Better than Chipotle's Fire-Roasted Tomatillo Salsa

Fire-Roasted Tomatillo Salsa

Better than Chipotle’s? Oh, yeah! But if you love Mexican food like our family does, you know that’s not much of a claim. 🙂 Yep, I said it out loud. Here’s a fantastic salsa, a blend of bright, tart tomatillos, jalapeno for a bit of bite & onion for depth, plus my Salsa secrets!

Better than Chipotle's Fire-Roasted Tomatillo Salsa
Better than Chipotle’s Fire-Roasted Tomatillo Salsa

This salsa came along by way of a happy accident. See, I wanted to make a traditional tomatillo salsa with chicken broth. Turns out it was far runnier than I wanted, even when simmered as directed.

Since I wanted my tomatillos, which I’d roasted with such care, to keep their freshness, I gave the whole mixture a strain, poured the juices back in the pan and turned it on to reduce.

Better than Chipotle's Fire-Roasted Tomatillo Salsa, fire roasted salsa
A trio of salsas. Fire Roasted in front, Classic tomatilla & Better than Chipotle’s Tomatilla

The aroma from that pan will knock your socks off when you make this! Not because it’s hot, because it isn’t, but because the smell is so ridiculously wonderful. It makes my mouth water and my stomach clench just a bit. Reduce until the juices are almost a syrup, turn it off and add the tomatillo mixture back in. The flavor is amazing, the tomatillos still retain their texture, color and taste, but they’re enveloped in an explosion of flavor.

Salsas are a personal thing. I like to make a lot of mine with a pinch of sugar, a sprinkle of salt, a few dashes of vinegar and maybe a little lime to finish it off.

I also usually roast a number of jalapenos and add in by taste, the rest destined for the freezer where they eagerly await their turn to be added to the next batch of salsa. Jalapenos all vary in heat, and I keep the seeds and veins in, so I’d say for a mild salsa, use one jalapeno per pound of tomatillos, two for a medium and so on. Of course, my hot may not be your hot!

Roasted Jalapenos
Jalapenos and other roasted peppers freeze beautifully – ready in an instant for salsa.

I generally use 4 jalapenos in this, but I’m keeping in mind others who are eating! Personally, I could go hotter…Much hotter! 🙂 I think once people start to eat hot food, they want more and more of it!

Maybe someday I’ll do a Chipotle’s copycat of their Tomatillo, Tomato and Red Onion Salsa, but why, when this is so good? If you’d like to see my copycat Chipotle’s Chicken Burrito, it’s on my post Taste’s Like Chicken, Chipotle’s Chicken, and if you’re interested in the Fire Roasted Red Salsa in the photo, above, it’s delish, too.

The third Tomatillo Salsa in the photo, upper right, is a special one, Salsa de Tomatillo. I goofed it up a bit since I used oven roasted Tomatillos (what can I say, I was in a salsa frenzy and had already roasted them all when I tried the recipe) but it was still outstanding. You’ll find that recipe on one of my favorite blogs, El Chino Latino Cocina.

Better than Chipotle's Fire-Roasted Tomatillo Salsa
Better than Chipotle’s Fire-Roasted Tomatillo Salsa

Fire Roasted Tomatilla Salsa

  • Servings: 3 cups
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

  • 2 pounds Tomatillos, husks removed
  • 2 to 8 jalapenos
  • 2 large onions, skin on, halved
  • 2 to 3 cloves garlic, skins on, optional
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar, to taste, optional
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, to taste, optional
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar, to taste
  • lime juice, optional, to taste

Place tomatoes, jalapenos, onion and garlic on a lipped tray lined with aluminum foil. Arrange with the larger items on the edges and the smaller items lined down the center. Onion should be cut side down.

Place under broiler on high, and place tray five inches or so below, generally the second shelf down. Broil 10 to 15 minutes until vegetables are slightly charred, turn and broil on second side. Check these often. Cool until easy to handle.

Remove stems from tomatillos and peppers and the seeds from the peppers if desired, working over a bowl to catch the juices. Remove skin and stem from onion and paper from garlic, if using.

Add all vegetables to food processor, reserving any juices. Process to desired chunkiness, generally three or four short pulses. Remove to a strainer over a bowl to catch the juices, and set aside the Tomatilla mixture.

Place the juices and chicken stock in a pan, heat over medium high heat and reduce until there is about 1/2 inch of syrupy reduction in the bottom of the pan. Watch carefully toward the end, this goes quickly, several minutes at most.

Add the tomatillo mixture to the pan along with any additional juice, stir to mix. Add vinegar, salt and sugar. Add lime if desired. Taste and adjust seasonings.


  • If you broil extra jalapenos, you can taste for the level of heat – just add more if you want more and freeze the rest for later.
  • This is not a recipe that has been checked for the proper acidity to safely can in a boiling water bath.
  • If you like cilantro, add it in when the vegetables are pulsed.

from the kitchen of

Let’s talk about how to save money/time on this recipe:

  • Read below for additional tips as well as throughout the recipe, for saving time and managing food.
  • Follow my 12 Strategies – You’ll see them on the upper drop down menu of every page and how I apply them, below.
  • Don’t get discouraged if your prices don’t match mine! Keep shopping at the best prices and your fridge/freezer and pantry will be stocked with sales priced ingredients.
  • Use a coupon matching site! One of my favorites in my area is Pocket Your Dollars, but every store has a group of enthusiastic Coupon Matchers. Do not discount the savings! I check their site every week, even if I don’t “need” to go to the store and often find bargains I can’t pass up.

Strategies Applied:

I have to apologize as I have no pricing on the Tomatillos and Jalapenos. I’ve been picking them up at Aldi, where they’re dirt cheap, but can’t find the receipt.

Other than that, limes are at their lowest, usually from January until late March, Onions can often be found for a song. I look for them at about 33 cents a pound and stock up. I go through so many! Vinegar is always on sale around Easter, often with coupons, even for the better Vinegars, so stock up for the year.

27 thoughts on “Fire-Roasted Tomatillo Salsa”

  1. not seeing any mice in this one either? sadly we cannot get tomatillos here, I have substituted green tomatoes although never having had a tomatillo I have no idea if that is a fair substitute but the results are always ok!

    1. 🙂 And thank you for all the compliments! I have several salsa recipes on here; check under favorite recipes at the top of the page, scroll down to condiments! I’d love to hear how you like them if you try one!

  2. I’ve always found tomatillos and the products made with them a big disappointment. Your salsa sounds delicious but I’d have to give making it a pass.

    1. I’m with you 100%! I have found many of the dishes with tomatillos that have popped up around the last 15 years or so to be a big hiss boo! While despise might be a harsh word, I have tried many and heartily dislike a lot of them! This salsa is quite a bit different, though – if you were at my house, I’d coax you to try “just one bite!” ha ha!

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