This chicken chile verde is a fast and easy weeknight meal, loaded with peppers, onions, and chunks of tender chicken. It makes amazing leftovers and is best served with rice, flour tortillas, or tortilla chips.
Chicken Chile Verde Recipe by Isabel Eats
This Chicken Chile Verde has rich layers of flavor and lean protein. Made from a smoky green chile sauce and juicy chicken, it’s a warm and satisfying meal to enjoy on a chilly day!
Moreover, this recipe is actually a version of traditional chile verde made with pork. Instead of using pork shoulder, I used boneless skinless chicken thighs which cut the cooking time way down and made everything a little less fatty. The flavor is just as amazing and makes for a healthier bowl overall!
Chili verde with chicken is cooked low and slow on the stovetop, giving you a delicious gluten-free dinner in about 1 hour. We’ve even included instructions on cooking it in a slow cooker and Instant Pot to save you time and effort.
What Is Chile Verde?
Chile Verde, or “green chili”, is a Mexican stew that’s made with tender pieces of meat cooked in a flavorful green chile and tomatillo sauce. The traditional version uses pork shoulder, other meats like beef and chicken can also be used. It’s comforting, a little spicy, a little tangy, and can be served on its own, over rice, or with tortillas.
For this recipe, We are using boneless skinless chicken thighs instead of pork to cut back on the cooking time as well as the amount of fat. This recipe can be cooked on a stovetop, in a slow cooker, or in an Instant Pot.
Ingredients You Will Need!
- Chicken thighs – Boneless, skinless chicken thighs are best as they have great flavor and don’t dry out as much as chicken breasts do.
- Tomatillos – This round green fruit looks just like a green tomato with a papery outer layer. They’re used in salsas, sauces, and more and add a tasty tang to the sauce. Learn more about tomatillos.
- Green chile peppers – Roasting jalapenos, poblano, and serrano peppers will increase the flavor and give your dinner a kick!
- Onion and garlic – These will be blended with peppers and tomatillos to make the green chile sauce.
- Lime juice and cilantro – To add balance and flavor at the end.
How to Make Chicken Chile Verde
- Broil the peppers: Place the tomatillos, jalapenos, poblanos, and serrano peppers on a baking sheet with foil and broil on high. When the skins are blackened and blistered, remove them from the oven, flip, and broil for another 5 minutes.
- Steam and remove the skins: Remove them from the oven and loosely cover the baking sheet with foil or plastic wrap to help them steam. Pull and rub off as much loose skin from the peppers as possible (view some step-by-step photos on how to roast poblano peppers).
- Make the green sauce: Add the roasted peppers and tomatillos, onions, and minced garlic to a blender and blend until smooth.
- Sear the chicken: Place the chicken in a large pot over medium-high heat with oil and season with salt. Sear it on all sides for about 20 minutes or until it’s browned.
- Simmer for 30 minutes: Pour the chile verde and water all around the chicken in the pot. Mix it well, cover, lower the heat, and cook for 30 minutes.
- Season and serve: Just before it’s done, stir in the lime juice and cilantro. Add more salt as necessary, then serve!
how to make chicken chile verde in a slow cooker?
For the best flavor, make the green chili sauce just like if you were making this on the stovetop and season the chicken with salt. You can sear the chicken beforehand or just add it right into the slow cooker. Pour the green sauce and water on top and cook on LOW heat for 4 to 6 hours.
Right before it’s done, stir in the lime juice and cilantro. Feel free to shred the chicken right in the pot or serve it whole.
how to make chicken chile verde in an instant pot?
However, make the green sauce ahead of time in the oven. Turn the Instant Pot to “Saute” mode, heat some oil in the pot, and sear the seasoned chicken on all sides. Once it’s brown and crispy, turn the Instant Pot off.
Pour the sauce and water all around the chicken and secure the lid (making sure the vent is sealed). Set the IP to “High Pressure” and cook for 15 minutes. Allow the pressure to naturally release, then set the valve to “vent”.
Furthermore, You can shred the chicken using two forks or serve the thighs whole as soon as it’s ready.
Tips, Tricks & Substitutions:
- Afraid it may be too spicy? Omit the serrano peppers. If jalapenos are also normally too spicy for you, feel free to use only 4-5 poblanos instead.
- Use boneless, skinless chicken thighs for the best flavor. If you’re looking for even leaner meat, you can use chicken breasts instead.
- No pork or chicken? You can use beef stew meat like chuck shoulder or roast instead.
- Make this vegetarian! Swap out the meat for cubed tofu or vegetables and beans like mushrooms, chickpeas, and kale!
- Need a quicker option? To save 20 minutes, substitute the chicken thighs for leftover cooked shredded chicken or a store-bought shredded rotisserie chicken.
Chicken Chile Verde Paleo Diet
For the chile verde
- 1 pound tomatillos, husked and rinsed (about 10 med-large tomatillos)
- 3 jalapeños stems removed
- 2 poblano peppers, stems removed
- 1 serrano pepper, stem removed
- 2 med onions, diced (about 2 cups)
- 1 tbsp minced garlic
For the chicken
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 ½ pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized chunks
- 1 tbsp coarse kosher salt
- 1 cup water (or more depending on how thin or thick you want the sauce)
- 2 tbsp lime juice (about the juice from 1 lime)
- ¼ cup chopped cilantro
- Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and place the tomatillos, jalapenos, poblanos, and serrano peppers on top. Set the oven rack directly underneath the broiler and turn the broiler on high.
- Broil for 5 minutes, or until the skin is blackened and blistered. Carefully flip over the tomatillos and peppers and broil for another 5 minutes, or until the skin is blackened and blistered on all sides.
- Remove from the oven, loosely cover the baking sheet with aluminum foil or plastic wrap to keep in some of the heat to help them steam, and let them sit for 5 minutes.
- Pull and rub off as much of the loose skin on the peppers as possible. It doesn't have to be perfect. (View some step-by-step photos on how to roast poblano peppers.) At this point, you can also remove the seeds from any of the peppers if you don't want it too spicy.
- Add the broiled tomatillos, broiled peppers, diced onions and minced garlic into a large blender. Blend until smooth. Set aside until ready to use.
- Heat olive oil in a large pot or dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and season generously with salt.
- Sear the chicken on all sides, turning occasionally, for about 15-20 minutes or until nicely browned.
- Pour in the chile verde sauce and water. Mix thoroughly, making sure to scrape the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon so you get all the brown bits.
- Cover, lower the heat to simmer, and cook for 30 minutes.
- Add the lime juice, cilantro and stir to combine. Taste and season with more salt if necessary.