Easy Tomatillo Salsa Fresh From the Garden!

This easy tomatillo salsa recipe calls for just four ingredients. Also known as salsa verde, this recipe has a bit of a tang and a little heat. It’s perfect to pair with chips or serve alongside your favorite Mexican meal.

This garden fresh salsa made with tomatoes is another favorite!

Originally published in June 2015; this post has been updated.

chunky tomatillo salsa in a dark blue bowl surrounded by tortilla chips.

This recipe is featured in my book on page 167. It’s a delicious way to use garden fresh tomatillos! Roasted tomatillo salsa is a staple on some supermarket shelves, but this green salsa recipe is an uncooked version that retains a bit of crunchiness.

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Chunky Tomatillo Salsa

While I struggle to grow tomatoes here in this humid climate, tomatillos do really well. I’ve got three plants in the ground and producing right now, with more seedlings started. 

Tomatillos are super easy to grow and more resistant to pests than tomatoes due to their little husks. Since they grow well here, of course I’ll be using them to make a lot of this fresh tomatillo salsa recipe. [More on growing tomatillos here.]

This recipe gets raves from my guys, and frankly, if I can’t have my fresh tomato salsa all the time, this is a very acceptable substitute! It’s a bit tangier than your standard tomato salsa, and the tomatillos maintain their crunchy texture, but this one? Is a winner!

peeled tomatillos in a white dish, with husks off to the right

What are Tomatillos?

Sometimes called Mexican husk tomatoes, tomatillos are from the nightshade family — same as a tomato — but are a different fruit entirely. Tomatillos grow inside a papery husk that seems to help foil the bugs in my neighborhood.

They’re small — 1-2″ in diameter for the most part — and are usually green, though there is a purple variety as well. The fruit has a sticky residue on its exterior that you’ll notice when you’re peeling them. They’re much firmer than a tomato, and maintain a bit of a soft crunch even when fully ripe. The flavor of a tomatillo is a bit tangy.

fresh tomatillos on a cutting board to make salsa verde


The recipe calls for just a handful of ingredients. If you cleverly made a batch of my hot pepper relish and have a jar tucked in the fridge, you can use that instead of the jalapeño pepper. 

Tomatillos Some supermarket produce sections carry fresh tomatillos. You could also use canned tomatillos, though the end result will be a much softer salsa. 

Onion — You can use any kind of bulb onion you have on hand — white, yellow, or red.

Jalapeño pepper — Here’s where the heat comes in. Finely dice the jalapeño pepper to add some kick to the dip. Don’t like the heat? Skip this ingredient!

Lemon or lime juice This provides a slight tanginess to the salsa, giving it a brighter flavor. 

cutting board with knife showing chopping method for salsa verde recipe.

Making the Salsa

This tomatillo salsa recipe is pretty flexible and if you’re comfortable doing so, quantities can definitely be eyeballed rather than measured. 

Use a sharp knife to chop the tomatillos, onions, and hot peppers. Put all ingredients in a mixing bowl and stir to combine. Easy, peasy!

chopped tomatillo, onion, hot pepper in a glass bowl.

This recipe makes a chunky salsa, but if you’d prefer you’re welcome to toss the ingredients into a blender or food processor to make a finer end product.


Is this salsa verde?

Yup! Green salsa – that’s made with tomatillo and not tomatoes. You will love the great tanginess here. It’s a fair bit different than a tomato salsa, but I love to alternate or even use both. Oftentimes Mexican restaurants will offer both types with their chips.

Can I roast my tomatillos?

That will add more flavor for sure! Try a light mist of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt before roasting the peeled and washed tomatillos at 400 for 10-20 minutes depending on size. Keep in mind this will release a lot of liquid so you will have a looser salsa.

How is green enchilada sauce different than salsa?

Especially if you roast your tomatillos, you are on your way to enchilada sauce. Enchilada sauce is cooked, and you will need some chicken broth as well to turn this salsa into a sauce. But you can easily cook your tomatillos or finished salsa, and blend with broth or water. Then just add to shredded chicken for a great taco filling, or pour over filled enchiladas. 

Serving this Salsa

Serve this tomatillo salsa up with tortilla chips, just like you would your favorite tomato salsa. Spoon some into a burrito. Or top off your favorite egg dish. Its fresh flavor will perk up most dishes.


Store leftover salsa in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.

tomatillo salsa verde in a blue bowl surrounded by tortilla chips

★ Did you make this tomatillo salsa recipe? Don’t forget to give it a star rating below!

chunky tomatillo salsa in a dark blue bowl surrounded by tortilla chips.

Chunky Tomatillo Salsa Recipe

Yield: 2 cups
Prep Time: 2 minutes
Cook Time: 3 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes

This recipe is a bit tangier than your standard tomato salsa, and the tomatillos maintain their crunchy texture.


  • 2 cups chopped fresh tomatillos
  • 1/4 cup onion, chopped
  • 1/2 jalapeno pepper
  • Juice from 1/2 a lemon or lime
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper


  1. Chop vegetables into 1/4" dice. You can do this by hand or use a food processor as a shortcut.
  2. Add remaining ingredients and stir.
  3. Store in an airtight container for up to a week.


If you'd prefer a less chunky salsa,  toss the ingredients into a blender or food processor and pulse to the desired consistency. 

Serve this tomatillo salsa up with chips, just like you would your favorite tomato salsa. Spoon some into a burrito. Or top off your favorite egg dish. Its fresh flavor will perk up most dishes.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1 grams
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 29Unsaturated Fat: 0gSodium: 240mgCarbohydrates: 5gFiber: 1gSugar: 3g

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About the author: Kris Bordessa is an award-winning National Geographic author and a certified Master Food Preserver. Read more about Kris and how she got started with this site here. If you want to send Kris a quick message, you can get in touch here.

9 comments… add one
  • Liz Sep 26, 2020 @ 3:29

    I have read that you should cook tomatillos should be cooked to a degree first, no? Maybe it is for people who might not be able to stomach the rawness, don’t know.

  • SUZANNE Feb 26, 2020 @ 18:45

    Hi Kris,
    Is it possible to “can” this salsa?

  • Sandra Dunn Jun 23, 2019 @ 1:03

    I’ve planted tomatillos this year for the 1st time ever (heard they are prolific). I have lots of bloom’s, but not one tomatillo. Do you have any suggestions for me?

    • Kris Bordessa Jun 23, 2019 @ 8:29

      Are the blooms dropping off? Or are they maybe just not forming tomatillos yet? Do you have more than one plant? (Tomatillos require cross-pollination.) Are there bees/pollinators around? They are generally pretty easy, but those are some things to consider!

  • Kris Bordessa Apr 9, 2018 @ 20:08


  • Karen Coghlan Aug 10, 2015 @ 17:26

    This sounds delicious, but you might consider when you have more time, roasting everything under the broiler, and then blending it all for a saucier salsa…

    • Kris Bordessa Aug 17, 2015 @ 6:19

      I’ll have to try that – thanks!

  • Tammy Jun 8, 2015 @ 5:04

    oh my – this looks so yummy!!!

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