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Green Sauce

Mexican Green Sauce

Lisa Kamolnick
A classic, Mexican green sauce featuring tomatillos and serranos, but flexible enough to use in other cuisines, like Thai.
Course N/A
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 5 cups


  • 4 ½ cups chicken stock
  • 8 tomatillos (adjust upward if small)
  • 18 Serrano peppers (adjust to taste)
  • 1 small bunch of cilantro can substitute with 1 tsp dried cilantro
  • 2 garlic cloves (adjust up ito four if smaller) can substitute with 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 small yellow onion or white onion
  • 1 tsp coarse sea salt
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 ½ tsp Complete Seasoning Badia brand Complete Seasoning has MSG. If you cannot tolerate it or locate the seasoning for purchase, substitute with 1/4 tsp sweet basil, 1/4 tsp garlic powder, 1/4 tsp onion, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/4 pepper, 1/2 tsp lemon juice.


  • CAUTION: Handle peppers carefully. Use of gloves is recommended. Full disclosure: I don’t use gloves. I tried it once and hated the feel. I wash my hands diligently with soap after each contact. So far, I’ve either been terribly lucky or I’m naturally vigilant about keeping my hands from my eyes. That said, it would be terribly painful to get that stuff in your eyes or on other tender parts. Whatever you do, please be careful!
  • Remove husks from tomatillos. Rinse tomatillos and Serrano peppers. Place them in a pot and cover with water. Bring to boil, then reduce to a low boil, stirring occasionally. Peppers will soften slightly and tomatillos will become dull and possibly split open. When this point is reached, remove from heat, drain in colander, and set aside to cool.
  • While tomatillos and peppers are cooking and/or cooling, chop cilantro, onion, and garlic cloves. Once the peppers and tomatillos are warm to the touch, trim pepper stems and cut peppers lengthwise to aid in grinding/blending.
  • If using a blender, gradually place all ingredients except chicken stock together in blender and gradually blend. Add up to one cup of stock if needed to aid in blending.
  • If using a molcajete, work from dry to wet. Grind dry spices and herbs. Next mash and grind cilantro, garlic and onion. Scrape this mixture into a medium mixing bowl. Mash and grind peppers then tomatillos a few at a time and as it fills scrape into the mixing bowl with the onion and garlic mixture.
  • A few visual aides for preparation.
    Mexican Green Sauce
  • Add the mixture to a stock pot along with 4 to 5 cups chicken stock (adjust down if you used some in the blender). This should cover the mixture completely and leave extra liquid to boil down. I recommend starting with 4 cups stock and adding more as needed.
  • Bring sauce to a boil, then maintain a low boil, stirring occasionally. Do not cover the pot. The sauce will cook down and thicken slightly. The cook time is about 30 minutes, but the sauce can stay on simmer for about 3 hours so long as it is occasionally stirred and covered to avoid too much liquid evaporation.


Serving Suggestions
Serve over shredded chicken with Mexican rice and beans or make enchiladas. Use sauce on eggs, beans, tacos, tostadas, burritos, and taco salads. Use in chili, Thai curries, or as an all-around condiment. (The thought of putting it on a hot dog came to mind as I wrote this. Chili dog with green sauce? It might just work! Test my husband’s theory of everything and let me know what you think.)
  • You can use more tomatillos and fewer peppers or use a milder pepper if you cannot tolerate spicy foods. I’ve substituted jalapeños and it makes a nice sauce. If you want it hotter, change the ratio of tomatillos and peppers or use a hotter pepper: you may need to reduce the amount of chicken stock or cook down longer. If you try this recipe with a milder—or hotter—pepper, please let me know how it turns out! If you are vegetarian, try a plant based stock with a little oil added in.
  • Be sure to run your range vent while boiling the peppers, as the pepper will permeate your kitchen. (I boil habanero’s exclusively outside for this reason. Even a range vent on high can’t stop that heat from invading your space.)
  • Apply pressure carefully when you start mashing tomatillos to avoid an explosive burst.
  • If the mixture is too chunky for your taste, you can use a handheld blender before or after cooking the sauce.
  • Store in an airtight container. Refrigerate for up to 10 days. Freezes well, up to three months.
Keyword green sauce, sauce