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How to Cook Tomatillos to Tender

How to cook tomatillos so they are tender and ready to make into our homemade copycat Qdoba salsa verde recipe at home. Blended to smooth they are a great addition to green pepper jelly too!


Wondering how to cook tomatillos so you can make homemade salsa verde or guacamole at home? It is so simple I tell you. These are so versatile, delicious inside chili or in soups too. Give your next recipe a kick with these babies and let us know what your favorite creation is. (affiliate links present)

How to Roast Tomatillos

Recently we used these with other peppers to make homemade green pepper jelly, they were a great new addition. Never bought these yourself, but had them at your favorite Mexican restaurant? No worries, we were new to handling them too until this year.

I bet you’ve seen these and wondered if they were green tomatoes? May apples, persimmons? Weren’t sure until you saw the sign and thought huh…….and walked away. Don’t next time, grab a few and give these ideas a whirl.

Tomatillos and jalapenos

When are tomatillos ripe?

The color will tell the tale. You want them to be a nice green color like you see here for the boldest flavors. If you see that they are yellow the flavor will be tamer and the outsides will be softer. For the strongest taste it will be a firm texture on the outside and a brilliant green color.

Can you eat a raw tomatillo?

Yes they are safe but wouldn’t taste very good. Without cooking them first they’re quite sour with a very strong pungent flavor. When they are boiled, like blanched peppers, the tartness will subside a bit to become the flavor you’re most familiar with. It will soften the outsides too of course and make them easier to blend into a sauce.

As far as prep is concerned there isn’t much at all. There is a sort of paper feeling husk on the outside you’ll want to remove. Then just rinse the outside to remove the stickiness outer film that may be present.

How to Cook Tomatillos

How many tomatillos in a pound?

If you are going to make fresh tomatillo verde salsa you’ll want about 2 pounds, so how many is that? Well they will all vary in size but I would suggest choosing medium sized. We prefer to buy organic but that is up to you too. In general 8 pieces will = 1 pound of weight. So you’d want about 16 to make a batch, or cut in half for less.

You can find them at almost all grocery stores. If you are in a smaller town, like we are, you may need to go to a natural and/or organic market instead.

How to store tomatillos

If you buy them at the store but don’t want to do anything with them for a little bit put them inside of a paper bag and into the fridge. Left inside their papery husks they will last this way in the cold for 2-3 weeks easily. That will give you plenty of time to get your stuff together and make whatever you want.

All that you need to cook them is some water and a bit of salt. If you want to add a bit of heat to Mexican cooking recipes throw in a few jalapenos too.

Tomatillo salsa

How to cook tomatillos to bring out their natural sweetness?

I do not recommend roasted tomatillos for cooking as they won’t be as tender on the outsides. While you’re preparing tomatillos by removing the husks and washing, get a pot of water boiling on high heat.

  • Fill with about 8 cups of water until it reaches a rolling boil. Sprinkle in some salt too.
  • Remove the outer husk. Rinse under water to remove as much of the shiny coating off the outside.
  • Gently drop rinsed tomatillos husked and ready to cook into the rolling boiling water and allow to cook for approximately 8 minutes so the outsides get very tender and shrivel up.

You can test with a slotted spoon. Lift one out and see if it is tender when pricked with a knife. If so, drain water and allow these to cool a bit.

How to Make Green Salsa with Tomatillos

Blend until smooth in a food processor or you could use a blender too. To make salsa verde add a squeeze of lime, minced garlic, a pinch of salt, cilantro and 1/2 an onion. Blend again to the right consistency. In the event that you want to thin it out a bit you could add a bit of olive oil into the mix and blend again. Or you can just slice to add into recipes like Instant Pot carnitas and more.

You can use a blender or food processor to get the right consistency. If you are just enjoying these as is then allow to cool completely, slice and enjoy with a squeeze of lime and salt on top. Some like it juiced so you’d want to blend quite a bit to get them smooth for that. Talk about a superfood gulp.

Inside recipes like Instant Pot chili verde and our Instant Pot Mexican casserole I would leave a little more chunk to it like you see here below.

salsa verde recipe
Is it better to roast or boil tomatillos?

That depends on what you are making with them. If you want a smoky flavor then you would want them browned on the outsides. For a smooth mixture, like making carnitas or green pepper jelly you may want more of their natural sweetness. In this case, boil on the stovetop instead.

What else can I do with Tomatillos besides salsa?

Lots of things! Sopa de Tomatilla is a flavorful soup we love. Chili verde with pork is fantastic for a dinner idea. Blend and add them to the top of black bean tacos, fold into rice to add spice and flavor, or include in the dressing for avocado salad.

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How to Cook Tomatillos

How to cook tomatillos so they are tender and ready to make into homemade salsa verde at home. Great addition to green pepper jelly too!
Course Appetizer, Dip
Cuisine Mexican
Keyword boiled, cooked, tomatillos
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings 12
Calories 24kcal
Author The Typical Mom



  • 2 lbs tomatillos
  • 8 c water
  • 1 pinch salt


  • Fill large stockpot with about 8 cups of water. Put on stovetop on medium/high heat until it reaches a rolling boil. Sprinkle in salt.
  • Remove outer husk off of all tomatillos. Rinse under water to remove as much of the shiny coating off the outside.
  • Gently drop into the boiling water and allow to cook for approximately 8 minutes so the outsides get very tender and start shriveling up.
  • Blend to make salsa verde or slice to add into recipes.


Nutrition Facts
How to Cook Tomatillos
Amount Per Serving (2 oz)
Calories 24 Calories from Fat 9
% Daily Value*
Fat 1g2%
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 1g
Sodium 12mg1%
Potassium 203mg6%
Carbohydrates 4g1%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 3g3%
Protein 1g2%
Vitamin A 86IU2%
Vitamin C 9mg11%
Calcium 10mg1%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
How to Cook Tomatillos
how to roast tomatillos
Recipe Rating

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Wednesday 13th of March 2024

A good tomatillo recipe for impromptu salsa after a morning shopping in Mazatlan

The Typical Mom

Wednesday 13th of March 2024

Oh yay!


Saturday 24th of February 2024

after boiling and before blending, do you then take off the outer side that has split while boiling?

The Typical Mom

Sunday 25th of February 2024

not entirely necessary but yes I would suggest doing so to make it super smooth

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