Pollo Enchipotlado

Chicken in a Creamy Chipotle Sauce


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves

    4 to 6

Appears in

Oaxaca: Home Cooking from the Heart of Mexico


By Bricia Lopez and Javier Cabral

Published 2019

  • About

This is an everyday dish for my family. When I was pregnant, I once had three plates of pollo enchipotlado and still didn’t feel full. I couldn’t get enough of the creamy chipotle sauce; it’s so decadent. It is similar to a tinga and is one of those dishes that you don’t really find in restaurants in Oaxaca. It is more of a dish that you cook for yourself and your loved ones to enjoy at home—a “mom dish,” as I like to call them. The perfect way to eat this is by tearing off big pieces of tortilla and repetitively using them as a utensil to pick up the tender pieces of chicken. No forks or spoons necessary. Adding the crema on top at the end amplifies the richness of the sauce.


  • 1 whole chicken (about 2 pounds/1 kg), butchered into 8 pieces
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • cups (about 945 g) chopped tomatoes
  • ½ of a small white onion (50 g), chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 3 whole chipotles in adobo plus 2 tablespoons adobo sauce (add an extra tablespoon of sauce for a spicier dish)
  • 3 bay leaves
  • Mexican crema, for garnish


Season the chicken generously with salt, pepper, and the Dijon mustard. Let sit for 10 minutes.

Cook the tomatoes in a pot over medium-high heat with just enough water to cover them, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes.

Preheat your oven’s broiler to its highest setting. Place the chopped onion on a baking sheet and broil for 10 minutes on your oven’s highest rack, until lightly charred. Add the garlic to the pan and broil for another 5 minutes. Set aside.

Heat the oil and butter in a very large, deep skillet or saucepan over medium-high heat. When the fat starts to smoke, drop the seasoned chicken into the pan and brown it on each side for about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a blender, mix the charred garlic and onion, the cooked tomatoes, and the chipotle chiles and adobe sauce until finely pureed. Pass through a double-fine-mesh strainer for a velvety texture.

Add the chipotle mixture to the skillet along with the bay leaves and mix well with the chicken. Bring to a simmer, cover, and let cook for 10 minutes. Once the sauce starts to change color and the texture resembles heavy cream, it is ready.

Drizzle with Mexican crema.