How to Make Tomatillo Salsa

Everyone has their favorite dishes when they go out to eat at a nice local Mexican restaurant. Maybe it's the savory fish tacos on homemade tortillas or the nachos piled high with seasoned beef and tangy queso sauce. All good choices, but for us and many others, nothing would really be the same without that unmistakable and unbeatable Mexican salsa verde.

Salsa verde or tomatillo salsa is a spicy and tangy sauce used on or to compliment tons of different Mexican dishes. Unlike the more traditional red salsa which is served with fresh and uncooked ingredients, this particular recipe is made from things that are cooked ahead of time before blending into a smooth sauce, one of these ingredients being the tomatillo itself (sort of like a green tomato).

If you've never had it before, you owe it to yourself to fix that mistake. Short of going out right this instant to get some at a restaurant, there's always the option of making it at home. Whether you're just learning about this delicious salsa or have dreamed of this moment for years but never made the jump to finding a recipe, here's our guide on how to make tomatillo salsa to go with all your most beloved Mexican dishes.

A wooden bowl of tomatillo salsa, a jar of tomatillo salsa, cilantro and tortilla chips in the background.

Total Time: 20 mins.

Yield: ​2 cups 

Step #1. Prepare Ingredients

A bowl of tomatillos, serrano pepper, garlic, cilantro and spices laid out.
Prepped tomatillos, peppers, garlic, onion and cilantro laid out.
  • 1 pound tomatillos, chopped
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 serrano chili pepper, stemmed, seeded & minced
  • 2 1/2 tbsp. cilantro, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. oregano, chopped
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • Salt, to taste
  • 2 cups water
  • Blender

Step #2. Place Tomatillos in Saucepan

Hand adding tomatillos to pot of water, prepped ingredients on the side.

Place the tomatillos, onion, garlic, and chili pepper into a saucepan with the water.

Adding onions to pot of water and tomatillos.
Adding peppers to pot of water, onions and tomatillos.

Step #3. Add Seasoning

All tomatillo salsa ingredients in a pot of water.

Add the cilantro, oregano and cumin to the pot.

Step #4. Bring Tomatillo Mixture to a Boil

Cooked tomatillo salsa ingredients being transferred to a blender jar.

Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer until tomatillos are soft (10 to 15 minutes). Remove tomatillos, onions, etc. with a slotted spoon into a blender jar.

Step #5. Pulse

All cooked tomatillo ingredients in a blender.

Pulse the cooked tomatillos, onions, garlic, cilantro, and chili pepper in a blender until all ingredients are finely chopped and mixed. Season with salt, to taste.

All cooked tomatillo ingredients blended together in a blender.

Step #6. Serve

A wooden bowl of tomatillo salsa, a jar of tomatillo salsa, cilantro and tortilla chips in the background.

You can chill it or serve warm with tortilla chips and enjoy. Store any leftovers in the refrigerator.

A wooden bowl of tomatillo salsa, cilantro in the background.
A wooden bowl of tomatillo salsa, a jar of tomatillo salsa, cilantro and tortilla chips in the background. Hand dipping a tortilla chip in the salsa.
A wooden bowl of tomatillo salsa, a jar of tomatillo salsa, cilantro and tortilla chips in the background.
A wooden bowl of tomatillo salsa, a jar of tomatillo salsa, cilantro and tortilla chips in the background.

Now you've got everything you need to make amazing tomatillo salsa right at home whenever you want. Just one bite scooped up with a tortilla chip or dolloped onto a taco and you'll see exactly why you needed this recipe in your rotation in the first place. There's really nothing quite like a homemade tomatillo salsa, especially one made with fresh ingredients that you cooked yourself. This salsa emits such a wonderful aroma while cooking, you'd think you were actually in a Mexican restaurant.

Like with any recipe you take on in your own kitchen, it gives you a new level of freedom to experiment with flavors and amounts that you couldn't get at a restaurant or out of a jar. Want some more spice? Add some more cumin or another pepper. Missing some sweetness? Try a touch of brown sugar.

What's your favorite way to eat tomatillo salsa? Make up a batch today and let us know!

Looking to further enhance your cooking skills? Check out...How to Cook Salmon with Skin On

A wooden bowl of tomatillo salsa, a jar of tomatillo salsa, cilantro and tortilla chips in the background.
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5 from 5 votes

How to Make Tomatillo Salsa

Unlike the more traditional red salsa which is served with fresh and uncooked ingredients, this particular recipe is made from things that are cooked ahead of time before blending into a smooth sauce, one of these ingredients being the tomatillo itself (sort of like a green tomato).
Course Condiment
Cuisine Mexican
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 8 1/4 cup servings
Calories 29kcal
Author Joss D

Ingredients

  • 2 cups water
  • 1 pound tomatillos, chopped
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 serrano chili pepper, stemmed, seeded and minced
  • 2 ½ tbsp. cilantro chopped
  • 1 tbsp. oregano, chopped
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • Salt, to taste

Tools

Instructions

  • Place the tomatillos, onion, garlic, and chili pepper into a saucepan with the water.
    Adding peppers to pot of water, onions and tomatillos.
  • Add the cilantro, oregano and cumin to the pot.
    All tomatillo salsa ingredients in a pot of water.
  • Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer until tomatillos are soft (10 to 15 minutes). Remove tomatillos, onions, etc. with a slotted spoon into a blender jar.
    Cooked tomatillo salsa ingredients being transferred to a blender jar.
  • Pulse the cooked tomatillos, onions, garlic, cilantro, and chili pepper in a blender until all ingredients are finely chopped and mixed. Season with salt, to taste.
    All cooked tomatillo ingredients blended together in a blender.
  • You can chill it or serve warm with tortilla chips and enjoy.
    A wooden bowl of tomatillo salsa, a jar of tomatillo salsa, cilantro and tortilla chips in the background.
Nutrition Facts
How to Make Tomatillo Salsa
Amount Per Serving
Calories 29
% Daily Value*
Sodium 3mg0%
Potassium 214mg6%
Carbohydrates 5g2%
Fiber 2g8%
Sugar 2g2%
Vitamin A 350IU7%
Vitamin C 8.8mg11%
Calcium 41mg4%
Iron 1.3mg7%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Nutrition information on In the Kitch is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate only. It may not include toppings and/or dipping sauce.

Notes

If you enjoy more heat, don't remove all of the serrano chili pepper seeds/membrane, as that is where the majority of the heat comes from.
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Another tasty Mexican recipe you might enjoy:

Electric Skillet Chicken Enchiladas

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