Authentic Chile Verde

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Chile Verde that can be made with chicken or pork and can be made in the slow cooker, the Instant Pot, or right on the stove top. This real deal Mexican dish is seriously good.


This authentic Chile Verde recipe made with fresh tomatillos, poblano peppers, jalapenos, onion, garlic, and cilantro takes a little more work than the typical "salsa dump" recipes but is absolutely worth it! Serve it with these Slow Cooker Pinto Beans, corn tortillas, or with some Cilantro Lime Cauliflower Rice.

There are so many different recipes out there for chile verde but unfortunately, most of them involve grabbing a jar of store bought salsa verde and dumping it into the slow cooker with either chicken or pork.

While this can be really delicious (case in point: Slow Cooker Salsa Verde Chicken), it will never be as good as making green salsa from scratch. While making salsa from scratch may sound intimidating, it's actually really easy and only takes about 5 minutes of active prep.

Let's start with the salsa. Chile Verde is made with a tomatillo salsa verde made with fresh tomatillos, chile peppers, onion, and garlic. The first step to creating this flavor is roasting the tomatillos and peppers. Roasting everything deepens the flavor, adds smokiness to the salsa, and also mellows out some of the sour flavor in the tomatillos. Next, it is important to brighten up the salsa and that is where the cilantro comes in.

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Chile verde recipe in a white bowl with tortillas, cilantro, and limes.

When it comes to the heat in this recipe, it comes from using three different types of chile peppers that vary in strength and flavor. The poblano has the least amount of heat but adds a lot of flavor similar to a slightly spicy bell pepper.

The jalapeno is in the middle when it comes to spice and the serrano is the spiciest. You can vary the heat in the salsa by using different amounts of each pepper to find the right combination for you. You can also remove the seeds for less heat or leave them in for more.

Whenever making salsa, start slowly and taste along the way until it is as spicy as you like. Generally, I recommend making it slightly spicier than you want your final product since it will mellow out when cooked when it is cooked with protein.

If you have kids who don't like spicy, make the salsa using just one seeded poblano pepper for flavor. Cook the protein in this mild salsa. Then puree the remaining peppers with a little chicken broth. Stir this spicy salsa into your dish individually so you can have a spicy version. I always make it this way and my toddler devours the milder chicken while I make mine super spicy.

The next decision when making Chile Verde is what kind of protein you would like to use. Traditionally Chile Verde recipes are made with pork but it is often made with dark meat chicken as well. Both options are delicious.

Normally I like to make it with chicken for a quick meal and I use pork when I will have more time since the pork takes much longer to cook. To keep things lighter, I like to use boneless skinless chicken thighs or a lean pork shoulder roast, but any protein would work.

We also love this traditional Pollo Pibil and Cochinita Pibil when we want a stewed Mexican dish.

Slow Cooker Chile Verde in a bowl with cilantro and tortillas.

How to Serve Chile Verde

Traditionally this dish is served with rice, beans, and tortillas with fresh limes but there are all kinds of ways you can use this. Here are some of my favorites:

  • Tacos: This is a no brainer, but clearly this stuff is delicious in tacos. Warm the tortillas and serve the chicken with fresh cilantro, limes, and queso fresco or avocado.
  • Burritos and Burrito Bowls: Build your own burritos or burrito bowls with rice and beans. Personally, I like to make burrito bowls since the chicken is moist and sometimes I find the burrito begins to fall apart before I finish eating it. 
  • Quesadillas: While it may be tempting to stuff this inside a quesadilla, I actually prefer to serve it on top so the quesadilla gets nice and crispy on the outside. Simply make a cheese quesadilla and then top it with Chile Verde.
  • Scrambled eggs: This is so good for breakfast with some scrambled eggs and pinto or black beans. Trust me.
  • Baked potatoes: This is a great stuffing for baked potatoes or sweet potatoes topped with some melted cheese.
  • Chilaquiles: Chilaquiles are one of my favorite breakfast recipes and this Chili Verde is so good on a pile of chiliquiles. If you think you might make chilaquiles, I recommend doubling the salsa so you can cook the chips in the extra tomatillo salsa.

What is Chile Verde?

Many people wonder about the origins of Chile Verde and there is some debate whether chile verde is from Mexico or New Mexico. Most people agree that it is a dish that hails from Northern Mexico, and possible areas in New Mexico as well.

In Mexico, it is traditionally made with pork that is slow cooked in a spicy roasted tomatillo salsa that uses a variety of chile peppers. In New Mexico, it is made in a similar manner but traditionally uses Hatch chile peppers or other native New Mexico green chiles.


The Recipe
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Authentic Chile Verde

COOK TIME: 1 Hours
TOTAL TIME: 1 Hours, 10 Min
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  • 1 lb tomatillos
  • 2 large poblano peppers
  • 1 jalapeno (double for more heat)
  • 1 serrano pepper
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/3 cup cilantro
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 lbs. boneless skinless chicken thighs (or pork shoulder roast)
  • Salt and pepper

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Preheat the oven to broil or your oven's highest temperature setting, like 500 degrees.


Place the tomatillos, poblano pepper, jalapeno pepper, serrano pepper, onion, and whole unpeeled garlic cloves on a baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray. Broil for 10 minutes, flipping everything halfway through. If the garlic looks like it is beginning to burn, remove it when you flip everything else.


Carefully remove the baking sheet from the oven. Place the peppers in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a lid. After ten minutes, carefully pull the skin of the peppers off, removing as much as possible. You can also remove the seeds, depending on how spicy you like things. Peel the garlic.


Add the tomatillos, peppers, onions, garlic, cilantro. and chicken broth to a blender along with any juices from the pan. Blend until it reaches your desired consistency. Some people like a chunkier sauce and some prefer a smoother sauce.


Stovetop: Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a Dutch oven or heavy pot. Add the chicken (or pork), season with salt and pepper, and brown for 2-3 on both sides. Add the sauce and bring to a simmer. For chicken, let simmer on low heat for 25-30 minutes until the chicken easily shreds with a fork. For pork, simmer for 2.5-3 hours until pork easily pulls apart.


Slow Cooker: Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a Dutch oven or heavy pot. Add the chicken (or pork), season with salt and pepper, and brown for 2-3 on both sides. (You can skip this step but it adds more flavor if you sear the protein first.) Add to the slow cooker with the sauce. For chicken, cook on low for 4 hours. For pork, cook on low for 8 hours or until the pork is fork tender.


Instant Pot: Use the instant pot saute setting. Add the chicken (or pork), season with salt and pepper, and brown for 2-3 on both sides. Add the chile verde salsa and cover. For chicken thighs, use the manual (Pressure Cooker) setting and cook for 8 minutes. Let naturally release for at least 2-3 minutes before using the steam valve. For pork, use the manual (Pressure Cooker) setting and cook for 45 minutes. Let naturally release for at least 2-3 minutes before using the steam valve.


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Nutritional Facts
Serving Size: 2/3 cup
Amount Per Serving
Calories 249
Calories from Fat 30
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 9g
Saturated Fat 2g
Monounsaturated Fat 2g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Cholesterol 132mg
Sodium 251mg
Total Carbohydrate 9g
Dietary Fiber 3g
Sugars 4g
Protein 31g

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.

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About the author Meet Kristen McCaffrey
Hi, I’m the cookbook author, recipe developer, and food enthusiast behind Slender Kitchen. I am obsessed with making healthy food that is easy to prepare and absolutely delicious. Meal planning is my secret weapon and I hope I can make meal time easier for you with our tried and tested recipes and foolproof meal plans. Learn More
On Authentic Chile Verde
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January 2, 2024 - 11:07
My Instant Pot only has one setting for high-pressure on Manual mode and that is what was used.
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December 7, 2022 - 10:33
Add a Rating:
This is by far the best recipe I've found. I used pork and I always double it. I only used jalapeños bc I was making it for a wide range of people. I instead used con pimienta and and Tia lupita Chipotle
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Komal Sitaram
February 14, 2020 - 05:18
can I use salsa verde
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January 18, 2019 - 14:42
Would love to try this but concerned that the serrano pepper would make it to spicy. Would it work to leave this out. This looks very good
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January 23, 2019 - 13:52
Great question! You can either leave it out or substitute a less spicy pepper like an extra jalapeno. If you don't love spice, I would just leave it out completely. It will still have tons of flavor and be delicious.
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