Salsas Recipes

Mexican Salsa Verde with tomatillos recipe.

Mexican Salsa Verde (Tomatillo Sauce)

author Maricruz
6 cups
The Salsa Verde recipe is a delicious Mexican green sauce prepared with tomatillo, green chilies, and cilantro, it has a bright green color and a slightly acidic, herb-ish flavor.
prep 10 minutes
cook 10 minutes
resting time 10 minutes
total 30 minutes

Ingredients 

  • 2.2 lb tomatillo (husks removed)
  • ½ lb serrano peppers (or any green hot chilli pepper)
  • 1 cup onions (cut in chunks)
  • 1 bunch of cilantro
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • salt (to taste)

Instructions
 

  • Place tomatillos and chilies in a pot, cover them with water and cook them until they are completely tender (about 10 minutes).
  • Remove from the water and let everything cool down for about 10 minutes.
  • Place garlic in a blender, add half the cilantro (including the stems), half the chilies, and a pinch of salt.
  • Pour one cup of water and blend on high speed for half a minute.
  • Add the other half of the cilantro, onion, tomatillos and cooked chilies and blend until you get the desired consistency for your sauce.
  • Adjust salt to taste, and transfer the salsa to a bowl or jar and enjoy.

Notes

  • The amount of chilies is to taste, you can add less or even more, depending on how spicy you’d like your sauce.
  • If you don’t have onions or don’t want to use them, you can add a pinch of sugar to balance the sour taste of the sauce.
  • You can also prepare the sauce in a molcajete or mortar instead of the blender.
Nutrition Information
Calories: 74kcal | Carbohydrates: 14g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 10mg | Potassium: 628mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 1106IU | Vitamin C: 40mg | Calcium: 26mg | Iron: 2mg
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