Salsa Verde

Salsa Verde or “Green Sauce”

Salsa verde is a staple in every Mexican kitchen. It’s great for making enchiladas verdes or for topping carne asada tacos. We also think it is great on eggs. It is a simple to make, versatile salsa.

Use it on just about anything. The taste of fresh homemade salsa puts the bottled salsas to shame. Give this one a try!

Classic Mexican Salsa Verde

Classic Salsa Verde

Simple and Delicious

Our Salsa verde recipe is really easy to make and the ingredients are available at almost every supermarket. You can use tomatillos that look like small green tomatoes and are covered in a papery husk or the larger green tomatoes, tomates verdes.

The tomatillos in the picture already have the papery husks removed. The taste is tart and vibrant and adds a lot of pop to any dish that you use it on.

The recipe calls for three serrano peppers but you can use fewer if you want to reduce the heat. We like it on the hot side. You can substitute jalapeño peppers for the serranos The flavor won’t be as bright and the heat will be milder but it will still be tasty.

Ingredients for Salsa Verde

Ingredients for salsa verde.

Salsa is Healthy

Mexican food gets a bad rep for being greasy, heavy and, unhealthy but stop and think for a second. Salsa is nothing but concentrated vegetables.

It’s the tastiest way ever to get your daily veggies. You can eat as much as you want guilt-free. It’s rare that your favorite food can be the healthiest food too so enjoy.

How to Make Salsa Verde

The preparation is really simple. Add all of the ingredients to your pot except the cilantro and just cover with water.

Ingredients for Salsa Verde Ready to be Cooked

Add the ingredients to a large pot and just cover with water.

Bring to a boil then reduce the heat to medium and cook for 10 minutes. Notice how the ingredients change color. This lets you know that the ingredients are fully cooked.
Cooked ingredients for Salsa Verde

The ingredients change color when cooked.

For the next step, blend the ingredients with the cooking water for 30 seconds to 1 minute. You can use a blender or food processor for good results. When blending, you want the salsa to keep a little bit of texture. It shouldn’t be liquified. Use the picture of the prepared salsa to guide you.

Blending the Ingredients for Salsa VerdeThe Salsa Making Secret

The next thing you are going to do is fry the salsa. This is the magic step that is used in making almost all cooked salsas in Mexico. Do not skip this step. It gives a superior result.

Heat two tablespoons of oil on high.

Heating the Oil to Fry the Salsa

Heat two tablespoons of oil in your pot.

Slowly pour the blended salsa into the pan. This develops a deeper richer tasting salsa.
Adding the Salsa Verde to the Pot

Pour the blended salsa into the hot oil. This is called “seasoning.”

Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 20 minutes. Add salt to taste. Now you have the perfect salsa verde!
Cooked Salsa Verde

Cooked salsa verde. Notice how the salsa darkens in color when cooked.

Problems with your salsa? Don’t love it?

Sometimes your salsa doesn’t come out exactly to your liking. Keep in mind that the ingredients are all-natural products and can vary in freshness and flavor due to seasonal differences and how the ingredients have been handled. One time when you buy peppers they may be super hot and the next time you buy the exact same pepper is very mild.

Here are a few methods to correct your salsa:

  • Too runny? Simmer until it has reduced to the desired consistency.
  • Too thick? Add water 2 tablespoons at a time until the desired consistency is reached.
  • Too hot or acidic? Add only one of the following to reduce heat or acidity: 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, 1 to 2 teaspoons sugar, 1 to 2 teaspoons agave syrup.
  • Too bland? Try adding more salt 1/4 of a teaspoon at a time until you get the desired taste.
  • Pale color? Try simmering for 10 extra minutes to deepen the color.

When you make adjustments, add ingredients a little at a time. A small modification can have a surprisingly large effect. Some people like to add a squirt of lime juice.

What are you going to use it on?

Chicken enchiladas, tortilla chips, pork, chops, chilaquiles, burritos, and many more dishes pair well with this salsa. Be adventurous.

Classic Mexican Salsa Verde
Print Pin
3.86 from 137 votes

Salsa Verde Recipe

Recipe for an authentic "salsa verde," or "green sauce," a staple in every Mexican kitchen. It is so simple to make from easy to find ingredients. You make it mild or spicy depending on how many peppers you add. You will love it. Give it a try!
Course Sauce
Cuisine Mexican
Keyword green salsa, green sauce, salsa, salsa verde, tomatillos
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 8 servings
Calories 28kcal
Author Douglas Cullen

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 lb. tomatillos or green tomatoes
  • 1 white onion
  • 4 serrano chiles
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 12 sprigs cilantro
  • 2 tbsp. cooking oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt + to taste

Instructions

  • Remove the papery husks from the tomatillos and rinse to remove the sticky residue.
  • Quarter the onion.
  • Add all of the ingredients except the cilantro and salt to a large pot and just cover with water.
  • Bring the water and ingredients to a boil and then simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Blend the cooked ingredients and the cilantro with the cooking water until smooth. (About 30 seconds)
  • Heat 2 tablespoons of cooking oil in the pot.
  • Pour the blended salsa back into the pot with the hot cooking oil.
  • Reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
  • Add the salt and adjust if necessary.

Notes

Preparation
  • Too runny? Simmer until it has reduced to the desired consistency.
  • Too thick? Add water 2 tablespoons at a time until the desired consistency is reached.
  • Too hot or acidic? Add only one of the following to reduce heat: 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, 1 to 2 teaspoons sugar, 1 to 2 teaspoons agave syrup.
  • Like it hot? You do not have to seed the serrano chiles. You can seed them if you want to reduce the heat of the salsa.
Substitutions
  • You can substitute jalapeño chiles for the serranos but the flavor won’t be as bright but it will still be tasty.
Storage
  • The salsa will keep in the refrigerator for 3 days.
  • This salsa freezes very well. Make a double batch so that you always have some on hand.
Other Names
  • You may also know this salsa as green salsa, green sauce, verde salsa, salsa verda, or tomatillo salsa.

Nutrition

Serving: 0.5cup | Calories: 28kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 245mg | Sugar: 3g

Alternate Names & Common Misspellings

You may also know this salsa as green salsa, green sauce, verde salsa, salsa verda, verde sauce, or tomatillo salsa. Whatever you call it, it’s still delicious :)

More Mexican Salsas You Might Like

110 comments… add one
  • Sarah

    Great taste! I drained some water before blending and it still came out a little watery. But it worked well with our enchiladas! Thank you so much for the pictures and instructions :)

  • do bo

    Fantastic recipe. Simple enough to get good results, but plenty of room for nuance to make it your own and really perfect it. Careful adding salt. As you’ll notice in the prep notes – too runny? too thick? too hot? There’s no “too salty?” Cause if it gets too salty, the only option is “add more of everything else!”

  • Lukas

    I currently have 4 jalapeños and 1 Poblano can I use these peppers instead ?????

    • It should turn out well if you replace the serrano peppers with the jalapeño peppers.

    • Jalistair

      I just put in three jalapeños, two cow horns, and three Anaheims. A pepper is a pepper. It all depends on what flavors you like and how hot you like it. My Anaheim’s are hotter than the jalapeños and give off a very strong pepper smell with the accompanying flavor. The cow horns are simply some spicy peppers that recently became my favorite. By far the hottest of the three. Just remember the salsa rule, if it ain’t spicy it ain’t salsa!

  • Eric Cat

    Good recipe and useful notes, you and others have helped teach me that frying my salsa is a key finishing step. One tiny editorial quibble; when you say “Add all of the ingredients except the cilantro and salt”, I have to think some literalists are simmering a couple of tablespoons of oil with their veggies, which probably won’t improve the finished product. Otherwise thanks for the recipe and the site, nice stuff.

  • Shuri

    How much of the boiled water do I use to blend? And about how many tomatillos to jalapeño?

    • Georgia Villa

      I use 1.5 pounds tomatillos, 3-4 Serrano peppers. It’s a 50/50 chance that they’re hot or mild. I add the tomatillos, rip off stem of serranos, and a half a vadalia onion to a pot cover it with water, boil it, and turn off the heat right away. I let that sit about 10 minutes or so until the skin is peeling a little. You don’t want the tomatillos to pop open. Then I drain it and add everything to the blender including cilantro and 4 garlic cloves. I don’t add extra water when I cook the salsa verde down. Hope this helps with everyone saying it’s too watery and add salt to taste. I wouldn’t go gung ho with the salt because everyone’s salt preferences differ.

      • Georgia Villa

        I meant I don’t add any water to the blender or the pot when cooking because tomatillos are watery enough. Maybe if making enchiladas you’ll need more water but don’t add it to your salsa

  • Jacki

    In Australia and I have accidently grown at tomitillo plant – thinking it was a tomato plant.until I saw the papery husks forming.
    I have lots of it harvested and I have looked at recipes to use them to make salsa but I was wondering of there are any recipes that last longer than a few days in the fridge.
    I have not tried salsa verde before and don’t know whether or not it is sweet tart or spicy. I also have a big lot of jalapino chilli’s in the garden – all green.
    Are you able to advise please
    Cheers Jacki

    • Aj

      This should last a very long time in the fridge…all that salt. Mine can last weeks. Interesting aspect of serrano peppers is that they lose heat with long cooking.
      I use a good bit more cilantro as per my Mexican cooking person. Also can add a teaspoon of chipotle…canned smoked jalopenia for a little deeper taste.

      Try slow cooked sunny up eggs on rice with salsa verde, a wonderful breakfast.
      Look at multiple recipes til you get a feel for it.

    • Jalistair

      Tomitillo’s might just become one of your favorite garden plants! Just google recipes for them or start coming up with some of your own. They are fun to slice up and add to all kinds of things from eggs, to stir fry.

  • Emily

    Great recipe! Making it for the second time today and like others have mentioned it does come out too watery, but I remedied that that first time I made it by allowing it to simmer for a couple of hours instead of 20 minutes. If you don’t have the time for that, I suggest setting 1/2 cup of the water aside before blending, then adding more if you find it’s too thick so you have better control over it.

  • David

    At which step do you add the cilantro??

    • Eli W.

      David,

      Add the cilantro right as you are about to blend it.

  • Laura

    Made this on Sunday afternoon for smoked pulled pork we had already made. Recipe is excellent – here were the changes I made (full disclosure, professional chef here)
    1. Used three serranos and one poblano pepper
    2. Used two very large cloves of garlic
    3. Eliminated cilantro (do not like)
    4. Bought 1 3/4 pounds of tomatillos so final husked yield was closer to the 1 1/4 pounds noted in recipe.
    5. Added enough filtered water to almost cover.

    Cooked about 15 minutes, then strained water and reserved it to see if it would be needed. It wasn’t. Seasoned with salt.
    Heated vegetable oil, returned sauce to pan and cooked 10 minutes on simmer.
    Added pulled pork to pan and continued cooking until very hot and heated through.
    Served with tortillas and sour cream. Husband added Cholula for a little additional heat.
    Will definitely make again with these revisions.

    • Laura

      Totally forgot to mention that I had about 2 teaspoons of dried oregano and the same of ground cumin in the pot with the tomatillos.

    • Your revisions sound tasty. I like the addition of the Poblano. Cheers!

  • Kathryn Soukup

    I made this recipe yesterday two ways. One mild, the other spicy. I was worried about it being too watery so I added less water to the vegetables for the first cook. (Instead of covering the veggies with water I added water about half way) . For the mild I added everything to the blender and thought that it looked too watery. So for the spicy version I took some of the water out before blending. After the second cook both sauces had a great consistency. While I could not taste the spicy version, I LOVED the mild version and my family loved them both! I think next time I’ll still use less water at the beginning and then add all the cooking water to the blender for both versions and just let it simmer longer because there is a lot of flavor in that cooking water. This was the first time for us to grow tomatillos. They are so easy to grow and I’m so glad to have an easy recipe for sauce.

    • Glenda Guinn

      I Made this and used Green Tomatoes , a Banana Pepper (not all the seeds,I don’t like very Hot) so really use any pepper you want, and the rest ingredients and it was really good. I learned the hard way also on Handling Hot Peppers.Did not KNOW if you are going to handle a Lot to wear gloves. This was a while back i was Canning Jalapeno’s and it had me crying it was bad, it’s the oil of the Peppers that are hot. I Googled and tried different things to help with getting it off . Washing hands with Buttermilk , Sour Cream were ok but it still was burning so i tried last resort ” Peeing on my hands ” which was on Google and Guess What it was the best at taking the oil off . When yur in pain yu will try .

  • Doris

    Never says when the cilantro is added. Please expand on that.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating




This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Next post:

Previous post: