Homemade Spicy Salsa Verde Recipe (with Tomatillos)

Spicy Salsa Verde in a white bowl with spoon, jalapeno, lime and tomatillos in background
Posted On: September 13, 2016
Last updated: May 14th, 2024

My latest food discovery is tomatillos.  I’m not sure how I lived without really knowing what these tangy little green husked fruit were.  I never really knew it was tomatillos that made “verde” salsas green; I always figured it was peppers only making it green. Apparently, I still have so much more to learn about food.  We only discovered tomatillos’ amazing flavor once I started making this spicy salsa verde recipe ourselves.  We wanted a new way to use up our garden jalapenos.  All we could say on our first taste was WOW!  It’s unlike most salsas we’ve tried in restaurants and it’s become one of our family’s favorite salsas.  So, next time you want to make your own salsa, try this easy salsa verde recipe! You will not be disappointed. 

Spicy Salsa Verde in a white bowl with spoon resting on the side, on dark wood board with tomatillos, jalapeno and line. Onion and margarita glass in background

Spicy Green Salsa

I love all sorts of salsa, mild to super spicy.  For this tomatillo salsa recipe, I can not enjoy it any other way but spicy.  In the summer, we love to use our own garden grown jalapenos as well.  The spicy jalapenos from our garden are the perfect addition to this salsa. I don’t think I would enjoy it as much without the heat in this salsa.  The heat of the jalapenos just compliments this condiment so perfectly.  Please keep in mind, your salsa will only be as spicy as your jalapenos.  The first time I started making this salsa was when we lived in San Antonio, TX and , man, the store bought jalapenos there were NO JOKE.  We were used to mild jalapenos everywhere else we lived like California and Colorado, and then in TX we were blown away.  Good stuff! 

If you also enjoy spicy jalapenos, unlike the mild ones you usually get in most grocery stores, Craig’s Grande are the ones we grow and it’s quite a prolific plant.  We highly recommend them for spicy food lovers!  

Close up view of salsa verde on silver spoon with glass bowl of salsa verde in background

Salsa Verde Heat

I don’t want to scare away mild salsa lovers out there.  If you’re not into spicy salsa, just keep the jalapeno seeds out and/or reduce the jalapenos to one at the most, especially if you already know your jalapeno peppers are spicy.  We like a spicier salsa, so I seek out the jalapenos that look hotter, the ones that look like “old men.”  The younger jalapenos with smooth skin are usually the less potent ones.  For us, the heat of a salsa is one of the best parts. 

Over the top view of Tomatillo Green Salsa in white bowl, on glass plate with silver spoon and veggies on the side with cilantro

What are Tomatillos?

If you’ve never tried tomatillos or made a green salsa with them, here’s your chance.  Tomatillos look like small green tomatoes with a papery husk in your grocery store.  They’re usually near the tomatoes, avocados and garlic.  They have a little bit of a tart flavor and when roasted it mellows out to give you a tangy kick as a salsa.  It’s a delicious way to dress your tacos, burritos, carnitas or even scrambled eggs.  Seriously, they’re that good! We’ve tried this verde sauce on so many different dishes and just can’t get enough of it.  I think homemade salsas like this are way better than store-bought versions. 


Glass bowl of spicy salsa verde with spoon of salsa on board with red napkin, lime and jalapeno in background

What is Salsa Verde?

Verde means “green” so in the United States it can be called green salsa or salsa verde. In Mexico, salsa verde can be referred to as a tomatillo or avocado based salsa. In this case, it’s the tomatillos that make it “verde” or green color; also the jalapenos of course.  

This salsa verde is a roasted tomatillo salsa.  I place tomatillos and jalapenos on a baking dish and broil them to get that nice char.  You can of course grill the vegetables on high heat as well.  You can roast them how you please, as long as you get the veggies nice and charred and juicy.  

Can I use Canned Tomatillos?

I personally do not recommend using canned tomatillos as I can not guarantee the same delicious taste and texture for the final result.  Using raw tomatillos that you char yourself is really the ideal way to go here! 

Steps collage of making salsa verde from tomatillos and jalapenos in bowls to mixing in a bowl with diced onion

How to Make Salsa Verde

This tangy salsa has such a fresh flavor and is truly easy to make with the help of a broiler, grill or smoker and a food processor or blender to make a coarse puree.

First, wash and de-stem the jalapenos, remove husks and sticky residue from the tomatillos.  Then add them to a large sheet pan and broil for 15-20 minutes, or until well charred; turning every few minutes.  After that, transfer the cooked tomatillos and ,jalapenos with a slotted spoon or tongs to a food processor along with the cilantro, half the diced onion and pulse a few times.  I like to keep it a chunky consistency like pico de gallo.  Finally, transfer to a mixing bowl ( I prefer a glass bowl) to store in the fridge. Allow it to cool almost to room temperature first.  Let it cool completely in the fridge and then this fresh salsa is ready to enjoy!  

How to Enjoy Green Salsa Verde

Try it on any kind of tacos, but it’s especially great on carnitas and breakfast tacos.  Enjoy your green salsa with tortilla chips, make salsa verde chicken, enchiladas verdes, on carnitas, use as a pizza base (yes really!), and even try it on scrambled eggs!  It’s an easy way to spice up just about anything.  

Spicy Salsa Verde Ingredients

Fresh ingredients make this homemade salsa verde recipe stand out! 

  • Tomatillos– fresh tomatillos are the main ingredient, the star of this green salsa recipe.  That being said, I do not recommend using canned tomatillos for this recipe.   
  • Jalapeño peppers– fresh jalapenos.  If you’re in a pinch and cannot find or have jalapenos, you can use poblano peppers instead. 
  • Onion– White onion is my preferred onion for this type of salsa. They have the right bite to balance out the flavors in this recipe.  
  • Cilantro– Fresh cilantro.  Once again, fresh is best. 
  • Lime Juice– Fresh lime is best here as well, but if you’re out, just use bottled lime juice. 
  • Salt–  I like to use coarse kosher or sea salt.  

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Spicy Salsa Verde on spoon above white bowl of the salsa on wood board, margarita and onion in background, jalapenos and tomatillos and lime with red napkin on board next to bowl

Homemade Spicy Salsa Verde Recipe (with Tomatillos)

This recipe makes just slightly over 2 cups of salsa but we usually double it if we know we have multiple ways we want to enjoy it within the next week. Keep refrigerated and enjoy up to 1 week.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Condiment
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 2 Cups
Calories 136 kcal


  • 1 1/2 lbs. tomatillos husks removed, washed & de-stemmed
  • 3-4 small jalapenos washed & stems removed (2 if large) -if you don't want it as spicy, remove the seeds and reduce to 1. (I keep the seeds in mine)
  • 1/4 cup packed fresh cilantro leaves roughly chopped
  • 1/2-3/4 cup white onion diced fine (If you like more "bite" add up to 3/4 cup)
  • 1/2 lime juiced
  • 3/4 tsp coarse kosher or sea salt


  • Preheat your broiler. Place the oven rack on the second spot down from the top, this gives about 5" from the heating elements.
  • Place all tomatillos and jalapenos onto a dry heavy-duty sheet pan.
  • Broil for 15-20 minutes, turning 2-3 times, about every 5 mins.  The tomatillos & jalapenos will get a little charred but that's ok, don't panic. Watch them closely though, do not leave them.  You want them to get a little soft, able to squeeze a little with tongs, and a little juice running out is fine.
  • Place the roasted tomatillos, jalapenos, half of the onions and cilantro to your food processor (a blender will work but we have found the food processor gives a better consistency) and pulse only 5-6 times or until it is a little chunky. (We don't like it blended smooth, but if you don't want it chunky, by all means pulse it completely.)
  • Once cool enough to handle carefully pour the mixture into a bowl and let it sit for about 10 minutes to cool a bit.
  • Then add the chopped onion, salt and squeeze in the lime juice.
  • Stir together and refrigerate till chilled.  The flavor melds even more after been chilled a while and has even better flavor the next day. 



If you like spicy, leave in the seeds, if you want mild then take them out. The heat level is completely subjective so I can't tell you exact amounts that will give you exact heat levels. I personally leave the seeds in, but I like it nice and spicy!

Nutrition Disclaimer:

The nutritional information provided is only an estimate based on a third party nutritional plugin. Different online calculators may give different results depending on their own sources. The estimates may also change based on the ingredients you use. If you have dietary restrictions and need to accurately calculate the nutrition of this recipe, Whole Made Living recommends consulting a professional nutritionist.


Calories: 136kcalCarbohydrates: 27gProtein: 4gFat: 4gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 879mgPotassium: 1050mgFiber: 8gSugar: 16gVitamin A: 758IUVitamin C: 73mgCalcium: 43mgIron: 2mg
Keyword condiment, gluten free, green salsa, jalapeno, low carb, salsa, salsa verde, tomatillo, Vegan
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Spicy Salsa Verde Pinterest Collage


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