8 Best Tomatillos Substitutes With Images

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What Is A Tomatillo?

Tomatillo is also known as Mexican groundcherry, large-flowered tomatillo, husk tomato, or Mexican husk tomato. Other names of tomatillo are Mexican green tomato and miltomate. It is a small cylindrical, green or green-purple fruit. It is a plant of the nightshade family. They belong to the same family as tomatoes.

Tomatillos have a thick or dense texture, which are excellent for many sauces and recipes.

If you are unable to find tomatillos for your dishes, there are a lot of substitute for tomatillos available in the market today. Check out the best substitutes for tomatillos below.

Tomatillos Substitute

Green Tomatoes

Green Tomatoes

Green tomatoes are an excellent choice to serve as a substitute for tomatillos. Green tomatoes which are unripe tomatoes, give you the same results when you use them in your cooking process. Make sure to buy underripe tomatoes because they have a mild sour taste, it is not exactly the same level as tomatillos.

Tomatillos and green tomatoes have a similar texture, but there is a slight difference in taste. However, green tomato is a good alternative for roasted and grilled dishes.

If you want to achieve the same flavor of green tomatillos, you have the option to enhance the acidity of of these unripe tomatoes by adding a tablespoon of freshly squeezed lime juice or lemon juice. This will imitate the flavor of tomatillos in salsa, green sauce, and soups.

Canned tomatillos

Canned tomatillos

Canned tomatillos are also a great tomatillo substitute for salsa verde. Canned tomatillos are the perfect substitute for fresh tomatillos.

The canned ones are pre cooked tomatillo, be careful not to overcook them. There are two variants of canned tomatillos, the diced tomatillos and the crushed tomatillos. Both tomatillos can be used to enhance the flavor of your recipes. Just like the fresh ones, canned tomatillos are great for making sauces or salsa. Keep in mind that a few canned versions of tomatillos lose the bright green color of fresh tomatillos, so make sure to check the contents before purchasing.

Canned tomatillos are a little sweeter than fresh ones, but you can still acquire similar outcomes.

These canned tomatillos substitute are usually available in the Hispanic food section of a grocery shop.

Green peppers

Green Peppers

Another great substitute for tomatillos is Green pepper. Green peppers have almost the same taste, but they give minimal sweetness than the fresh tomatillos.

Green bell peppers are often used in garden salads, and on pizzas. Generally, green peppers are unripe fruits. They have a sour and mild spicy flavor when consumed raw. Green peppers have a crunchy and firm texture.

Green bell peppers give you the exact color to your dishes, it’s as if you’ve used tomatillos. To get the same flavor as tomatillos, you can add lime juice to mimic the taste of tomatillos in salsa verde.



One of the best choices for a fresh substitute for tomatillos is Gooseberry. Gooseberries are a good source of vitamin C.

Gooseberries are the same size as red cherry tomatoes. There are several varieties of gooseberries available in the market today. They can be green, red, and golden in color. If you are looking for a tomatillo substitute, you should buy the green gooseberries.

Gooseberries can be eaten raw or cooked as an ingredient. When picked early, they have a sour flavor which is similar to the taste of the tomatillos. They can be used in many recipes.

Gooseberries have a sour and sharp taste.

The sourness of gooseberries give a distinctive taste, and if you mixed them with roasted green peppers, you will get the same tomatillo taste.

Green Chilies

Green Chilies

Green chilies are also good substitute for tomatillos, especially if you are planning to make Mexican salsa verde.

There are several varieties of green chiles available in the market. The most common green chiles are Big Jim, Mosco, Sandia, Hatch Mild and Barker. Choose chile that suits your taste. If you use Hatch Mild as a base for salsa verde, it provides a fruity and mild spicy flavor.

Green chilies usually have a hot taste with firm and crunchy texture.

Salsa Verde

Salsa Verde

Another substitute for tomatillos is salsa verde.

You can use salsa verde as an alternative to tomatillos for several dishes. Green salsa is milder and it is more suitable as a substitution for tomatillos.

Salsa verde has an acidic flavor. It goes well with lemon juice, fresh cilantro, cheddar cheese, white onion, and roasted green chiles. Add salsa to your tortillas, tacos or any delicious meal.

Cherry tomatoes

Cherry tomatoes

Cherry tomatoes and tomatillos have the same shape. They have a juicy and sweet flavor.

Cherry tomatoes can also be used in many recipes as a replacement for tomatillos.

It is better to use the green cherry tomatoes to get the same texture. They are slightly crunchy, just like the tomatillo.

They do not have the same sourness, however you can add lime juice to mimic the acidity and aroma of the tomatillos. Use cherry tomatoes in various recipes that need tomatillo.

Red Chilies

Red chilies

Another replacement for tomatillos is Red chile.

You can use red chiles if you don’t have green chiles in your kitchen. However, the color is a disadvantage. This is a good replacement for purple tomatillos, and great in making chili salsa.

Red chilies have a smoky taste. It is best to combine them with other ingredients to create a savory meal.

Uses Of Tomatillos

Tomatillos originated in Mexico. They are considered as an essential ingredient in Mexican cuisine. They are eaten raw, and cooked in many Mexican dishes, such as the spicy salsa verde.

The green color are the major culinary contributions of the fruit. It has a tart flavor and acidic taste.

Most purple and red-ripening cultivars have a slight sweet flavor compared to the green and yellow ripening cultivars. Generally speaking, the purple and red are used in preserves and jams.

Tomatillos are harvested at different stages. They are harvested early for salsa verde. The fruit in this stage is usually sour and has a light flavor. Tomatillos are collected later for jams. In this stage, the fruit has a sweeter taste. It can also be used as a substitute for tomato.

Tomatillos have various sizes and colors, such as green, yellow and purple tomatillos. The most in demand tomatillos are the green color variant. The green version is preferably used for making Mexican salsa verde.

Tomatillos can also be used in many recipes, such as soups, curries, salad, stews, baking, stirfries, cooking with meats, and desserts.

To enhance the sweetness of tomatillos, they are dried in a way similar to dried cranberries, with a slight tomato flavor.

How To Store Tomatillos

If you will be eating tomatillos or if you’re going to use them immediately, you can store tomatillos on the kitchen countertop for up to 2 days. Put your tomatillos in a basket or paper bag with their husks still on.

For ripe tomatillos, it is best to put them in a paper bag and store them in your fridge. Putting them in paper bag can help retain moisture. Putting it in the fridge will keep them fresh for 3 weeks.

You can also store tomatillos in the freezer. You just need to remove the husks and wash them. Then, dry the tomatillos with a paper towel. Place them in an airtight container and place in the freezer. Frozen tomatillos have a shelf life of up to 1 year.


With that said, if you don’t have tomatillos on hand, you can use any of these substitute tomatillos. All the alternatives will imitate the taste of tomatillos and can make your meal delicious.

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