7 Substitutes For Tomatillos In Cooking
World Food

7 Substitutes For Tomatillos In Cooking

Tomatillos are small, juicy fruits with a mild green acidic flavor. They are popular as a topping for Mexican foods, such as tacos, enchiladas, and salsa. They are also used in salsa verde, a green sauce made with tomatillos, onion, cilantro, and jalapenos. There are a number of ways that tomatillos are used in food, such as as a topping in salsa verde or in chilis, and as an ingredient in cooked dishes. The recipes below are some of the ways that tomatillos are used in cooking.

Tomatillos are becoming more and more popular in the U.S. as a fresh alternative to sweet, fresh tomatoes. Tomatillos have a very different flavor from tomatoes, and they are also a good source of vitamins A and C. The traditional way of preparing tomatillos is by roasting them. But if you want to eat them whole, it is better to substitute them for fresh tomatoes or tomato sauce.

Tomatillos make for a great substitute in a variety of dishes. They pair well with a variety of flavors, and are simple to use in Mexican and Mexican-inspired dishes. Today we are going to look at how to substitute tomatillos in recipes.

7 Substitutes For Tomatillos In Cooking

Tomatillos are a tiny green fruit that belongs to the tomato family. They have a vegetal flavor that is sweet and sour at the same time. Tomatillo has vibrant citrus-like aromas and a dry, thick texture in the tongue.

If you don’t have any tomatillos on hand, you may either omit them or substitute something else. We’ve hand-picked a variety of tomatillo alternatives to suit every need. Continue reading to discover the perfect one for your recipe.

How can I cook with tomatillos that aren’t fresh?

Use unripe green tomatoes, canned tomatillos, or green bell peppers as a tomatillo alternative. These components won’t be a perfect fit, but they won’t be out of place in most dishes either.   

1. Green tomatoes that aren’t fully ripe

Unripe tomatoes are harder, crunchier, and less juicy than ripe tomatoes. As a result, they’re an excellent tomatillo substitute. A dash of lime juice will give a sour note to your meal, which is perfect for Mexican cuisine.

The tomato and lime combo pairs well with enchiladas, salsa, tacos, migas, and chilaquiles. Don’t forget the cotija crumbles!

Tomatoes, even when underripe, have a bit more sweetness than tomatillos. In most recipes, this isn’t a deal-breaker.

Although any tomato type may be used, it’s a good idea to taste them beforehand. If you have the option, choose a green tomato with a lot of acidity.  

2. Tomatillos in a can

Canned or jarred tomatillos may be used in lieu of fresh tomatillos in certain recipes. You won’t get the same crisp texture and fresh taste since they’re pre-cooked. This won’t be an issue with foods like salsa verde, because the components are mixed together.

Canned tomatillos work well in soups, chili beans, and stews when the components are simmered until mushy. You may add them at the end of the recipe since they are already cooked.

Tomatillos may be found in the Hispanic department of any well-stocked grocery shop, or they can be purchased online from a number of vendors. In most culinary applications, crushed or diced will suffice.

3. Bell peppers, green

Green bell peppers are a great way to add some bright green color to your meal (aka capsicum). Soups and salads are good options, or dice them finely and serve as a nacho topping. They’re great sprinkled on tortillas.

Green pepper has a texture comparable to that of a tomatillo, but it has a considerably milder flavor. To balance the meal, add a squeeze of lemon juice or a tiny quantity of tamarind paste.

What if you don’t have any bell peppers? For your next dish, try one of these capsicum substitutes.  


Cherry tomatoes, no. 4

Use cherry tomatoes if you don’t mind a little more sweetness and a softer texture. They’re available at most supermarkets all year.

Because cherry tomatoes have a strong taste and are juicy, they aren’t a good substitute for tomatillos. You may still use them in most recipes as a replacement, but you won’t get the same genuine taste.

Gooseberries, no. 5

Gooseberries are tiny, green fruits that resemble tomatillos in appearance. These berries are tart and zesty, making them ideal for adding acidity to any meal.

If they’re in season, check your grocer or local farmer’s markets, but they’re not always easy to come by. These fruits may be delivered to your home by certain specialized online greengrocers.  

6. Chilis

If you’re in a hurry, a mild green chile may be utilized as a stand-in. Make sure it’s not a spicy hot kind, otherwise the dish’s balance will be thrown off.

If you want to make genuine Mexican salsa, skip the tomatillos and go for red chilis instead. They’ll give your next salsa or dip a somewhat sweet, smokey flavor. If you just have one hot type, be careful to remove every seed to decrease the heat.  

7. Salsa Verde Green

You’re in a rush and don’t have time to prepare the ingredients? Purchasing a jar of green salsa verde is a fast and simple option. This product is often produced using tomatillos, giving you a comparable component to use in Mexican cooking.

1626769373_749_7-Substitutes-For-Tomatillos-In-CookingThe tomatillo is an important component in salsa verde.

Further reading: What are the best warming techniques for tamales? What is the difference between a taco and a burrito? What can I substitute for epazote?

Questions that are often asked

Can I use canned tomatillos for fresh tomatillos?

In many recipes, canned and fresh tomatillos may be used interchangeably, but the tinned ones will have a softer texture. If you don’t drain the canned tomatillos, your dish will be watery.  

Where can I get tomatillos in a can?

Tinned tomatillos may typically be found in the supermarket’s canned vegetable department, depending on where you reside. Otherwise, if your shop has one, look for a Latino aisle. If tomatillos are in season, they’ll be in the fruit and vegetable department.

Is it possible to use green tomatoes for tomatillos?

In most Mexican dishes, green tomatoes may be used in place of tomatillos. They have a similar color and hard texture like tomatoes, although tomatoes are generally sweeter. 

1626769374_874_7-Substitutes-For-Tomatillos-In-CookingThe husk of a tomatillos is inedible.

Tomatillos: Quick Facts

  • Physalis philadelphica is their scientific name, and they belong to the Solanaceae (nightshade) family, which includes potatoes, peppers, and tomatoes.
  • Mexican husk tomatoes and Mexican ground cherries are two more names for tomatillos.
  • The Aztecs were the first to cultivate them in Mexico.
  • Tomatillos are tiny fruits that come in a variety of hues, including green, red, purple, and yellow.
  • Tomatillos have a papery, inedible husk around them, similar to a Cape Gooseberry.

Last but not least,

If they’re out of season or your local shop doesn’t carry them, tomatillos may be difficult to come by. Unripe green tomatoes, canned tomatillos, or green bell peppers are good alternatives if you want something different. While they each have their own distinct qualities, you’ll be relieved to learn that they may all be used interchangeably.

You may purchase salsa verde already prepared and squeeze it over or into your meal for a fast fix. Keep in mind that this sauce will include other ingredients such as parsley or basil, resulting in a distinct taste profile.

Frequently Asked Questions

What can you replace tomatillos with?

Tomatillos are a type of green tomato. They can be replaced with green tomatoes, but they will not have the same flavor.

Can green tomatoes substitute for tomatillos?

No, green tomatoes are not a substitute for tomatillos.

Can I use salsa verde instead of tomatillos?

Yes, you can use salsa verde instead of tomatillos.

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