Spicy Verde Sauce Recipe

Last updated: June 5th, 2024

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Our spicy verde sauce recipe is a unique take on a traditional Mexican salsa verde, or green sauce, using flavorful and fresh ingredients.

A homemade spicy verde sauce in a small bowl

From tacos to burritos, this spicy verde sauce recipe provides the perfect tart, crisp flavor to brighten up any Mexican night at home! 

Sauces are a fun way to incorporate more fresh produce into a meal, and Mexican cuisine is one of the best examples of that. This spicy verde sauce pairs extremely well with a carnitas plate, pork enchiladas, or even just a cheese quesadilla. We love having some of this sauce around to add flavor to any dish, and that’s why we want to share this tasty secret with you!

Spicy Verde Sauce Ingredients

Verde sauce, a traditional Mexican green sauce recipe, is typically made with ingredients like tomatillos, jalapenos, serrano peppers, onion, and lime juice. However, our take on verde sauce uses the reserved juices from our slow cooker carnitas recipe for spicy, zesty flavor, along with some of the traditional produce.

Here’s what you’ll need to make this delicious Mexican green sauce:

  • Reserved carnitas juices
  • Jalapenos
  • Tomatillos
  • Yellow onion
  • Fresh cilantro
  • Vegetable oil
  • Minced garlic
  • Sea salt

Using tomatillos instead of red tomatoes is the key difference between verde sauce and a roja sauce or a more traditional salsa. Tomatillos give the verde sauce its classic deep green color while also providing a vibrant and tart taste. 

For the base of our sauce, we use leftover juices from making our slow cooker carnitas. This way we get to add all of the amazing and complex flavors that go into carnitas instead of wasting perfectly good food

Mexican green sauce in a small bowl

How To Make Our Spicy Salsa Verde

To make our homemade spicy verde sauce, you’ll just need one saucepan and a blender. Here’s what you’ll need to do:

  1. If you’ve made a batch of our slow cooker carnitas, strain the juices into a container and set it in the fridge overnight. Once you’re ready to use it, remove and discard the layer of fat on top of the liquid.
  2. Next, simmer the juices in a saucepan for about 20 minutes, or until reduced by half. Then, set aside.
  3. In the meantime, prep the veggies. Halve and core the jalapenos (hint: cut them in half first, then use a spoon to scrape the core and seeds out easily!), husk and halve the tomatillos, and peel and halve the onion.
  4. Add the jalapenos, tomatillos, and onion to the empty saucepan. Cover with water and boil for about 10 minutes, until the vegetables are softened, then strain.
  5. Transfer the cooked vegetables to a blender. Add chopped cilantro and 1 cup of the reduced carnitas juices, then blend until smooth.
  6. Finally, heat vegetable oil in the saucepan. Add minced garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds, then add the sauce from the blender. Simmer for about 10 minutes, until slightly thickened, and season with sea salt to taste.

It’s important to cook the blended verde sauce in a little bit of oil and garlic, so that it gets some extra flavor and fat to thicken it up. This is what makes our homemade salsa verde so good!

Note: This sauce doesn’t quite use all of the reduced carnitas juices, since we like to leave a few tablespoons to add into the filling for our carnitas burritos. Keep whatever you don’t use and add it to your slow cooker carnitas when reheating them for burrito bowls, enchiladas, burritos, and more!

A bowl of Mexican green sauce, or salsa verde

What Is Green Mexican Sauce Used For?

Our spicy salsa verde, or green Mexican sauce, can be used for many dishes – especially ones that involve pork or carnitas. (The flavors pair so perfectly together!). Here are a few suggestions for what to use this verde sauce on:

  • Burritos (like our carnitas burrito recipe, here)
  • Carnitas tacos
  • Enchiladas
  • Burrito bowls
  • Quesadillas (drizzle it inside, or dip it)
  • Carnitas or carne asada plates

Salsa verde also makes a great dip for tortilla chips! This sauce seriously tastes great no matter how you eat it.

Why You’ll Love This Mexican Verde Sauce Recipe

There’s no shortage of ways in which you can use this homemade salsa verde. It tastes delicious with carnitas (especially when it’s slathered on a burrito or enchiladas), and it’s a fun twist on classic Mexican flavors to shake things up!

Try the recipe and let us know what you think by leaving a rating and a comment below.

A tortilla chip being dipped in a bowl of homemade salsa verde

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A homemade spicy verde sauce in a small bowl

Spicy Verde Sauce Recipe

Nicole & Alex
Our spicy verde sauce recipe is a unique take on a traditional Mexican salsa verde, or green sauce, using flavorful and fresh ingredients.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Course Dip, Ingredients, Sauce
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 2 cups
Calories 101 kcal



  • cups reserved carnitas juices
  • 2 jalapenos halved and cored
  • 4 tomatillos husked and halved
  • ½ small yellow onion peeled and halved
  • ¼ bunch fresh cilantro chopped
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • ½ teaspoon minced garlic
  • Sea salt to taste


  • Begin by reducing the reserved carnitas juices. Simmer in a medium saucepan for about 20 minutes, or until reduced by half. Transfer juices to a separate bowl and set aside.
  • In the same saucepan (now empty), add jalapenos, tomatillos, and onion. Add just enough water to cover the vegetables and boil for about 10 minutes, until vegetables are softened.
  • Strain the cooked vegetables and add them to a blender. Add cilantro and 1 cup of the reduced carnitas juices, then blend until smooth.
  • Next, heat vegetable oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add minced garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Then, add the sauce from the blender and simmer for 10 minutes, until slightly thickened. Season with salt, to taste.
  • Serve immediately over burritos, enchiladas, or tacos, or store in the fridge for up to 5 days.


Reserved carnitas juices: Use the leftover juices from our slow cooker carnitas as the base for this sauce. Simply strain the juices into a container after cooking the pork, then refrigerate for at least 12 hours before using. Once you’re ready to use, scrape the excess fat off the top and discard it before simmering the juices.
Serving suggestions: Use this salsa verde on our carnitas burritos, or on top of enchiladas, burrito bowls, and tacos. It’s also great for dipping with tortilla chips!


Calories: 101kcalCarbohydrates: 7gProtein: 2gFat: 8gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 4gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0.04gCholesterol: 2mgSodium: 438mgPotassium: 272mgFiber: 2gSugar: 5gVitamin A: 299IUVitamin C: 26mgCalcium: 17mgIron: 1mg
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Keyword carnitas juices, cilantro, fine sea salt, garlic, jalapeno, onion, salsa verde, tomatillo, vegetable oil
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