Salsa Verde (Green Chile Salsa)

5 from 3 votes

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Fresh green salsa verde is a chunky salsa packed with chiles, tomatillos, garlic, onions, and herbs. Making it at home is as easy as boiling, blending, and enjoying with tortilla chips, in your homemade tacos, as a condiment or marinade for meat, or any other way you can imagine!

closeup: a hand dipping a tortilla chip into a bowl of salsa verde

Have you ever wanted to make your salsa verde taste just like the kind you’re served at an authentic Mexican restaurant? Skip the store-bought, jarred salsas and check out this spicy, tangy green chile salsa you can make in less than 30 minutes.

This salsa verde recipe makes use of the little tomato — the tomatillo. It’s a small fruit (that’s actually not a tomato) that brightens numerous Latin dishes and has a unique, acidic flavor. It’s in green salsa, red salsa, and even creamy avocado salsa.

overhead: a bowl of green salsa with tortilla chips around it

Once it’s blended together, you can use it in any number of Mexican recipes (like my salsa verde shrimp), add both moisture and spice to your favorite taco salads or enchiladas, or even as a marinade for chicken or beef. The possibilities are endless! For another smoother version try my Roasted Salsa Verde (Green Chile Salsa) and let me know which you prefer.

Tip From Kevin

Keepin’ it chunky

I prefer to keep this salsa on the chunkier side as opposed to completely pureed and smooth. I chop up the onion, garlic and cilantro in a food processor with a few pulses to not break it down so much and THEN add the boiled tomatillos and chiles and process.

It also helps keep this a super bright green color with bold flavors and texture.

Ingredient Notes and Substitutions

  • Tomatillos – This delicious fruit is an appetizing pale green, with a brighter and more sour flavor than its cousin the tomato. You might be surprised to find it in its husk at the grocery store, but it’s a very easy ingredient to prepare. 
  • Jalapeños – Alternatively, you could use Serrano peppers for more heat — or a combination of the two to fall somewhere in the middle. You can check out my chili pepper guide for a sense of how hot each chili is to help you choose.
  • White Onion For a crisp bite and sharp flavor, you have to go with white onions! But there’s no reason why you can’t use a yellow or red onion that you already have on hand. 
  • Garlic – Use fresh cloves for potent flavor and great texture in this homemade salsa verde recipe.
  • White Vinegar This vinegar does a tremendous job of bringing acidity to the table without adding some of the added fruitiness or bold flavors that come with other vinegar options. 
  • Salt – Start with just ½ teaspoon and salt to taste when you’re finished preparing this salsa verde recipe.
  • Cilantro – Only the leaves. If cilantro isn’t your favorite, substitute with parsley or papalo — a Mexican herb with a peppery, zesty flavor.
extreme closeup: a bowl of green salsa with a tortilla chip in it

How to Make Salsa Verde

  1. Prepare the Vegetables. Remove the husks and skins from the tomatillos, onion, and garlic. Slice the onion in half — set one half aside and store the other for later use. De-stem the chile and remove the seeds (if you want less heat).
  2. Boil. Add the tomatillos, chiles, and garlic to a saucepan, then add enough water to cover the vegetables fully. Boil for 5 minutes.
  3. Process Raw Ingredients. Meanwhile, place the raw onion, vinegar, salt, and cilantro in a food processor and blend until slightly chunky. 
  4. Blend Boiled Vegetables. Transfer the boiled vegetables to the blender using a slotted spoon or similar tool. Cover and pulse until just slightly chunky (or to your desired consistency). Taste and season as desired, then serve.
  • Food Processor – It’s hard to make even a chunky salsa without a good blender or food processor. 
  • Slotted Spoon – Whether you’re softening peppers or poaching eggs, a slotted spoon will make your life in the kitchen way easier.

Storing and Freezing

Store your fresh green chile salsa in an airtight container and be sure to keep refrigerated to prevent bacteria growth. As long as it’s kept chilled and isn’t used as a marinade, it will last for up to 5 days in the fridge.

While you can freeze green salsa, it’s not recommended. We’re working with a lot of watery, liquid-y ingredients, so the texture will be significantly altered once frozen and thawed. It only takes 25 minutes to make, so make and enjoy fresh for the best experience!

closeup: a hand dipping a tortilla chip into a bowl of green chile salsa

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Frequently Asked Questions

What do you eat with salsa verde?

As I alluded, salsa verde isn’t just a great dipping sauce for chips! Have you ever tried green chile salsa with melty polenta fries

Similarly, it makes a great condiment to add acidity and spice to any number of proteins, from lamb to beef to seafood

And, of course, you can throw it into any Mexican or Central American meal: carnitas, tacos, empanadas, and even stuffed peppers.

Is green salsa hotter than red?

Salsa isn’t really like curry where the color indicates the heat of the sauce (red usually being hotter and green being milder). 

In salsa, the color only indicates what ingredients were used — a red tomato concoction versus green chile and tomatillo mixture, in this case. So if you want to gauge the level of heat, you’ll need to look at the exact chiles used and in what quantities… and give it a taste!

Why is my salsa verde so runny?

Tomatillo-based salsas are always thinner before they chill. Refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours and it will thicken right up. This is because of a type of soluble fiber found in tomatillos called pectin, which is a natural food thickener.

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Salsa Verde (Green Chile Salsa)

5 from 3 votes
Zesty salsa verde is a fresh-tasting salsa made with tomatillos, chiles, herbs, and other vegetables. It’s crisp, chunky, and delicious!
Servings: 6
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Total: 25 minutes


  • 1 lb tomatillos
  • 3 jalapeños (or Serrano for more heat)
  • 2 Anaheim green chiles
  • 1/2 medium white onion
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 3 tbsp white vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup cilantro leaves


  • Peel the outer husk/skin off the tomatillos, onion and garlic. Slice onion in half, set aside. Save remaining onion half for other use. Trim stem from chiles and remove seeds if less heat preferred.
  • Place tomatillos, chiles and garlic in saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook 5 minutes.
  • Add the raw onion half, vinegar, salt and cilantro to a food processor, blender or Vitamix and pulse until slightly chunky.
  • Using a slotted spoon, transfer tomatillos, chiles and garlic to the food processor, blender or Vitamix. Pulse until slightly chunky/smooth. Season to taste with salt. Serve with tortilla chips.



  1. It may appear that the salsa is thin at first after processing, but refrigerate for 2-3 hours, and due to the pectin in the tomatillos, it will thicken up. This recipe yields 3 cups of salsa.
  2. Thin the roasted salsa verde with chicken stock until it’s the right consistency for pouring over enchiladas before baking. Works and tastes amazing!


Calories: 39kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 0.1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.1g | Sodium: 246mg | Potassium: 249mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 252IU | Vitamin C: 21mg | Calcium: 13mg | Iron: 1mg

The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

Course: Appetizers, Condiment
Cuisine: Mexican
Have You Made This Recipe? Let Me Know on InstagramTag @keviniscooking or tag me #keviniscooking!
titled image (and shown): salsa verde (green chile salsa)


Whether in the kitchen or on the grill, you’ll find me cooking American favorites with a love for BBQ, Mexican and Tex Mex. I’m passionate about making tasty food because life’s too short to be bland!

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  1. 5 stars
    Very tasty salsa, I like it chunky too. Nice tip using chicken stock to thin it out a little to pour over enchiladas, used that tip to pour over grilled pork chops (oh Yum). I do use Sweet Vidalia or Walla walla onion, gives it a slightly sweet to tart flavor. I find that roasting the chili peppers, serranos etc. just gives an added slight nutty, spicy flavor. Thanks for the recipe & tips. Oh and I made the Mexican Pickled Carrots, those were delicious, I do like the carrots to have a bit of bite and not mushy, turned out well.

  2. 5 stars
    My grandmother would roast the jalapeños and tomatillos over an open burner and peel them, so her salsa wasn’t nearly as green. She’d mash them with garlic, onions, cilantro and salt in her molcajete, which I still have. She used limón instead of vinegar. She also used serranos to heat it up to an unspeakably spicy level.