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Published April 21, 2023. This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.
This Pipian verde recipe with chicken has fantastic flavors of spices, toasted nuts, and roasted vegetables for one of my favorite mole sauces. You will be blown away by this sauce’s beautiful, unique flavors.
I’m a massive fan of Mexican food. From the bold, robust flavors to the rich history of their classical recipes, check out my Birria Quesa Tacos or my Chilaquiles if you are in the same boat.
Pipian verde is a rich Mexican sauce consisting of nuts, spices, tomatillos, and pureed vegetables until smooth. Once it’s done being prepared it is commonly cooked and simmered with pre-cooked chicken or pork. It would be traditional to serve it with Mexican rice or Arroz Blanco.
Pipian verde is also known as mole Verde, making it one of the seven famous moles of Puebla and Oaxaca, Mexico. The word mole comes from the native language Nahuatl of the Aztecs, and the mole originally just meant sauce. While some moles are complex in flavor and ingredients, this pipian is simpler. This sauce is a must-make with the perfect spice, some toasted nut flavors, and roasted vegetables and herbs.
- Tomatillos – Use freshly peeled tomatillos for this sauce.
- Onions – You can use white, red, sweet, or yellow onions. You’ll also need some garlic cloves.
- Chiles – I use a combination of poblano and serrano peppers.
- Herbs – Fresh cilantro and epazote help to balance out the flavors in the sauce and tame the spice from the chiles.
- Greens – I like the combination of romaine lettuce and radish greens.
- Spices – Cumin and peppercorns add some wonderful flavor to the pipian verde.
- Nuts & Seeds – I use sesame seeds, pepitas, and peanuts.
- Oil – Any suitable expeller-pressed oil like avocado or olive oil will work well.
- Liquid – I use chicken stock, but water or vegetable stock also works.
- Chicken – I prefer breaking down a whole chicken into parts and using the fabricated carcass for stock later. However, you can use all thighs, drums, breasts, or a combination.
How to Make Pipian with Chicken
Season the chicken with salt and pepper.
Add the oil to a rondeau pot over high heat until it smokes lightly, and then place in the chicken skin side down. Turn the heat down to medium-high.
Sear the chicken for 3 to 4 minutes per side or until well browned. Set it aside on a plate.
Add optional onion, carrots, celery, garlic, and 1 bay leaf and sauté for 3 to 4 minutes. If not, proceed straight to adding in the chicken stock.
Pour the chicken stock and season it with salt and pepper. Place the chicken back in and cover over medium heat for 1 hour.
On a sheet tray with parchment paper, spread out the onion, poblano peppers, serrano peppers, garlic cloves, and tomatillos. Drizzle oil over the vegetables and season them with salt and pepper.
Roast in the oven at 425° for 25 to 30 minutes.
In the meantime, toast the cumin seeds and peppercorns over low to medium heat while stirring until fragrant. Add to a bowl or a mortar.
Toast the sesame seeds in that same pan over low to medium heat while stirring or until lightly browned. Add to the same bowl or mortar. Repeat the process for the pepitas and then the peanuts.
Finely grind all the spices, seeds, and nuts using a pestle.
Transfer the roasted vegetables, ground spices, nuts, and seeds to a blender, along with romaine leaves, radish greens, cilantro, epazote, and chicken stock from the pan with the chicken.
Blend on high speed until it becomes smooth and add it to the large rondeau pan and season it to taste.
Add the chicken to the pipian sauce and cook over low heat for 20 to 30 minutes.
Serve the chicken with optional garnishes of pepitas and chopped fresh cilantro.
Make-Ahead and Storage
Make-Ahead: You can make this recipe up to 1 day ahead; just reheat it before serving.
How to Store: Cover and refrigerate this pipian verde for 5 days. This will freeze very well and be covered for up to 3 months. Thaw it for 1 day in the refrigerator before reheating.
How to Reheat: Add the desired amount of pipian verde and chicken to a medium-size saucepot with a lid and cook over low heat until warm.
Chef Notes + Tips
- If you like food on the spicier side, add more serrano peppers or use a chile with a higher Scoville, like a habanero.
- Use 1 teaspoon of dried epazote if you can’t find fresh.
- You can also use green leaf lettuce, spinach, or parsley.
- You can use a food processor instead of a mortar and pestle for the spices, seeds, and nuts.
- After making the recipe, there will be plenty of chicken stock braising liquid. Feel free to use in another recipe or freeze it.
More Mexican Recipes
Pipian Verde Recipe with Chicken (Mole Verde)
- 4 1/2 pound chicken broken down into individual breasts, thighs, drums, and wings
- 6 tablespoons avocado oil
- 10 cups chicken stock, water, or vegetable stock
- 2 peeled yellow onions cut into wedges
- 6 peeled tomatillos
- 2 seeded poblano peppers
- 1 seeded serrano pepper
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon peppercorns
- ½ cup sesame seeds
- ¾ cup pepitas, pumpkin seeds
- ¾ cup peanuts
- 4 romaine lettuce leaves
- ½ cup radish greens
- 1 cup cilantro leaves and stems
- 2 epazote leaves, optional
- coarse sea salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
- Season the chicken on all sides with salt and pepper. Next, add the 3 tablespoons of avocado or olive oil to a rondeau pot over high heat until it smokes lightly.
- Place in the chicken skin side down and then turn the heat down to medium-high. Sear the chicken for 3 to 4 minutes per side or until well browned on both sides. Set it aside on a plate.
- This is optional, but add in 1 peeled yellow onion cut into wedges, 2 roughly chopped carrots, 2 roughly chopped ribs of celery, 2 garlic cloves, and 1 bay leaf and sauté for 3 to 4 minutes. If not, proceed straight to adding in the chicken stock.
- Pour in the chicken stock and season it with salt and pepper. Place the chicken back in the liquid, add on a lid, and cover over medium heat for 1 hour.
- On a sheet tray lined with parchment paper, evenly spread out 1 onion, poblano peppers, serrano peppers, garlic cloves, and tomatillos.
- Drizzle 3 tablespoons of avocado or olive oil over the top of the vegetables and season them with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven at 425° for 25 to 30 minutes or until browned.
- In the meantime, toast the cumin seeds and peppercorns for 3 to 4 minutes over low to medium heat while frequently stirring or until fragrant. Place in a bowl or a mortar.
- Next, toast the sesame seeds in that same pan for 3 to 4 minutes over low to medium heat while frequently stirring or until lightly browned. Add in the same bowl or mortar.
- Repeat the process for the pepitas and then the peanuts. Using a pestle, finely grind all the spices, seeds, and nuts.
- Transfer the roasted vegetables, ground spices, nuts, and seeds to a blender along with romaine leaves, radish greens, cilantro, and epazote. Next, pour 2 cups of chicken stock from the pan with the braising chicken. Blend on high speed until it becomes smooth.
- Transfer the mixture to a large rondeau pan and season it to taste with salt and pepper.
- Remove the chicken from the braising liquid pan and place in the pan with the pipian sauce, and cook over low heat for 20 to 30 minutes or until the sauce is infused into the chicken.
- Serve the chicken with optional garnishes of pepitas and chopped fresh cilantro.
A new family favorite – so glad I follow you on FB! I would not even have known this was something I’d want to tackle making without having watched you make it first! Thank you for so generously sharing your amazing recipes!
the very very best , so so yummy
Amazing it looks fabulous
WOW, what another great recipe here. I’am a Mexican myself and I have never heard of this dish, but it sound amazing and delicious. I love it that you use the whole spices instead of the powder form. To me it tastes so much better in the end. I can’t wait to make this dish it really looks delicious and full of flavor with the cilantro, chilies. I use all the same ingredients in my red Mole sauce too along with several kinds of dried peppers. I made your skirt steak recipe on Wednesday night for dinner. I had my son grill it for me and I made some fresh corn tortillas and we ate Tacos like a bunch of pigs over here. The meat was delicious. I don’t make to many moves with you Billy, I love your cooking and the flavors you bring to food and sauces.
I am planning on making this this weekend. What would you serve with it?