Traditional Salsa Verde: A Mexican Tomatillo Dip for Cooking or Snacking

The first time I had tomatillos, I was halfway through my twenties (so if you’re not a regular when it comes to this particular type of produce, know you’re not alone). My Midwestern upbringing brought me well into adulthood with nary an avocado, celeriac, or green tomatillo ever crossing my path.

A clear mixing bowl full of a traditional salsa verde recipe.

Then, in 2009, when I was new to food writing, trying a CSA because another blogger had suggested I should, one particular haul was especially memorable. The cardboard box half-share I carried back to my car from a pickup spot held tomatoes, leaf lettuce, green onions, and two different kinds of tomatillos.

“Tomatoes in shells!” I remember thinking. “How strange…”

At first glance, these firm orbs with their bright green bodies wrapped in thin, papery husks could seem a bother. Unlike regular tomatoes, they require an extra step of peeling away paper and washing away sticky residue before use. In America, they’re not as ubiquitous as regular tomatoes.

In Mexico, they’re the far more popular choice.

A clear glass dish of green salsa verde with a spoon, with tortillas, lime wedges, a dish of onions, and a dish of pico de gallo in soft focus in the background.

For this recipe, all you need is tomatillos, a serrano or jalapeno pepper (or two), a lemon or lime, a clove of garlic, some cilantro, an onion, and some salt. It’s fast, customizable to your heat preferences, and so good with a bag of tortilla chips. It’s great on chicken tacos and other Mexican and Tex-Mex dishes.

A clear mixing bowl full of a traditional salsa verde recipe.

Traditional Salsa Verde

  • Author: Shanna Mallon
  • Prep Time: 5 min
  • Cook Time: 15 min
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Category: Salsa
  • Method: Broil, Blend
  • Cuisine: Tex-Mex


A quick and easy way to make a tasty, tangy, and traditional salsa verde. Roasted tomatillos and a few other ingredients are blended together and ready to serve.


  • 5 tomatillos, husked and rinsed (a little more than ½ lb)
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped white onion
  • 2 Tbsp finely chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 Tbsp lime juice
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 clove garlic


  1. Place tomatillos on a rimmed baking sheet and place under the broiler set to high. Broil until they are blackened in places, approximately 5 minutes. Flip tomatillos and broil for another 5 minutes.
  2. Add tomatillos and remaining salsa ingredients to a food processor or blender. Pulse until the mixture is mostly smooth. Season with additional salt to taste.
  3. Refrigerate salsa until ready to serve.

Keywords: Salsa verde, dip, tomatillo

Step 1 – Roast

Place the tomatillos on a rimmed baking sheet, lined with a nonstick silicone Silpat if you like. Broil on high for 5 minutes, until they begin to blister and blacken.

Five green tomatillos with the husks removed arranged on a Silpat nonstick pan liner.

Flip them over and broil again for 5 minutes, until the other side is blistered and blackened as well.

Step 2 – Make Salsa

Add the tomatillos and remaining ingredients for the roasted salsa to a food processor or high-power blender.

Top down shot of roasted salsa verde ingredients in a food processor, including brown oven-baked tomatillos, jalapeno, onion, and cilantro.

Pulse the mixture until it’s mostly smooth.

Top-down shot of a food processor with green homemade tomatillo salsa at the bottom, on a wood background.

Step 3 – Chill and Serve

Season with salt as needed. Set in the refrigerator to chill until ready to serve.

A close up of a bowl of traditional salsa verde made with tomatillos.

What about you? Are you cooking a dish with this recipe or do you just love it with tortilla chips? Let us know in the comments below and please rate this recipe if you’ve made it.

Don’t forget to Pin It!

A collage of photos showing different views of a traditional salsa verde recipe being made.

Photos by Meghan Bassett, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published on August 8th, 2016. Last updated: July 5, 2018 at 14:09 pm. With additional writing by Meghan Bassett.

Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.

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About Shanna Mallon

Shanna holds an MA in writing from DePaul University. Her mantra? Restoring order and celebrating beauty through creative content, photography, and food. Shanna's work has been featured in Bon Appetit, The Kitchn,, Everyday Health, Better Homes & Gardens,, Food News Journal, Food52, Zeit Magazine, Chew the World,, Babble,, Parade, Foodista, Entrepreneur and Ragan PR.

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