Delicious Tamales Verdes Recipe for Chicken Lovers

Get ready to taste the perfect combination of savory, spicy, and aromatic flavors in one bite! I proudly present to you my Tamales Verdes De Pollo recipe, a classic Mexican dish that always enchants anyone who tries it. A good tamale is more than just a meal; it’s an experience.

Tamales are a delicious culinary tradition that have been enjoyed for centuries, originating from the ancient Mayan civilization. Nowadays, they are served all over Latin America and beyond, with various fillings and ways of cooking depending on the region.

This recipe brings together shredded chicken sautéed with onions and flavorful green sauce made with tangy tomatillos and mildly spicy serrano chilies. They are wrapped in tender corn husks and steamed to perfection. With every bite, you will taste the freshness of the ingredients mixed with warmth and comfort.

But be warned—it is not an easy recipe to perfect. Making tamales requires patience, time, love and not something that can be done in a hurry. Nonetheless, I assure you that the reward is worth every bit of effort.

So, grab your apron and let’s begin our journey creating delicious tamales verdes de pollo that your family and friends will love!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Tamales Verdes De Pollo
Tamales Verdes De Pollo

Are you looking for a recipe that brings together shredded chicken, sautéed onions, and a flavorful green sauce? Then look no further than tamales verdes de pollo! This delicious dish is made with masa harina, fresh cilantro, garlic cloves, serrano chilies, and a tangy tomatillo-based salsa verde.

Not only is this recipe a quintessential example of authentic Mexican cuisine, it is also incredibly versatile. You can customize the filling with your favorite proteins or vegetables, and make them vegetarian or vegan if desired.

And let’s not forget about the texture; the dough wrapped in corn husks (or even banana leaves if you prefer!) gives these tamales an irresistible chewy sensation.

So if you’re ready to try something new and exciting in the kitchen, tamales verdes de pollo is the perfect place to start. Everyone will be asking for your secret recipe!

Ingredient List

“Get ready for a bite of authentic Mexican flavors with these mouth-watering tamales verdes de pollo!”

Here are the ingredients needed for the Tamales Verdes De Pollo recipe:

  • 2 lbs of masa harina
  • 1 medium white onion, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup of fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
  • 1 to 2 serrano chilies, minced (depending on your desired level of spiciness)
  • 3 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
  • 1 can of salsa verde (8 ounce package)
  • 1 cup of chicken broth
  • Salt to taste
  • Corn husks

Note that for the salsa verde, you can either make it yourself or use a store-bought version. If you opt for homemade salsa verde, you’ll need the following ingredients:

  • 1 lb of tomatillos, husked and rinsed
  • 1 to 2 serrano chilies
  • 1 medium white onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • Salt to taste

It’s important to use fresh ingredients whenever possible for the best results. Also, make sure to soak your corn husks in water until pliable before using them.

The Recipe How-To

“The secret to making the perfect masa? Hand mixing it and adding chicken broth instead of water. You’re welcome.”

Now that we’ve got our ingredients ready, it’s time to dive into the steps of making “Tamales Verdes De Pollo.” This recipe is not only delicious, but it’s also a cultural experience to make. In Mexico, tamales are often shared among family and friends during celebrations such as Natal – Christmas – and Dia de los Muertos – Day of the Dead.

Steps to Make Tamales Verdes De Pollo
Prepare the Corn Husks

  • Soak your corn husks in warm water for at least an hour before assembling your tamales.
  • After the hour has elapsed, drain all water and pat them dry with paper towels.

Cook The Shredded Chicken

  • Boil chicken in a large pot of water with half an onion and garlic clove for about 20-25 minutes until well-cooked.
  • Once chicken is done cooking, remove it from the pot and let it cool down for 15 minutes.
  • Next, shred the chicken using two forks or your hands.

Prepare the Salsa Verde

  • Start by washing and dividing roughly six green tomatillos, one jalapeno pepper deseeded and halved, one clove of garlic, half a medium onion, and a small handful of fresh cilantro leaves.
  • In a blender, combine all ingredients together with a pinch of salt until well-blended.

Make the Masa Dough

  • In a large bowl, place 2 cups of masa harina, add 1/2 tbsp salt and mix these two ingredients together.
  • Add 2 cups of chicken broth slowly to get a good consistency. Mix this together until masa looks like cookie dough — not too soft nor too dry.

Assemble The Tamales

  1. Spread the corn husk out flat with the narrow end facing towards you.
  2. Using a spoon or spatula, smooth a thin, even layer of masa onto the lower two-thirds of the husk, starting about 1/2 inch from the bottom and spreading upwards until the husk’s edge is entirely covered with masa and about 1/4 inch thick.
  3. Put a spoonful of the shredded chicken on top of the masa (about 1-2 tbsp), then pour one tablespoon of salsa verde on top of the meat.
  4. Roll the tamale around itself tightly and fold over the narrow tip to hold it in place.

Steam The Tamales

  1. In large pot with approximately one cup of water, insert a steamer basket that doesn’t touch the water but sits above it.
  2. Over medium heat, arrange tamales open end up in a single layer in the steamer basket.
  3. Cover pot with lid and steam your tamales for 60-90 minutes or until they come off the husks smoothly

Substitutions and Variations

“A little tip: Soak your corn husks in warm water for at least an hour before using them to make your tamales more pliable.”

When it comes to making tamales verdes de pollo, there are endless possibilities for substitutions and variations. Here are some ideas to help you put your own twist on this classic recipe!

– Meat: Not a fan of chicken? Try using pork or beef instead! You can also incorporate other proteins like black beans or cheese for a vegetarian option.

– Salsa Verde: You can use store-bought salsa verde for convenience or make your own using fresh ingredients like tomatillos, serrano chilies, and cilantro. For an extra kick of heat, try adding jalapenos or habaneros to your salsa.

– Corn Husks: Don’t have corn husks on hand? No problem! You can substitute with banana leaves or even parchment paper for a non-traditional approach.

– Masa Harina: If you can’t find masa harina in your local grocery store, you can make your own using regular cornmeal and soaking it in lime water overnight. Alternatively, you can use almond or coconut flour for a gluten-free option.

– Seasonings: Experiment with different seasonings like cumin, paprika, or oregano to add more depth of flavor to your tamales.

Remember, making tamales is all about creativity and personal preference. Don’t be afraid to swap out ingredients and try new combinations until you find the perfect flavor for you.

Serving and Pairing

“The star of the show? The vibrant green salsa verde that infuses every bite with a kick of spicy and tangy goodness.”

Now that you’ve made these mouth-watering tamales verdes de pollo, it’s time to enjoy them with the perfect pairing. These tamales are a complete meal in themselves, but adding some sides and drinks can make for an even more satisfying experience.

To start, I recommend serving the tamales with an extra helping of salsa verde on top or on the side. If you feel like switching it up, try drizzling some mole verde over the tamales instead. The savory and slightly sweet flavors of the mole pair perfectly with the tangy green chiles in the salsa.

On the side, I suggest some refried beans and Spanish rice to complement the tamales. The beans offer a creamy texture that balances out the spice of the tamales, while the rice is an excellent source of carbohydrates that will keep you full throughout the day.

For drinks, you can’t go wrong with a cold beer or margarita to wash down the heaviness of the dish. You could also try a refreshing agua fresca made from cucumber or watermelon if you prefer something non-alcoholic.

Finally, don’t forget about dessert! A traditional flan or tres leches cake would be an ideal way to round off this classic Mexican-inspired meal.

Overall, this versatile recipe is not only delicious but also perfect for any occasion. Whether you are celebrating Cinco de Mayo or just looking for a cozy and comforting dinner, these tamales verdes de pollo will not disappoint.

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

“Don’t forget the filling! Slow-cooked, shredded chicken seasoned to perfection

Creating tamales verdes de pollo is a labor of love, and it’s often best to make a large batch to enjoy over several meals. Thankfully, these tasty tamales are easy to store and reheat, giving you plenty of mealtime options.

When it comes to making ahead, the key is to store the uncooked tamales in the refrigerator or freezer. Before storing the tamales, make sure they’re completely cooled and wrapped in plastic wrap or aluminum foil. If you’re freezing the tamales, place them in an airtight container or freezer bag so that they don’t become freezer burnt.

To reheat tamales verdes de pollo that have been cooked, wrap them in damp paper towels and microwave for 30 seconds at a time until heated thoroughly. You can also reheat them in the oven by placing them in a covered dish with a little bit of water at the bottom, cooking at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 15 minutes.

When storing leftover cooked tamales, keep them wrapped in plastic wrap or aluminum foil and refrigerate for up to three days. The texture may change slightly after reheating, but the rich flavor will still be there.

Whether you choose to make-ahead or store leftovers, tamales verdes de pollo are a perfect meal to have on hand for busy weeknights or impromptu get-togethers. Just heat them up and serve with fresh cilantro and lime wedges for a delicious and convenient meal.

Tips for Perfect Results

To ensure the success of your Tamales Verdes De Pollo, here are some tips to keep in mind:

First, when making the masa dough, it’s essential to use masa harina specifically designed for tamales. Do not substitute with regular cornmeal as it will yield a different texture and flavor.

Second, make sure your filling is well-seasoned and flavorful. Consider adding more salt than usual to account for the blandness of the masa dough.

Third, when wrapping the tamales, make sure the dough is evenly spread on the corn husk and leave enough space on the sides to fold them properly. A poorly wrapped tamale will fall apart during cooking.

Fourth, steam your tamales thoroughly until firm and fully cooked. This can take around 60-90 minutes depending on the size and amount of tamales you’re making. To test if they are done, gently open one and check if the masa is cooked through.

Fifth, serve with extra salsa verde or other toppings such as sour cream or queso fresco for added flavor and texture.

Lastly, don’t be afraid to experiment with different fillings and variations. Try making pork tamales or adding mole verde for a twist on the traditional recipe.

By following these tips, you’ll be able to achieve delicious and perfectly cooked Tamales Verdes De Pollo every time.


Before wrapping up this article, I’d like to take a moment to address some frequently asked questions about this Tamales Verdes De Pollo recipe. Making tamales might seem intimidating at first, but with the right guidance and techniques, it can be a rewarding experience. These FAQs will help you troubleshoot any issues you may have encountered and give you a better understanding of the recipe. So without further ado, let’s get started!

What are tamales de pollo made of?

A delicious and savory kind of tamale popular in El Salvador is called tamal de pollo. The tamale is filled with shredded chicken that has been cooked with potatoes, chickpeas, and olives. This blend is mixed with corn masa and wrapped in banana leaves before being boiled or steamed.

What are tamales verdes made of?

In this recipe, we’ll be creating mouth-watering tamales verdes that consist of shredded chicken and sautéed onions mixed with a zesty green sauce containing tangy tomatillos and mildly spicy Poblano chili. This succulent filling will be enveloped by a corn flour dough and then wrapped in a corn husk for ultimate steaming and flavor infusion.

Why do they put a green olive in tamales?

Mexican tamales are known to have an olive in it, which is seen as a representation of the Christ child waiting to be born during Christmas. It is considered a traditional symbol among Christian believers, as tamales are seen as a metaphor for the Holy Virgin.

What is the secret to moist tamales?

To achieve deliciously rich and juicy tamales, don’t hold back on adding fat to the mix. In Mexico, it’s traditional to use lard, but for a vegetarian-friendly approach, you can substitute it with either shortening or softened butter.

Bottom Line

In conclusion, these tamales verdes de pollo are a must-try for any lover of Mexican cuisine. This recipe brings together the perfect combination of shredded chicken sautéed with onions and wrapped in flavorful green sauce made tangy with tomatillos. The dough is then enveloped in corn husks and steamed to perfection, resulting in a dish that’s both deliciously spicy and satisfyingly filling.

Whether you’re making them for yourself or sharing with friends and family, these tamales will not disappoint. They’re a great choice to bring some spice and vibrancy to your dinner table or as a festive dish on special occasions.

And with easy-to-follow instructions that leave room for substitutions and variations, this recipe is perfect for anyone who loves to experiment with flavors or might be new to preparing tamales at home. So why not give it a try today? I guarantee that once you do, you’ll be adding these tamales verdes de pollo to your regular rotation.

Tamales Verdes De Pollo

Tamales Verdes De Pollo Recipe

Chicken tamales with green sauce. This version of the tamale is sold every morning and late afternoon at special puestos (tamale stands) in Mexico. For an online tamale making tutorial, including pictures, please see posted in the Mexican cooking forum.
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Prep Time 1 hr 30 mins
Cook Time 1 hr
Course Main Course
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 20 Tamales
Calories 123.6 kcal


  • 4 -6 serrano chilies
  • 1 lb tomatillo, husks removed and coarsely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1/4 cup onion, chopped
  • 2 cups cooked chicken, shredded
  • dried corn husk, soaked in warm water until pliable
  • 4 cups prepared masa harina


  • Cook chilies in a saucepan of boiling water for 4 minutes.
  • Add the tomatillos and cook 2 more minutes; drain and transfer to a blender.
  • Add garlic and chicken stock to the blender; puree.
  • Add the cilantro and process briefly.
  • Heat the oil; add onion and sauté until transparent.
  • Add the tomatillo puree to the onions and cook over high heat for 5 minutes.
  • Add the chicken to the sauce; stir and cover; cook over low heat for 5 more minutes.
  • Add salt to taste (if the mixture is too thick, thin with a little chicken stock); set aside.
  • Spread out a corn husk and place 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons of masa on it; either flatten it with your hand or spread it evenly so that it covers a 2 by 3 inch square, leaving a 1 inch border on all sides.
  • Place 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons of the chicken mixture on top of the masa.
  • Roll the husk up length wise; fold up the bottom.
  • Set the tamales upright in your steamer basket and slightly inclined so that the tamales don't slip to the bottom.
  • As soon as the water in your steamer comes to a boil, lower the heat, cover and cook for 1 hour (or 25 minutes in a pressure cooker) or until the masa does not stick to the husk when unrolled.
  • To freeze for another time, leave in their husks and seal them in a freezer bag; re-heat by either re-steaming them or microwaving them until hot.

Add Your Own Notes


Serving: 1400gCalories: 123.6kcalCarbohydrates: 19.3gProtein: 6.1gFat: 2.8gSaturated Fat: 0.5gCholesterol: 10.7mgSodium: 20.8mgFiber: 0.5gSugar: 1.1g
Keyword < 4 Hours, Brunch, Chicken, Meat, Mexican, Poultry, Pressure Cooker, Spicy, Steam, Stove Top
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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.