Chilorio for Cinco de Mayo!


Chilorio for Cinco de Mayo!

Memories from growing up in Mexico City revolve around one celebration or another and mostly center on the foods that just had to be there.  If there was no holiday, anniversary, birthday or special occasion for a formal celebration, then we celebrated the food itself.  Just say the magic words and a get together would spring right up.

Nana made tamales? Fiesta!

Mami made mole? Well, what are you waiting for?

Papi brought real quesadillas potosinas? It is Sunday brunch everyone…

However, as much as I can remember, we didn’t celebrate Cinco de Mayo. As kids we reviewed it in passing at school, unless you lived in the state of Puebla.  The place, where on a Cinco de Mayo in 1862, a small Mexican militia won an unexpected victory against the large French army.  It was a short-lived victory, as the French won right back.

But fast-forward almost a couple centuries later: the French and Spaniards are gone, Mexicans proudly celebrate Independence Day every September 16th, and for a reason no Mexican can explain, Cinco de Mayo has become the most celebrated, joyous and colorful holiday for Mexicans living abroad.  It even surpasses the noise we make for Independence Day.

But of course! Any cause is worthy of celebration, especially if it has become the most grandiose occasion to rejoice on Mexican-ness throughout the world.  Thus, at home, we celebrate Cinco de Mayo every year, since we moved to the US more than a dozen years ago.

Pati Jinich with her 3 sons
My food of choice tends to be Chilorio, originally a cowboy dish from the state of Sinaloa, in the North of Mexico.  Chilorio has transcended international boundaries and retained its bold personality.  It is so tasty and popular, that it is even sold in cans inside and outside of Mexico.  But the canned version can’t compare to the home made one, which is very simple to prepare.

Made by cooking meat in orange juice until tender and then finished off in a non-spicy ancho chile sauce, it screams out Fiesta in every single bite.  Not only because of the richness of its colors and flavors, but because of how fun it is to assemble.

Just serve it at the table with a side of warm flour tortillas and your guests can roll their own burritas or burras, however skinny or chubby them want them to be.  You can also serve refried beans and Mexican avocado slices or guacamole that can be eaten inside or on the side of the burritas.  At home we tend to go for eating the beans and guacamole on the side, but it’s up to you!

Say the word Chilorio and I can hear my monsters start to shout out: “Mami made Chilorio, come on over!”

And I say: Roll ’em up boys…


8 servings
Pati Jinich
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: ancho chiles, garlic, onion, orange juice, pati's mexican table, pork, Recipe, tortilla, vinegar
Author:Pati Jinich
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
My food of choice tends to be Chilorio, originally a cowboy dish from the state of Sinaloa, in the North of Mexico.  Chilorio has transcended international boundaries and retained its bold personality.  It is so tasty and popular, that it is even sold in cans inside and outside of Mexico.  But the canned version can’t compare to the home made one, which is very simple to prepare.


  • 3 pounds boneless pork butt, shoulder or loin, (with some fat on!) cut into 2" chunks, or substitute with chicken
  • 1 1/4 cup orange juice, preferably freshly squeezed
  • 1 1/4 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
  • 5 (about 55 grams) dried ancho chiles, tops and seeds removed
  • 1 1/2 cup of the chile soaking liquid, see below
  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped white onion
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley leaves
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper, or more to taste
  • 2/3 cup cider vinegar or distilled white vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons corn oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher or sea salt, or more to taste
  • Flour tortillas, warmed, optional

To Prepare

  • Place rinsed meat chunks in an extended heavy pot. Barely cover with the orange juice and water, add a teaspoon of salt and set over high heat. Once it comes to a boil, bring the heat down to medium and let is simmer for about 40 to 45 minutes, or until most of the liquid has cooked off and the meat is thoroughly cooked and has rendered most of its fat.
  • Meanwhile, remove the stems from the chiles, make a slit down their sides and remove their seeds and veins. Place them in a bowl, cover them with boiling hot water, and let them sit and rehydrate for about 15 minutes. Place the chiles and 1 1/2 cups of their soaking liquid in the blender along with the onion, garlic, parsley, oregano, cumin, black pepper, vinegar, and puree until smooth.
  • Once the meat is ready, place it in a bowl along with any remaining cooking broth. Once it is cool enough to handle, shred it with your hands or with two forks.
  • In the same pot, heat oil over medium heat. Pour in the chile sauce and let it season and simmer for 4 to 5 minutes. Toss in the shredded meat along with any of its remaining cooking broth. Sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon salt and let it cook, stirring often, until the meat has absorbed most of the chile sauce, which will have thickened, seasoned and changed to a darker color. It will take about 20 minutes. Taste for salt and add more if need be.
  • Serve with warmed flour tortillas on the side. If you wish, spoon chilorio on tortillas and roll them into burritas or burras. They are wonderful with refried beans and Mexican avocado or guacamole on the side as well.

105 comments on “Chilorio for Cinco de Mayo!

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  1. I have not tried Pati’s other chilorio recipe, but have made this one a number of times, and it is amazing. This stuff in a tortilla with some avocado is truly divine.

  2. Oh my goodness! First time making a Pati recipe. Paired this deliciousness with mango, tomato, tomatillo et al salad. It was amazing! Accidentally used cilantro instead of parsley, which kicked it up a touch even!

  3. I just watched your show where you cooked your updated version of chilorio using vinegar instead of orange juice. Do you have that recipe online? I’m not sure I was able to copy down all the ingredients—especially what you put in the blender. What kind of chili’s? What other spices besides coriander, oregano, salt, pepper? Was it 1/4 c of distilled vinegar? Help!

  4. One of the best recipes I have ever made – my wife and son absolutely love it as well. Will definitely be making chilorio regularly. Thanks Pati.

  5. I wished I could like it, but… The pork turned out OK, but the ancho sauce was awful and especially heavy with the vinegar. I’m going to check with a friend from Sinaloa for help.

  6. “Momma, when are you going to make chilorio again?” (Recently repeated no less than once a day.) Then, “Momma, can you make chilorio tonight. Raul (at work) wants to try it, and tomorrow is his last day.” Needless to say, it has become a family favorite. On the first time I saw your show, that is what you made. My family and I have been hooked ever since. Love your show

  7. Pati, just wanted to say how much I enjoy your show and recipes. The food is spectacular, but what I love the most is how I get to experience a little bit of the history and culture of Mexico with your recipes and menus. 💖💖💖💖. The love you have for your country and its food and traditions inspires me. God bless!!

  8. Hey Pati
    I have made this before and it was delicious, made as directed on the stovetop. Thinking about the crockpot thouh, if you did, would you put the anchos in from the beginning or just cook the pork in the juice then finish it off on the stovetop? Trying to see what will give me the most flavor. Thanks!

  9. Hola Pati , can you please tell me where to find your recipe for ropa vieja, i saw you make it on PBS , i even made it. It was So good, but i lost the recipe. Tu fan Leonor?

  10. This dish was loved by everyone at my Cinco de Mayo dinner party! It was easy to make and was super flavorful. Thank you for sharing your love of Mexican food with us!

  11. Hola Pati I am not a fan of hot spicy but I love flavorful food. Is there a chili I can use that doesn’t bring heat just flavor?

  12. This was AMMAAAZING!!!!!!!! I seriously could eat this anytime, it was addictive. It has such a rich flavor and is delicious all by itself. I can not wait to make it again. I did have to boil mine quite a while longer to get most the liquid to evaporate though. It was well worth the wait!

    Thank you Pati, I was originally intimidated by Mexican cuisine, but always wanted to try. You have made the recipes and ingredients very easy and approachable. Many of your dishes have become staples for our family (one of my new comfort foods is the white rice w/ Poblano rajas casserole, yum!) , and I can’t wait to try more!

  13. I was so thrilled to receive a copy of your cook book for Christmas this year. It’s been on my list for quite a while. I finally got around to doing some cooking from it. The Chilorio is divine! I must admit, though, I made one big switch, and then another big blunder. Since I work, the crock pot is my go-to dinner helper. I threw a whole pork butt (6 lbs) into the slow cooker this morning with the OJ, water and salt, and let it roast all day. When I came home, it was falling apart tender, but sitting in too much liquid. So I threw all the meat shreds and fat into a pot, along with a few spoons of the cooking liquid, and browned up the meat on the stove for about 30 minutes. In the meantime, I made the sauce. And stupid me! I did not inventory my dried chiles before I shopped, so I discovered I had no Anchos. Only Pasillas and Cascabels. So, I used a combination of those and a tablespoon or so of Ancho Chile powder. All I can say is, this is a very forgiving recipe. My finished pork is to die for! Thanks for a great recipe! I look forward to actually cooking it with the proper procedures and ingredients next time.

  14. I finally got around to preparing your recipe and it is fantastic! Great for tacos and tostada topping.

    For some wierd reason this Mexican food fan never made chilorio before, perhaps because of noticing the canned variety in local stores. Not that they compare to home-made …

  15. Just made — taste good! But, in the picture here, looks a little red. mine just looked dark. Did or can you add tomatoes to sauce?

  16. Hola Pati,
    I’m so glad I came across your show on pbs, it’s fantastic!! I can’t wait to make your chilorio burritos, making my list of ingredients. Pati, where did you get your pots and pans? They’re beautiful and it looks like it’s very easy to cook in them. A million thank you’s for all your wonderful recipes.

  17. Love u show watch it every chance i get i live in west fork,Arkansas and watch u on channel keep it up love it. Thank u

  18. I have made this many times. I keep finding things to do with it. I recently made pot stickers with this as the filling. I have reached hero status in my house.

  19. Feliz Navidad y prospero ano, Pati, son mis mejores deseos para Ud y su familia. Just saw your fabulous cookbook was on Splendid Table’s list of top cookbooks of the year…so heartening to see someone so lovely receive some much deserved praise. Abrazos, Ruth de PA!

  20. Hola Pati, I saw you on my local PBS station loved your recipe and tried it. Loved all the rich flavors It was so delicious…. will keep trying more.

  21. maybe pineapple&mango juice would also add a wonderful tropical flavor to go along with the kick from the ancho? thoughts patti? or is that straying too far from tradition?

  22. hi Pati, great recipe! so good! like the reviewer who added sugar I also squeezed one orange at the end that had a nice citrus taste to go with the kick from the ancho. mmm so good, I think chicken thighs would work well too. I think a lot less time if you use thighs but wow so impressed. thanks again!

  23. I’ve just purchase Pati’s Mexican Table cookbook and made this dish. It’s incredible! Even my picky elderly parents ate every morsel. This dish would be perfect for a party as you can make it ahead and reheat. I did and it tasted even better the second day. Can’t wait to try more of these beautiful recipes.

  24. I made this tonight and it was fabulous a show stopper! Easyand incredibly flavorful; as someone who cooks from scratch on a regular basis for a gluten and garlic free diet, this will be in the cooking rotation!

  25. I cannot believe how something this delicious can be so easy to prepare! I also want to thank you for the clear, easy to follow directions in your cook book!

    The great thing about this recipe is that the “on” time – is minimal. While the pork simmered, I made my ancho sauce, prepared a red cabbage slaw and made garnishes for the burras. I was smart and prepared a double batch of the ancho sauce so I now have some waiting in the freezer for midweek meals. My guests and I enjoyed our chilorio burras with tequila and the music of Lola Beltran!

    Now I am ready to try the Santa Clara cookies! Gracias a todas maneras, and I hope your book tour brings you to Los Angeles.

    1. Hola Laurence, Thank you SO MUCH for getting my cookbook! Your dinner party with the chilorio burras must have been so much fun! I don’t have any book tour dates as of now in LA, but I hope to do something there. Please check back to the events on my site.

  26. Hi Pati! I am so excited to have found your show. Mis esposo es de Mexico y no le gusta comida americana y siempre estoy buscando nuevas recetas para el. Su hermana de el me ensena muchas cosas pero ya no vivimos cerca de ella y no tengo su ayuda. Your recipes are easy to follow and are REAL AUTHENTIC Mexican cooking, not tex-mex and I love that! No puedo esperar preparar ese Chilorio a ver si le gusta! Muchas gracias para tu ayuda!

  27. I have made this several times and love it. The last couple of times I added three chipotle peppers from a can of peppers in adobe sauce and I thought it made a nice variation. Doesn’t make it a spicy dish but does add to the depth and flavor of the dish.

    I also think the pork is great even without the sauce if you brown it in the pot in its own rendered fat! I build some fond, deglaze with stock and repeat three or four times.

    And this works well with lettuce wraps too for the carb adverse.

  28. Hola Pati
    Glad to see a recipe from my home state. I wish you could try some other. Sinaloa has an amazing cuisine. If you ever go there visit Escuinapa, you’ll love its people and food.

    1. Hola Giovani, Sinaloa does have amazing cuisine! Thank you for the recommendation. I will have to go there next time I am in your home state.

  29. Hola Pati

    Muchas gracias por compartir tus recetas, Ive done chilorio 3 times now and have invited mexican friends over (here in Chicago) and we all loved it. I paired it with the plantains Quesadillas. Continue with the awesome work and congratullations in your upcoming book

    PS by anychance do you have recipe for Black mole from Oaxaca

  30. This is the second recipe I have made from your shows and both have been big hits! Thank you! I I was so tired of the usual Mexican food found in the D.C. Area with the exception of one restraunt.

    The only thing in this recipe I will change next time is the amount of vinegar, just a bit too much for me.

    1. Patrice, Thank you so much for trying my recipes!! I am very happy to hear you are enjoying them. And, yes, please, feel free to adjust amounts according to your taste. All the best to you.

  31. Hi Pati
    Your recipe is deelicious! The only difference from mine is the orange juice, it really perked up the taste. I’ll continue to cook it your way, because the OJ gives a good flavor. In regard to why Cinco de Mayo is more popular than the 16th of September here in the USA. Back in 1970, the 16th of Sept did not fit into the beginning of the school curriculum. The beginning of the school year was overwhelming for the teachers to handle much less prepare for a celebration. Cinco de mayo was at the end of the school year and the Teachers had no deadlines to meet with less stress.
    Feliz Navidad y un Prospero Ano nuevo Love your show and can’t wait to get your new cookbook

    1. Hi Jenny, Thank you for the insight on Cinco de Mayo! I never thought of it’s popularity having anything to do with the school curriculum.

  32. Hi Pati! I love your recipes, they are very authentic! One thing, I’m not sure if you have mentioned this, but one thing my mom taught me is when handling dried chilies to wear plastic gloves. I sometimes just use some plastic wrap, just enough to give my fingers wiggle room to clean the chilies. It helps to keep the spicy oils from getting on your fingers and sometimes it can be a pain to wash off completely, especially from the very hot chilies. Also a neat trick that seems to work if you do get spicy oils on your fingers or on your face if you inadvertently touch your face :p, is to wipe the oils off on someone’s hair! Growing up my mom would sometimes ask for my hair to get chile off her hands! It’s kind of funny and sounds silly but it seemed to work!

    1. That is so funny! Maybe the trick of the hair has to do with the oil the hair exudes… As the spicy element in chiles, capsacin, is oily, it dissolves with other kinds of oils. Neat trick!

  33. I love your show and all your recipes. I had chilorio recently in a Mexican restaurant in Bisbee, AZ. It was really good, and I was determined to find a recipe just as good or better so I could make it at home.
    I was delighted to find your recipe because your food is always sooooo good, and my finished chilorio was fabulous!! I’m making it again this weekend for my own monsters, home briefly for a rare visit (they’re all grown up and live in distant cities). I know it’s gonna be a big hit! Thanks for sharing it!!

  34. I made this and it was so terrific. I’m thinking of offering it for a small crowd at a birthday party buffet/picnic with grilled tortillas and toppings bar. Is there a way you can get similar results cooking in the oven in a roasting pan or maybe on the stove over two units? One fry pan recipe won’t be large enough, and I am worried about crowding the pan. I could use two pans, but that is tedious. Thoughts?

    1. Hola Brenda, I am so glad you liked the Chilorio, and I love your idea of serving it with grilled tortillas and toppings bar! I would suggest using 2 large pots to make a large batch.

  35. I lived in New Mexico for many years and always wanted to perfect my mexican dishes. I now live in Oklahoma so a lot of the ingredients are not available. But I saw you on the Chew and I am so excited to start trying your dishes. You are adorable!

  36. Hi Pati,
    Love your TV show- I was thinking about making the Chilorio for my Super Bowl party. Was wondering if I can make it a couple of days in advance and reheat? Any suggestions on reheating?

    1. Yes, you can absolutely make the Chilorio in advance! To reheat, make sure you cover and put it over moderate heat on the stove top or in the oven. If you are making the burritas (and wrapping the chilorio in flour tortillas), you will have to roll them before serving, because the flour tortillas will get soggy if wrapped a few days before.

    2. Yes, you can absolutely make the Chilorio in advance! To reheat, make sure you cover and put it over moderate heat on the stove top or in the oven. If you are making the burritas (and wrapping the chilorio in flour tortillas), you will have to roll them before serving, because the flour tortillas will get soggy if wrapped a few days before.

  37. I made this dish. It was awesome, so fresh tasting and flavorful. I especially loved the sauce. I didn’t use all the sauce. I froze it for a few weeks and just now added it to my favorite chili recipe. Can’t wait to try after a good simmer. Keep cooking!

  38. Hola Pati! I’d like to try this recipe this weekend; it looks great. Please tell me how much oil should the ancho sauce be cook in? Thanks again for sharing. Atentamente, Joe

  39. Hi Pati:
    I watched your show for the first time yesterday. I was inspired to try the Chilorio tonight. I have a blog for mom’s on a budget with both foodie kids and picky kids. My goal is to try to cook one protein and use it in different ways throughout the week. I was thinking tostadas, enchiladas or even mexican lasagna. Any other variations you can recommend?
    Thank you. Love your show! Definitely watch everyday!
    Foodie Mom

    1. Hi Foodie Mom! This is a versatile recipe that keeps really well in the refrigerator, it should be perfect for your idea to use it different ways throughout a week. You can serve it with a side of rice, then turn it into burritas served with guacamole. You can also make tortas and quesadillas. And it makes a great pizza topping! The chilorio is something you can really play around with, I hope you like it!

      1. Thank you for responding. It is an honor for me.
        I went and bought the ingredients. I couldn’t find dried ancho chiles in my local store. I bought Pasilla chiles instead. I’m very excited to try your recipe.

  40. Hi Pati,
    Firstly, I caught your show on Chicago’s PBS station while I was just flipping through the channels and it was amazing. I’m not of any Latin or Hispanic ancestry, but I swear I could eat the food all day long. I saw this specific recipe and I couldn’t wait to try it. The only issue is that I’m a vegetarian.
    I’ve been born and raised vegetarian, so I was wondering if you had any suggestions for a pork substitute in this recipe. I really want to try the ancho chile sauce you’ve made here, but I can’t think of any good substitutes for the meat.
    Please help!
    Your new fan,

    1. Hi Sunny,
      Thanks so much for watching! You can easily convert chilorios into a vegetarian dish. Instead of meat, just use potatoes and zucchini- they will taste so good in the ancho chile sauce. Enjoy!

  41. I made the pork Chilorio for dinner with Mexican pickled carrots, jalapenos and onions, and Mexican red rice. WOW! Pati, the pork was amazing, thanks for sharing the recipe.

  42. You’re officially my very favorite cooking show! Not only are your recipes incredibly tasty, but they’re easy to make and the ingredients are easy to find in any local grocery store.
    I had friends over for dinner last night and made chilorios, charro beans, guacamole and the anise cookies. Everything was a hit and turned out exactly the way it looked on TV! I just watched your tomatillo show while enjoying leftover chilorios for lunch. Even better the next day.
    If ever you’re in Austin, you should try an Avocado Margarita at a place called Curra’s. Sooo good! I wish I knew how to make them (hint hint!).
    Side note, but the earthy bowls you use on your show are beautiful (I’m referring to the ones you used to soak the ancho chiles and in which you poured the tomatillo/lime jam). Do you know who makes them?
    Thanks for creating a great show!

    1. Hi Scott,
      That is so sweet of you to say! Ooooh an avocado margarita sounds so tasty, I’ll have to try one. Thanks for telling me about them. Also, most of the dishes I use on the show are from Tlaquepaque… Thanks for watching!

  43. Saw your show on Dallas p.b.s. Wonderful…will anxiously look forward to being a faithful viewer. Making this recipe tomorrow. Thank You, and God Bless, Jim Head

  44. Hola, Pati!
    My husband and I saw this on our local PBS station here in Fort Worth, TX. We are soooo looking forward to making this for his Tia when she comes to town next week!
    I can’t wait to try it and all your other recipes!

  45. I buy Ancho Chiles in bulk cause the cost is much less, but I am always trying to find receipes to them in. and Pork butt is always priced farely well so i will so enjoy making this.

    1. I also like to buy my Ancho Ciles in bulk! The great thing is they can be stored for a long period of time ; )

  46. I made this tonight for my roommates and I and we all absolutely loved it. I knew it was going to be a winner as I sat there shredding the meat with my hands, completely unable to resist tasting it every 30 seconds. Thanks A Lot and I love your site…

  47. I found your blog this morning and we had Chilorio for dinner. OMG, it is fantastic!! I knew when I read the recipe that it was something we’d enjoy. It was spot on. Jeesh, even the plain pork tasted fab after cooking in the OJ. My only change was to add about a tablespoon of brown sugar during the last step when letting the pork stew in the chili sauce for the fussies in the house. =P
    I’m off to see what other goodies you have here on your beautiful blog. Thanks for sharing this.

    1. Nic, I am so glad you found it and so glad you liked it! Your addition of brown sugar in the end sounds like something I want to try (!)

    1. Well welcome Nanci!! Bienvenida a este blog and I am so glad that you found it because now I found you!!

  48. I madly love your monsters. Your chilorio recipe sounds very good. Could you mixe it with your scrambled eggs for a sunday brunch?