This Homemade Salsa Verde, made with fresh tomatillos, is bright, fresh, and perfectly balanced.
This recipe for Salsa Verde is a million times better tasting than anything store-bought. While it is delicious served with chips, it is also great in Salsa Verde Enchiladas, Instant Pot Salsa Verde Chicken, or used as a topping for Honey Lime Chicken Fajitas.
Salsa Verde is a tomatillo-based Mexican salsa, that is often referred to as green salsa because yep, it's green!
However, Salsa Verde is not simply known for its green hue. What truly makes this green salsa memorable is the flavor. From the combination of tart tomatillos to the fresh cilantro to the heat from the peppers to the slight sweetness from the honey, salsa verde is light, fresh, and perfectly balanced.
Just like classic tomato salsa, homemade is best! Homemade Salsa Verde is superior in flavor to anything you can buy at the store. Not only does it taste brighter and fresher, but you also get to control the level of heat, sugar, and sodium added to the salsa.
Making Salsa Verde at home is really quite simple. It does take a few steps, but I promise you the taste of this tomatillo salsa will be so much better than anything you can purchase at the store.
Ingredients for Tomatillo Salsa
- Tomatillos: A tomatillo is a round fruit with a green color and papery husk. You can find them next to the tomatoes at most groceries store. Or you can purchased canned tomatillos in a bind.
- Onions: Use yellow, white, or sweet onions. I don't recommend using red onions for this recipe.
- Serrano Peppers: Keep in mind that if you don't like spicy verde sauce, remove seeds and veins of the serrano peppers BEFORE roasting. You can also only use one pepper to tame the heat. And if you can't find serrano peppers, you can use 1 large jalapeno pepper in place of 3 small serrano peppers.
- Cilantro: Cilantro is a must for authentic tomatillo salsa.
- Limes: Only fresh lime juice will do when making this recipe. Do not substitute jarred lime juice or you will have leave your salsa with a slightly artificial and bitter taste.
- Optional: I add in honey and garlic to round out the flavors. You can omit one or both of these ingredients, but the flavor is superior when added.
How to make Tomatillo Salsa
- Tomatillos need to be husked and rinsed of the waxy residue on their skin before using to prepare salsa. To husk a tomatillo, you can just peel off the skin and then rinse off the waxy residue on the tomatillo. However, the BEST way to husk tomatillos is to quickly drop in boiling water. After a minute, remove the tomatillos and the husk and residue will come right off.
- Place the husked tomatillos, peeled and chopped conions, garlic, and serrano peppers onto a rimmed sheet pan. Keep in mind that if you want MILD salsa verde, you will want to cut your peppers in half and remove the seeds before broiling.
- Drizzle with oil and season with salt.
- Broil vegetables for 4-5 minutes, or until the surface is charred. Remove from the oven and flip. Return the pan to the broiler for about 3-5 minutes, or until the other side is charred.
- Place the charred tomatillos, onions, peppers, and garlic into a food processor or blender.
- Add in the fresh lime juice, salt, honey, and cilantro.
- Pulse several times to form a coarse puree. The tomatillos and onions should be fairly well broken-down, but you do not want to puree fully. The salsa should have a bit of texture.
- Taste and adjust seasonings. Sometimes I need to add a pinch more salt or a teaspoon or two more of honey to balance out the tartness and heat.
- Serve warm or refrigerate to cool and for the flavors to meld and intensify.
- Serve Salsa Verde with your favorite torilla chips for a classic combination.
- Use Homemade Salsa Verde to prepare Salsa Verde Spaghetti, Instant Pot Salsa Verde Chicken, or Salsa Verde Chicken Enchiladas.
- Add a dollop of Salsa Verde to Honey Lime Chicken Fajitas, Black Bean Tacos, ot a Southwestern Cobb Salad, for a burst of flavor.
- Mix Salsa Verde into Instant Pot Cilantro Lime Rice and top with Taco Meat or shredded Instant Pot Chicken for a quick and flavorful rice bowl.
You can replace fresh tomatillos, with canned whole tomatillos--usually found next to the Enchilada sauce in the Mexican aisle. Just rinse and pat dry the tomatillos and then roast as you would fresh tomatillos.
The serrano pepper will add a decent amount of heat. But if you would like a milder salsa, remove the seeds and ribs of the peppers before broiling. You can also cut the pepper from 3 small serrano peppers to 1 small serrano pepper.
Yes! By broiling the tomatillos, onions, and peppers their natural sugars develop, which helps to balance the heat of this salsa. Broiling also gives the Salsa Verde a delicious smokey taste.
To make Vegan Tomatillo Salsa, use agave syrup or maple syrup in place of the honey.
Salsa Verde will keep in the refrigerator for up to 5 days and can be frozen for up to 3 months.
More Salsa Recipes
If you enjoyed this recipe for Salsa Verde, I would love for you to leave a comment and review below.
- 1 pound fresh tomatillos
- 2 onions peeled and quartered
- 3 garlic cloves
- 2-3 Serrano peppers *more or less for heat preference
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ cup fresh cilantro
- ½ cup fresh lime juice 3-4 large limes
- 1 tablespoon honey
- Bring a large pot of water to a rapid boil. Drop the tomatillos into the boiling water for 1-2 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon. Once cool enough to handle, peel the husk right off the tomatillo. Alternatively, remove the husk from the tomatillo and rinse well.
- Preheat broiler to high heat.
- If desiring to control heat, cut peppers in half and remove seeds and ribs from peppers.
- On a large sheet pan, toss tomatillos, peppers, onion, and garlic cloves with oil and ½ teaspoon kosher salt.
- Place the sheet pan under the broiler and broil for 4-5 minutes, or until the top surface is slightly charred. Remove the pan from the oven and flip. Return to the broiler until the other side is charred, about 3-5 minutes.
- Place roasted vegetables and juices into a blender or food processor. Add in the lime juice, cilantro, honey, and another ½ teaspoon salt. Blend until combined with a coarse texture.
- Taste and add additional honey and salt if needed.
- Serve warm or refrigerate and allow to cool before serving.
This post was originally published in 2017 but updated in 2021 with new tips.