Salsa Verde

October 18, 2019

Homemade Salsa Verde is so much better than what you get in a bottle! This green salsa recipe is so easy to make, it’s deliciously flavorful, and it makes a delicious topping to your favorite Mexican food. Or simply serve it with chips for a perfect party appetizer or dinner side dish.

Salsa Verde in a bowl with a side of tortilla chips.

What Is Salsa Verde?

Salsa Verde originated from Mexico and is a green salsa, usually tomatillo based (unlike a red tomato based salsa). It is usually used as a chip dip or on tacos (I also love it on enchiladas, fajitas, tostadas and chimichangas!)

This is a roasted version of green salsa – nothing overly roasted or too far blackened for my liking, just a fair char on two sides. Then just add everything to a food processor a give it a few quick blitzes, easy as can be.

I definitely prefer this roasting method over the raw versions or boiled versions. This is my idea of the BEST salsa verde!

It’s one of my go-to snacks and toppings, try it and and you’ll see why!

Salsa verde ingredients

Salsa Verde Ingredients

  • Tomatillos – these are a green skinned, slightly acidic fruit with an appearance similar to tomatoes (and the Spanish word “tomatillo” actually translates to “little tomato”) but they have a much different flavor from tomatoes. They are covered in a thin husk which you remove before roasting and eating.
  • Jalapeno – this makes the salsa spicy, if you want it mild you can omit. If you like it extra spicy you can leave the jalapeno seeds or double up on this ingredient.
  • Yellow onion and garlic – these add a lot of flavor to the salsa verde, don’t omit them.
  • Fresh cilantro – I like to use 1/4 cup but you can adjust this to taste depending on how much you love it or don’t care for it.
  • Salt – don’t forget this, it brings out the flavors in the salsa and keeps it from tasting one dimensional.
  • Sugar – this just balances out the tart acidic flavors.
  • Lime juice – this adds a light kick of fresh bright flavor.
  • Water – sure this is not such a typical salsa ingredient but here it thins it out to a better, more dip-able consistency.

Roasted tomatillos and jalapeno on a baking sheet.

How to Make Salsa Verde

  • Heat broiler: Move oven rack about 4-inch below broiler element. Preheat broiler to high heat.
  • Roast tomatillos and jalapeño: Place tomatillos and jalapeño on a baking sheet then place in oven and roast about 4 – 5 minutes until charred on top (keep a close on on things as they can char pretty quickly – especially the pepper)
  • Turn and continue to roast: Rotate veggies to opposite side and roast until charred on opposite side, about 3 – 5 minutes longer.
  • Add ingredients to food processor: Slice pepper (or halve then remove seeds) then add to a food processor along with onion, cilantro, garlic, salt, sugar, lime juice, water and tomatillos (and any juices on pan).
  • Blitz to a coarse texture: Pulse several times to a coarse puree. Stir in more water to thin if desired. Serve warm as a topping or chill through in refrigerator to use as a chip dip.

Roasted tomatillos, jalapeno, onion, garlic and cilantro in a food processor.

Why Mince the Onion and Garlic First?

You’ll notice in the recipe that it’s listed to mince the onion, garlic and cilantro first. That’s for a few reasons:

  1. So you can rinse the onion to remove that harsh bite first so it isn’t overpowering everything else
  2. So you’ll end with some texture in your salsa by the time the tomatillos have processed rather than just a puree (I used some of this salsa to make enchiladas, so if you want to use it for that you won’t really need the texture. You can also add in chicken broth in place of the water and a bit more of it).

Chopped up salsa verde in a food processor.

Is it Necessary to Add Sugar to Green Salsa?

Yes, the sugar balances the acidity from the tomatillos and adds depth to the homemade salsa verde. Don’t worry, you won’t taste it at all!

Is This Salsa Verde Really Spicy?

The jalapeño adds a decent amount of heat to this salsa, but not too much. If you don’t like spicy foods, remove the seeds from the pepper before blending it in with the other ingredients or omit jalapeño all together.

How to Choose the Best Tomatillos:

  • Press tomatillos, they should be firm (not rock hard but a good firmness) skip the squishy overripe ones.
  • Peel back husk slightly to check color, they should have a nice green color.
  • Skip those that are shriveled or with blemishes.
  • Store in fridge for longer shelf life, unlike tomatoes they’re fine chilled.

Salsa Verde in a bowl with a side of tortilla chips.

Tips for the Best Salsa Verde

  • Try to buy tomatillos of roughly the same size so they cook evenly in the oven.
  • Stir in a few tablespoons of water to thin the salsa otherwise it will be too thick.
  • Don’t over process the salsa verde. You want it to be slightly chunky for best texture. No pureeing here.

More Salsa Recipes You’ll Love:

More Mexican Recipes to Try:

Salsa Verde (Green Salsa)

5 from 7 votes

This is my favorite Salsa Verde recipe! The tomatillos and pepper are roasted for a flavorful light char, then the ingredients are quickly blitzed in a food processor for an easy finish. Such a bright refreshing chip dip or taco topping!

Servings: 6
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 lbs tomatillos*, husked
  • 1 jalapeno**, stem removed (before or after roasting)
  • 2/3 cup chopped yellow onion, rinsed under water to remove harsh bite
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp salt, or to taste
  • 1/2 - 1 tsp sugar, to taste
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 3 Tbsp water, then more as desired

Instructions

  1. Move oven rack about 4-inch below broiler element, preheat broiler to high heat.

  2. Place tomatillos and jalapeno on a baking sheet then place in oven and roast about 4 - 5 minutes until charred on top (keep a close on on things as they can char pretty quickly - especially the pepper).

  3. Rotate veggies to opposite side and roast until charred on opposite side, about 3 - 5 minutes longer. 

  4. Slice pepper then add to a food processor along with onion, cilantro, garlic, salt, sugar, lime juice, water and tomatillos (and any juices on pan). 
  5. Pulse several times to a coarse puree. Stir in more water to thin if desired. Chill through in refrigerator in an airtight container.

Recipe Notes

  • *Try to use tomatillos of roughly the same size so they cook evenly in the oven. 
  • **If you don't like spicy food you can omit the jalapeno or to make it more mild remove the seeds before adding to the food processor. If you like it really spicy leave the seeds or double up on the jalapeno.
  • Don't over process the salsa verde. You want it to be slightly chunky and have good texture!
Nutrition Facts
Salsa Verde (Green Salsa)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 44 Calories from Fat 9
% Daily Value*
Fat 1g2%
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Sodium 196mg9%
Potassium 279mg8%
Carbohydrates 9g3%
Fiber 2g8%
Sugar 6g7%
Protein 1g2%
Vitamin A 178IU4%
Vitamin C 16mg19%
Calcium 11mg1%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: Salsa Verde
Author: Jaclyn