Chicken in Salsa Verde Tamal Casserole

Chicken in Salsa Verde Tamal Casserole

Cazuela de Tamal de Pollo en Salsa Verde
12 servings
Pati Jinich
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: Casserole, chicken, masa, mexican crema, Monterrey Jack cheese, mozzarella, Oaxaca cheese, pati's mexican table, salsa verde
Author:Pati Jinich
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 25 minutes
Chicken in Salsa Verde Tamal Casserole recipe from Pati's Mexican Table Season 4, Episode 5 “Tamaliza!”


  • Vegetable oil to grease the baking dish
  • 1 batch corn dough or masa from my tamal recipe
  • 1 batch salsa verde
  • 2 cups shredded cooked chicken
  • 1 1/2 cups Mexican crema, or Latin-style cream, crème fraiche or sour cream
  • 2 1/2 cups (about 10 ounces) grated Oaxaca cheese, mozzarella or Monterey Jack

To Prepare

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Grease a large baking dish with oil. Spread half of the tamal dough or masa in a single layer over the bottom of the baking dish. Set aside 3/4 cup of salsa verde and combine the rest with the shredded chicken. Spread the chicken and salsa verde mix on top of the masa. Cover with the rest of the masa in a second layer. Cover with aluminum foil and place in the oven for an hour.
  • Remove from the oven. Carefully remove the aluminum foil and spread on the remaining 3/4 cup of salsa verde. Top with the cream and cheese. Place back in the oven, uncovered, for 10 more minutes, or until the cheese completely melts and begins to brown along the edges. Serve hot, cut into squares.

78 comments on “Chicken in Salsa Verde Tamal Casserole

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  1. My family LOVES this casserole! The first time my daughter and I made masa, we jumped for joy when a small amount of masa floated as you said. We were thrilled we did it right! Thank you for the wonderful memories I will have with my daughter making this wonderful casserole! Do you know if the casserole can be frozen? Should I freeze if prior to baking or after baking???

    Thanks again for your wonderful methods of teaching and phenomenal recipes!!!

  2. Question, I have a hard time adding the top layer of masa. It gets hard to spread. Do I need to thicken the salsa verde so I don’t have that problem?

  3. Pati! This recipe is great. I’ve always wanted to make tamales, and, this recipe was a perfect way to cook all the pieces without the stress of assembling tamales. It was actually really easy. So delicious. I can think of MANY ways to use the salsa verde. It’s terrific. I find I need to add a tbsp or two of agave to balance the tomatillos to my taste. Tomorrow we will have the leftovers on eggs, for breakfast. I found Oaxaca cheese and Crema in the Oaxaca style. Yum! I really enjoy your show and this is the second recipe I’ve tried that we really liked. Thanks.

    1. Oh I’m glad you enjoyed the filling, Marie! Next time, try adding more chicken broth and lard, and whip the masa longer until it is super fluffy and puffy.

  4. I love salsa verse!! So far I have only used it with enchiladas. I also love poblana peppers and I am one American that uses them exclusively instead of green bell peppers. I never tried making tamales, but this recipe sounds like a good place to start. Somehow I think a couple of poblanos will find their way into my product of pollo salsa verde tamals.

  5. Hi Pati:

    I love tamales and they are hard to find in Vancouver. After watching your show, you gave me the incentive to make my own. This casserole is so delicious I’ve already made it 3 times. My husband enjoys eating it too. Just wondering if I could omit the lard or oil when making the dough as some of my friends are watching their fat intake. What is the purpose of adding lard?


    1. I’m so glad you and your husband enjoy the casserole, Lily! The tamales need some kind of fat to make the masa puff and be fluffy. The lard can be substituted with seasoned oil or even coconut oil. You can also reduce the fat a little but it will have different results.

  6. hola pati, i plan to make this tamal casserole for my weekend trip with my girlfriends. i was wondering if lining the casserole dish with corn husk and a layer on top then bake the casserole in a water bath then remove from oven the last 15-20 mins to add cream and cheese. do you think it would work out ok? kinda like one big tamale! i would reheat it in a water bath too!

    can’t wait to try it, patty

    1. I would make it ahead of time and bake it later…. but if you bake it and have leftovers, they can be reheated too! (Just cover it when you reheat it so it doesn’t dry out).

      1. Hello! I wanted to share what I’ve tried with this as I’m very much a make-ahead, freeze ahead cook. I made and froze separately the green salsa, chicken, and masa ( I spread the masa out in a rectangle on a lined cookie sheet, froze solid, then wrapped it well. It’s a little tricky to transfer to the casserole once thawed, but any places where you have to patch it will be covered by sour cream and cheese : ) ). I later thawed all the components, warmed the chicken in the sauce, assembled, and baked. I think the masa is a tiny bit softer this way, but it’s still delicious. My brother’s family (visiting from California) LOVED it, and a day or two later everyone enjoyed the reheated leftovers as well. Not quite the same texture as the first day, but still good. I’ve also frozen squares of leftover casserole and reheated them for quick work-day lunches. I just love that I can have a wonderful “real” tamale taste with the ease of cooking a casserole!

  7. Love this dish! I kept mixing the masa until it floated in the glass. I used crisco and butter. Next time I am hunting for the lard. Thank you for such a wonderful show. And this delicious dish tamales casserole.

  8. I LOVE tamales, and I can’t wait to make this. Do you have any suggestions for a vegetable/vegetarian filling for this? I am new to Mexican cooking, and I am not sure what combination would taste good. Zucchini and tomatoes? Thank you.

    1. Deborah my family loves when I take chopped spinach leaves, corn, and some chunks of pepperjack cheese and actually mix it into the masa as a vegitarian option and we serve it with a salsa verde and sour cream. But I have had tamales that come with a slice or two of each of: potato, tomato, onion, peas, green beans, corn, and jalapeno (or not)

  9. Can u use pork meat instead that’s been cooked in broth and seasoning and then put the cooked meat on top and proceed with the rest

  10. does the cooking time vary depending the cooking dish ? i have had bad experiences with glass casserole dishes! by the way me and my 3 year old daughter love your show!

  11. Hola Pati! I came across this recipe in your cookbook, “Mexican Today”. I’ve never had success with recipes calling for masa, it’s always so heavy and too dense to enjoy. I followed your instructions, alternating the broth and masa harina, along with beating for a good 10-15 minutes, and I was so proud of the end result! Light, fluffy, tender tamal perfection; I couldn’t believe I made this. I can’t wait to experiment with different fillings. This is a great dish for warming the incredibly cold nights we are enduring here in the Northeast. Many thanks!

  12. Dear Pati, the Casserole is sooooo delish, but I used too much salt, and it was ruined-we couldn’t eat it. I made evr’ything from scratch like your recipe says, but I thought I knew better, and put too much salt. But the whole family decided we would all take at least one bite, and drink water after. hahahahaha Lol…. the flavor was great. This recipe is work, so I’ll have to wait a couple of weaks till I’m in the mood again, to work in the kitchen for a couple of hours. Oh well-the flavor is beyond! Will try again. Thx for the recipe

  13. This recipe is bomb! I never had the right things on hand to attempt tamales and I saw the episode with this recipe and tried it right away. Huge hit with my family, and now my extended family. Keep the awesome show and recipes coming Pati:)

  14. Oh ny goodness! The casserole is beyond delicious! And I’ll be making both it and the salsa verde again! My husband and I are enjoying this for dinner as I write – so so so good!

  15. Pati, this casserole was so darn good my family ate every bit of it. I tried it with the chicken of course but I also made it with a beef roast and red chili. DELICIOUS!!! My only problem was that it stuck to the bottom of the baking dish so I’m going to try using parchment paper. Can’t wait to eat this again.

  16. My Mexican mother in law and I called each other right away during the marathon and couldn’t believe what we were seeing. This looks amazing! We can’t wait to try this near Christmas!

      1. Nos salió demasiado rico! Lo llevamos a una cena familiar en nuestra iglesia (no son de comer comida mexicana normalmente), y nos dijeron que era muy muy rico. 🙂 Gracias por la receta! Aunque, la masa no flotó…

  17. Hi, Pati
    I made the Chicken in Salsa Verde Tamal Casserole tonight and had a problem making the tamal. I used the seasoned oil but could not get it to the white and spongy stage. Where did I go wrong? The finished dish was delicious.

    1. Hi Pam, the dough gets less spongy when using the seasoned oil rather than the lard or vegetable shortening. So no worries, specially if you loved the dish!

  18. Hola Pati!
    I am so grateful to you for sharing this wonderful idea with us! I am going to make this for my darling Mama’s birthday dinner. She loves tamales, and loves to help make the dinner, but can’t use a steamer because she’s in a wheelchair and can’t reach into the pot! SO we are going to make it this way and have a wonderful time.
    You are a gem, can’t wait!

  19. Hello, Pati!
    Looking at this recipe brought to mind another recipe that my mom used to make. I never paid attention how she made it and after passing, I’ve craved it. Just recently a family member knew the recipe I described. She said it is called, “Huevo perdido”. I tried making it, but I think I add too much masa. Have you heard of it or have this recipe to share?

  20. Hi Pati! I finally made this Casserole! Wow really good-I work on Christmas day, so I’ll be making this again for potluck-thank you for all your wonderful Mexican dishes you bring

  21. Gracias, Pati– fuimos al Cardenal. Me encanto! Su chocolate caliente y su pan me gustaron mucho. No tuvimos tiempo para ir al Emporio. Next time… It was my first time in Mexico City and I loved it. They even understood my Spanish 🙂 Muchisimas gracias por su recomendacion del Cardenal. Despues fui a pintar mi cara para Dia de los Muertos. Que tenga buen dia y gracias de neuvo!!! — Matt de Phoenix, AZ

  22. Hi Pati– vamos a la Ciudad de Mexico el 28 de esta mes. On one of your shows, you visited a tamal factory in el D.F. No puedo encontrar el programa… como se llama el lugar? Gracias! Vamos tambien al Restaurante Cardenal!

    1. Que increible! El Cardenal es de mis restaurantes favoritos! La tamalería se llama Emporio y también tiene un restaurante. Que disfruten!

  23. Patti,
    Hola, I am so excited to make your tamale casserole for my mother-in-law’s birthday! The only problem is I don’t know what to serve with it, if anything. What do you suggest?

  24. Saw the show today.instantly craved my much missed tamales! Had everything on hand to make the casserole, so that’s what we had for dinner! Mmm que rico! Como siempre! Gracias por toda las recetas tan super deliciosas!!!!!

  25. Hi, Pati! One of my favorite things in this world are green corn tamales. Do I just make the masa sweeter and put strips of roasted chilies in the middle of the casserole? Love your show as always.

  26. Pati, I really dislike cilantro. I can handle dried coriander or seeds, just not the leafy stuff. What can I substitute in the Salsa Verde recipe?

    1. You can either just skip the cilantro, or substitute with another green herb of your choice, like chives or tarragon or even mint!

  27. Pati, how about a show using New Mexico green chile, I think this has such a unique flavor, smell, and heat. I love using that chile from Hatch New Mexico. I know you can have a great show issue no that with the skills and creativity you have.

  28. Pati
    Watching your brilliant program on tamales, lovely stuff.
    We are going to try your recipes.

    My wife was watching and wanted to know where your
    Colorful dishes came from


    George Samson

    1. Hola George, The dishes are made by Le Creuset! Thank you so much for watching & I hope you both enjoy the tamales.