Roasted Tomatillo Chicken and Rice Bowls

Roasted Tomatillo Chicken and Rice Bowls with toppings.

Roasted Tomatillo Chicken and Rice Bowls! I’ve been waiting for uuuuuu.

Let’s just cut right to it –> the main idea here is that you eat a big bowl of savory, spicy, tangy AND creamy chicken with tomatillo sauce piled on rice and topped with colorful and crunchy things, and you feel really good about it. It’s one of my best ideas ever, which isn’t really one of my ideas, which is how all my ideas are – but this one was inspired by something I saw on the menu at a place called Sammy’s Bistro in Salt Lake City. Have you been? Have you ordered the Savory Chicken Bowl? You win! That’s what I was trying to recreate here.

It starts with pile of shredded chicken is taken in by a big bowl of homemade roasted tomatillo sauce with jalapeños, poblanos, roasted garlic, a huge mess of cilantro, and a touch of cream – and the saucy tomatillo chicken mixture is heaped over steaming rice and topped with just about anything you want: limes, cilantro, sour cream, or homemade fried tortilla strips.

Or homemade fried tortilla strips.

Or homemade fried tortilla strips.

Yuhhguys! The homemade fried tortilla strips.

Roasted Tomatillo Chicken and Rice Bowl with toppings.
Cilantro in a food processor.
Cilantro sauce on a spoon.

I wanted to post about these bowls the nanosecond after I made them, which was last week sometime (last week x5, because, ummmyeah), but did I mention? I got knocked down with a Minnesota winter sick bug instead and started spending all my time watching trashy TV and eating very safe, extra mild, ultra healing things like the Inner Goddess Raspberry Breakfast bowls in wiser moments and Cup o’ Noodles in moments of weakness.

I was SO not thinking anywhere near the Roasted Tomatillo Chicken Bowls section of my brain and it was a sad time.

But the good news (like, good enough news that every time I remember it I get a little excited buzz running through my body) is that my old friend The Appetite is back and I can 1 – EAT! Oh the pure joy. and 2 – actually talk about these Roasted Tomatillo Chicken Bowls and tell you why they’re so super delicious.

Which is because of that roasted tomatillo sauce.

Roasted tomatillos, poblanos, and jalapeños + roasted garlic and shallots + cilantro, cream, salt… oh me oh my. It’s super easy and it’s really, really, reeeeeeally good. It’s the kind of good where I think about how to incorporate it into just about every spicy, flavor-kicked recipe between now and forever.

Also – the sauce-simmering-smells in your house are not a bad thing. At all.

Dutch oven steaming on a stove.
Tortilla strips in oil.
Totrilla strips.

So in a weird twist of events (or maybe just a weird blogger move) I’m actually bringing you this post this morning from the road somewhere between Orlando and Charleston! It’s a beautiful thing, technology – to be in a tiny little red rental car barreling along down the highway with an Americano in hand, sunglasses on, and my blog in my lap. Just… seriously. Weird life moment and I like it.

We’ve had such a great time these last few days taking Orlando by storm – Bjork experienced Disney for the first time, I ate five hundred mini shrimp toasts with pickled kumquats at the event brunch, we led a session at the Food Blog Forum conference, and both of us met and adored all the incredible food bloggers who were a part of the weekend. Wows.

Since we’ve made it this far on our journey and we are, in fact, ON OUR WAY TO CHARLESTON AS WE SPEAK, I would like to issue a final (potentially obnoxious? shameless?) call for any Charleston recommendations right here and now – we’re literally on the road as I type, I’ve literally written down all your recommendations to date and have them in a very Type A style notebook/calendar format so we can hit as many as possible, and you are literally the best ever for talking us through this charming foodie city. Lit-er-al-ly.

Next time we meet, I shall be in Charleston and you shall be eating one of these Roasted Tomatillo Chicken and Rice bowls and there will be good vibes alllll around.

Roasted Tomatillo Chicken and Rice Bowls with limes.
Roasted Tomatillo Chicken and Rice Bowls with a fork.

Roasted Tomatillo Chicken and Rice Bowls

  • Author: Pinch of Yum
  • Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Yield: 4


Roasted Tomatillo Chicken and Rice Bowls – shredded chicken with homemade Roasted Tomatillo sauce on rice with cilantro, sour cream, and tortilla strips.


For the Roasted Tomatillo Sauce:

  • 20 tomatillos
  • 3 poblanos
  • 2 jalapeños
  • 2 shallots
  • olive oil
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • 1/2 cup half and half
  • 1/2 cup water

For the Chicken and Rice Bowls

  • 1 1/4 lbs. boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 cup white rice
  • 10 corn tortillas
  • oil for frying
  • salt to taste
  • additional cilantro, sour cream, and limes for topping


  1. For the sauce: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Peel the paper off of the tomatillos, shallots, and garlic cloves. Place the tomatillos, poblanos, jalapeños, and shallots on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Place the garlic on a piece of foil, drizzle with oil, and wrap into a little packet. Place on the baking sheet. Roast everything for 40 minutes, stirring halfway through to prevent burning. Pulse all the roasted ingredients in a food processor with the broth, salt, and cilantro.
  2. For the chicken and rice: Cook the rice according to package directions. Meanwhile, heat a little bit of oil in a large skillet and add the chicken. Sprinkle with salt and pepper; flip once when chicken is lightly browned on the outside. Add the tomatillo sauce to the chicken and let it gently simmer over very low heat for 15-20 minutes to finish cooking. Remove the chicken, shred with two forks, and return to pan. Stir in the half and half and extra water if necessary. (I’ve also added sour cream which is delicious!)
  3. For the Tortilla Strips: In a heavy skillet, heat oil over medium low heat (oil should be about one inch deep). Cut the tortillas into small strips. Test the oil with by letting a drop of water fall in the pan – if it sizzles, the oil is ready. Add the tortilla strips in batches, flipping or stirring occasionally to prevent burning. When the tortilla strips are crispy and golden, remove and set on a paper towel lined plate. Sprinkle with salt. Repeat until all tortillas are done.
  4. Assemble the bowls with rice, chicken, tortilla strips, cilantro, sour cream, and lime juice. Yum!


I’ve also made this by cooking the chicken separately while the sauce ingredients are roasting – I just simmer in a pot of water on low heat for about 15 minutes until cooked through, and then shred and toss the cooked chicken in the sauce at the end.

  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Category: Dinner
  • Cuisine: Mexican

Keywords: tomatillo chicken, chicken and rice bowls, chicken bowls

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