Fresh Tomatillo Salsa Verde Recipe

Salsa is so popular that more than 218 million Americans use it every year (via Statista). Whether you consume it as a dip with chips, as a taco or fajita topping, or mix it with your eggs, salsa adds a bit of spice to any dish. Plus, it's healthy. According to Healthline, salsa contains few calories and lots of vitamins and minerals, like potassium and vitamins A and C from those fresh tomatoes, chiles, and cilantro.  

The dish, which translates simply to "sauce," has been celebrated for hundreds of years, with the Aztecs, Mayans, and Incas first combining the delicious tag team of chilies with tomatoes and adding in squash seeds (via Twisted Taco). 

This version from wellness coach and recipe developer Miriam Hahn uses tomatillos and jalapeños, along with spices and other staple salsa seasonings. Best of all, it takes just 20 minutes to make! "I started making fresh salsa years ago when I first got married because my husband loves Mexican food and fresh salsa," said Hahn. "I am 100% Italian, but love cooking foods from other cultures and quickly learned that salsas are super easy and have such a fresh flavor when you make them from scratch."

Gather your ingredients

This recipe's most important ingredients are tomatillos and jalapeños. Don't confuse tomatillos with tomatoes. Tomatillos come from a different plant, and each fruit is protected by a papery husk that you remove prior to cooking. They're also called Mexican green tomatoes or jamberries (via

You can really use any type of pepper, though, not just jalapeños, according to Hahn. "Serrano peppers can be used for a spicier version or habañero if you want it very hot. If you want it milder, you can just use a portion of a jalapeño or you can add a little bit of honey if you want it slightly sweet."

The dish also requires chopped white onion, chopped cilantro, minced garlic, lime juice and zest, ground cumin, and salt. Many salsa recipes also feature oregano, and if you like the earthy bitterness that spice brings, you can add it here, too. 

Remove the husks and wash the tomatillos

Your first step to make this spicy salsa recipe requires preparing the tomatillos for cooking. Remove the husks from about 14 to 16 tomatillos. The husks should slip off really easily, according to Hahn, and there's no special method to extract them. You can determine the exact amount of tomatillos needed for your dish by looking at their size; if the ones you have skew small, use more. If bigger, use less.

Now, get that faucet running so you can rinse off the tomatillos. Once the skin is removed, the tomatillos are quite sticky. The film is normal and washes off. That gummy coating contains withanolides, a healthy compound that deters bugs from eating the fruit. Between that and the husk, tomatillos are well-protected from the insect world. You should wash the tomatillos thoroughly until the skin feels smooth.

You'll next want to preheat your oven to broil, because it's time to cook the tomatillos.

Roast the tomatillos and jalapeños

Place the whole, freshly washed tomatillos and jalapeños on a baking sheet. Put them into the oven and broil them for five minutes on each side. When you take them out, they should be blackened in some areas.

The other way to do this is to grill the tomatillos and jalapeños either on an outside grill or an inside grill pan, advised Hahn. "You just cook them until they are charred on all sides. This would be great if you have the grill going for other things and don't want to heat up the house with turning the oven on."

Feel free to prep two or three jalapeños, even if you only use one. This way you can add as much as you need, and you're better off having more than you need than not enough. Just keep in mind that If you add too much spice, you can't take it away. 

Chop or blend up everything in a food processor

Add the cooked tomatillos and jalapeños (If you want them milder, remove the seeds before blending) and all the remaining ingredients to a blender or food processor. Use a conservative amount of jalapeño in the blender first, then taste the heat level and add more as desired. That's why you roasted those extra peppers, remember?

Mix everything until smooth, or, if you prefer a chunkier salsa, use the pulse button instead of fully blending the ingredients. 

Transfer the mixture to a container or serving dish and chill the finished product in the refrigerator for a minimum of two hours before serving. Then you can enjoy!

Salsa works well with so many other dishes. "We love pairing the salsa with tacos (our favorite are jackfruit or lentil tacos), fajitas, burritos, or bean tostadas," said Hahn. But there are so many other things you can use the dish for: It adds a dash of spiciness to scrambled eggs, omelets, or frittatas and acts as a tasty dip for chips, toasted bread, or French fries. The possibilities are limitless. So make some salsa and start experimenting!

Fresh Tomatillo Salsa Verde Recipe
5 from 26 ratings
This simple and fresh tomatillo salsa recipe roasts the green fruit with jalapeños, and blends them with spices and other salsa seasonings in just 15 minutes.
Prep Time
Cook Time
tomatillo salsa with chips and half lime
Total time: 15 minutes
  • 14 to 16 tomatillos
  • 1 to 3 jalapeños
  • ½ cup white onion, chopped
  • ½ cup cilantro, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice
  • Zest of 1 lime
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  1. Preheat your oven to broil.
  2. Remove the husks from the tomatillos and wash the fruit well.
  3. Place the whole tomatillos and jalapeños on a baking sheet and broil them for five minutes on each side. They should be blackened in some areas.
  4. Transfer the cooked tomatillos, 1 of the jalapeños (seeded or unseeded), the onion, cilantro, garlic, lime juice, lime zest, cumin, and salt to a blender.
  5. Blend until smooth or pulse until chunky.
  6. Taste and add more jalapeño if desired.
  7. Chill for a minimum of 2 hours before serving.
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