Cooked Salsa Verde: Basic Recipe


Cooked Salsa Verde: Basic Recipe

This is a versatile basic green tomatillo salsa. It can be drizzled on top of Mexican Antojos, such as Tostadas, Tacos, Quesadillas and Sopes… It can also be used to make Green Enchiladas or Chilaquiles. It can be spooned on top of eggs in the morning, used as a side garnish to grilled meats and as the seasoning to bake some fresh flaky fish in the oven. I could go on and on though…. here it goes:

Cooked Salsa Verde

Salsa Verde Cocida
2 cups
Pati Jinich
Course: Sauce
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: chile, cilantro, garlic, onion, pati's mexican table, Recipe, Salsa, salsa verde, serrano chiles, tomatillos, Vegetarian
Author:Pati Jinich
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
This is a versatile basic green tomatillo salsa. It can be drizzled on top of Mexican Antojos, such as Tostadas, Tacos, Quesadillas and Sopes… It can also be used to make Green Enchiladas or Chilaquiles. It can be spooned on top of eggs in the morning, used as a side garnish to grilled meats and as the seasoning to bake some fresh flaky fish in the oven. I could go on and on though…. here it goes.


  • 2 pounds green tomatillos, husks removed and rinsed
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2 serranos chiles, or more to taste
  • 1 cup cilantro leaves
  • 1/4 cup white onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt, or to taste
  • 2 tablespoons safflower or corn oil

To Prepare

  • Place the tomatillos along with the garlic cloves and the chiles serrranos in a pot and cover with water. Place over high heat until it comes to a boil. Simmer at medium for about 10 minutes, or until tomatillos change their color from a bright to a pale green, are cooked through and are soft but are not coming apart.
  • Place tomatillos, garlic and chile (you may add one chile first) and 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid in the blender and puree until smooth. Incorporate the cilantro leaves, onion and salt and process again. Taste for salt and add more if need be. Also taste for heat, you may add the other chile in pieces until you reach your desired heat level.
  • Heat the oil in a pot over medium heat. Once it is hot but not smoking, pour in the sauce and bring it to a boil. Simmer over medium heat for 6 to 7 minutes, until it thickens a bit and deepens its flavor and color. Turn off the heat.
  • Once it cools down, you may store it in a closed container in the refrigerator for weeks. However, the heat level of the sauce will diminish as the days go by.

143 comments on “Cooked Salsa Verde: Basic Recipe

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  1. Sooo easy to make but buy a few extra tomatillos in case some may be bad. Can’t wait to try them on Tacos de Lengua.
    Love watching your show on PBS.

  2. Hi Pati,
    I never tried to make salsa verde before but I love it. I made it using your recipe today and it’s wonderful. I couldn’t get fresh chiles where I live in N.J. so I used a couple of small fresh poblanos which I love, and used 2 tiny cans of fire roasted chiles. It’s very yummy and so delightfully fresh tasting. I love you and your show.

  3. Ya know ,, I did not have enough tomillo caused I just had ta make dat jam ,,,so I added a Poblano to make up for it no cilantro so I used coriander seed from garden harvested last year ,,,taste good ,so now Ill try again next week and compare. thanks so much for what you do with GOD s gift. Peace Always. Joseph Jimmys associate , Joseph

  4. Hi Pati,
    Been looking high and low for recipes that both roast the ingredients and then cook the sauce. I decided to use your recipe, but blistered (rather than boiling) most of the ingredients. It came out rather tasty, however I was wondering if double cooking has any adverse effects on the finished product?

  5. Pati,
    I had an unbelievable crop of tomatillos this year and need recipes (other than your delicious tomatillo and lime jam) that I can make in bulk and then store. I was wondering if the salsa verde recipe would freeze at all. And if not do you have any other recipes that can be made and stored?

  6. Pati
    This is a delightful salsa and easy to make. Thank you for suggest doing one pepper at a time ! One was perfect for me and mine !

  7. I have a easy recipe for mole my husband is Mexican. 6 chicken thighs cooked until almost done. To make mole 1 package chili mix 1 half can of Hershey chocolate syrup 1 teaspoon cumin 1 large bell pepper sliced into strips 1 can of chopped tomatoes 1 large onion sliced into strips and 2 tablesoons oil crushed pepper to taste take pepper and onion and saute in large skillet add other ingredients cook until thick and add chicken simmer for thirty minutes serve over rice

  8. Want to know if you have a recipe for Prickly Pear Fruit Jelly or Preserve. I have a ranch that we have acres of Nopal and the Tunas, now the catus are full of this delicious fruit.Thank You so much.

    1. Oh that’s awesome that you have so many prickly pear fruits around, Rosa! I don’t have a recipe…but enjoy all of the fruit!

  9. Patti ,Been watching your show from day 1 you are the real deal here.I am also a chef and so many recipes are put on Internet etc and omg most of them are awful never been tested in a kitchen .Everyone of your recipes that I have made were 100% perfected thank you so much love your show

  10. Patti, I just made the salsa verde recipe and it will definitely be a regular in my kitchen from now on. (I’m going to make Chicken Tamales with salsa verde tomorrow.) I wanted to tell you that I started watching your show when I was in the hospital for 2 months receiving cancer treatment. I have to tell you, it was the highlight of my day. Now that I have recovered, I look forward to trying more of your recipes. Thanks for your love of food, people, and life; it brought me comfort in a dark time.

    1. I’m so happy to hear that you have recovered Jean! I can’t tell you how much it means to me that the show brought you a little bit of comfort. 💙

  11. Hi Pati! I absolutely love your show, especially when you have your sons on! So great to see them learning from the best! One question on the Salsa Verdi – can I put it hot in canning jars and seal it? Will it hold it’s flavor and would I need to process it in water bath or is it ok if it’s just put in jars hot and sealed? This is how I can my cooked tomato salsa.

      1. I am new to canning but love your recipe and have so many tomatillos this year. Can I can this and if so what steps do I have to take to do that? Just water bath it after cooking?

  12. Pati,
    Your salsa verde is a staple in our home to go along with all of your recipes we make, it is so flavorful and so easy. One thing we started doing to be able to keep it stored up and make big batches all at once is is make all the cold ingredients and then freeze them in smaller portions and then when we are ready for a new batch we take it out of the freezer, thaw it out and then we fry it in the oil and its ready and then we have enough for another week or whatever amount we need. It is amazing! thank you for all of your perfect delicious and EASY recipes!.

  13. What is the best way to store the Salsa Verde, in the refrigerator? How long will it keep? I notice you said to serve it at room temperature.

  14. Pati,
    My wife Lisa and I caught your show on KPBS last weekend. Que bueno! We have lived in San Diego California for about 50 years and so, have developed a real appreciation for good Mexican cooking. I am trying to surprise her and make some salsa verde. Maybe I’ll make our young boys some churros. I intend to try your latke recipes this coming Passover. Thanks for sharing and for all your hard work!

    1. Toria!! I was traveling and missed this before today. My apologies! We love to make the lamb from my first cookbook =)

  15. I just finished this recipe and my husband came into to kitchen saying that sure smells good. It did and tasted better. Thank you. This San Antonio girl loves Verde sauce.

  16. I tried this recipe and mine did not come out looking like the picture mine is a lot light maybe I used to many tomatillas?

    1. Maybe, or maybe your tomatillos were lighter in color. Watch that the tomatillos you use are firm and bright green, without wrinkles or discolored… or that may be a sign of them being too long in a refrigerated area…

  17. Hola Pati, I love your recipe, and for a wonderful variation I add about half a ripe avocado per cup of salsa and give it a quick go on the food processor until silky smooth. A little more salt to taste. Como de taqueria en Cuernavaca.

  18. I just made your salsa verde to use to make chicken tamales. Omg, they are so delicious. I buy my masa already prepared ( I found a small mexican bakery that makes great masa, spreads like butter or should I say lard! Lol). I doubled the recipe and have a little leftover. I’m freezing it to make some enchiladas Suizas. Thank you for the recipe.

  19. Loved the recipe so simply and delicious. I love watching your show and wish you were on everyday. Your recipes make my family very happy. Any recipes from Jalisco or Guanajuato?

  20. Hey Pati,

    I just made your version of salsa verde. But for some reason it came out sweet. It’s not supposed to be sweet, right?

    Thanks, Clarice

    1. The tomatillos should be tangy, not that much sweet. When buying them at the store, don’t be afraid to peek under the husks to make sure they are firm and a deep green color. My other recommendation is to add more heat with the serrano chiles!

  21. I left this comment in March 2014. That’s what I was referring to in the latest comment above. Thanks!

    Hi Party,
    I watch you all the time and love your show. I was wondering if you have a cooked salsa recipe using dried red peppers, jalapeno, tomatoes, green tomatoes, onions. My favorite salsa is at this little Mexican restaurant. They told me these are the ingredients to their salsa, but I tried duplicating it without success. Can you help?

  22. Hi Patti,
    Just wondering if you have been able to post a red cooked salsa recipe. I still haven’t found anything like the salsa at my favorite restaurant in Galveston, TX.


  23. I have made this Salsa Verde recipe many times. It is easy and turns out great every time. When I make it, I make multiple batches and freeze it in small batches. It freezes very well. My family loves salsa verde. We use it for everything. It is perfect for Nachos and Enchiladas.

    Thank you Pati!

  24. Hi Pati,
    My husband loves albonigas (meat ball soup) hope I spelled it right. I was wondering if you have a recipe for It? Thank you.

  25. Hi Pati,
    Love love love!!! your show. Your food looks so delicious! I was wondering instead of boiling and simmer. can you rost the tomatillos and chili’s or will that change the taste?

  26. This is an amazing recipe! My husband’s favorite meal is Chicken Enchiladas in Verde sauce! I have never attempted it until today. It turned out perfect! Can’t wait to surprise him with dinner tonight!

  27.  Hi Pati,
    I posted this in 2014. Can you post a cooked red salsa recipe similar? Thank so much!
    I watch you all the time and love your show. I was wondering if you have a cooked salsa recipe using dried red peppers, jalapeno, tomatoes, green tomatoes, onions. My favorite salsa is at this little Mexican restaurant. They told me these are the ingredients to their salsa, but I tried duplicapamting it without success. Can you help?
    Thanks! Pam

    1. Hi Nancy, Yes, you can remove the seeds from serranos, exact same way as you do with jalapeños, if you want less heat.

  28. Hola Pati,
    We viewed your Cooking show for tamales with salsa verde & chicken. We always spread our masa on the
    Corn husk. You scooped it and put an indentation in it for the chicken & sauce. Does the finished tamale have too much masa in places? Gracias Jeanne

    1. Hola Jeanne, I haven’t had a problem with too much masa in places, but feel free to use whichever method works best for you. I hope you’ll try these!

    1. Hi Korin, You can let it cool to room temperature & even chill for a bit in the refrigerator if you don’t like it hot. I recommend serving at room temp.

  29. I made the Cooked Salsa Verde and used it as the base, together with chicken stock, for White Chicken Chili. It was fabulous! I also enjoyed the salsa as a dip with tortilla chips.

  30. I have a question do you have a recipe birdie de chivo my husband was from jalisco and would like a recipe for that if you can help. I would love it a lot. Even from gto, nayrit. I don’t want to over whelm you. Thanks

  31. This recipe is very similar to one taught to me by a Mexican friend. She always uses a little Knorr caldo de pollo for seasoning. My tomatillo plants are very prolific, but this recipe freezes beautifully. I can usually make enough to have all winter and to give to friends. Delicious on almost everything.

  32. Love this recipe! I’ve made it 3 times. My only problem is that the last 2 batches had some bitterness. Does you have any idea where that could be coming from? I thought maybe I had some unripe tomatillos? Thanks for any help.


    1. Hi Cathy! So happy you are using this recipe!! It’s probably the batch of tomatillos. They should be firm with a shiny, deep green color (once you wash off their wax) and shouldn’t be wrinkled or squishy. Don’t be shy about peeking under their husks at the store. 😉

  33. Hi Pati,

    I love your show. My father-in-law went hunting for Corsican Ram and gave us a lot of wild mutton. I thought of Mexican right away and went to your site for ideas and used the idea of carnitas. But, I braised it a lot longer and used olive oil because the meat is so lean. It is delicious! and I served it with salsa verde, and roasted the ingredients like your sister prefers as was demonstrated on the breakfast episode. The guide said it was not worth eating unless it was prepared correctly. Well, it was prepared correctly using your recipes.

    Thank you so much!



  34. Hi Party,
    I watch you all the time and love your show. I was wondering if you have a cooked salsa recipe using dried red peppers, jalapeno, tomatoes, green tomatoes, onions. My favorite salsa is at this little Mexican restaurant. They told me these are the ingredients to their salsa, but I tried duplicating it without success. Can you help?

  35. Hi Pati, I have made this salsa for many years and have enjoyed it. Sometimes when I make crispy tacos I add avocado to this salsa and I get a delicious salsa that goes good with antojitos such as nachos, tacos, and the such. Thank you for the wonderful recipes that you share with us, your audience, because in doing so we are able to preserve our culture and heritage.

  36. Just a thought about the darkening of the salsa when canning. Maybe a table spoon of vinegar would lessen that darkening.

  37. Hola Pati;
    I was just reading comments and posts on this site. I was wondering about the Salsa Verde if it can be canned (as in preserved through processing like pressure cooking)?
    We have a garden every year. Once we planted some Tomatillos and they come up every year after. So last year we had an over abundance of them. I tried making the salsa and canning it but it turned a very dark color. Can you help me with this? What am I doing wrong? Is it the high pressure that is causing it to discolor? Also I love your show. When my Husband and I watch you make something delicious we go to your site and print off the recipes so we can make them. Thanks so much for all your help.

    1. Hola Lynda, Yes! You can can salsa verde. I am wondering about the darkening of the salsa, did it taste the same?
      Thanks for watching the show and nothing makes me happier than my recipes being used and enjoyed!

    1. Hola Josh, I usually make it fresh all year. However, you can try canning it…just follow the formal canning process, or the instructions on your canner (if you have one).

  38. Hi Pati,
    Can Salsa Verde be successfully canned as tomato sauce? I live in the Chicago area and I imagine tomatillos are better and more readily available during the summer months.

    John Liptak

  39. Pati,
    Thank you for sharing such a great tasty recipe. This is the first time I have cooked with Tomatillo’s, but not the last.

    For anyone else reading this, try this, you will love it!


  40. Hola Patti,
    I Went looking for a good salsa verde recipe and this one looks great. I love Patti’s Mexican Kitchen on PBS it provides lots of inspiration for my own kitchen. Jicama slaw for fish tacos is next… Thanks for the inspiration 🙂

  41. I made this and now know what I have been missing!! I walk by the jars in the market and laugh. I don’t like cilantro so used parsley…. YUM

  42. Pati,
    I am so happy that I found this site! I have been wondering what to do with my tomatillos and this weekend I may try the salsa verde (but I am really looking forward to the pozole verde). Anyway, my question is this…can I freeze the salsa verde freeze? Or maybe can/jar it?
    Thank you!

  43. A friend gave me your website and I’m glad she did. I planted 5 Tomatillo plants this year and they have grown much lager than advertised. I have tomatillos coming out of my ears. Thank goodness for your recipes. I will be trying your jam and Salsa Verde recipe’s this weekend.

    1. Your comment made me laugh, David! Yes, indeed, tomatillos are the productive sort… which is heavenly in my view. I hope you enjoy the salsa as much as the jam.

  44. I love your blog! My family is from Guadalajara so I’ve inherited the delicious culinary cuisine from that region. But I love that your blog introduces me to other amazing recipes. For example, I had never heard of anyone cooking their salsa verde. But the results are delicious! Be assured that I will be calling my mom today to discuss your salsa verde recipe. You may have just added to our family’s repertoire.

    1. Thank you so much for your comment! I am so happy that you enjoyed the Cooked Salsa Verde and honored for the recipe to be added to your family favorites :).

  45. Hi Pati,
    I recently saw a show on which you made raw salsa verde. Can you post that recipe? It looked easy but I cannot remember it. I love your show.
    Thank you,

  46. Hola Pati
    I had a queston about your Cooked Salsa Verde: Why you use 2 T of oil? Yes, I know that the oil give anything more of a sheen. But in these days of trying to use less fat in our diets. Is the oil optional? Gracias, John

    1. Hola John, Thank you for your question. The oil seasons the sauce and adds to the overall flavor. Actually, safflower oil is “good” fat and very healthy. It is sourced from a plant and not manipulated into hydrogenated bad fats like other commonly used oils. So, if you want to keep the oil in the recipe it will be still be healthy. If you do not want to use any oil, it can be optional. The salsa may just taste a little different than the original recipe. I hope this helps! 🙂

  47. Hola, Martha,
    The secret I have found to ensuring that your salsa verde does not become bitter is to prevent the tomatillo seeds from being broken or blended. If you use a blender, just give it a quick whirl but don’t blend it to death.
    Maybe Pati can comment? Gracias para tu blog, Pati! Me gusta 😉

    1. Hi Katey, Hi Martha, I’ve found that it mostly depends on the tomatillos themselves. If they are ripe, shinny, green they are deliciously tart but not bitter. If you have tomatillos that are on the yellow side, are old, over ripe, wrinkled… salsa will be bitter ; )

  48. I was in a mexican restaurant that served “hot sauce” with the meal. This came in a small jar. I have been trying to make my own. I am using roasted poblanos, tomatos, onion, garlic and peppers…all blended in a food processor. It is thicker than the sauce at the restaurant. Otherwise quite good! Any suggestions?

    1. Hi Alicia, when you buy tomatillos they should be firm with a shiny, deep green color (once you wash off their wax). And they should give you salsa a tangy flavor, without being bitter! I don’t believe you are overcooking them, it may have just been that batch of tomatillos.

  49. I am so glad that I have found you on TV. Thank you for the green salsa receipe. I tried it, and it came out so delicious. I made the salsa with pork chops (chopped in small pieces) and my husband loved it. Great and easy receipe!
    Pati, can you give me some receipes from the state of Zacatecas. Mainly from a little town called Juchipila. I am interested because that is where my mother and father were born and raised. I am sorry to say that I never learned to cook like my mother, and now she is gone and I will never have a chance to learn. Can you help me?

    1. Hey Mary,
      I’m so glad you found me too! Of course I’ll give you recipes from Zacatecas! My family and I were just there, and I just love the food from there too. And I will try to post some recipes from there, meanwhile, you can look for recipes in Los Sabores de la Tierra. It’s a book in Spanish that focuses on the food from Zacatecas- I hope you enjoy it. I really fell in love with that place, its people, and most of all, its food!

  50. I am so happy to have stumbled upon your blog. I have been relentlessly searching the internet for the kind of salsa verde that I have grown up with here in Texas. Your recipe is exactly what I have been looking for.
    I am also enjoying your other entries. Thank you!

    1. So glad Waverly. It is my pleasure!! Let me know if there is anything specific you are looking for and I will try to post about it…

      1. Hi Patti i absolutely love your show and your recipes are amazing. I just had a question about this green salsa recipe, i ate one in mexico that was like this but a bit creamy in texture, do you know or do you make one that is creamy that you can also serve with tortillas, or chips? I wasnt sure if it was just adding guacamole, or crema?