I’ve probably told this story a million times, but here it is again.
The story of how I fell in love with chile verde. How it screams everything warm and comforting to me.
So, here goes the story…
I used to live with two guys and a girl in a house right near the beach in California. It was beautiful and everything you’d imagine living in LA would be. I ran on the beach almost every single day. I biked to Santa Monica and rode the Ferris wheel. I ate all the good food Los Angeles offered and nearly went broke doing it. And admittedly, I also found my passion for blogging there. It holds a special place in my heart, one I’m not sure I could ever forget.
Chile verde became one of my favorite meals during my time in LA. My roommate Danny and I loved to cook together. We’d spend hours at Costco on Saturdays sampling food and chatting about what recipes we’d make next. We noshed on his lemon-dill salmon weekly and I baked cookies almost every other day. This was the good life.
Alas, out of all the meals we made together, chile verde stands out for good reason. We cooked it as an experiment one afternoon; roasting chiles and loosely following recipes on the Internet — the house smelled spicy and my nostrils inhaled garlic and sweet onions. Magical, really.
After our first successful batch of chile verde, it became our Sunday house tradition. Boozy Manhattan Beach brunches, then we’d head back to the house to start on our chile verde dinner plan so that it could simmer with love all day long.
If you’re not familiar with chile verde, the traditional version calls for pork. I’ve never been a huge fan of pork; so this time I subbed juicy and moist chicken thighs and let them cook in the slow cooker. The flavors blend together and create the utmost perfect chicken chile verde you’ll ever taste. And quite frankly, I love that it’s healthier and easy to make, too. This just means there’s more room for corn tortillas, rice and beans — obviously.
Now you might be wondering why chicken thighs instead of chicken breasts? While chicken breasts are certainly leaner, they can often times become dry and rubbery when cooked in the slow cooker. I highly recommend trying out the Just BARE Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs — I promise you’ll fall in love with the tenderness of the chicken.
Hope you love this comforting recipe as much as I do. xo!
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Healthy Slow Cooker Chicken Chile Verde
- 2 pounds tomatillos, husked (paper skins, removed) and cut in half
- 4 Poblano or Anaheim peppers
- 2-3 jalapeños, depending on your spice preference
- 6 garlic cloves
- 1 - 4 oz can diced green chiles
- 1 bunch of organic cilantro
- juice of 1 lime
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 3/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
- 2 pounds Just BARE Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs
- 1 large yellow onion, diced
Place tomatillos cut side down, poblano peppers, jalapeños and unpeeled garlic cloves on a foil-lined large baking sheet. If necessary you can use two baking sheets. Place in the oven under the broiler setting for 8-10 minutes or until the tomatillos and peppers begin to roast and blacken. If you don't have broiler in your oven, you can put the oven at 425 degrees F (this option may take longer).
Transfer the poblano and jalapeno peppers to a plastic Ziploc bag and zip it tight (leave the tomatillos and garlic on the baking sheet for now). This allows the peppers to steam in the bag and after 5-10 minutes you should be able to remove the skin, stem and seeds off the peppers. It's okay if you don't remove the skin completely -- the most important part is removing the seeds and stems.
While the peppers are steaming in the bag, add tomatillos to a blender. You'll notice that they probably got juicy during the roasting. That's okay; you'll want to add all those juices to the blender too! Peel garlic cloves and add them to the blender along with the peppers, green chiles, cilantro, lime juice, cumin, oregano, salt, pepper and chicken broth. Blend the ingredients until they are well combined.
Add chicken thighs and diced onions to slow cooker, pour tomatillo-chile sauce all over the top of the chicken and stir to combine. Cover and cook on high for 3 hours or low for 7 hours.
Before serving, remove chicken with a slotted spoon and shred with a fork. Add back to slow cooker and mix in with a spoon. Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary. Serve with brown rice, corn tortilla, tortilla chips, and/or beans. Serves 6.
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Just BARE Chicken. All recipes, text and opinions are my own. Thanks for supporting AK and the brands that help make this site possible!
Recipe by: Monique Volz / Ambitiosu Kitchen
Photography by: Sarah Fennel / Broma Bakery
How do you think a vegetarian version would be using chickpeas?
Probably absolutely delicious.
would this work without a slow cooker?
Can I do steps 1-3 the night before and let it sit in the fridge before finishing in the slow cooker in the morning?
That should work ok! Let me know how it goes 🙂
Ooh this looks so good! I have a new slow cooker and am looking for recipes to try out.
Do you have a suggestion on cooking temp/times if cooking on stovetop and not in a slow cooker?
Yes I would brown the chicken first on the stove, then follow the rest of the recipe as written. You can add to a large pot and simmer for 2-3 hours uncovered.
I’ve recently started using chicken thighs and love the change up from the typical breast!
This looks seriously and comforting, especially during these chilly temperatures! This will be made in my kitchen very soon 🙂
recipes that bring up nostalgia make them even better, love this one Monique!
I don’t eat meat but i HAD to click this post because of how delicious this soup looked!! I’m wondering if i can make it sans meat?! Def going to try 🙂
I know this is super late response to you but I’m just trying this today. I bet you could use butternut squash as a replacement, just wouldn’t need to cook it as long!
This recipe looks amazing! I love all of the tomatillos in there. Salsa verde is hands down my favorite so I know I would love this.
It really seems delicious
I was wondering –
By “bunch of cilantro,” do you mean the entire bunch as it comes from the grocery store? I ask because that seems like a lot looking at the bunch I have, so I’m worried that since they can come in different sizes at different stores that “one bunch” isn’t a very good measurement. Do you have an idea of how many cups that would be?
Also, when is the can of green chiles added? To the sauce to be blended up, or to the crock pot to remain whole?
Yes, the entire bunch! So probably 2 cups? Green chilies are added to the blender. 🙂
I just made this and it was totally delicious and I plan to make it again, so I thought I’d throw out a few pointers from my experience with it:
First off, when I went to peel the peppers after roasting then steaming them, I could only get the skins off of the parts that had browned so I ended up not using about 1/3 to 1/2 of the anaheims, which I figured was ok because they were huge. I ended up just throwing in the jalapeños with most of the skins on anyway since I figure it probably didn’t matter much. If I make this again, I think I’d add some time to the roasting and flip them halfway through to get an even brown and make the skin easier to remove.
I also just want to throw out a word of caution to anyone blending hot ingredients for the first time since I remember the burns I got the first time I did it without knowing what would happen. Be careful and pulse the blender instead of just full-on blending as the steam can cause the ingredients to rise up and force the top off even if you’re holding it on tight, which makes a mess and can hurt. So either blend slowly and carefully or wait until it cools.
I also had trouble fitting everything in to my blender, which is a normal size, so you may have to do it in a couple batches.
I had the same questions about the amount of cilantro and when to add the chiles. I ended up going with two small to medium handfuls of the cilantro (you could probably go a little more or less depending on how much you like cilantro, but the full bunch I bought at the store would definitely have been overkill) and adding the chiles to the blender – this was my best guess as she refers to it as the “tomatillo-chile sauce” but I’m thinking it probably wouldn’t make too much of a difference if you put them in the blender or in with the chicken and onions since they’re already diced and soft.
One more heads up – with the little hitches I ran into (peeling the skins, trying by to fit everything into the blender) it took me about an hour to prepare and get going in the slow cooker, so just FYI for budgeting time.
Great tips and thank you for your comment! A note is that I’ve never had the entire batch overflow in a regular sized blender, but perhaps your tomatillos were extra juicy. I always use a large bunch of cilantro, but I’m a cilantro lover. 🙂
Hi, just an FYI if you roast the peppers place them inside of a plastic bag for a bit. The steam will soften up the parts that are not actually roasted fully. Hope this helps
Unnecessary and annoying gifs that slows the whole page down and a story that nobody cares about. Why would you use boneless thighs? That is the easiest bone to take out of a slow cooker and adds flavour.
John, you need to find something else to do rather than comment on sites with your negativity. If you like the recipe, great! If you don’t, then don’t make it or feel free to adapt. Thanks!
I am planning on making this sometime this week and cannot WAIT to eat it! I know you said you prefer chicken thighs for this, but I am having a hard time learning to love them… Is there a way I could opt to use breasts in this recipe without a rubbery result? Maybe cooking on low instead of high?
Hm, I made this today and my husband and I just could not eat it as a soup. I think we made ours too hot, as our jalapenos were HUGE, but I would be more inclined to take the chicken out, shred it, and just use the rest as a little sauce on top in a taco.
Excited to try out this recipe, although I think finding tomatillos and poblano peppers might be hopeless in Amsterdam. Let’s see what I can scavenge this weekend 🙂 Thanks for sharing!!
I made this soup last night…very excited to try it for dinner tonight. I am, however, thinking it may be a little on the spicy side. I have a few burns last night handling the peppers and I am afraid the soup is going to be too hot. Any advice on how to tame the spice if needed? I love your website btw…I have tried many different recipes and have enjoyed them all!
Hi Lisa! I am guessing the burns may be from you peeling the peppers. Poblano peppers are very mild and not generally spicy at all. It could have been your jalapenos? Maybe they were extra hot? Anyway, I would stir in more broth or add greek yogurt to help cool it down. Avocado is also fantastic!
Hey, local secret, quarter a raw potato or apple and it will soak up some of the heat…
I really want to make this. BUT… I only like middy spiced foods. Spice in terms of heat. Should I omit the jalapeños and poblanos peppers altogether or are they needed? Is there a season for tomatillos? Like what time of year is it best to find them in? Thanks in advance for your response 🙂
I love that I found this blog! So far I’ve made three of your recipes and LOVE the pumpkin fajitas, chocolate oat bars, and lentil loaf. I am allergic to eggs (but fine with wheat) but grateful to find this blog. And thanks for the nutritional information! Saves me from figuring it out.
sorry typo middy= mildly
I made this last night for dinner and it was DELICIOUS! has to be one of my favorite slow cooker recepies of all time. I added a really large lime and it came out a bit sour so I added half a small can of tomato sauce and it balanced out perfectly. Thank you for this recipe we loved it:)
That’s great to hear, Michelle!
Do you know the calorie/serving size information for this recipe?
Just updated it! Thanks! 🙂
Is this recipe freezer-friendly?
Question: How spicy is this? I have a toddler and would like to adjust the spice down to be edible for him. Thanks!
My only disappointment is not finding your recipes earlier. This was absolutely delicious! I look forward to digging into some of your other creations. Thanks for sharing
This recipe was delicious, and I’m definitely going to make it again, but I was hoping you could provide some advice.
I’m using it as burrito filling, and the final product is waaaaaaay too watery, so I wind up having to do a lot of extra work with a slotted spoon to keep the final product from turning into a soupy mess.
How should I adjust the recipe to wind up with something thicker without sacrificing the flavor? I’m using a pressure cooker, if that matters.
Trying adding more meat! I just made it today for the first time and mine was watery too, but the flavors were amazing. Next time I’ll use more chicken and will add some white canned beans for more body. Will definitely make it again.
I just finished preparing this recipe. I chose it looked closest to the recipe my old cleaning lady used. She is from the part of Mexico where Salsa Verde originated. I can tell this is going to taste great but I’ll add a couple things
1) Peeling peppers is impossible. I got about half the skin off maybe. Who cares. I suspect it is similar to making tomato sauce and I never peel my tomatoes either
2) Cut the tops off the garlic and use a garlic roaster if possible. That way the garlic will just slide out for you instead of the messy process of trying to peel it after roasting
3) After putting the Cumin in I had a bit of regret. We’ll see how it turns out but I suspect that I will be either cutting the amt in half or leaving the cumin out next time.
4) as someone else wrote, preparation time was a little longer than expected.
Thanks for the recipe. I have a feeling I’ll be making it many more times. Maybe with pork next time.
Amazing flavors! Love that everything is made from scratch. I know it’s supposed to be healthy chili, but I was really missing the white bean component. I ended up making some rice, even though I wasn’t planning to. Will definitely make it again, but next time will add some beans
We made this last night and it was terrific! Thanks for sharing.
I made this recently and was really pleased with the result. I think next time I will try making it with pork tenderloin and add some Serrano peppers to spice it up. Thanks for sharing!
Thank you for this fantastic info. The tips listed above are insightful and will help me a lot. The article is well written as well.
This is really delicious and healthy too!
I agree with Emily…
-When roasting the peppers turn after one side gets charred (more charred the better)
-Prep time took my an hour too.
-All the cilantro…yum!
-Seared the chicken on both sides before I put it in the slow cooker.
-I used the stove top to char any areas on the peppers that didn’t get fully charred. (This made it way easier to skin)
This turned out great. I added a bit more spices because I added more chicken. I used it for nachos, and it was so tasty. Thanks for sharing a great recipe!
This looks fabulous! I wondered if you would have any advise on skipping poblano & jalapeño, I have a lot of roasted Hatch green chilis in my freezer I roasted last fall. They are on the hot side…probably skipping the can too. Love your recipes!!
roasted hatch chiles are my fav. perhaps just a few, depending on their heat.
This looks delicious. Can the verde sauce be made a few days in advance or will it lose flavor? I want to meal prep for the week and be able to throw everything in the slow cooker in the morning before work.
It should be fine to make the sauce in advance!
This was pretty delicious! I only peeled half off the peppers as well and it came out just fine. It came out more like a soup so I will double the chicken next time. Because it was so soupy I added hominy and I loved it! I know point is to be low carb but I couldn’t help myself 🙂 I saw a comment about burning hands…this can happen if the jalapeno is too spicy so I wore gloves like a wimp lol but it worked!
The hominy sounds like a great addition! Glad you enjoyed (and nothing wrong with using gloves 😉 ).
I made this tonight in my pressure cooker. I used chicken breasts, and reduced the broth slightly. I used an immersion blender in the pressure cooker pan….worked great!! When I blended the cilantro I started to drool!! Also….I doubled the chicken, cause I wanted more of a burrito filling than a soup. Thanks for putting a realistic amount of garlic in your recipes, not the typical 1-2 cloves!!
Delicious! I’m a huge cilantro fan too 🙂
if i used a rotisserie chicken instead can i then put it in a dutch oven for a 3 hours on low simmer just to let it all come together?
That should work!
could you double this recipe in the crockpot and still have it turn out ok?
Yes that should work just fine!
Made this using the sauce recipe and used cooked, shredded rotisserie chicken and simmered for 2 hours. It was fabulous! Thank you!
Delicious! I love using cooked rotisserie chicken in here, too. So easy. Glad you enjoyed!
I made the sauce this weekend! Fantastic & definitely a keeper! What I found hysterical was when I went to the Hispanic market to buy the supplies, the scale in the produce section wasn’t weighing correctly. I did not realize this. I put what I thought were 2 lbs of tomatillos in a bag (according to the scale.) I followed the instructions and roasted everything under the broiler. It took 2 cookie sheets but I really didn’t think anything of it. Later today as I was cleaning out my purse, I found the receipt from the store. It was over 4 lbs of tomatillos!!!!I I have a bunch of green sauce! More delicious things to put it on!
Side note: For myself, I will wear gloves when doing the peppers. The oil gets under my nails then of course, into my eyes…Here in Central California, Poblano chiles are also known as Pasilla chiles.
Definitely a recipe worth keeping! Thank you!
Oh wow! That is a ton of tomatillos! Perfect for re-using all of that delicious sauce 🙂 So glad you enjoyed this one (and yes, making sure to scrub your hands / nails does help, and gloves certainly will!)
Would this be doable in a pressure cooker? If so, what cooking time would you recommend?
Looks great! Is that carb count for the entire recipe or per serving? Looks too high to be per serving.
How would you adapt this for instant pot?
I don’t have an Instant Pot yet so I’m not 100% sure!
The nutrition information is messed up– it says the recipe makes 6 servings, but then it contradicts itself and says a serving is 1/4 of what the recipe makes. My family is 5 people so we should be able to make the amount of food work whether it’s meant to be 6 servings or only 4, but it would be nice to be able to trust the information given. Please fix it.
Thank you for your note – I’ve updated the recipe!
Now that I’ve actually tried the recipe, here’s what I have to say: the flavor was great, but it wound up much soupier than I was expecting. I think when I make this again, I’ll either entirely omit the chicken broth or replace it with dry bullion. There was way more liquid than just the 3/4 cup of broth accounts for, but that should help some, and if it’s still soupier than I’d like, I can probably thicken it with cornstarch.
Where are you getting such a high carb countr from ? Broth, tomatillos, all have virtualy zero carbs.
There are two pounds of tomatillos in this recipe along with peppers and onions. If you’d like you are more than welcome to calculate the nutrition on your own.
This sounds absolutely delicious. I have in my freezer poblanos and Hatch green chiles (which I will use instead of canned green chiles). I like to buy chiles when on sale, roast and then freeze. I’ll probably buy a Costco chicken and shred. I will definitely makes this, Thank you!
Perfect! Hope you love this one 🙂
Excellent recipe! Made it tonight, adjusted it to make it my own. This will become a house favorite
This one’s perfect for customizing! Glad you liked it.
How would you make this in an instapot?
I actually haven’t used an Instant Pot, so I’m not 100% sure. Let me know if you try it!
I’ve got this in my crock pot right now and I’m so excited! I flipped the peppers so they could char on both sides but still couldn’t get all the skin off, but it got plenty smooth in the blender! I think I’ll have to serve this with some sour cream for my spice sensitive family, but it’s perfect for me as is! Thank you for sharing the yumminess!
Perfect! And yes sour cream or greek yogurt is delicious on top of this. Glad you enjoyed!
can i use chicken breast instead of thighs
Sure! I like to use thighs as they stay a bit juicier in recipes like this one, but chicken breast will work.
Another amazing recipe from Ambitious Kitchen. Both my husband and myself gave it an A+! We served it with short grain brown rice, fresh avocado, and a lime wedge on top. So delicious. Thank you.
So happy to hear that, Amy! Great idea with the brown rice and those delicious toppings 🙂
The best soup in the world, my husband can’t stop raving about it. We like spicy and I ended up doing about 5 Anaheim peppers, 3 large jalapeños, and 2 Serrano’s. Perfect heat for us! I don’t bother peeling the peppers besides peeling the really charred parts that come off easy, and use gloves. I like to add 2 cans of drained kidney beans at the end, and I omit the chicken broth completely. I like to serve with a small dollop of sour cream, sliced radishes, shredded red cabbage, avocado, and some corn tortilla chips I’m feeling indulgent! So delicious!!
Amazing! So happy you both love this one (the extra kick of heat sounds delicious!)
Wow, wow, wow! This recipe is absolutely delicious and will be put in my frequent recipe file. Didn’t have any cilantro this time (and I love cilantro), but will add to next batch. I loved the strong flavors of fresh peppers and might even prefer without cilantro. Used both chicken thighs and breasts and both just fell apart. My husband is from El Paso and loves Mexican food. He loved as much as I did. Thank you for sharing this keeper recipe.
Perfect! So happy you and your husband both loved this one – it’s one of my absolute favs, too!
Ok, I’m officially addicted to this website.
Followed this to a T and it was amazing!!! My 2 year old loved it!! Thank you!!
So happy to hear that, Carla! I hope you keep finding recipes here that you (and your kiddo) love 🙂
This was yummy enough that my husband wanted to eat it again the next day! It’s not a throw it all in a pot and walk away kind of recipe but definitely worth the effort. I used three jalapeños but think I’ll double that next time. Mine needed more salt so I might consider using regular broth instead of low-sodium. We also liked it best served over rice rather than trying to eat with tortillas. All in all I’m happy to have found this recipe, thank you!
Glad you enjoyed! Everyone’s spice + salt preferences are a bit different – I like to use low-sodium broth so that I can taste and adjust the salt as needed 🙂
Delicious! Such a healthy recipe but I’d like to suggest another way to remove the skin from roasted peppers. I don’t think putting hot things in plastic is a good idea- there’s a risk of the plastic and hormone disrupter (BPA) leaching into the food.
After roasting put in a paper bag or covered glass to steam and then remove skins/seeds. If using a paper bag you can even shake the peppers for bit after steaming to help loosen the skins. Thanks!
Thanks for the tip! 🙂
I made this recipe yesterday exactly as stated. Love the flavor! Served over rice for hubby and cauliflower rice for me – topped with a squeeze of lime and queso fresco. YUM! It was a bit spicy – next time I will look for a smaller jalapeno! Also – I had more sauce than chicken, so I will use 3 lbs of chicken thighs next time. GREAT SUNDAY SLOW COOKER MEAL!!!
Delicious! Yes feel free to adapt a bit to your taste preferences 🙂 perfect for Sunday dinners!
Easy and tasty. My store didn’t have poblanos so I used 4 cubanelle and 3 jalapenos.
Perfect! So delicious 🙂
Can I make the salsa the day before?
This recipe is so simple yet delicious! I use a bit more garlic because I love it, and double the batch so I have tacos all week long. I make pico de gallo to top this and that’s it! Rice and/or beans would be great of course, but it’s really so delicious by itself.
I cannot WAIT to make this. It’s very exciting to me because I adore chile verde in an almost unnatural way, LOL. And I have been looking for a good, easy recipe. Lastly, I’m following the WW program and although the newest program is the most livable weight loss plan I’ve ever followed, it can be a challenge to find recipes that fit my PersonalPoints budget.
However, this recipe (made with chicken breasts) is exactly ZERO points for me. That doesn’t mean I get to eat the whole recipe by myself, but it does mean that I don’t have to measure it out exactly, and that my husband can have as much as he wants. It also means there is a little wiggle room for a little Greek yogurt or some other toppings/sides. It also means I can make the recipe with some other protein and just count the points for the protein and not worry about the sauce. That’s a big win for me!
So THANK YOU for this one! I’ll be making it very soon. 🙂
Oh I can’t wait for you to try this one, Mindy! So happy it fits into the program 🙂
Been looking for a chile verde like my mexican grandma’s, I never got it before she passed. This is so close to it and the real deal. I am fasting, so it is on the stove and cooking and I can freeze it for another day. Thank you.
I’m SO HAPPY you found one so similar to your grandmother’s and that you loved this one ❤️ Thanks for the review, Nova!
This is a go-to in my house. My 13 year old implores me to make it and she’d be happy if I made it once a week. The green sauce is vibrantly fresh tasting. I serve it simply over rice topped with red onion, cilantro and avacado.
This was amazing! I did 5 hours on low, and the chicken was already easy to cut through with a spoon. I put it on high for another 45 minutes and it was good to go!
The end result was just a little acidic, so I added 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda (and then a little more salt) and the end result was fantastic! With a little cheese, tortilla, sour cream, or potatoes, this was a amazing recipe.
I did a couple things different (which may have added to the acidity?) Just to note for others!
– I did chicken breast instead of thighs, simply because I got sick from chicken thighs recently.
– I used white onion instead of yellow, because we enjoy the white flavor more.
– I added about 1/4 teaspoon more of oregano and cumin
Ahhh this is amazing! So glad you loved this recipe 🙂 Thank you for sharing!
Sooo delicious although I doubled amount of chicken (bone in) as there was sooo much sauce. Also I did cleaning and peeling and chopping chiles with bare hands and they were burning up for hours. Please add a note for those not familiar to use gloves.