Salsa Verde

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
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Bright green and addictively spicy, this 20-minute Salsa Verde recipe is the perfect way to crank up the heat during lunch or dinner. Drizzle it on tostadas or add it to your favorite dishes for an extra Mexican touch!

Why You’ll Love This Salsa Verde Recipe

Tomatillo salsa will become your new favorite condiment once you see how easy, quick, and versatile it is.

  • Quick. It only takes 20 minutes, so you can throw it together as the rest of your meal cooks.
  • Authentic. If you place it next to a bowl of salsa at any food stand in Mexico, it tastes exactly the same. This sauce is the real deal.
  • Easy. As simple as it is to make with only 6 ingredients, adding a bit to your recipes will take them to the next level. Easy doesn’t mean less delicious.
  • Works for several recipes. Aside from being good on tacos and tostadas, you can also use it as a base for several chicken, pork, and beef dishes like pozole. You’ll always have something to add it to.

Love tangy green salsas? Try this creamy version with avocados, Tomatillo Avocado Salsa.

Spoonful of salsa.

What is Salsa Verde?

Salsa verde, or tomatillo salsa, is a traditional Mexican salsa. You’ll find it in every household, restaurant, and food stand. It tends to be spicy because it’s got lots of jalapeño or serrano in it, but the heat can be adjusted to taste. It’s made with primarily green ingredients like tomatillos, green chiles, and cilantro.

This salsa can be enjoyed on its own with corn chips, but it’s also a popular base-sauce for dishes like Pozole Verde, Chilaquiles, White Enchiladas, etc.

Salsa Verde vs Salsa Ranchera

Salsa verde is boiled and blended. There’s no roasting or charring involved for any of the ingredients. It’s also green. On the other hand, Salsa Ranchera is made with tomatoes and dried red chiles, so it’s a red sauce. The chiles or tomatoes are usually roasted before blending, so salsa ranchera has a different preparation method.

Ingredients for tomatillo salsa.

What’s In Authentic Salsa Verde?

As expected, salsa verde is packed with green ingredients. Check the recipe card at the bottom of the post for exact amounts.

  • Tomatillos: Husks removed.
  • Jalapeño: Or serranos if you want it extra spicy!
  • Yellow onion: White onion also works great, but avoid a red onion.
  • Garlic: Don’t use garlic powder for this or the garlic that is pre-minced in oil. You want to use fresh garlic for the most flavor.
  • Cilantro: One of the key ingredients to that fresh and light flavor in green salsa.
  • Salt

What Are Tomatillos?

Tomatillos are small green Mexican tomatoes wrapped in a delicate, papery husk. They’re bright green and turn duller once boiled. Despite their size, they’re not actually unripe. However, they’re definitely more acidic than regular tomatoes. Tomatillos are typically used to make salsas and saucy bases for several dishes like Pork Pozole Verde.

How to Make Salsa Verde

All you have to do is boil and blend the sauce! It’s that easy. Check the recipe card at the bottom of the post for more detailed instructions.

  • Boil the ingredients. Place the ingredients in a pot and boil them until the tomatillos turn dull green.
  • Blend them. Strain the ingredients and add them to the blender. Process until smooth and serve.

Recipe Tips & Variations

Mexican salsa verde will earn a place in your sauce repertoire once you see how easy it is to adjust the heat level and keep it from turning bitter.

  • Make it spicy. Swap the jalapeño for serranos to make a spicier salsa.
  • Mild heat. If you like a milder salsa, make sure to remove the seeds and membrane from your jalapeños. The seeds are where most of the heat is! If you want it extra mild, only use 1 or 2 jalapeños, depending on your preference.
  • Skip the cooking. Blending the raw ingredients together will give you an equally yummy sauce and reduce your cooking time. It’s slightly more sour, though.
  • Wait on the cilantro. If you’re making the salsa in advance, don’t blend in the cilantro until right before serving. Cilantro can make salsas bitter after a couple of days.
  • Add dried chile. Remove the stems and seeds from 1-2 guajillo chiles. Rehydrate them, strain, and blend them with the salsa. It’ll give your recipe a hint of smokiness.
  • Use sugar. Sprinkling in 1/4 to 1 teaspoon of granulated sugar can help you round out the sourness and balance the flavors. It’s not enough to ever make your salsa taste sweet, but just enough to cut through the acidity.

Is Tomatillo Salsa Serve Hot or Cold?

Tomatillo salsa is usually served hot when it’s part of main dishes. However, it’s typically served chilled or at room temperature when it’s for snacking on corn chips.

Adding salsa verde to a tostada.

Ways to Serve Salsa Verde

Salsa verde is a crunchy appetizer when served with Tortilla Chips or Air Fryer Tortilla Chips. You can also use it to prepare my Salsa Verde Chicken, Colorado Green Chili (Chili Verde), or Chilaquiles Verdes. It’s great when drizzled over Carne Asada Tacos, Cream Cheese Chicken Taquitos, and Nopales Asados Tacos. Another favorite way of mine to use it up is adding it to bean tostadas with a little cheese on top.

Bowl of salsa verde.

How to Store Leftovers

Once fully cooled, refrigerate the leftovers in an airtight container for up to 5 days. Avoid temperature changes because this will make it spoil faster. Reheat the portion you’ll consume in the microwave for up to 1 minute or in a pot over low heat for 4-6 minutes. You can also serve it chilled or at room temperature.

Can I Freeze This?

Yes! I personally always make a double batch of this salsa to have more on hand when I need it to make my favorite easy Salsa Verde Chicken Tacos. Transfer it to a freezer-friendly bag or container. Freeze it for up to 3 months. Thaw it in the fridge overnight before reheating or serving as usual.

More Salsa Recipes

Landscape photo of salsa verde.
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Recipe
Yield: 6 servings

Salsa Verde

This 20-minute Salsa Verde is perfectly balanced with a blend of spicy and tangy in each bite. Made with lots of jalapeño and fresh cilantro, add a scoop all your favorite recipes to give them a Mexican touch!
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
Total Time20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 pound tomatillos, husks removed
  • 2-3 jalapeño peppers
  • ½ small yellow onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 bunch cilantro, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Instructions 

  • Place the tomatillos and jalapeños in a large pan and cover them with water. Bring to a boil and cook until the tomatillos turn from a vibrant green to a dull green.
  • Lift the tomatillos and jalapeños from the water with a slotted spoon, making sure to drain the water.  
  • Add them to a blender, or food processor, and add the remaining ingredients. Blend until chunky or smooth, according to your preference.
  • Serve warm, or chill before serving. 

Notes

Storage: Once fully cooled, refrigerate the leftovers in an airtight container for up to 5 days. Avoid temperature changes because this will make it spoil faster. Reheat the portion you’ll consume in the microwave for up to 1 minute or in a pot over low heat for 4-6 minutes. You can also serve it chilled or at room temperature. 
Freeze: Transfer it to a freezer-friendly bag or container. Freeze it for up to 3 months. Thaw it in the fridge overnight before reheating or serving as usual. 
Make It Spicer: Swap the jalapeño for serranos to make a spicier salsa. If you want to triple the heat, leave the seeds and membranes in your chiles. 
Make It Mild: To make your salsa mild, remove the seed and membrane from the jalapeños before adding them to the pot. 
Skip The Cooking: Blending the raw ingredients together will give you an equally yummy sauce and reduce your cooking time. It’s slightly more sour, though.
Sugar: Sprinkling in 1/4 to 1 teaspoon of granulated sugar can help you round out the sourness and balance the flavors. It’s not enough to ever make your salsa taste sweet, but just enough to cut through the acidity.

Nutrition

Serving: 1, Calories: 31kcal, Carbohydrates: 6g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 1g, Sodium: 356mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 4g

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Post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy.

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Jessica
For the past 15 years, Jorge & Jessica have loved getting to share their families' favorite recipes with all of you. They live in Florida with their 3 kids.