8 Super Substitutes for Tomatillo


This is a personally curated list of some great substitutes for Tomatillo.

Let’s get rolling. 

8 Best Substitutes for Tomatillo

1. Green Tomatoes

Also known as unripe tomatoes, green tomatoes are a great substitute to make tomatillo’s taste, texture, and sometimes even colour. 

Tomatillos tend to have a more tarty flavour but belong to the tomato family only. As such, unripe tomatoes will replace them beautifully.  

How to Substitute

Combine your unripe tomatoes with a squeeze of lemon juice and use that mixture in a 1:1 ratio as your replacement.  

Here’s how to cook with Green Tomatoes –

2. Canned Tomatillo 

Canned tomatillos will definitely do the trick if you cannot find fresh tomatillos near you.   

You may not get the same texture or colour from this substitute, but you will definitely get the same flavour. 

How to Substitute

You can use a 1:1 ratio for substitution but make sure to reduce your cooking time as canned tomatillos can turn soft really quick. 

Here’s how to cook with Canned Tomatillos-

3. Green Peppers

If you cannot find fresh or canned tomatillos, green peppers are going to be your best friend.  

Though these don’t have the same texture or flavour as tomatillos, they will add the same colour and deliciousness to your dish.   

How to Substitute

These lack the sourness that tomatillos have, so make sure to add them in with lemon juice or tamarind paste for best results.  

Here’s how to cook with Green Peppers:

4. Gooseberries

While this may sound weird or untrustworthy, gooseberries are actually one of the best substitutes for tomatillos. 

They have a similar tartiness to tomatillos and can add a fresh taste, similar texture, and colour to your dish.   

How to Substitute

Add them in a 1:1 ratio with some roasted green peppers to get the best results that resemble the taste of tomatillos. 

Here’s how to cook with Beef Back Ribs:

5. Salsa Verde

If all else fails, know that salsa verde will save your life.   

This green salsa is actually milder than other versions and already contains some tomatillo content in it.

How to Substitute

You can use an equal amount to replace tomatillos in your recipe. This works best for soups or toppings on tacos and quesadillas. 

Here’s how to cook with Salsa Verde:

6. Green Chillies 

These are great, easily accessible replacements that can be used in place of tomatillos in many recipes.  

These are obviously spicy but also have notes of a little tanginess to them. For best results, use these in a fresh form. 

How to Substitute

A 1:1 ratio obviously does not work here, so follow your spice preference instead. This substitution is best for salsa recipes.  

7. Red Chillies

Like green chillies, if you cannot find any of the substitutes mentioned above, red chillies can work just fine. 

Although they have a different color than tomatillos, they can still add a great smokey and sweet taste to your red salsas and other recipes.  

How to Substitute

Add these according to your spice tolerance because a little amount can go na long way. We also recommend that you add in a few other flavoring ingredients for the best results. 

8. Cherry Tomatoes

These cute, little, and adorable versions of tomatoes are a great substitute for Tomatillo in any recipe you choose to make. 

It’s better to use green cherry tomatoes because they tend to have the same crunch and colour as tomatillos.  

How to Substitute

Cherry tomatoes have a sweeter flavor compared to tomatillos, so you may need to add lemon juice or some other source of tanginess before using them for replacement in a 1:1 ratio.  

Here’s how to cook Cherry Tomatoes:


Can I use green tomatoes instead of tomatillos?

Absolutely. As mentioned above, these two actually have extremely similar tastes and textures to each other.

As such, they can be used to replace any recipe but work best in salsas, guacamole, vegetable soup, freshly chopped in salads, as toppings or garnishes on tacos, and even in some stews.

So go ahead and make the changes but don’t forget to add in a little sourness if your tomatoes tend to be sweet. 

How similar are tomatoes and tomatillos?

Very similar. Tomatoes and tomatillos actually belong to the same botanical family.

However, the main difference between these two is that tomatillos tend to have a more sour, acidic, and tangy flavour, whereas tomatoes are sweeter. In terms of texture, a tomatillo is more firm.

It’s denser than a tomato and less watery, which might equal slightly higher cooking time. Tomatoes, on the other hand, are soft and quickly cooked.  

Are canned tomatillos spicy?

Absolutely not. This is a common misconception that many people have. Tomatillos aren’t hot or spicy in any way. They’re used as the base for many sauces and salsas because of their quality.

The spicy agents in such recipes usually include hot peppers or chilies of some kind. Tomatillos can be used in many recipes without altering the spice level, such as salads, stews, soups, and tacos.

So if you have them on hand, feel free to use them because they will not be setting your taste buds on fire. 

Bottom Line

I hope this article has helped you choose the right substitute for Tomatillos, be it for flavour, allergies, or simply unavailability. 

Do share this article with your family and friends as I’m sure it’ll help them if it has helped you! 

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About Jane Lewis

Jane loves spending time with her family, cooking delicious meals, traveling to explore new cultures and wines, and tending to her backyard garden. She's a passionate home cook who enjoys trying out recipes from all over the world.

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