How to Cook Tomatillos for Chili Verde

by Ramona French

Tomatillos, also called husk tomatoes, are related to the cape gooseberry and, more distantly, the more familiar tomato. Buy unblemished, firm fruit that is still covered with the papery husk. To use them, remove the husk and rinse off the sometimes sticky surface of the tomatillo. After drying them, prepare tomatillos by boiling, roasting, frying or broiling them. Tart but not spicy, they add a tangy taste to salsas and to the classic dish, chile verde. Chile verde is a green pork stew with a tangy sauce of tomatillos and chilies.

Broiled Tomatillos

Place the top rack in your oven 4 inches below the broiler. Heat your broiler on high.

Lay the tomatillos on a baking sheet, and place the sheet under the broiler. Broil the tomatillos until they blister, blacken and soften, which takes three to five minutes.

Turn the tomatillos over and broil the other side. Remove them from the broiler and allow them to cool.

Boiled Tomatillos

Bring a medium saucepan half full of water to a boil.

Add 1 tsp. of salt and the tomatillos to the boiling water. Reduce the heat and simmer for two to four minutes until the tomatillos soften and lose their bright color.

Remove the tomatillos from the simmering water, and allow them to cool before using them in your recipes.

Fried Tomatillos

Cut the tomatillos into quarters.

Heat a frying pan over medium-high heat, and add 2 tbsp. oil to the pan.

Add the quartered tomatillos and saute them, stirring frequently, until they soften and lose their bright color.

Roasted Tomatillos

Preheat your oven to 475 degrees Fahrenheit. Position the top rack in the top third of the oven.

Place the tomatillos on a baking sheet. Drizzle them with olive oil, and mix them with your hands until all the tomatillos are coated with oil.

Sprinkle the tomatillos generously with salt.

Roast the tomatillos for 10 minutes, until they are soft and browned.


  • Store tomatillos in the refrigerator in their husks.

    To freeze tomatillos, remove the husks and rinse them. Wipe them dry and freeze them in freezer bags. They will be soft when thawed and can be added to any recipe, although precooking them intensifies the flavor.


  • "Salsas and Tacos: Santa Fe School of Cooking "; Susan D. Curtis; 2006
  • "Rick Bayless's Mexican Kitchen"; Rick Bayless; 1996
  • "The Essential Cuisines of Mexico"; Diana Kennedy; 2009

Photo Credits

  • egiadone/iStock/Getty Images

About the Author

Ramona French owned a massage school and taught massage for 28 years. In that time she wrote textbooks on Swedish, acupressure, deep tissue and lymph drainage massage. She is the author of "Introduction to Lymph Drainage Massage" and "Milady's Guide to Lymph Drainage Massage." Her book, "The Complete Guide to Lymph Drainage Massage," published by Milady, was released in October 2011.