Green Chile Salsa

Charred Tomatillo Poblano Salsa Verde

How often do you burn something on purpose?  I’m talking char!  Real pyromania-type scorching! I don’t normally condone it, but for this green chile salsa, it’s absolutely essential.  This tomatillo green chile salsa is spicy, tangy and tongue tingling.   I love saying that word – Toe-ma-tee-yo! 

This post has been updated for content and photos since it’s original publication in 2015.

tomatillos, poblanos and jalapeños for the fire roasted salsa

This is a riff on a Rick Bayless recipe from his cookbook Mexican Everyday.  I can’t say enough about it.  Both the salsa and the cookbook. His classic fire roasted salsa recipe uses just 8 ingredients and coaxes the best flavors out of each one of them.

Tomatillo poblano salsa verde ingredients

  • Fresh Tomatillos
  • Poblano Peppers
  • Jalapeno Peppers
  • Garlic
  • Fresh Cilantro
  • White Onion
  • Kosher Salt
  • Lime Juice
fire roasting poblano peppers over a gas stovetop for the salsa.

There are several ways to char poblano peppers for this simple salsa. If you have a gas cooktop or grill, it’s as simple as placing the peppers directly over the flame. If you’re not cooking with gas, a hot oven will do the trick.

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How to fire roast poblano peppers for green chile salsa

Charring peppers on a gas cooktop or grill:

  1. Lay the poblanos directly on the grate over the  gas cooktop (no pan or protective layer) and watch the orange-blue flame dance over the skin, blister and pop!  There’s something savagely satisfying about this.  It takes a little time to thoroughly blacken the skin, but come on — it’s so caveman-esque.
  2. Use a pair of tongs to turn the peppers every few minutes. The key is getting the skin to really blacken and char, that’s how you know you’re doing it right.
  3. When the poblanos are fully blackened, transfer them to a bowl and cover tightly with a piece of plastic wrap. Set aside to cool while you move on to the tomatillos.

Charring poblanos in the oven:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°. Place the peppers on a baking sheet and roast for about 25-30 minutes until the outside skin is blackened and the flesh is tender.
  2. Transfer the charred poblanos to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap to cool.
cooking tomatillos, jalapeños and garlic on the stovetop.

Tomatillos are part of the nightshade family and they’re the secret star of salsa verdes the world over. (Learn more about tomatillos from Gordon Ramsay here) That papery skin that covers them (called a calyx) is easily removed, just peel it back and pull it from the stem. The tomatillos may feel a bit tacky to the touch, that’s normal. Give them a good rinse, then cut them in half crosswise to roast.

How to char tomatillos jalapeños and garlic for green chile salsa

  1. Lay a sheet of tin foil on a baking pan or skillet, (if you don’t, you’re going to be on a whole new level of intimacy with your brillo pad.)
  2. Place the tomatillos cut side down on the foil along with a halved jalapeño pepper and the garlic (skin on)until they start to blacken on that side, this can take 5-6 minutes.  
  3. Flip the tomatillos, garlic and jalapeños with a pair of tongs and continue to cook until they soften up and blister. -The tomatillos will take on some color, but the majority will still be imperviously stuck to the tin foil — instead of your pan, (your welcome).
charred vegetables in a foil lined pan gives the fire roasted salsa a smoky tone.

Signs the vegetables are done

  • You’ll know when the vegetables are done roasting when the tomatillos soften up and give up some of their liquid.
  • The jalapeños and garlic take on a nice char.

Note: if you don’t like things on the spicy side, you may want to remove the seeds and membranes from the jalapeños, but if you don’t mind the heat, leave them in.

steaming the charred poblano peppers and removing the blackened skin.

The reason we put the charred poblanos in a bowl covered in plastic wrap is to steam them slightly AND loosen their skins. As the peppers cool, the steam and heat will soften up the papery char so that you can remove it easily.

Prepping the poblanos

  1. When the peppers are cool enough to handle, pick it up with one hand and use the other to rub off the blackened layer. It may stick to your hands a bit, that’s normal. Don’t rinse the peppers under water to remove the char, that’s where the flavor is and you want every bit of it for your poblano salsa verde.
  2. Cut the tops off the peppers and slit them down one side to remove the seeds. Remove the stems and discard.
  3. Cut the poblanos into a rough chop.
transferring poblanos, tomatillos and the rest of the vegetables to the food processor.

The rest of this is super easy. I use my mini prep food processor for the job, but a regular food processor or a blender will do the trick too. (If you’re using a blender, don’t over puree it, it should have a little body.)

Blending tomatillo poblano salsa

  1. Combine the charred poblano peppers with the tomatillos, jalapeño and peeled garlic cloves.
  2. Pulse a few times to break down the vegetables.
  3. Add the fresh cilantro and lime juice and pulse several more times to combine.
adding fresh cilantro and lime juice to the charred salsa verde.

Finish the charred salsa verde with some finely minced white onion (not yellow) and salt to taste. Oh-Ma-Gawd! Green chile salsa is where it’s AT!

This kicky, fire roasted blend puts other salsas to shame. Scott loves this with all of his Mexican and Southwestern favorites, but it’s delicious on eggs, frittatas and even avocado toast with a fried egg and Canadian bacon. Seriously fab.

fire roasted salsa in a glass jar.

More easy homemade salsas you might like:

Use charred poblano salsa verde with:

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4.67 from 9 votes

Green Chile Salsa

Charring green poblano peppers, tomatillos, onion and garlic cloves adds a smoky flavor to this delicious green chile salsa verde. Perfect as a sauce or for dipping with tortilla chips.
Author: Lisa Lotts
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Mexican
Keyword homemade salsa, poblano peppers, tomatillos
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 10


  • 1 pound tomatillos
  • 1 poblano pepper
  • 1 jalapeño pepper
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • ½ cup cilantro
  • ¼ cup white onion finely diced
  • ½ – 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons lime juice


  • Peel and rinse the tomatillos. Cut them in half crosswise. Place a piece of tin foil on a baking sheet or inside a large skillet. Place the tomatillos cut side down on the foil. Set the pan over a medium high heat on the stove. Cook the tomatillos over medium heat until they soften and begin to take on a nice char – turning once or twice during the process, 7-8 minutes. Set aside.
  • If you have a gas cooktop or grill, turn the flame onto medium high heat and rest the jalapeño and poblano peppers over the flame until it blisters and blackens, using your tongs to turn and rotate several times until the entire pepper is blackened. (I rest the peppers directly on the iron grate over the flame, so the flames lap at the skin.)
  • If you don’t have a gas stovetop or grill, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place peppers on a baking sheet. Roast for 25-30 minutes until softened and slightly blackened.
  • After peppers are cooked place them in a glass bowl and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Set aside to cool. When peppers are cool enough to handle, slough off the charred skin with your fingers and discard (it should come away easily).
  • Cut off the stem of the peppers. With a knife, cut the peppers in half, lengthwise. Remove the seeds and discard. Cut the peppers into large chunks and place into a small mini-prep food processor. Add the tomatillos, garlic, fresh cilantro and lime juice.
  • Using the chop or pulse button on the mini-prep, process the mixture until it’s the consistency of a chunky salsa.
  • Stir in the white onion and kosher salt (to taste).
  • Serve with tortilla chips, burritos, tacos, grilled steaks, chicken, pork or fish.


Calories: 20kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Sodium: 1mg | Potassium: 156mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 165IU | Vitamin C: 17.7mg | Calcium: 6mg | Iron: 0.3mg

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  1. Just 1 Pablano? Oh dear! I have sooo many to use up and the Pablano is still producing. I need a recipe that will use these by the pound. 🙁

    1. Make a bigger batch and use a traditional canning method to keep them… Would make a great holiday gift.

  2. Susan Shortill says:

    Do you need to make any adjustments to can this recipe?

    1. I’ve never canned this recipe as it doesn’t make a huge batch. Let me know how it works if you do it.

  3. You can char the vegetables by broiling them in your oven right? Instead of putting them in the oven at 400?

    1. Yes, you can use the broiler, just keep a close eye on them.

  4. 5 stars
    Thank you! Made tonight. Didn’t have poblanos but used everything else. Super tasty!! Will get some next time.

  5. 5 stars
    This salsa verde looks phenomenal. I don’t have poblano at home, so I will have to sub with bell peppers, hopefully they’ll turn out amazing. 🙂

  6. 5 stars
    This is truly amazing! So flavorful and easy to make!

  7. Kelly Anthony says:

    5 stars
    My husband and I are huge Rick Bayless fans and love all his food. I am excited to try your take on his salsa.

  8. Patty at Spoonabilities says:

    5 stars
    This salsa looks amazing! I did not realize you could char the peppers directly over the gas stove like this. Thank you for this tip!

  9. Chris Collins says:

    5 stars
    Loving the step by step photos for this! The salsa verde looks beyond delish!!

  10. Marquita Sozio says:

    4 stars
    If at all possible, try to find Mexican limes. Use a couple. They are small and can be found in Mexican or Latino groceries. Persian limes are just awful for Mexican recipes. They are very dry and give very little juice. The flavor is no good either. Of course, if you cannot find Mexican or the small Key limes, then you will have to use the Awful Persians but I do NOT recommend them.
    Put the lime juice in AFTER you have prepared the salsa and it has cooled almost to room temperature but not cold. Mix it in well. You may need to adjust your salt.

    I have taught Mexican and Latino cooking classes for many years and have served as a professor of Hotel and Restaurant courses in New York. I also did a study program in Cuernavaca, More,or Mexico while in graduate school. While living in Mexico, I lived with families who operated RESTAURANTS in order to learn their cooks secrets. Love making this wonderful cuisine and hope you will also.

    1. I agree that persian limes can be dry and whenever possible, I use Key limes, because they are so juicy. These are great tips on when to add the lime juice! Thank you for sharing!

  11. 5 stars
    thank you for this, I’ve made a version of it before, but don’t remember all of the unique prep details, so glad to have it here!

    1. Happy to help, Sabrina! We love this salsa verde because it’s so straightforward — and it’s great on everything!