How to Thicken Salsa Verde? Here Are 4 Ways

How to Thicken Salsa Verde

Few sauces infuse as much vibrancy and freshness in a dish as salsa verde. But similar to most sauces, the flavor becomes drastically diluted when it is too watery. This runny consistency can result from multiple causes. So, how do you fix this if it were to happen to your salsa verde? How to thicken it?

You can make watery salsa verde thicker by simmering it over low heat until you reach the desired consistency. Alternatively, you can drain the tomatillos or green tomatoes through a strainer if they are too watery. Adding thickeners is an option, but it may tamper with the taste.

Salsa verde is a relatively easy sauce to make, but you must be mindful of certain scenarios. So, in this article, we go over some of the more common reasons for ending up with watery salsa, as well as the steps you can take to prevent them from happening. 

How to Thicken Watery Salsa Verde?

There is no set rule as to exactly how thick salsa verde must be every time. It is more of a matter of personal preference. But if you find that your salsa has not reached the consistency you prefer, worry not. Here are some options you can try to thicken it up:

Try Adding More Ingredients

Salsa verde is essentially a delicious vegetable sauce. So, you can play around with the vegetables you put in the dish. Salsa verde typically employs cilantro, serrano peppers, onions, etc. You can also add bell peppers and avocado to the mix. Adding more chopped onions can similarly add bulk to the sauce and make it thicker.

Most of these ingredients can absorb the moisture in the sauce. So, adding more amounts of them can lead to a thicker sauce. Adding avocado is a fantastic way of thickening up the salsa. Avocado not only absorbs the extra moisture but will also make the sauce significantly creamier and richer.

You can increase the number of serrano peppers in the sauce if you want. Of course, you need to be mindful of the heat when you are doing it. You can also add bell peppers to the mix. If the sauce is thickening up, but it is becoming too hot, add 1 to 2 tablespoons of sugar. It will not make the sauce sweet but will help it be more palatable.

Drain the Tomatoes

Traditionally, salsa verde is made with tomatillos, which belong to the same family of flowering plants as regular tomatoes. But they differ noticeably in taste and firmness. You can also make this salsa with green tomatoes, mostly unripe regular tomatoes.

Now, some tomatoes have a higher water content than others. This can impact the level of consistency of your sauces and soups. If you find that the green tomatoes you are using have too much liquid, try draining them with the help of a strainer. This will remove the bulk of the excess water and make for a richer sauce.

Keep it on the Stove for Longer

To thicken up any sauce, you normally have to simmer it on the stove for some time. This allows the moisture in the sauce to evaporate and leave the pot. Thus, making for a more condensed and ultimately richer sauce.

Salsa verde is an uncooked sauce, meaning you do not cook it on the stove like you would with many other sauces. So, when we say heat the salsa, we do not cook it. Instead, you only have to simmer until it becomes thicker.

So, if you find that your salsa is too watery, just do this process for a bit longer. But do not bring the salsa verde to a boil. Make sure you keep the heat on low not to burn the sauce. Do this for a few minutes, stirring occasionally. 

Use a Thickening Agent

Cornstarch is probably the go-to thickener for most people when fixing sauces. And it can work with salsa as well. But you should only try this method if you have exhausted other methods. Because using cornstarch to thicken salsa can negatively impact the taste and texture of the sauce, which is not ideal.

Still, if this is your last option, mix one tablespoon of cornstarch with equal amounts of water first. Then, place your salsa over low heat on the stove. Slowly add in the thickener until the sauce thickens up to your liking. You may not need to use all of it. Just add it and stir the sauce until you get your desired consistency.

Remember not to heat the sauce too much. Salsa verde is supposed to be an uncooked sauce. So, by cooking it, you will end up losing most of the freshness and punch of the original recipe.

Additionally, if you use the cornstarch to the salsa, try to finish all of it in one sitting. Or, if you want to save it for later, only add cornstarch to the amount of salsa you plan on consuming.

Why is Your Salsa Verde Watery and How to Prevent it Next Time?

If you make the salsa verde with green tomatoes, the problem may lie with the water content of your tomatoes. Some species have a higher level of water in them. This can result in watery salsa when you blend all ingredients.

To prevent this from happening the next time, drain the tomatoes beforehand. You can put the tomatoes through a strainer and leave them in the fridge overnight. This will slowly separate some of the liquid inside the tomatoes. 

Alternatively, you can separate the tomato flesh from the peel first. Add in the peels and then gradually add the flesh. This is because almost all the water is in the flesh, and by adding it gradually, you have more control over the consistency of your salsa.

Another reason for watery salsa is the tomato seeds. Salsa is great in that you can have it as leftovers sometime later. But when you allow the salsa to sit, the tomatoes will break down. This will leave a pool of liquid at the bottom of the plate.

So, while de-seeding the tomatoes can seem like extra work, it will improve the consistency and texture of your salsa verde. 

How to Make Salsa Verde Better?

Traditional salsa verde calls for a few simple ingredients in tomatillos, serrano peppers, onions, and garlic. But a great thing about this sauce is that you can play with its ingredients a lot more. So, you can try and experiment with different flavors for your salsa verde.

Add one fresh avocado to the mix if you want a richer and creamier sauce. Avocados have a rich and creamy texture, and it also contains pectin. This pectin will help to make the sauce more condensed. 

Jalapenos is another way of adding some extra heat to the salsa verde. If you want, you can replace the serrano peppers with jalapenos or use them together.

Lime juice is not a mandatory ingredient in salsa verde, but it can greatly impact the overall taste and freshness. Squeeze one-half of a lemon into the sauce before blending all ingredients.

If you are looking for a more exotic tasting salsa verde, try roasting the tomatillos or tomatoes before you blend them. This will infuse the dish with a nice, smoky flavor. You can do this by grilling just the tomatillos or all vegetables in a bowl for 6-7 minutes.

If you have store-bought and taste is underwhelming, fret not. You have some options for improving the canned salsa verde. 

  • Sauté some chopped garlic in olive oil and put them in the salsa. This will make the sauce more fragrant and tastier.
  • You can also sauté white onions with a touch of garlic powder and add them to the sauce. 
  • Adding fresh cilantro is another great way of making store-bought salsa verde taste fresher.
  • Add lime juice to the canned salsa and give it a good mix. This will add much-needed punch and freshness to the sauce.

What to Do with Salsa Verde Leftovers?

Salsa verde is the ideal sauce to make in advance as you can enjoy its freshness for some time. You can comfortably store it for a week and still enjoy its punch and heat. It is also a sauce that goes along with any savory dish.

So, if you have leftover salsa verde in the fridge, here are some ways you can utilize them:

  • Eat the salsa verde with some Spanish rice.
  • Salsa verde goes perfectly with any tortilla-based dish. So, eat it with tacos, enchiladas, tostadas, etc.
  • You can have eggs with salsa verde for the tastiest breakfast meal. 

To conclude, salsa verde is simple in design yet so effective in practice. They can go with almost any dish and give it a heavy dose of vibrancy and heat. And, with the help of this article, the next time you make salsa verde yourself, it will have the consistency you most prefer.

  • Laura is the owner of Julie's Cafe Bakery. She started this blog with her grandma Julie who introduced her to the amazing world of cooking. She likes to experiment with different flavors, and her favorite flavors combo is chicken with coconut milk, curry and peanuts!