13 Best Tomatillo Substitutes for Mexican Recipes

You’ve undoubtedly heard of tomatillos if you’ve ever eaten Mexican or Central American food. These fruits, sometimes known as Husk Tomatoes, are abundant in vitamin C, vitamin K, dietary fibre, and niacin, among other nutrients.

Tomatillos may be cooked, sautéed, or roasted, much like regular tomatoes. Tomatillos are earthy, sweet, tart, and somewhat fruity. When they’re raw, they’re quite acidic. Cooked tomatillos have a more subtle taste.

Tomatillos, like their nutrients, are difficult to replicate owing to their unique flavor and texture. It is native to a location with full sun and high temperatures, but here are some options to try.

  1. Canned Tomatillos
  2. Mexican Style Salsa Verde
  3. Roasted Green Tomatoes
  4. Green Bell Peppers
  5. Green or Red Chilies
  6. Underripe Gooseberries
  7. Tomato Puree with Chili Powder
  8. Rhubarb
  9. Green Salsa

Mexico, its birthplace, continues to produce the most tomatillos in the world. When American farmers found the health advantages of this fruit in improving their diet and alleviating illness, they began to invest in planting tomatillos on their farms, particularly in the northern areas where it is chilly and difficult to locate.

But first, let me explain you to the Tomatillo and what distinguishes this little, green, spherical fruit from the nightshade family, which is sometimes mistaken with its similar family plant, Tomatoes.

12 Best Substitute For Tomatillo 

Despite their identical names, tomatillos are less sweet, more acidic, have less liquid, are denser, and have a more vegetal taste than tomatoes. It is the key component in the renowned Mexican green sauces, as well as other sauces, although red or purple tomatillos are excellent for jams and preserves since they have a little sweeter taste.

Farmers know it’s time to harvest when the fruit is completely green and fills up the husk.

Tomatillos will break the husk and become yellow or purple if allowed to mature for a longer period of time. They’re ready to eat when the husks break apart at the bottom.

The color of the fruit is a stunning bright green that fades little when cooked. The texture of tomatillos is somewhat dry and firm. They do, however, have a pleasant taste to them. Their taste is akin to that of a young cucumber and a green apple.

Tomatillos that are fully mature are somewhat yellowish in color, as compared to typical green tomatillos. They are more sweeter and tastier. Nonetheless, they are safe to consume in both green and ripe form. Tomatillos are often eaten uncooked. However, when cooked, they take on a more lemony and acidic taste.

Let’s learn more about these unusual ingredient substitutes and why they’re the perfect replacement for your Tomatillo recipes!

Canned Tomatillos 


The closest equivalent for tomatillos is the fruit itself, as obtained in canned form. However, since canned tomatillos are usually precooked, you must be cautious not to overcook them.

They may lack the freshness necessary in certain recipes, but they are an excellent substitute for making salsa verde or other sauces.

Canned tomatillos perform well in sauces and salsas, but lack the vivid green color of fresh tomatillos. They are sweeter than fresh tomatillos, but the results are typically the same whether you use the fresh product.

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Because the fruits have previously been treated, they are softer and more yielding in texture.

Many Hispanic grocery shops offer chopped and precooked tomatillos in cans. Keep in mind that some canned tomatillos lose their vivid green color, so keep this in mind before buying.

Otherwise, they’re wonderful as a flavor enhancer in your dishes. Both crushed and diced tomatillos are accessible in Hispanic grocery shops.

New Mexico Style Salsa Verde

Another alternative for Tomatillos is real New Mexican salsa verde. New Mexican food is delicious, however it differs from that found south of the border.

It’s just another kind of regional Mexican food. In New Mexican food, tomatillos are almost often replaced for tomatoes, or tomatillos are eliminated completely.

The chilies grab the spotlight. A New Mexico salsa verde is made with roasted green chiles, diced tomatoes, chopped onions, and salt.

The tomato is commonly left out of green chili sauce (for enchiladas, for example). If you have a batch of salsa verde in the fridge that you haven’t used in a while, try using it in place of tomatillos in a number of meals.

The zingy and acidic taste of New Mexico salsa verde makes it an ideal flavoring element for fish and pork.

It may virtually replicate Italian traditional meals when made with ingredients such as white and green onions, cilantro, cheese, roasted green chilies, and a fresh squeeze of lemon juice.

Many Mexican cuisine, such as tacos and tortillas, may benefit from the acidic and spicy taste, which increases the tanginess and zesty flavor of the food.

Green Bell Peppers


Green bell peppers may also be used in place of tomatillos. Green bell peppers have a zesty, acidic, and somewhat spicy taste when cooked raw.

It has a gorgeous yellow-green colour and a unique taste profile that may simulate tomatillos in a variety of sauces and soups. When you bite into this mild pepper, it has a crisp, solid feel that reminds you of tomatillos. The sourness of green pepper is substantially decreased when cooked.

If the recipe calls for raw preparation, use green bell paper for the best results. Increase the acidity and sourness to accentuate the citrusy flavor of the tomatillo in your salsa verde to make it taste like fresh tomatillo.

Achieving the tomatillos unique taste is very simple by adding the appropriate quantity of lime juice or tamarind paste, particularly when cooking with spicy peppers.

Roasted Green Tomatoes

Tomatillos have a taste that is comparable to that of a sour green tomato. To replicate the taste of tomatillos, add some vinegar or a dash of lime juice when replacing green tomatoes.

Given that tomatoes and tomatillos are related, green tomatoes are an ideal alternative for tomatillos. Green tomatoes are unripe tomatoes with bright green flesh that may be included in your salsa verse recipe.

There are many similarities between the taste and texture of green tomato and tomatillo. Green tomatoes have a mild sour taste, similar to tomatillos.

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These underripe tomatoes, on the other hand, are crunchy and thick to the biting, with a texture similar to tomatillos.

Green or Red Chillies


New Mexico’s salsa verde is made mostly of green chilies rather than tomatillos or green tomatoes.

Tomatillos are commonly overlooked in New Mexican cuisine. There are choices for chopped tomatoes, onions, salt, and roasted green chiles. While the end product will be somewhat different from tomatillos, you may find a new favorite.

If you want your salsa verde to be a little sourder than the one prepared with tomatillos, throw in some fresh lime juice.

Green chiles have a delicious and spicy taste with a crisp and firm texture when eaten uncooked. When working on each style, you’ll have a number of choices to influence the result of your chili Verde.

Chilies of several varieties may be used in place of tomatillos. If you run out of green chilies, use red chilies.

The hue of red chiles is its disadvantage when used as a replacement. They may also be substituted with purple tomatillos. Red chilies have a slight tart taste and are much hotter than green chilies. To simulate the flavor of tomatillos, combine the red chilies with the sourness of a tablespoon of fresh cilantro.

Underripe Gooseberries

If you’re looking for a fresh alternative to green tomatillos, gooseberries are a terrific choice. It is utilized as a replacement due to its comparable sourness to the original. Serve them underripe so they will complement your cuisine!

Gooseberries come in a range of hues and sizes, and their taste is similar to that of tomatillos. Gooseberries, with their fresh and unique sour taste, offer a bright and pleasant touch with a grape undertone to many green tomatillo-based recipes.

Gooseberries, like any tropical fruit, have a delicate sweetness with a unique flavor similar to lemon.

They have a pulpy, soft, and juicy texture opposed than being hard and thick like tomatillos. To get the most out of each flavor, cook these berries with roasted green peppers.

The sourness of fresh gooseberries offsets the heat of the green peppers, creating a taste that is very similar to tomatillos.

Tomato Puree With Chili Powder 


These two components are often used and may always be found in your kitchen. If you need tomatillos quickly, combine the tomato puree and chile powder to make a sauce for your one-pot rice recipe.

If you don’t have gooseberries or bell peppers on hand, the tanginess of the tomato puree and the heat of the chili powder may help you rescue the dish. It’s delicious with guacamole and chips.

It may also be served in a tortilla or eaten on its own. Remember that a little creativity and resourcefulness may help you save a meal.


Rhubarb is a perennial vegetable that either people love or despise. It is endemic to northern states such as Illinois, Washington, and Maine since it needs frigid temperatures to grow.

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Rhubarb has an earthy-crunchy flavor with a sweet and savory tang when eaten fresh. Depending on the kind, it also has a bitter kick and an acidic fragrance. Its lemony, acidic, and tangy qualities make it an excellent substitute when coupled with green bell peppers.

You should cook them for shorter periods of time since they are best served with a soft texture and rich taste. The most efficient technique to obtain a comparable taste profile is to pickle it.

If you’ve already created pickled rhubarb salsa, you may utilize the pickling juice to experiment with other tastes.

Add ingredients like coriander seeds, jalapeño, and lime to give the sauce a Mexican salsa taste. It won’t taste like tomatillos, but it’ll have the same acidity and crunch!

Canned Tomatoes 


If all you have in your cupboard is a couple of cans of chopped tomatoes, you can convert them into something new. For one thing, they may be used in lieu of tomatillos. They may, however, differ depending on their texture and thickness.

Work them thoroughly with a potato masher until no clumps remain. Canned tomatoes are available in a range of varieties at supermarkets and retailers.

Choose less processed ones so you can combine them smoothly and create a comparable taste profile by adding green peppers and lime juice.

Cherry Tomatoes With Lime Juice 

Cherry tomatoes have a somewhat sweeter and softer crunch sensation, comparable to tomatillos in texture. If you don’t have any green tomatoes on hand, you can simply use cherry tomatoes of the same green hue to easily duplicate the lovely color that the tomatillo gives.

Its strong flavor may lack the authenticity of tomatillos, thus a sprinkling of fresh lime or cilantro to the meal may improve its zesty flavor and approximate the taste of tomatillos. Cherry tomatoes are available all year at your local grocer.

Grape Tomatoes


Grape tomatoes are sometimes mistaken with cherry tomatoes, however they vary greatly in taste and form.

Grape tomatoes are easy to grow in your yard and are distinguished by their small oblong shape, which resembles grapes but has thicker skins and is around half the size of cherry tomatoes.

They are simple to get at your local grocery store and make an excellent replacement for tomatillos due to their more intense taste than any other kind of tomato.

They have a meatier, less watery bite and are less sweet. Add a fresh squeeze of lemon to mimic the acidic taste of tomatillos, and you’ll have a wonderful recipe saver.


If you can’t locate a replacement for your tomatillo recipes, this is your final resort. Cucumbers are nearly typically eaten raw in most salads, although they are far more flexible.

They are delicious because they have a gently sweet watery flavour with a fantastic crunch. Cucumbers and tomatillos are similar in that they both have an earthy flavor.


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What is a good substitute for tomatillos?

Buy underripe tomatoes and add a squeeze of lime juice for a tomatillo alternative. Tomatillos are often used in Mexican cuisine such as salsas, tacos, soups, and enchiladas. This substitution might work nicely in Slow Cooker Chicken Verde, Ceviche Verde, White Chili with Avocado Cream, or Baja Fish Tacos.

Can green tomatoes substitute for tomatillos?

Green tomatoes may be used in lieu of tomatillos in a number of dishes, including breads, soups, and sauces. Green tomato salsa is made with 3 cups of green tomatoes, onions, garlic, cilantro, peppers, and lots of freshly squeezed lime juice.

Can you substitute green tomatoes for tomatillos in salsa verde?

Tomatillos are replaced with unripe green tomatoes to create a vibrant, zesty salsa with a dash of spice.

What can I use instead of salsa verde?

Hot Chipotle Sauce

What exactly is this? This tasty spicy sauce is a good alternative for salsa verde. Although the taste profile is distinct, this chipotle hot sauce may be used as a dipping sauce.

What pepper is closest to tomatillo?

Green bell peppers: comparable in sweetness and crispness to tomatillos.

Are tomatillos inflammatory?

Tomatillo has antibacterial properties that may kill Streptococcus bacteria, as well as anti-inflammatory properties that assist relieve throat discomfort. Tomatillos are high in Vitamin A, a substance that is vital for eye health.

What are Mexican green tomatoes called?

Tomatillos, also known as husk tomatoes, resemble unripe green tomatoes with a dry, leafy husk that wraps around the exterior. The hue of the fruit is a stunning brilliant green that fades little when cooked—but some of us simply peak early, right?

Which is hotter red or green tomatillo sauce?

Red salsas are often served somewhat cooled, whilst green salsas may be either chilled or heated. Is there another broad rule? Red salsa is spicier than green salsa.

What are Mexican tomatoes called?

Tomatillos, also known as husk tomatoes, are a popular ingredient in Mexican cooking. The tiny, spherical, green fruit is a member of the nightshade family and is derived from the same-named plant. Tomatillos resemble unripe, green tomatoes, except that they are coated in a dry, papery, corn-like husk.

Why do you need two tomatillos?

Planting at least two tomatillo plants is required for cross-pollination. The golden flowers of your tomatillo plants will attract bees and other pollinators.

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