This Tomatillo Green-Chili Salsa is a Chipotle Copycat recipe of their medium salsa. It uses canned tomatillos and chilies, meaning all the flavor without the hassle of cleaning and roasting fresh tomatillos and tomatoes. Realistic for busy weeknights and impromptu hosting! Have this salsa ready to pair with my other Chipotle copycat recipes: roasted chili-corn salsa, black Beans and cilantro lime rice!
Most of the flavor from salsas comes from roasting and charring the vegetables. Knowing this, I tested this recipe using fresh tomatillos, tomatoes and chilis and roasted, then broiled them for over 30 minutes.
While this did yield a delicious salsa, I knew a salsa recipe that required so much prep work was not practical for my every day life and likely wasn’t practical for yours either. There is a reason store-bought salsas are so popular.
With this in mind, I retested this recipe using canned tomatillos and canned tomatoes and chilies. To my pleasant surprise, not only was this 10 times faster to prepare, it tasted BETTER than my salsa made with fresh tomatillos and tomato.
Why This Recipe Works
- It’s fool proof! Canned tomatillos and tomatoes means no peeling, scrubbing, chopping or roasting. No need to worry about picking a good variety of tomatillos, either.
- You won’t have to wait for the salsa to cool. By using room temperature ingredients, you can serve this salsa right away.
- No oven required, meaning you won’t need to heat up your house to prepare a delicious at home salsa. Perfect for summer hosting!
- Whole Green Tomatillos – I used canned whole tomatillos that were thoroughly drained and rinsed. There are two popular brands to look for – El Mexicano (the brand I used) and La Costena. I have the best of luck finding these at very affordable prices at my local Mexican market, but they are also available in some larger chains and online.
- Fire Roasted Tomatoes with Green Chilies – I prefer to use a can of fire roasted tomatoes with green chilies as opposed to using regular diced tomatoes and a fresh jalapeño. Jalapeños vary so widely in terms of spice level and this canned variety is very consistent in spice.
- Cilantro – Fresh cilantro makes this salsa taste so fresh! If you don’t like cilantro, simply omit.
- Red Onion – Raw red onion finely diced also makes this salsa taste so fresh and gives it a nice bite! You can substitute with regular yellow onion in a pinch!
- Lemon and Lime juice – A little goes a long way but these give the best zesty tang. Lemons and limes vary so widely in size, so I gave measurements of tablespoons to use. Adjust to your personal liking.
- Fresh Jalapeño – As stated above, I prefer to skip the jalapeño because I find it makes the salsa too spicy. If you love spice, add ½ of a diced jalapeño or according to your spice preference.
Step by Step Instructions
- Add the rinsed, whole green tomatillos, fire roasted tomatoes with green chilies, lemon juice, lime juice, cumin, oregano, garlic cloves, and pepper to a food processor. Pulse until well combined.
- Add in the diced red onion, diced cilantro and pulse a couple of times to combine with salsa.
- Taste salsa and add additional salt to taste. I like to add about 1 teaspoon of kosher salt, but adjust to your preference. You may find no additional salt is needed!
- Serve immediately with tortilla chips or on your homemade burrito bowl!
Frequently Asked Questions
Chipotle’s tomatillo salsa is considered their medium spiced salsa. It is slightly spicy, but not overbearing. By making it at home, you can control the spice level even more!
Yes! To freeze, simply pour into a freezer safe jar or bag for up to 6 months. Then when ready to eat, place in the refrigerator until completely thawed.
I find that by the time the food processor pulses the tomatillos enough, onion and cilantro is processed TOO much and turns it into a pulp. For a superior texture, I like to dice it separately and pulse it two or three times to combine it into the salsa.
Tips for Success
- Make sure to thoroughly rinse the canned tomatillos. They are often preserved in a brine solution that is both salty and acidic. Rinsing them thoroughly removes those flavors and prevents the flavor of your salsa from being compromised.
- Make sure not to overdo it with the lemon and lime juice. A little goes a very long way and it can easily overpower the salsa if too much is squeezed in.
What to Serve this Salsa With
- Beer Braised Jackfruit Enchiladas
- Oven Fried Vegan Potato Tacos (Tacos de Papa)
- Savory Stuffed Sweet Potato Skins
- Easy Vegan Burrito Bowl
Tomatillo Green-Chili Salsa (Chipotle Copyat)
- 2 (28 ounce) cans whole tomatillos - thoroughly rinsed and drained
- 1 (10 ounce) can fire-roasted tomatoes with diced green chilies - Rotel is a good brand
- ½ tablespoons lemon juice - freshly squeezed
- 1 tablespoons lime juice - freshly squeezed
- ¼ cup cilantro - finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon oregano
- ½ red onion - diced
- 2 cloves garlic - minced
- 1 teaspoon sea salt - to taste
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 jalapeño - optional
- Add the drained and rinsed tomatillos, fire roasted tomatoes with green chilies, lemon juice, lime juice, cumin, oregano, minced garlic and pepper to a large cup food processor. Process until completely combined, about 10 seconds.
- Add in the diced red onion, diced cilantro and pulse 2-3 times until just incorporated.
- Taste and season with additional salt, if desired. I tend to add about 1 teaspoon of kosher salt.
- Serve immediately.
- Store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or store in the freezer for up to 6 months. If frozen, thaw completely in the refrigerator before serving.
- Disclaimer: This recipe is only inspired by Chipotle Mexican Grill’s salsa and is not the authentic restaurant version.
- Make sure to rinse the tomatillos thoroughly to remove the salty brine flavor.
- I recommend dicing the red onion and cilantro separately as opposed to processing in the food processor for optimal texture.
- More copycat Chipotle recipes to try:
General note about salt
Please pay attention to the type of salt called for in the recipe (if applicable). Not all salts are made equal and cannot be substituted 1 for 1. If you are substituting table salt for kosher salt, you will need to cut the amount called for in the recipe by at least half.
Disclaimer: The Nutritional Information provided for this recipe is only an estimate. The accuracy of the facts listed is not and cannot be guaranteed.