5 Best Tomatillo Substitutes (Updated 2024)

Best Tomatillo substitutes

Small, spherical, and green when ripe. Tomatillos have a distinct flavor profile and texture. Traditional Mexican cuisine is heavily influenced by the nightshade botanical family. 

of this family include tomatillos, chiles, and bell peppers. Creating many authentic Mexican dishes requires this must-have ingredient.

But, what if you don’t have any tomatillos in your pantry? Or your local grocery store doesn’t carry them?

Here we’ll talk about the best tomatillo substitutes in this article.

Tomatillo Substitutes

1. Gooseberries

Gooseberries - Best Tomatillo Substitutes

Gooseberries have a tartness that parallels tomatillos. Gooseberries’ sour and acidic flavor profile matches the delicate and acidic flavor of tomatillos. 

This makes them an ideal substitute for tomatillos in recipes such as salsa verde and enchilada sauce. The optimal time to use gooseberries is early in their season, in May or June.

During this time their bright green color and firmness will emulate tomatillos not only in appearance but flavor. Making it a great alternative for your dish.

2. Canned Tomatillos

Whole Tomatillos in Can - Best Tomatillo Substitute

Canned tomatillos are parboiled. To avoid overcooking, use caution when adding them to your recipes. Overcooked tomatillos can present an unpleasant bitter flavor that can overpower a dish, rendering it inedible.

When purchasing canned tomatillos, you have a couple of options: crushed or whole. Both are excellent selections for a variety of recipes.

Fresh tomatillos have a more vibrant and acidic flavor than canned. But, when in a pinch they will come in handy.

3. Green Bell Peppers

Green Peppers - Best Tomatillo Substitutes

Compared to red and orange bell peppers, green peppers have the closest resemblance in flavor to tomatillos.

Their earthy and bitter notes pair well with soups and zesty sauces. Like tomatillos, green bell peppers have a similar texture and color.

To mimic the flavor of tomatillos in your recipe, you will need to include sour ingredients like lime juice to achieve a balanced flavor.

4. Green Tomatoes

Green Tomatoes - Best Tomatillo Substitutes

Green tomatoes are also an ideal substitute for tomatillos. Because of their similar appearance and flavor, they are most like tomatillos.

Although they both belong to the nightshade family, green tomatoes differ from tomatillos. Green tomatoes are unripe and have more of a crunchy texture when raw.

Green tomatoes can replace tomatillos in enchilada sauce, salads, taco toppings, vegetable soups, and even chicken pozole. When preparing green tomatoes, remember to taste the dish and adjust as needed.

Lime juice may be used in some recipes to provide additional acidity, while other recipes may require more or less salt for balance.

5. Salsa Verde

Salsa Verde - Best Tomatillo Substitutes

Salsa verde can also be used as a substitute for tomatillos. Salsa verde or Green salsa is milder than red salsa. Hence, a better substitute for tomatillos. There are several methods to enhance the salsa flavor, like adding roasted green peppers and onions.

Adding garlic and onions and other aromatics can deepen the flavors within the dish. Tacos, tortillas, and other dishes may be enhanced by the addition of salsa verde.


Tomatillos have a unique acidic and earthy flavor. While fresh tomatillos are best, there are many options for substitutes. 

While tomatillos are more flavorful and firmer than green tomatoes. Green tomatoes can still mimic the flavor and texture of tomatillos.

Canned tomatillos are easily overcooked, so use caution when adding to your recipe. Are you thinking of making enchilada sauce?

Gooseberries are a perfect alternative. Gooseberries are best used in the early season. Try using green bell pepper and lime juice to mimic the earthy and acidic notes of tomatillos. 

Are you looking to make a quick sauce? Salsa verde may be your solution. I invite you to experiment with various produce and condiment combinations to create the perfect tomatillo alternative. 


5 Best Tomatillo Substitutes

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Check out these great substitutes for Tomatillo that have been shared on Pinterest.

  • Author: Recipe Marker



  1. Click on each link above to view the pin and recipe.
  2. Obtain all the necessary ingredients to make the recipe.
  3. Follow the steps to create your side dish.
  4. Enjoy your delicious meal =)


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