I first fell in love with pollo verde in my early 20s at my faaavorite taco spot in Milwaukee.
I’d never had Mexican-style chicken with such bright flavors before (most of the chicken tacos I’d had up to that point were either spiced with straight-outta-the-packet taco seasoning or tinga-style spicy tomatoes), so my mind was absolutely blown by how bright, fresh & zippy salsa verde chicken is. I’ve been hooked on pollo verde ever since!
Once I’m hooked on something, I pretty much make it my life’s mission to figure out how to make it myself. Enter: the easiest weeknight-friendly salsa verde chicken, made entirely from scratch in 30 minutes or less thanks to some chicken sheet pan dinner magic. ✨
Get ready to kiss boring chicken sheet pan meals goodbye for good!
You are going to be obsessed with this pollo verde recipe. It’s…
- SO, SO SIMPLE. 10 super straightforward real-food ingredients: chicken, tomatillos, peppers, onion, cilantro, some spices & plenty-o-lime juice.
- SO, SO EASY. 30-minute sheet pan dinner magic at it’s finest! ✨
- SO, SO GOOD. Seriously. Because you’re making it from scratch, the pollo verde ends up tasting super fresh, & you can control just how spicy or zippy you like it (heavy on both fronts for me!).
- & SO, SO VERSATILE. You can use this easy salsa verde chicken in just about anything – tacos, taco salad, burritos, burrito bowls, nachos…you name it!
Serious weeknight dinner magic! ✨ ♡ Read on to learn more about this Pollo Verde Sheet Pan chicken dinner, or jump straight to the recipe & get cookin’!
What is pollo verde?
Pollo verde translates to green salsa chicken, or chicken cooked in salsa verde. Salsa verde is a spicy green sauce made from tomatillos and green chili peppers. You can buy salsa verde pretty readily at most grocery stores, but it’s also super easy to make at home with minimal ingredients.
I make my salsa verde with tomatillos, red onion, both poblano & jalapeno peppers, cilantro & tons of lime juice for extra bright freshness.
Many of the easy salsa verde chicken recipes out there get their ease from using jarred salsa verde. I’m definitely not against a good store-bought shortcut…but honestly, if you have to cook the chicken anyway, why not make yourself fresh salsa with minimal added effort?
That’s exactly where the ✨magic✨comes into the equation for this chicken verde recipe: The chicken & the salsa verde ingredients are roasted on one single sheet pan, resulting in freshly roasted pulled chicken and fresh salsa, all made from scratch with minimal added effort.
Salsa verde chicken ingredients:
One of my favorite parts of this salsa verde chicken recipe is that you only need 10 real-food ingredients to make it from scratch.
Note: full ingredients list & measurements provided in the Recipe Card, below.
The cast of characters includes…
- Chicken – I’m a huge fan of chicken thighs since they have so much flavor & stay so much juicier than breasts. You can certainly use chicken breasts in this recipe – check the Recipe Notes, below, for some guidance.
- Tomatillos – They look like green tomatoes but they’re actually a Mexican fruit with bright, tart flavor. You can find tomatillos (they will be encased in a papery husk) in the produce section at most conventional grocery stores near the chile peppers. If you’d like to learn more, check out this great post all about tomatillos written by my friend Isabel!
- Poblano & Jalapeno peppers – The combination of the two adds great flavor & spice to the salsa verde. Feel free to deseed the peppers if you’d like a less spicy salsa verde.
- Aromatics – Namely red onion, cilantro, & some simple spices like garlic powder & ground cumin.
- Lime juice – Lots of freshly squeezed lime juice adds of bright, zippy flavor to the pollo verde.
- Olive oil – Just a touch, to bring it all together.
How to make this salsa verde chicken sheet pan dinner:
My other favorite part of this salsa verde chicken recipe? It is seriously easy. Between roasting up the chicken & prepping homemade fresh salsa verde, everything happens with just a sheet pan & food processor!
Note: full recipe directions provided in the Recipe Card, below.
Here’s what you’ll do:
- Prep the chicken and veggies: Arrange the chicken on one half of a sheet pan, & the salsa verde veggies on the other half. Drizzle the whole shebang with some olive oil, then give the chicken some extra love with a little ground cumin & a generous squeeze of fresh lime.
- Roast the chicken and veggies: Pop the pan in the oven & bake the chicken salsa verde for 15-20 minutes, just until the chicken is cooked through.
- Shred the chicken: Use your hands, a couple of forks or a pair of tongs, or my favorite trick – pop it in the bowl of a stand mixer & use the paddle attachment to shred the chicken.
- Blend the salsa verde: Toss the roasted salsa verde veggies in a food processor or blender with some extra lime juice & cilantro, & blend away.
- Mix it up!: Pour the salsa verde over the shredded chicken. Mix it together til you’ve got gorgeously green pollo verde!
So easy, right? This salsa verde chicken is absolutely perfect for weeknight dinners – it’s an easy 30-minute sheet pan chicken dinner with just 10 minutes of active prep!
How to serve pollo verde-style sheet pan chicken:
The beauty of this salsa verde chicken recipe is its versatility. You can serve it up in any of your favorite Mexican or Tex-Mex meals!
Some ideas to get you started…
- Burrito bowls
- Taco salad
- You name it!
My favorite (other than tacos, OBV!) is a hybrid kind of taco salad-meets-burrito bowl situation. Pile thinly sliced cabbage & lettuce in a bowl with brown rice or quinoa, then top with the pollo verde, & basically whatever else is in your fridge (avocado, tomatoes, sweet corn, pickled red onion, queso fresco…you name it). Shower the whole shebang with plenty of fresh lime & finely chopped cilantro. SO GOOD.
My other favorite way to serve up this salsa verde chicken sheet pan dinner?! Stuffed in tortillas, alongside a big bowl of guac, tons of chips, & mayyybe a refined sugar-free margarita or two.
I can’t wait for you to try this easy Sheet Pan Salsa Verde Chicken recipe very soon – I know you’ll love it just as much as we do here at the PWWB House!
If you do give it a try, be sure to let me know!: Leave a comment with a star rating below. You can also snap a photo & tag @playswellwithbutter on Instagram. I LOVE hearing about & seeing your PWWB creations! Happy cooking! ♡Print
Sheet Pan Salsa Verde Chicken (Easy Pollo Verde)
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 20 minutes
- Total Time: 30 minutes
- Yield: serves 4
- Category: Main Dish, Tacos, Burritos, & Enchiladas Recipes
- Method: sheet pan, oven
- Cuisine: Mexican, American
Super zippy, bright, & fresh salsa verde chicken (pollo verde) made with just 10 ingredients on 1 sheet pan! A versatile sheet pan chicken dinner that can be transformed into any of your favorite Mexican meals.
- 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 6, see Recipe Notes)
- 1/2 pound husked tomatillos, rinsed & quartered
- 1 small red onion, quartered
- 1 poblano pepper, roughly chopped (see Recipe Notes)
- 1 jalapeno pepper, roughly chopped (see Recipe Notes)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 limes, divided
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- kosher salt
- 1/2 cup cilantro
- for serving, as desired: brown rice or quinoa, shredded cabbage or lettuce, diced tomatoes, diced avocado, pickled red onion, chopped cilantro, sliced jalapeno, lime wedges, etc.
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with foil or parchment, as desired, for easy cleanup.
- Prep the chicken & veggies: Arrange the chicken thighs in a single layer on half of the prepared baking sheet. Arrange the tomatillos, red onion, poblano & jalapeno on the other half of the baking sheet. Season the veggies with 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt. Drizzle the olive oil & squeeze the juice of 1 lime over the chicken thighs. Season the chicken with the cumin, garlic powder, and 1 teaspoon kosher salt. Use your hands to toss the chicken, ensuring it’s coated in the seasoning.
- Roast the chicken & veggies: for 15-20 minutes, until the veggies have softened and the chicken is cooked through, reaching an internal temperature of 165 degrees F. Carefully remove from the oven (there will be juices in the pan!) & set aside.
- Shred the chicken: Allow the chicken to cool slightly, to handle, then transfer to a large plate. Using two forks or a pair of tongs, shred the chicken to your desired level (chunky vs fine – up to you!). Set aside.
- Blend the salsa verde: Carefully transfer the roasted tomatillos, onions, & peppers to a blender or food processor. Squeeze in the juice of the remaining 2 limes and add the cilantro. If there are any juices leftover in the pan you can add those to the mixture as well – they’re full of flavor! Blend until pureed. Taste and season with additional salt as needed.
- Mix the pollo verde: Pour the salsa verde over the shredded chicken, reserving any as desired for serving. Toss to combine.
- Serve! Serve up the pollo verde as desired – tacos, nachos, burrito bowls, taco salads – you name it! Pictured here is a burrito bowl-meets-salad, with shredded cabbage & lettuce, some quinoa, avocado, tomatoes, & tons of extra salsa verde, lime juice, & cilantro. YUM. Enjoy!
- Can I use boneless, skinless chicken breasts? Sure! I prefer thighs since they’re flavorful & stay really nice & juicy through roasting, but you can swap them out with breasts. I would suggest either pounding the breasts out flat, cutting the breasts half lengthwise (butterflied), or dicing into bite sized pieces to ensure they roast up evenly & don’t dry out.
- Make it creamy pollo verde: Take your pollo verde to the next level by blending avocado into the salsa verde. Creamy salsa verde is dreamy!
- Make-Ahead & Storage: If you’re one to cook in advance, salsa verde chicken is an awesome option! This pollo verde will keep, stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator, for up to 4 days.
- Freezer instructions: Pollo verde is a great freezer staple. You can easily thaw it out and use it on tacos, nachos, taco salads, burrito bowls, etc. for an easy dinner down the road. To freeze, transfer cooled pollo verde to a freezer bag or container. Freeze for up to 3 months. Defrost by placing in the refrigerator overnight to thaw, or by submerging the freezer bag/container in room temp water for 20-25 minutes.
- 10-Minute Meal Prep: Nearly all of the active prep work for this sheet pan chicken is chopping the salsa verde veggies. Chop them up in advance to get a head start on your salsa verde chicken – it’ll take 10 minutes, tops. Store in individual airtight containers in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. At dinnertime all you have to do is toss them on a sheet pan & get roasting – so easy!:
- Husk, rinse & quarter 1/2 pound tomatillos
- Peel & quarter 1 small red onion
- Deseed & roughly chop 1 poblano pepper
- Deseed & roughly chop 1 jalapeno pepper
Keywords: salsa verde chicken, pollo verde, chicken sheet pan dinner, sheet pan chicken, easy, Mexican, weeknight
Recipe by Jess Larson, Plays Well With Butter | Photography by Eat Love Eat
Love Mexican Food? Us too! Here are a few more weeknight-friendly Mexican & Tex-Mex Recipes to try…
- Chipotle Honey Chicken – Another super easy, super versatile chicken recipe you can use in any of your favorite Mexican-inspired dishes!
- Easy Chorizo Sweet Potato Tacos – Made with 3 ingredients in 20 minutes or less!
- Weeknight Chicken Enchiladas – Chicken enchiladas with homemade enchilada sauce in 1 hour or less!
- Quinoa & Black Bean Tacos with Cilantro Lime Crema – An easy stovetop vegetarian taco recipe using pantry ingredients.
- Roasted Cauliflower & Sweet Potato Tacos – More sheet pan magic, the heartiest veggie tacos you’ll ever have, with an addictive creamy chipotle cashew crema.
- All PWWB Tacos, Burritos, & Enchiladas Recipes
Follow along with Plays Well With Butter on Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, & Pinterest for more easy, modern recipes & fun!
Que bueno, Full of flavor, easy to make. Was tempted to use my own home made salsa verde, but made with the tomatillos, jalapenos, etc.,no red onion used Sweet Vidalia onion cut into large slices-well did not disappoint. Keeper recipe, Thanks so much for sharing-easy, fairly quick to make, yet packed so much flavor. Used some of
the leftovers to stuff my empanadas, So delish !
Hi Boo, so happy to hear the pollo verde turned out great for you! The empanadas sound SO good!!
This looks easy and delicious!
Hi Jenny, it totally is! Plus it is so versatile too – hope you try soon & let us know how it goes!
Yum! Not sure what took me so long to find this one but it will definitely be in my regular rotation. Easy and delicious! Thank you!
So glad you loved it, Susan! Easy & delicious is right! 😋
This is a regular for us! So delicious and easy, and the toppings are KEY! Whatever sounds good on it, is good on it! Corn, fajita veggies, guac, cheese, sour cream, salsa and sour cream for us!
Simple and yummy! I make a lot of different veggies like fajita bell peppers, corn, black beans, pickled radishes and throw it with this chicken to make burrito rice bowls. Delicious and reheats well, which means it makes a great meal prep!
Hi Kelly! Yes we love how versatile this Salsa Verde Chicken is, so glad you enjoyed!
This is such a great, easy recipe. I like to make a batch of chicken at the beginning of the week and add it to salads, make burritos or make a Mexican inspired bowl!
Hi Sandra! So glad to hear it!! We agree this chicken is so versatile =)
This recipe became an instant favorite in our house as soon as we made it the first time – even for my husband, who is usually an extreme cumin and cilantro skeptic. It is soooo easy on a weeknight and makes enough for us to have leftovers for lunch. I will also say that while it’s way better with cilantro, I *may* have forgotten it at the grocery store one time and the recipe withstood the omission, so it’s pretty darn forgiving!
Ah, I’m so glad to hear you & your hubby loved this one, Elizabeth! So, so easy, right??