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This Zacatecas-style green mole chicken is intensely flavorful and wholesome! Tender, juicy chicken is smothered in a flavor-packed green sauce. Fresh tomatillos, cilantro, and jalapeños come together to make this irresistibly vibrant dish.

overhead image of green mole chicken on a plate with rice and a tortilla

What Makes This Recipe So Good

  • It’s jam-packed with delicious, fresh flavor! Plenty of fresh cilantro and whole tomatillos give this dish it’s incredible taste. Herbs and veggies are perfectly complimented with a curated blend of spices to make this a restaurant-quality meal.
  • The chicken is cooked to tender perfection! We start by boiling the chicken in a variety of herbs and spices. Then, the chicken sits in a bath of delicious green mole sauce and soaks up all of its irresistible flavor.
  • It’s a total crowd favorite! With just the right amount of spice, everyone will love this delicious chicken recipe. If you’d like, you can even adjust the amount of spice to better suit your friends and family’s preferences.

Key Ingredients

Cilantro – We incorporate fresh cilantro all throughout this Zacatecas-inspired dish. To prepare the cilantro for this recipe, start by washing it very well under cold water. This bright green herb has a tendency to be very sandy, and therefore needs a thorough rinse before eating. Once washed, cut off just the stems to use in the chicken portion of the recipe. Then, pluck off the leaves to use in the sauce as well as to garnish the finished dish with!

Whole Tomatillos – Whole tomatillos make up the base of the green mole sauce in this chicken recipe. Common in Mexican cooking, the country in which they originated, tomatillos are a bright green vegetable resembling a baby tomato. They’re enclosed in a husk that must be peeled off before cooking. To prepare tomatillos for this recipe, simply remove the husk and give them a good rinse. Once clean, chop each tomatillo into quarters and then cook them in a saucepan along with diced jalapeños to give them a pleasantly smoky flavor.

Flour Tortillas – Not only are flour tortillas used in serving this green mole chicken, they’re also blended into the sauce. For the sauce, start by toasted up two flour tortillas – I do this by sticking them under the broiler for 1-2 minutes until golden brown. Once toasted, add them straight into the blender with the other mole sauce ingredients. While optional, toasted flour tortillas make the sauce more rich, thick, and creamy.

Chef’s Tips

  • Don’t forget to reserve four cups of the chicken cooking liquid! This liquid will become a very important ingredient in the sauce, later on in the recipe. It’s packed with tons of flavor and takes the overall meal to the next level.
  • Store leftover green mole chicken in an airtight container in the fridge for up to four days. To reheat, simply transfer to an oven-safe dish and bake at 350° Fahrenheit for 20-30 minutes or until warm throughout.
  • Serve this Zacatecas-style meal however you’d like! I prefer enjoying mine with a side of rice and warm flour tortillas. The rice and tortillas are perfect for soaking up any extra sauce – yum!
green mole chicken in a skillet with fresh cilantro on top

Other Flavorful Chicken Recipes You’ll Love

Recipe By: Cheryl Malik
5 from 6 votes

Zacatecas-Style Green Mole Chicken (Pollo en Mole Verde)

Prep 15 minutes
Cook 1 hour 25 minutes
Total 1 hour 40 minutes
A bright, brilliantly flavorful green mole, chock full of garlic, cilantro, and tomatillos, with perfectly flavored and tender chicken.


  • 6-quart saucepan
  • Fine mesh strainer
  • 4-quart saucepan


For the Chicken

  • 4 whole chicken legs drumstick plus thigh
  • 1 cup chopped cilantro stems
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • 2 garlic cloves smashed
  • 1 large white onion chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 12 cups water

For the Mole

  • 6 whole tomatillos peeled, rinsed, and chopped
  • 2 jalapeños stemmed and chopped
  • ½ cup fresh cilantro
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 garlic cloves chopped
  • 2 8-inch flour tortillas toasted
  • 3 tablespoons avocado oil or other neutral oil

For Serving

  • fresh cilantro
  • toasted flour tortillas
  • rice


  • Place all chicken ingredients in a large pot and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to medium-low, cover with a lid and cook for 30 minutes, or until chicken is tender.
  • Remove chicken from the pot, then strain the liquid through a mesh strainer and set aside 4 cups of the strained cooking liquid. Set chicken and liquid aside.
  • Make the mole by heating tomatillos and jalapeños in a medium saucepan over medium heat and cook for about 10 minutes, or until darkened. Transfer to a blender along with the cilantro, salt, garlic, toasted tortillas, and just one cup of the reserved cooking liquid then blend until smooth.
  • Heat avocado oil in the same saucepan over medium-high heat before adding in the tomatillo sauce and fry, stirring constantly until a thick paste forms, about 5 minutes. Whisk remaining 3 cups of cooking liquid into the sauce, then bring to a boil before reducing to a simmer. Let simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until reduced and thickened.
  • Add cooked chicken into the sauce until heated through, about 10 minutes. Serve warm with additional fresh cilantro, toasted tortillas, or rice.
  • Serve with fresh cilantro, toasted tortillas, and cooked rice!
Recipe yields approximately 4 servings. Actual number of servings will depend on your preferred portion sizes.
Nutritional values shown are general guidelines and reflect information for 1 serving using ingredients listed, not including tortillas or rice for serving. Actual macros may vary slightly depending on specific brands and types of ingredients used.
To determine the weight of one serving, prepare the recipe as instructed. Weigh the finished recipe, then divide the weight of the finished recipe (not including the weight of the container the food is in) by 4. Result will be the weight of one serving.

Approximate Information for One Serving

Serving Size: 1servingCalories: 457calProtein: 24gFat: 33gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 120mgSodium: 3159mgPotassium: 555mgTotal Carbs: 17gFiber: 3gSugar: 5gNet Carbs: 14gVitamin A: 666IUVitamin C: 20mgCalcium: 80mgIron: 2mg
Nutrition Disclaimers
Number of total servings shown is approximate. Actual number of servings will depend on your preferred portion sizes.
Nutritional values shown are general guidelines and reflect information for 1 serving using the ingredients listed, not including any optional ingredients. Actual macros may vary slightly depending on specific brands and types of ingredients used.
To determine the weight of one serving, prepare the recipe as instructed. Weigh the finished recipe, then divide the weight of the finished recipe (not including the weight of the container the food is in) by the desired number of servings. Result will be the weight of one serving.

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  1. Thanks For Sharing this amazing recipe. My family loved it. I will be sharing this recipe with my friends. Hope the will like it.5 stars

  2. According to your instructions, there are no onions in the final sauce. Is this correct? BTW, I’m on team Boil That Chicken!

  3. I’m making this and I’m confused about the tortillas. In the instructions it says to add the tortillas to the blender with the tomatillos. Also in the ingredient list it says 1tsp of flour tortillas. I’m sure it’s a misprint but I need some clarification. Thank you.

    1. Eek! Thank you for catching that! We had some issues moving our recipes from our old recipe cards to the new ones. It should be fixed now! And, yes, you can add the 2 toasted tortillas to the blender with the tomatillos, or you can completely leave them out.5 stars

    1. Thanks Purabi! It’s really so good. I actually had a green mole turkey enchilada at this Mayan restaurant in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, and it was very similar now that I think about it! Red mole can be soooo heavy and almost chalky with all the blended in raisins, dried chiles, nuts, and chocolate! While I love a good rich red mole, this is so easy to put together, and quite refreshing for a more “all-the-time” dish!

  4. Isn’t this more a “salsa verde” rather than a “mole”? It looks delish but mole (no matter the color) is much more involved!

    1. It’s a Zacatecas-style mole; they vary by region. It’s much less involved than a nuts-and-chiles-style mole, that’s for sure! But I found it to be beautifully rich from the caramelization of the tomatillos.

    1. Hmm.. I’m honestly not sure. I’ve never really cooked with tagines, but I would imagine you could immerse the chicken in the completed mole sauce and cook it from there in the tagine!

  5. This chicken looks beautiful. I love boiling chicken. I know that sounds weird, but I almost always boil chicken if I’m going to make a chicken salad or something because I think it makes a nice moist chicken. Anyway, I love cilantro so much. This recipe would be such a treat for me. I can’t wait to get home and give it a try!

    1. I’d never really boiled chicken before making this, actually! I love to poach chicken, though, for shredding, so it’s basically the same idea. I can’t wait for you to get home so you can get your hands on some more exotic ingredients!! I’m still amazed you lasted so long over there! I’d have stepped off the plane and turned right back around.. haha

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