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9 October 2019

Similar to your favorite salsa verde, this tomatillo sauce recipe uses all of the same ingredients, but emulsifies it with olive oil for more of a creamy sauce consistency. Get the recipe.

We make a lot of salsa verde in the Madness kitchen. It’s one of Patty’s very favorite salsas, so versatile, so perfect on so many dishes. I wanted something different, however, for another dish I was making. I wanted salsa verde, but NOT quite salsa verde. I needed another component.

Call it an experiment, but I decided to combine my favorite salsa verde recipe with another sauce recipe that I love, a creamy jalapeno sauce, which is a classic Tex-Mex recipe.

The experiment was a BIG SUCCESS. I’m not getting creative here, and I’m just calling it Tomatillo Sauce, and I think it’ll be one you’ll want to add to your recipe collection.

Tomatillo Sauce in a bowl, ready to serve

Let’s talk about how we make this tomatillo sauce, shall we?

Ingredients Needed

Gather up the following to make your tomatillo sauce:

Ingredients for making tomatillo sauce

  • 2 pounds tomatillos, husked and rinsed
  • 3 jalapeno peppers
  • 2-3 serrano peppers (or use 6 jalapenos total to tame the heat)
  • 1 medium red onion
  • 4-6 garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • ¼ cup white wine vinegar
  • Juice from 1 lime
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • Salt to taste
  • ¼ cup neutral oil, like corn oil, avocado oil, or neutral vegetable oil (or more to taste – olive oil is OK to use, if desired, though it has a stronger flavor)

TOMATILLO NOTE: Be sure to use actual tomatillos for this recipe, and not green tomatoes. Green tomatoes will work, but they do not have the same flavor. Tomatillos are a completely different ingredient. If you want to use up your green tomatoes, try this green tomato chutney recipe instead.

Tomatillo Sauce Recipe Steps

First, set your oven to broil.

Slice the tomatillos and peppers in half, then set them onto a roasting pan or baking sheet.

Slice the onion into thick strips and set them onto the roasting pan, along with the garlic.

Ingredients for tomatillo sauce on a roasting pan, ready to go into the oven

Roast the tomatillos and other ingredients for 20 minutes, or until the skins char and puff up. Remove from heat and cool slightly. Peel off the skins and discard.

Squeeze the roasted garlic from the skins.

Add the tomatillos, peppers, onion and garlic to a food processor or blender along with the cilantro, lime juice, cumin and salt.

Roasted ingredients added to the food processor

Process until smooth.

Tomatillo sauce, processed in a food processor

With the blender or food processor running, slowly drizzle the oil into the mixture to let it emulsify. It should take about 5 minutes. The sauce will thicken up slightly.

Tomatillo sauce, emulsified with oil in a food processor

Notice the color difference. The color lightens up quite a bit, and the sauce becomes much more creamy from the emulsification process.

Serve as desired!

Looks wonderful, doesn’t it?

Tomatillo Sauce ready to serve

The Secret is in the Oil – Emulsification

You might think to use a dairy product or perhaps an avocado to achieve creaminess in this sauce, but the real secret is oil. When you process with the oil drizzling into the salsa verde, you are essentially emulsifying the mixture until it becomes very creamy. Emulsification is essentially the mixture of 2 or more liquids that normally don’t mix, like oil and vinegar. They don’t mix easily, but with enough whisking force, the mixture forms and becomes creamy, like a balsamic vinaigrette. 

Tomatillo Sauce ready to serve

Like Salsa Verde – But Not Quite Salsa Verde

This recipe uses all of the same ingredients as a salsa verde, and basically follows all of the same cooking directions. The only difference is that we’re drizzling in oil to form an emulsion. In that way, it really is much like a salsa verde, and you’ll have a similar flavor profile here, however, you’ll notice how different it is in creaminess and texture, as well as mouth feel and some flavor differences because of the oil.

Recipe Tips

  • Roasted or Not Roasted. I roasted all of the ingredients because I love the roasted flavor and also because it is an easy way to cook everything together. If you love the flavor of raw tomatillos – I sure do – try a variation of this recipe with half roasted and half raw tomatillos.
  • Choices of Oils. A neutral oil is best for this recipe because the oil flavor won’t interfere with the flavor of the tomatillos and peppers. You can make this with olive oil, but olive oil has a much stronger flavor and you’ll notice it in the final recipe. It’s still good, though.
  • Heat Factor. I’ve used a couple jalapeno peppers for this recipe, and they’re only a touch spicy. If you’re looking for a hotter version of this recipe, use serrano peppers. If you’re looking for a milder version, core out the jalapeno peppers or use poblano peppers instead.

Tomatillo Sauce in a bowl

What Should I Serve This Tomatillo Sauce With?

Tomatillo sauce is very versatile and can be used in a number of ways. Here are a few ways you can enjoy your freshly made tomatillo sauce:

  • Pasta Sauce. Toss some cooked noodles and enjoy a verde pasta.
  • Dipping Sauce. Serve it alongside pita chips or bread sticks for a party dipping sauce.
  • Salsa. Serve it up with chips for a different spin on salsa verde. Your guests will be like, “Whoa! What?”
  • Top Your Tacos. This sauce will make your tacos explode with flavor.
  • Grilled Meats. Spoon it over grilled chicken breasts or your favorite grilled flank steak. Carne Asada, anyone?
  • Spruce Up Boring Veggies. Give those blah veggies a flavor kick by tossing them with this sauce.
  • Replace Your Condiments. Try this sauce instead of reaching for your old ketchup bottle.

That’s it, my friends! I hope you enjoy my crazy tomatillo sauce! I love it. Such a great recipe. And so versatile! Let me know how you wind up serving it. Curious minds want to know!

Try Some of My Other Popular Sauce Recipes

Tomatillo Sauce in a bowl with a spoon

Got any questions? Ask away! I’m happy to help. If you enjoy this recipe, I hope you’ll leave a comment with some STARS. Also, please share it on social media. Don’t forget to tag us at #ChiliPepperMadness. I’ll be sure to share! Thanks! — Mike H.

5 from 2 votes
Tomatillo Sauce Recipe
Tomatillo Sauce Recipe
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
25 mins
 
Similar to your favorite salsa verde, this tomatillo sauce recipe uses all of the same ingredients, but emulsifies it with olive oil for more of a creamy sauce consistency. Get the recipe.
Course: hot sauce, Main Course, sauce
Cuisine: American, Mexican
Keyword: green tomatoes, recipe, sauce, spicy, tomatillos
Servings: 16 quarter cup portions
Calories: 54 kcal
Author: Mike Hultquist
Ingredients
  • 2 pounds tomatillos husks peeled, rinsed
  • 3 jalapeno peppers
  • 2-3 serrano peppers or use 6 jalapenos total to tame the heat
  • 1 medium red onion
  • 4-6 garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • ¼ cup white wine vinegar
  • Juice from 1 lime
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • Salt to taste
  • ¼ cup neutral oil like corn oil, avocado oil, or neutral vegetable oil (or more to taste - olive oil is OK to use, if desired, though it has a stronger flavor)
Instructions
  1. Set your oven to broil.
  2. Slice the tomatillos and peppers in half, then set them onto a roasting pan.
  3. Slice the onion into thick strips and set them onto the roasting pan, along with the garlic.
  4. Roast the ingredients for 20 minutes, or until the skins char and puff up. Remove from heat and cool slightly.
  5. Peel off the skins and discard.
  6. Squeeze the roasted garlic from the skins.
  7. Add the tomatillos, peppers, onion and garlic to a food processor or blender along with the cilantro, lime juice, cumin and salt.
  8. Process until smooth.
  9. With the blender or food processor running, slowly drizzle the oil into the mixture to let it emulsify. It should take about 5 minutes. The sauce will thicken up slightly.
  10. Serve as desired!
Recipe Notes

Makes about 4 cups.

Nutrition Facts
Tomatillo Sauce Recipe
Amount Per Serving
Calories 54 Calories from Fat 36
% Daily Value*
Fat 4g6%
Saturated Fat 1g5%
Sodium 2mg0%
Potassium 174mg5%
Carbohydrates 4g1%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 3g3%
Protein 1g2%
Vitamin A 103IU2%
Vitamin C 11mg13%
Calcium 7mg1%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Tomatillo Sauce Recipe - Similar to your favorite salsa verde, this tomatillo sauce recipe uses the same ingredients but emulsifies it with olive oil for a creamy consistency.  #SalsaVerde #Tomatillos #SauceRecipe

4 comments

  1. Kathy Meyer

    5 stars
    I made a bunch of roasted salsa verde and canned it a few weeks ago. Would it work to put that in the blender and add oil? Sounds amazing!

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      It will, Kathy! Let me know how it turns out for you!

  2. Myra Byanka

    5 stars
    Yum, but cut back on chiles a bit. Just my taste.

    FYI, tomatillos are not in the tomato family. Grew a bunch this past summer and had to fight off flea beetles early on. Once they went elsewhere, or whatever, plants were happy and prolific.

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Thanks, Myra! I appreciate it! Glad you enjoyed it!!

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