Roasted Tomatillo Salsa (Salsa Verde)

This roasted tomatillo salsa, also called salsa verde, is a tangy salsa with a spicy kick! This one’s from the master of Mexican food himself, chef Rick Bayless.

Roasted Tomatillo Salsa (Salsa Verde)

Learning from the best is an extreme privilege, and this week we’re over the moon to have Mexican cuisine master Rick Bayless on the A Couple Cooks podcast! He’s host of the PBS show Mexico–One Plate at a Time, and has authored 9 cookbooks. He’s got a handful of award-winning restaurants in Chicago (including Frontera Grill), and a line of super popular Frontera salsas. He’s won various James Beard awards and the title of Bravo’s Top Chef Masters. Basically, he’s a complete boss in his space. And after I caught up with him, I found he’s also a true teacher at heart and one of the most genuine souls around. Keep reading for Rick’s roasted tomatillo salsa recipe!

Related: Homemade Tortilla Chips

Roasted Tomatillo Salsa (Salsa Verde)
Roasted Tomatillo Salsa | Tomatillo salsa verde

Why to make roasted tomatillo salsa

Alex and I joke that chefs we know have a thing called “chef brain”, where in the midst of conversation a chef is suddenly walking you through a recipe from conception to execution. And that’s exactly what Chef Rick Bayless did on his episode of the A Couple Cooks Podcast! Rick displayed a little “chef brain”, throwing out recipe ideas including a simple roasted tomatillo salsa.

Though tomatillos aren’t quite in season here in Indiana, we couldn’t resist buying some and making Rick’s signature recipe. And why make roasted tomatillo salsa at home when you can easily buy it at the store? Because it’s that good. It’s super tangy, garlicky, smoky, and a little spicy, perfect for dipping endless mountains of tortilla chips. And makes you feel like, “Yeah, I made this!”. And for those other times when you’re pressed for time? I’m sure Rick wouldn’t mind if you bought his Frontera-brand salsa verde!

How to make roasted tomatillo salsa? Simply roast the tomatillos with a serrano chili and garlic, then blend everything up with cilantro. Then stir in some minced white onion. It takes a few minutes to roast the tomatillos, but the effort is well worth it. Pair this recipe with our homemade tortilla chips – they’re easy and a staple in our household.

Roasted Tomatillo Salsa | Tomatillo salsa verde
Roasted Tomatillo Salsa | Salsa verde

What are tomatillos?

Despite their similar appearance and name, tomatillos and green tomatoes are two completely different foods. Tomatillos look like unripe tomatoes and have a husk that leaves a sticky residue behind when you peel it off (just rinse the tomatillos under warm water to remove the residue!). They’re much denser than tomatoes and contain less water, and are slightly grainy in texture, yet still juicy somehow.

Tomatillos can be eaten raw in salsas and on sandwiches, grilled, or roasted and used in any number of sauces and soups. A few of our favorite ways to enjoy tomatillos include this roasted tomatillo salsa (duh!), these artichoke enchiladas, and this roasted tomatillo and black bean soup

Roasted Tomatillo Salsa (Salsa Verde)

Listen to Rick Bayless on the A Couple Cooks Podcast

Looking for more salsa recipes?

Outside of this easy mango salsa recipe, here are a few more salsa recipes we love:

Roasted Tomatillo Salsa (Salsa Verde) | A Couple Cooks

Looking for more Mexican recipes?

Here are a few of our favorite Mexican inspired recipes:

This recipe is…

This roasted tomatillo salsa recipe (salsa verde) is vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, plant-based, and refined sugar-free.


Roasted Tomatillo Salsa (Salsa Verde)

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (1 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

  • Author: a Couple Cooks
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 1 cup 1x


This roasted tomatillo salsa, also called salsa verde, is a tangy salsa with a spicy kick! This one’s from the master of Mexican food himself, chef Rick Bayless.



  • 8 ounces tomatillos
  • 1/2 serrano chile (or more, to taste)
  • 2 large garlic cloves
  • Handful fresh cilantro
  • 1 small white onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt


  1. Remove the paper from the tomatillos and rinse them. Remove the stem from the serrano chile. Peel the garlic cloves.
  2. Place the tomatillos, whole serrano chile and garlic on a rimmed baking sheet and broil on high for 5 minutes, until starting to blacken and soften. Then flip the tomatillos and roast the other side for about 5 minutes (the tomatillos will change from green to olive green).
  3. Allow to cool, then transfer everything except for 1/2 of the chile pepper (including juices) to a blender. Add cilantro and 1/4 cup water and blend to the desired consistency. Taste, and add additional chile pepper if desired.
  4. Finely dice the onion, then rinse under cold water and shake to remove excess moisture. Combine with the tomatillo mixture in a serving dish along with the salt. Taste and add additional salt if necessary.


Adapted heavily from Rick Bayless

  • Category: Appetizer
  • Method: Blended
  • Cuisine: Mexican

Keywords: Roasted tomatillo salsa, Tomatillo salsa verde, Salsa Recipes, Mexican Recipes, Healthy Appetizer Recipes, Healthy Snack Recipes

Subscribe for free weekly recipes & more!

About the Authors

Sonja Overhiser

Cookbook Author and writer

Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.

Alex Overhiser

Cookbook Author and photographer

Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.


  • Reply
    March 16, 2016 at 6:31 am

    Oh, how I adore tomatillos and this salsa sounds amazing! I really want to try it asap!

    • Reply
      March 18, 2016 at 3:39 pm

      It’s easy and delicious! Just don’t accidentally put in too many peppers like we did (I tried 2 serranos, which was a bit much)!

  • Reply
    Katie @ Whole Nourishment
    March 16, 2016 at 1:17 pm

    I so miss having access to fresh tomatillos. So I’ve had to come up with an alternative sauce that reminds me a lot of salsa verde. But nothing beats the real thing like your recipe. I love the simplicity and freshness of this salsa. Can’t wait to listen to this podcast when I’m back home!

    • Reply
      March 18, 2016 at 3:39 pm

      Thank you, Katie! What is your alternative to salsa verde? Sounds intriguing! And, let us know what you think of the podcast!

  • Reply
    Fernando @ Eating With Your Hands
    March 16, 2016 at 2:13 pm

    Look at that color! So fresh and so clean :) This definitely inspires me to incorporate some salsa verde in one of my next posts. Even though salsa verde seems like a no-brainer knowing that my blog is centered around tacos and sandwiches, I’ve seemed to totally ignore it!

    • Reply
      March 18, 2016 at 3:35 pm

      Thank you! I agree, we don’t always think of salsa verde either, and now we want to have it around more! Let us know if you try it out!

  • Reply
    March 16, 2016 at 4:44 pm

    I loved this episode.
    When I started listening to a cooking podcast I wondered how it would work but I like it! And Rick made it all seem so, so easy! He was telling about that salsa and putting it over a skirt steak. I was like, “WOAH! I can do that fancy meal!” I’m definitely going to make it.
    Thanks for that interview!

    • Reply
      March 18, 2016 at 3:33 pm

      You are so welcome, Libby! SO glad you enjoyed the episode! I agree, Rick makes things sound so easy and inspiring. We immediately made the salsa verde and were surprised at how simple it was to put together — while it does involve roasting and blending and getting things dirty, but it wasn’t bad and the flavor was so worth it! Thanks again for listening and let us know what other episodes you try out!

  • Reply
    Puja Darshan
    March 18, 2016 at 6:57 am

    I do prepare salsa with roasted tomatoes, but never tasted salsa made with tomatillos.
    I am just wondering, If it is available here in store. BTW lovely recipe. Thanks for sharing. :)

    • Reply
      March 18, 2016 at 3:36 pm

      Salsa verde is widely available in stores in the US — where are you based? Thanks so much!

  • Reply
    Puja Darshan
    March 18, 2016 at 4:33 pm

    Hey Sonja, I am based in Banglore (India). :)

    • Reply
      March 18, 2016 at 6:18 pm

      Haha well I have no idea about whether tomatillos or salsa verde are available there! Let me know if you find anything out!

  • Reply
    [email protected] with Cocktails
    March 21, 2016 at 2:13 pm

    Yum, salsa verde is my favorite! Im going to try this version with enchiladas this friday :) Thanks for sharing. This made my “what to have for dinner” dilemma easy :)

    • Reply
      March 22, 2016 at 5:12 pm

      Absolutely! That sounds like a fantastic idea. Let us know how it turns out!

    • Reply
      July 18, 2016 at 8:30 pm

      Absolutely – hope you enjoyed it!

  • Reply
    July 18, 2016 at 7:33 pm

    Love your podcast and blog! Could you just add the onion in as well to roast and then the blender? Thanks!

    • Reply
      July 18, 2016 at 8:29 pm

      Thank you so much, Christy! Great question. This is Rick Bayless’s recipe, so this is the way he does it. However, that sounds delicious and feel free to give it a try! Let us know what you end up doing!

    Leave a Reply

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