Deliciously Spicy Green Chile Chicken Tamale Recipe

Welcome to my recipe for Green Chile Chicken Tamales! As a chef specializing in both Brazilian and American cuisine, I am excited to share this flavorful and authentic Mexican dish with you.

If you are looking for a meal that is both satisfying and fun to make, then tamales are the way to go. They may take a bit of time to prepare, but trust me, the end result is worth every minute.

In this recipe, we’ll be using fresh ingredients like serrano chilies and hatch green chile to give our tamales a bold and spicy flavor. We will also be using boneless, skinless chicken breasts that have been simmered in low sodium chicken broth for a tender, juicy filling.

But what really sets these tamales apart is the masa dough. Made from corn masa flour, baking powder and vegetable shortening, it’s the perfect base for wrapping up all those delicious fillings.

Don’t be intimidated if you’ve never made tamales before. In this recipe, I provide step-by-step instructions that will guide you through the entire process.

So grab your apron and let’s get started on making these mouth-watering Green Chile Chicken Tamales!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Green Chile Chicken Tamales
Green Chile Chicken Tamales

Are you ready to fall in love with a dish that is packed with flavor, spice and everything nice? Look no further! This Green Chile Chicken Tamales recipe is the ultimate culinary masterpiece, as it combines traditional Mexican flavors with a twist of Southwestern zest.

First of all, let’s talk about the juicy, tender chicken that is wrapped up in your tamales. Not only is the chicken simmered to perfection in a low-sodium chicken broth infused with garlic and serrano chilies for an extra boost of heat, but it adds a satisfying protein punch. Shredded chicken mixed with fresh cilantro and green chile sauce creates the perfect filling for your masa dough – which consists of vegetable shortening, baking powder and a touch of salt – to create mouth-watering tamales.

But what truly sets these green chile chicken tamales apart from any other tamale recipe out there is the homemade Hatch green chile sauce that pairs perfectly with every bite. The green chile sauce incorporates roasted hatch green peppers, onion, garlic and olive oil to make a salsa verde-like mixture that will transport you to the streets of Mexico City itself. This sauce elevates each bite of your tamale to the next level – trust me on this.

And let’s not forget about the versatility of this recipe! If you want to switch up your filling, feel free to swap the shredded chicken out for pork or even cheese if you’re feeling adventurous. You can also add your own personal touches by using different types of peppers or adjusting the level of heat to suit your taste buds.

Overall, this Green Chile Chicken Tamales recipe is guaranteed to amaze and delight anyone who tries it. So roll up those sleeves and get ready to fall in love with a dish that will surely become a classic favorite in your household.

Ingredient List

“Get ready to spice up your life with these Green Chile Chicken Tamales.”

Here are the ingredients you will need to make these delicious green chile chicken tamales.

For the Filling:

  • 2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 white onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 can Hatch green chili
  • 1 serrano chili, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth

For the Masa Dough:

  • 2 lbs corn masa
  • 1 pack (3.5 oz) vegetable shortening
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp salt

For the Corn Husks:

  • 1 package dried corn husks (about 10-12 husks)
  • Hot water for soaking

For the Green Chile Sauce:

  • 10 tomatillos, husked and rinsed
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 cans Hatch green chile (7 oz each)
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth

Make sure to get all ingredients ready before starting with the recipe. You can find most of these ingredients in your local Mexican food market. If some ingredients are not available in stores near you, you can always order them online.

The Recipe How-To

“A delicious Mexican classic with a twist of New Mexico heat.”

Let’s get to the good stuff – the recipe how-to for these delicious green chile chicken tamales. Trust me, once you try these, you’ll be making them again and again.


  • 1 pound dried corn husks (soaked in water for an hour until pliable)
  • 2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 cups masa harina (corn flour)
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup vegetable shortening
  • 3 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 Serrano chilies, chopped (keep seeds in for extra heat)
  • 2 cans Hatch green chiles, drained and diced (or 10 roasted and peeled fresh Hatch green chiles)
  • Handful of fresh cilantro, chopped

Step 1: Poach the Chicken

In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, bring 6 cups of low sodium chicken broth to a simmer. Add the boneless skinless chicken breasts and poach until cooked through – this should take around 15 minutes. Remove the chicken from the broth and let cool slightly before shredding it with two forks.

Step 2: Prepare the Masa Dough

In a mixing bowl, combine 2 cups masa harina, 1 tablespoon baking powder, and 1 teaspoon salt. Mix well.

In another bowl, beat 1 cup vegetable shortening until fluffy. Add the masa mixture gradually while continuing to beat. Slowly add 3 cups of low sodium chicken broth while beating constantly. Lastly, stir in the shredded chicken along with any accumulated juices from poaching.

Step 3: Prepare the Green Chile Sauce

In a large frying pan or wok, heat up 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add 5 cloves of minced garlic, 1 chopped medium yellow onion and 3 chopped Serrano chilies. Cook until soft and fragrant, about 3-4 minutes.

Next, add the 2 cans of drained and diced Hatch green chiles and cook for another 2-3 minutes. If you’re using freshly roasted Hatch green chiles, dice them up first and add them in. Add 1 cup of low sodium chicken broth and season with salt to taste. Cook the mixture until slightly thickened – about 5-10 minutes.

Step 4: Assemble the Tamales

Take a soaked corn husk and spread masa dough to cover about two-thirds of its surface (do not overfill!). Add a spoonful of green chile sauce onto the masa-covered part, then fold the sides in toward the center, securing them with strips of the thin edges from other husks. Fold up the narrow end of the husk, then stand the tam

Substitutions and Variations

“Satisfy your taste buds with every bite of these homemade tamales.”

Looking for ways to switch up this delicious green chile chicken tamales recipe? No worries, I’ve got you covered. Here are some substitutions and variations that will add a new twist to the recipe.

– Pork Tamales: Instead of using chicken, you can swap it out for tender and juicy pork. Simply replace the chicken with shredded pork shoulder or leftover pulled pork from a previous meal.

– Vegetarian/Vegan Tamales: For vegetarian or vegan options, use vegetable broth instead of low sodium chicken broth and swap the shredded chicken with extra veggies like chopped bell peppers, mushrooms or zucchini.

– Cheese Tamales: If you prefer cheesy goodness in your tamales, mix in some grated cheese like Cheddar, Monterrey Jack or Queso Fresco into the masa dough or sprinkle on top after pouring the green chile sauce over the tamales.

– Tamale Pie: For a quick tamale-fix, turn this recipe into a tamale pie by spreading half of the masa dough on the bottom of a casserole dish then layering on top with filling (either shredded chicken, pork or black beans) before adding the remaining masa dough. Bake until golden brown and drizzle green chile sauce over the top before serving.

– Pressure Cooker Tamales: Make this recipe even easier by using a pressure cooker. Follow steps 1 and 2 as described in ‘The Recipe How-To’ section’. Put the tamales rack inside your Instant Pot or pressure cooker with about 1/2 inch water in the bottom of the pot. Place wrapped tamales standing up on their folded bottoms you will need to stack them high. Cook for 25 minutes on high pressure, then let it release pressure naturally. Serve hot with salsa verde!

These are just some ideas to get you started; feel free to mix and match ingredients to suit your preferences. The options are endless, and you might just create your own irresistible variation of this authentic green chile chicken tamales recipe!

Serving and Pairing

“Freshly steamed and stuffed with tender chicken and spicy chiles.”

Now that you’ve made these savory and spicy green chile chicken tamales, it’s time to enjoy them! Serve them warm with your favorite toppings, such as sour cream, guacamole, or fresh cilantro. These tamales make a perfect meal on their own, but you can also pair them with a side dish for a more complete meal.

Try serving them with some Spanish rice, black beans, or a simple green salad to balance out the heat from the chiles. For a refreshing beverage, I recommend a traditional Agua Fresca made from fresh fruits or hibiscus flowers.

If you’re serving these tamales at a gathering or party, consider adding other Mexican-inspired dishes to the mix. Some perfect complementary dishes could include chips and salsa or queso dip, shrimp ceviche or Mexican street corn.

For those who enjoy beer with their meals, Mexican lagers such as Tecate or Modelo go well with the flavors of these tamales. If you prefer wine, try a bright fruity rosé wine or a bold red such as Malbec or Cabernet Sauvignon.

In summary, these green chile chicken tamales are incredibly versatile and pair well with many different dishes and beverages. Make it a fiesta by adding extra Mexican-inspired items to your menu!

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

“The perfect comfort food for a rainy day or chilly evening.”

Green Chile Chicken Tamales are a fantastic make-ahead dish. You can prepare these tamales a day or two in advance and store them in the refrigerator until ready to cook. To store, wrap each tamale in plastic wrap to prevent them from drying out.

When it’s time to reheat the tamales, you have two options: steaming or microwaving. Steaming is the preferred method as it helps keep the tamales soft and moist. To steam, set up a steamer basket over a pot of simmering water and place the wrapped tamales inside the basket. Steam for about 15-20 minutes until heated through.

If you’re short on time or don’t have a steamer basket, microwaving is also an option. Simply unwrap the tamale and place it on a microwave-safe plate. Cover with a damp paper towel and heat on high for 1-2 minutes until heated through.

As for storing leftover tamales, you can keep them in the fridge for up to two days or in the freezer for longer storage. To freeze, wrap each tamale individually with plastic wrap and then place them in a ziplock freezer bag or an airtight container.

To thaw frozen tamales, simply remove them from the freezer and let them thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Once thawed, reheat using one of the methods mentioned above.

Now that you know how to make-ahead, store and reheat Green Chile Chicken Tamales, you’ll be able to enjoy this delicious dish at any time!

Tips for Perfect Results

“Warm up your soul with these authentic Green Chile Chicken Tamales.”

There are a few tips and tricks that will help you achieve the perfect green chile chicken tamales. These tips come from my years of experience making this recipe and my own personal preferences.

1. Use fresh masa dough.

Whenever possible, I recommend using fresh masa dough over masa harina. Fresh masa dough is made from whole hominy or corn, whereas masa harina is made from dried hominy or corn that has been ground into a flour. The flavor and texture of fresh masa dough is far superior to that of masa harina.

2. Soak the corn husks thoroughly.

The corn husks are an essential part of wrapping the tamales, but they can be difficult to work with if they’re dry and brittle. Allow them to soak in hot water for at least 30 minutes before using them to wrap the tamales.

3. Don’t skimp on the filling.

One common mistake when making tamales is not putting enough filling in each one. Be sure to use a generous amount of shredded chicken and green chile sauce in each tamale so that every bite is packed with flavor.

4. Cook the tamales for long enough.

Tamales can take anywhere from 1-2 hours to cook, depending on how many you are making and how crowded they are in the pot. It’s important to make sure they are cooked all the way through before serving them.

5. Serve with a variety of toppings and sauces.

Green chile chicken tamales are delicious on their own, but they become even more flavorful when served with different toppings and sauces. Consider serving them with salsa verde, tomatillo salsa, cilantro, chopped onions, or sour cream.

By following these tips, you’ll be well on your way to making a batch of perfect green chile chicken tamales every time.

Bottom Line

So there you have it – a recipe for green chili chicken tamales that will make your taste buds dance with joy! With fresh cilantro, serrano chilies, green chili, and other wholesome ingredients, this dish is packed with authentic flavors that will transport you straight to Mexico.

But why stop there? You can customize this recipe to your liking by experimenting with different fillings or sauces. Use shredded pork or beef instead of chicken, or try a different chili sauce, such as chile verde. The possibilities are endless!

So, if you’re looking for a delicious and unique dish to impress family and friends, then this green chili chicken tamale recipe is the way to go. Just follow the simple instructions and tips outlined in this article, and you’ll be on your way to serving up an unforgettable meal.

So go ahead and give it a try! Trust me, once you sink your teeth into these tamales, you’ll be glad you did.

Green Chile Chicken Tamales

Green Chile Chicken Tamales Recipe

I've actually had people bring me the ingredients for this recipe so that I would make them a batch. It's time consuming but OH so worth the wait. Even my 1 1/2 year old son loves them.
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Prep Time 1 hr 30 mins
Cook Time 1 d
Course Main Course
Cuisine Mexican
Calories 148.6 kcal


  • 1 (8 ounce) package dried corn husks (the larger the better)


  • 1 lb tomatillo, husked and rinsed
  • 4 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • 4 three-inch long serrano chilies, stemmed and chopped
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 4 cups packed coarsely shredded cooked chicken (about 1 pound, purchased from rotisserie chicken works best and takes a lot of the work out)
  • 2/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro


  • 1 1/3 cups vegetable shortening
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt (omit if masa mixture contains salt)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder (omit if masa mixture contains baking powder)
  • 4 cups freshly ground masa dough, for tamales, 34 to 36 ounces (or make masa dough with 3 1/2 cups masa harina mixed with 2 1/4 cups warm water, corn tortilla mix,)
  • 2 cups about low sodium chicken broth


  • Filling Directions:
  • Place husks in large pot or large bowl; add water to cover. Place heavy plate on husks to keep submerged. Let stand until husks soften, turning occasionally, at least 3 hours and up to 1 day - I find that over-night is perfect.
  • Preheat boiler. Line heavy baking sheet with foil. Arrange tomatillos on prepared sheet and broil until tomatillos blaken in spots, turning once (about 5 minute per side). Transfer tomatillos and any juices on sheet to processor and cool.
  • Add chiles and garlic to processor and blend until smooth puree forms.
  • Heat oil on medium sauce pan over medium-high heat. Add tomatillo puree and boil 5 minutes, stirring often.
  • Add broth and reduce heat to medium; simmer until sauce coats spoon thickly and is reduced to 1 cup, stirring occasionally, about 40 minutes.
  • Season with salt and mix in chicken and cilantro (can be made 1 day ahead, cover and chill).
  • I usually double this portion of the recipe and freeze half, it holds very well in the freezer.
  • Dough Directions:
  • Using electric mixer, beat shortening (with salt and baking powder if using) in large bowl until fluffy.
  • Beat in fresh masa or masa harina mixture in 4 additions.
  • Reduce speed to low and gradually beat in 1 1/2 cups broth, forming tender dough. If dough seems firm, beat in enough broth, two tablespoons at a time to soften.
  • Fill bottom of pot with steamer insert with enough water (about two inches) to reach bottom of insert. Line bottom of insert with some softened corn husks.
  • Tear 3 large husks into 1/4-inch-wide strips to use as ties and set aside. This isn't necessary, I only do it when I want to make the tamales look "pretty".
  • Open 1 large husks on work surface. Spread 1/4 cup dough in 4-inch square in center of each, leaving 2-3-inch plain border at narrow end of husk.
  • Spoon heaping tablespoon filling in strip down center of dough square. Fold sides of husk towards center and the narrow bottom end up so that the chicken mixture is "contained" in the center of dough and husk. This is where you can tie them with a strip of husk, but I find it isn't necessary. Leave wide end of tamale open.
  • Stand tamales in steamer basket, open end UP. Repeat with more husks, dough and filling until all filling has been used. If necessary, to keep tamales upright in steamer, insert pieces of crumpled foil between them.
  • Bring water in pot to boil, cover and steam tamales until dough is firm to touch and separates easily from husk, adding more water to pot as necessary, about 45 minutes.
  • Let stand 10 minutes.
  • Can be made 2 days ahead. Cool one hour, cover and chill. Before serving, re-steam tamales until hot, about 35 minutes.

Add Your Own Notes


Serving: 90gCalories: 148.6kcalCarbohydrates: 1.8gProtein: 6.3gFat: 13.1gSaturated Fat: 3.6gCholesterol: 16.1mgSodium: 182.9mgFiber: 0.4gSugar: 0.8g
Keyword Broil, Chicken, For Large Groups, Meat, Mexican, Mixer, Oven, Poultry, Small Appliance, Steam
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Dora is a chef well-versed in Brazilian and American cuisine. After a hard day's work in the kitchen of her restaurant, she finds the time to jot down recipes for her food blog. Her recipes are sure to delight foodies everywhere, as she strives to make each one unique and enjoyable to read.