Charred Salsa Verde Recipe

A bowl of charred salsa verde next to some tortilla chips.

Serious Eats / J. Kenji Lopez-Alt

Why It Works

  • Broiling the tomatillos enhances their sweetness and adds a smoky, charred flavor to the salsa.
  • Pouring the salsa into hot oil intensifies its flavor.
  • Fresh and cooked cilantro contribute to the final salsa.

This is my favorite salsa, hands down, and that's coming from someone who loves salsa. Smoky, spicy, sweet, bright, and complex, this is the one salsa to rule them all. The fact that it only has four real ingredients, you can make it in 20 minutes, and it requires pretty much no knife work or clean up is just the icing on the cake (or the salsa on the taco, maybe).

Recipe Facts

Active: 10 mins
Total: 20 mins
Serves: 24 servings
Makes: 3 cups

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  • 1 1/2 pounds tomatillos, husks removed, split in half (680g; about 10 medium)

  • 1 medium white onion, peeled and split in half (about 6 ounces; 170g)

  • 2 to 4 Serrano or jalapeño chiles (adjust according to spice tolerance, remove seeds and ribs for milder spice), split in half

  • 10 to 15 sprigs cilantro, tough lower stems discarded

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil

  • Kosher salt


  1. Adjust oven rack to 4 inches below broiler and preheat broiler to high. Place tomatillos, onion, and chilies on a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet. Broil until darkly charred and blackened on top and tomatillos are completely tender, 6 to 12 minutes

    A collage of two photos showing raw tomatillos and charred onions on a baking sheet.

    Serious Eats

  2. Transfer vegetables and their juice to a blender, food processor, or the cup of an immersion blender. Add half of cilantro. Blend in pulses until a rough puree is formed.

    A container of salsa verde with an immersion blender.

    Serious Eats

  3. Heat oil in a medium saucepan over high heat until shimmering. Pour salsa into the hot oil all at once (it will steam and sputter). Immediately start stirring and continue to cook, stirring, until salsa is darkened and thick enough to coat the back of the spoon, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat.

    A collage showing pouring the salsa verde into a pot to simmer.

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  4. Finely chop remaining cilantro and stir into salsa. Season to taste with salt. Let cool, then serve. Salsa can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

    Adding chopped cilantro to a pot of salsa verde.

    Serious Eats

Special equipment

blender, food processor, or immersion blender

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