Salsas & Sauces/

Roasted Tomatillo Salsa

Salsa Verde
From Season 8, Mexico —One Plate at a Time
Servings: 1cup


  • 8ounces (3 to 4 medium)tomatillos, husked and rinsed
  • Fresh hot green chiles to taste (1 or 2 serranos or 1 jalapeno), stemmed
  • 2large garlic cloves, peeled
  • 6 sprigs of fresh cilantro (thick bottom stems cut off), roughly chopped
  • 1small white onion, finely chopped
  • Salt


Roast the tomatillos, chile(s) and garlic on a rimmed baking sheet 4 inches below a very hot broiler, until blotchy black and softening (they’ll be turning from lime green to olive), about 5 minutes. Flip them over and roast the other side. Cool, then transfer everything to a blender, including all the delicious juice the tomatillos have exuded during roasting. Add the cilantro and 1/4 cup water, then blend to a coarse puree. Scoop into a serving dish. Rinse the onion under cold water, then shake to remove excess moisture. Stir into the salsa and season with salt, usually 1/2 teaspoon.



    1. Yes it would be a roasted green tomato salsa but why not? Tomatillos aren’t in the tomato family as was pointed out but green tomatoes have a more acidic flavor profile so should make great roasted salsa. I would definitely use what you have, but if you get a chance grow some tomatillos next summer. they are a very pretty plant that even looks good as edible landscaping.

      1. Tomatillos, tomatoes, chiles, and peppers are all part of the family Solanaceae, as are eggplant and the infamous nightshades, and tobacco.

        Green tomato is more tart than ripe tomato, and will be somewhat similar to the flavor of tomatillo. I have used many unripe tomatoes this way when a freeze ended the summer growing season and leaving lots of unripe tomatoes on the vines.

        I think tomatillos may have a bit more spiciness to them than green tomatoes do, but by all means, use whatever you have! It’s all about making good food.

      1. No, it is not *necessary* to roast green tomatoes. I’ve made green tomato salsa using raw tomatoes. It’s quite delicious. Roasting them is a different way, and totally different flavor, and both are completely acceptable.

    1. Rinsing the onions removes the onion after taste! It is such an important step for any recipe that calls for raw onion. Rinsing will give you the fresh crispness of a raw onion without any of the awful breath and flavor that it adds!

      1. I have also found it useful to a wonderful salsa to sprinkle apple cider vinegar on the chopped onions and shake it around. I have found this the critical step separating good salsa from Frontera Grill table salsa!

  1. Yes, you absolutely can use green tomatoes. There will be some difference in the taste, but they make a delicious roasted salsa. In fact, as I just made some this morning, so the experience is fresh. I prefer the more potent heat of habaneros, so I added one — fresh and minced — with the raw onion. I like the flavor of mexican oregano, so I also crushed a half teaspoon and mixed it in.

  2. This is our “go to” salsa verde and we LOVE IT. Every person I’ve shared it with has enjoyed it. My local Mexican (and favorite) restaurant makes salsa verde but not roasted. It has a beautiful pale green color. Finally, asked and they mentioned they put avocado in it. BINGO! Tried it last night with this recipe and it was great!!!

  3. Why do always rinse the onions? I’ve watched you on TV, where you also do this. Is is to make the onion milder or what?

    1. It is! When toy cut into an onion you create a sulfurous compound. That is what gives you indigestion and onion breath. But simply rinsing the onions removes this and leaves you with the bright, fresh, crunch of a raw onion without the side affects!

  4. I forgot to say I don’t let the mixture cool before blending. I prefer to sauce warm on my food. Of course refrigerate for overnight storage!

  5. I added 2 tbs. of apple cider vinegar and 1/4 cup of dried tomatoes. Refrigerated over night to rehydrate and blend tomato taste. It may no longer be a true green sauce but it tastes very nice.

  6. This was Excellent!!! (I used it for a garnish/sauce when making Marcela Valladolid’s Coca-Cola Carnitas…) This Salsa Verde Recipe ‘made’ the dish.

    It was the first time I made Salsa Verde. I was going to make it ‘raw’, but then saw this recipe. It was SOO delicious and easy. I made one tiny modification in that instead of the 1/4 cup of water at the end, I used 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar… It gave a tang and balanced out the heat.

    Great Salsa Verde recipe.. Highly Recommend. Take the time to roast the tomatillos, peppers and garlic. Easy and worth the minimal effort.

  7. I tried this with a splash of lime and more cilantro and it was Devine. It was heavenly your way but I love cilantro and lime.

  8. Question – After roasting the chilies, do I need to peel them? Can’t figure out if the charred skin is part of the roasted flavor.

  9. @katy lawrence – firstly thanks for all your informative responses to the recipes on the site, I’ve found them to be very helpful!
    How long will this keep in the fridge? I’ve made the Chipotle tomatillo, and habanero salsas and I store them in squeeze bottles in the fridge, they seem to keep for a long time due to the high acidity.. Hoping this might keep for several weeks as well? I’d love to add a green salsa to the mix!
    If it won’t last, I was thinking about doing the roasted jalapeño salsa and storing that.. Will that keep? The idea is to have a bunch of delicious salsas that will last so I can squirt them on foods /tacos /burritos as I make them!


    1. Hi Dain –
      This is a tricky issue – the reality is that there is a lot of acid naturally in the tomatillos, so most likely this recipe will keep longer. However I can’t promise exactly how long any of this will keep. If you are simply making this and refrigerating I would not recommend keeping it for more than a few weeks.

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