Fast Track Chicken Pibil Sandwich


Fast Track Chicken Pibil Sandwich

Fast Track Chicken Pibil Sandwich

Sandwich de Pollo Pibil Rápido

Recipe Yield

4 to 5 servings

Cooking time

40 minutes

Rate this recipe

4.17 from 6 votes


  • 1/2 pound ripe tomatoes
  • 1/4 red onion outer layer removed
  • 3 cloves garlic unpeeled
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher or coarse sea salt or to taste
  • 2 cups homemade chicken broth or store bought, divided
  • 2 tablespoons canola or safflower oil
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed grapefruit juice
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1/4 cup white distilled vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons achiote paste chopped (the paste that comes in a bar, not a jar!)
  • 6 cups cooked shredded chicken from homemade broth or rotisserie chicken (may substitute turkey)
  • Soft buns (hamburger or potato buns)
  • Avocado Crema
  • Pickled Red Onions a la Yucateca

To Prepare

  • Preheat the broiler. Line a baking sheet or roasting pan with foil. Place the whole tomatoes, onion and unpeeled garlic cloves on the foil and set under the broiler, 3 to 4 inches from the heat. Broil for 4 to 5 minutes, until charred on one side. Flip over and broil for another 4 to 5 minutes, until the skin is blistered and completely charred. The tomatoes should be very soft with the juices beginning to run out. Remove from heat.
  • Once cool enough to handle, quarter the tomatoes and place in a blender jar along with any juices from the baking sheet. Peel the garlic cloves and add to the blender along with the onion, salt and 1 cup of the chicken broth. Puree until completely smooth.
  • Heat the oil over medium heat in a casserole or soup pot until hot but not smoking. Pour in the puree and cover partially, as the sauce will sizzle and jump. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 7 to 8 minutes, or until the sauce thickens and darkens considerably.
  • Meanwhile, combine the grapefruit juice, orange juice, lime juice, vinegar, oregano, cumin, allspice, pepper, chopped achiote paste, and the remaining cup of chicken broth in the blender and puree until completely smooth.
  • Stir the puree into the tomato sauce and bring back to a simmer. Simmer 5 minutes, then add the shredded chicken. Mix together well and continue to cook, uncovered, until the chicken has absorbed most of the sauce, about 5 minutes. The finished dish should be very moist but not wet or soupy.
  • To serve, scoop about 1 cup of the chicken pibil onto the bottom half of a soft bun. Top with avocado crema and a few pickled red onions a la Yucateca. Cover with the top half of the bun to form a sandwich.


121comments inFast Track Chicken Pibil Sandwich

  1. Yenni

    Oct 19

    I would love to make this ASAP. Where can I find achiote paste in the US?

    Thanks for sharing your recipes!

    1. Pati Jinich

      Nov 03

      I have seen it in many Hispanic or Latin Markets Yenni, but if you cannot find it, online would be your best bet 😉

  2. Craig Bale

    Oct 17

    Love this recipe! Love it!!
    Watched the episode that aired on “Hungry” TV and I believe I saw the original airing on PBS at some point. Too many episodes to remember!!
    I did change the Pickled onions up a bit by adding Mexican Oregano and a little Cumin to the pickling juice.
    How easy was this!
    Put in Street Taco tortillas VS the Sandwich buns. I believe either works. Avocado Crema ROCKS!

    1. Pati Jinich

      Nov 06

      Absolutely Craig, this chicken is fantastic in tacos, tortas, tostadas, burgers or even plain on top of rice of with a side of beans! So happy to hear you loved the avocado crema, yay!

  3. mimi

    Nov 15

    I have seen you make this in your cooking series and watch you savor it .

    I would like to know what alternative ingredient suggestion can I substitute for the grapefruit juice before I can enjoy this delicious dish;

    1. Pati Jinich

      Dec 11

      You can double the orange juice and leave the grapefruit juice out Mimi 🙂

  4. Deanna Kessler

    Oct 22

    I made this tonight, and it was so delicious!! I love your show and your recipes!

    1. Pati Jinich

      Oct 28

      Yay, thanks so much Deanna!

  5. Rosie C.

    Sep 10

    Where is the recipe for the pickled onions that accompany the chicken Pibil sandwich
    I want to try to try it all. 😊😊

    1. Pati Jinich

      Sep 11

      The link is the last on the list of ingredients Rosie, but here it is for you as well, enjoy!

  6. Lowel Davison

    Mar 19

    Just watched your show for the first time, loved it and miss Yucatán. I plan on making this recipe fo my girl! Thanks!!

    1. Pati Jinich

      Mar 20

      So glad you found me Lowel! Enjoy the Pibil sandwich 😉

  7. Margie Menza

    Jan 17

    Made this for dinner for my family. 16 year old son had two huge sandwich helpings with the works! Thought it was the best meal I ever made. No achiote paste where we live so made it following a recipe I found online. All of the flavors – citrus, pepper, garlic, tomato, allspice – come through. Como cada receta que encuentro en tu show, era riquísimo y para repetir!

    1. Pati Jinich

      Jan 23

      Que bueno que les gusto Margie, sobre todo al teenager, jaja, son los mas dificiles 😉

  8. Raymond Vezina

    Jan 16

    Is there a substitute I could use to replace the grapefruit juice? I can not use it because of medication and the recipe sounds great. Thank you!

    1. Pati Jinich

      Feb 07

      Just substitute for more orange and lime juice Raymond, it will work beautifully, enjoy!

  9. Greg

    Oct 25

    Hi Pati. Do you think it would work if I slow cooked bone-in chicken breasts in the liquid of this recipe and then shredded them?

    1. Pati Jinich

      Oct 29

      I think it would work beautifully Greg, enjoy!!!

  10. Linda L

    Aug 28

    Do you have a recommendation on a good comal and where I can purchase one?

    1. Pati Jinich

      Sep 18

      The best will be to try any Hispanic or Latin Market Linda. Online is a good option as well, good luck!

  11. Mia T.

    Jul 21

    Since I can’t find achiote paste, I substituted Sazon Goya achiote powder by using 2 envelopes of powder for the 2 T. of paste as the recipe states. Also, used more o.j. mixed with more lime juice as a substitute for the grapefruit juice. It was delicious!

    1. Pati Jinich

      Jul 21

      Hola Mia! I love it when you guys get creative to make subs of ingredients that are not available in your areas, so glad to hear you nailed this recipe, yay!

  12. Michael Cook

    May 31

    Patti – I love your program and this recipe is now one of our favorites. I am a novice at cooking and even I was able to make this delicious. Many thanks, Michael

    1. Pati Jinich

      Jun 05

      Thanks so much Michael! I’m sure you are a great cook 🙂

  13. Tüvana Varan

    May 16

    Hi Pati, I love your recipes! I found Aciote paste in jar in my neigborhood. If I use this, does it ruin the recipe? Thank you. – Tüvana

    1. Pati Jinich

      May 23

      You can go ahead and use it Tuvana, just make sure to drain all the liquid if there is any in the jar, good luck!

  14. Lisa

    May 05

    Hi Pati, I love your receipts,. I want to try the pilbil chicken sandwich but I don’t know where to buy achiote paste🤔. Can u help?? Is there a substitute?? It looks Soo delish. Thank u for all ur wonderful inspiration in cooking. Love ur recipes.. u make it look Soo easy😍

    1. Pati Jinich

      May 10

      Hi Lisa, thanks for reaching out. Achiote paste can be easily found in any Latin or Hispanic Market in the condiment aisle. Nowadays some very mainstream grocery stores carry it as well. If still you cannot find it, order it only following this link for example: Good luck!

  15. Lori Schoenberg

    Jul 01

    Patti, I look forward to making this dish. I have a quick question. Your recipe makes 4 to 5 servings of the pollo pibil, but there are only two people in my household. Do you think it would work to make the pollo pibil sauce once, and then refrigerate or freeze a portion of it to use with future servings of chicken?

    1. Pati Jinich

      Jul 04

      Absolutely Lori, you can do that or half the recipe if you prefer. Good luck!

  16. Eli Gordon

    Jun 23

    I made this for my wife and she just loved it! Thanks for this wonderful and easy recipe. We love watching your show! Your enthusiasm for food and your love of family really shines through. Thank you!

    1. Pati Jinich

      Jun 23

      Thanks so much for the kind words Eli!

  17. Daniela

    May 08

    if you where making it with pork like Cochinita what type of cut would you use ? or what would you order at the meat market in the United States?

    1. Pati Jinich

      May 11

      Hello Daniela! I would use loin or shoulder or a combination of both, good luck!

  18. Martha E Munguia

    Nov 29

    Love it! Can’t wait to try it with the leftover turkey. We made the pibil recipe before and loved it! Thanks.

    1. Pati Jinich

      Nov 29

      Yay! Enjoy it this time around with the leftovers, Martha.

  19. Michelle

    Oct 19

    How would I reduce the tartness of the pibil? It’s seems to vinegary

    1. Pati Jinich

      Oct 22

      You can use less vinegar and citrus juices to make it less tart…

  20. Allison

    Sep 29

    Hi Pati! I love your show! Two questions for you — what kinds of tomatoes do you use here? And I saw in the show that you use a comal to roast — is there any benefit to the comal over a broiler?

    Muchas gracias!

    1. Pati Jinich

      Oct 14

      Oh you can use any tomatoes that look the best in the store, like Roma. And if you don’t have a comal, a broiler, or a heavy skillet, will be just great, Allison.

  21. Maria Solorio

    Mar 12

    Hola Pati, una pregunta mas. I am going to switch to English since my spelling in Spanish isn’t the best. My son is graduating high school in June and I am making a dinner for about 60 people. I am having other foods of course most are your recipes:)
    I wanted to try this Pibil recipe however, how much ingredients would I need for 20 to 25 people. Thank you. Mil Gracias

    1. Pati Jinich

      Mar 18

      You would need 4-5 times the amount of ingredients. And please say congratulations to your son!

      1. Maria Solorio

        Mar 18

        Gracias Pati, that means so much to me. I will send you pictures of the chicken pibil. 🙂

  22. Maria Solorio

    Mar 11

    Hola Pati!
    Yummy! Puedo server esta receta con tostadas en vez de pan?


    1. Pati Jinich

      Mar 18


  23. Arcelia Hinojosa

    Oct 07

    Pati una pregunta esta receta es tambien para sustituir con puerco?

    1. Pati

      Oct 08

      Por supuesto, Arcelia!

  24. Jen Wallace

    Jun 27

    I just saw you on Australian Food Network for the first time and I’m so inspired and hungry for your chicken pibil sandwich! Love your accent and your passion for amazing food…thank you. Magick!

    1. Pati

      Jun 28

      Oh thank you so much Jen!

  25. Jacque

    May 15

    Thinking about making my own achiote paste. Is this a case where homemade isn’t as good as purchased, or could it be worth the extra effort? Until I started researching, I didn’t realize it’s a blend of spices & sounds marvelous! I shop at Penzey’s for spices so quality of ingredients should be good. I realize this is “Fast Track” & making achiote paste may not qualify…;-)
    Thanks so much for this inspiring recipe!

    1. Pati

      May 15

      I like to buy my achiote paste pre-made…there are great brands directly from the Yucatan that make a delicious paste. I hope you have fun making the paste and enjoy the sandwiches, Jacque!

      1. Jacque

        Jun 04

        The homemade achiote past turned out great and the sandwiches, too! I hot smoked chicken thighs and tenderloins on our grill, adding that to this delicious recipe. It was a big hit at my daughters graduation party. Doesn’t quite qualify as ‘fast track’ but all could be prepared in advance then placed in slow cookers for the event. Wonderful combo of flavors! Absolutely a keeper of recipe!

        1. Pati

          Jun 05

          Awesome! And congratulations to your daughter on her graduation!

          1. Anonymous

            Jul 09

            Thank you, kindly, Pati! Making this again for a friends 60th birthday party. My kitchen smells like a party thanks to the simmering sauce & wood smoke from the grill! So much depth to the flavor in this gem-of-a-recipe!

            Reply Icon
          2. Jacque

            Apr 18

            Thank you, Pati! The same daughter has requested Pollo Pibil for her college grad party…I’m thrilled to be planning this menu again!

            Reply Icon
          3. Pati Jinich

            Apr 19

            Yay!!! Tell her I am her fan, haha, very good taste! And congrats on her college graduation 🙂

            Reply Icon
  26. Toni

    Feb 15

    Hi Pati,
    This episode just played here in Australia, my husband love and I watch regularly.
    I missed the ingredients for the pickled red onion and was wondering if you please tell me what you put in to make the pickle.
    I have included my email address if it is easier,. E.
    Thank you in advance. x

  27. Jennifer

    Feb 01

    Dear Pati,
    I have the ingredients to make this on the weekend for the family.
    I am able to get bitter oranges. A cup of bitter orange in place of your
    substitute combination?

    1. Pati

      Feb 01

      Exactly! I hope you enjoy them!

  28. Kika Sancto

    Nov 25

    Hello Pati,
    What brand of Achiote paste do you use? I can’t seem to find it in my small town. Could I go to a Walmart store?

    1. Pati

      Nov 28

      You want to look for achiote paste from Yucatecan brands like Anita or El Yucateco or ORALE. Or something that says from Yucatan.

  29. Cecilia

    Oct 17

    Making this right now. My kitchen smells amazing.

    1. Pati

      Oct 18

      Hahaha! Thank you for your awesome comment Cecilia!

  30. Victor Marino

    Oct 16

    Hi Pati
    I love your Show, Your show is the only cooking show I’ll watch, You remind of an old friend who looks similar to you and loves to cook to.

    Anyways I wanted to share my opinion to you When your cooking you make it look so easy to do. My buddies and I were watching the game earlier I made your Famous Chicken Pibil Sandwich and they loved them just like me. Anytime I’m having a party they will be on the list.

    1. Pati

      Oct 19

      That’s too funny! I’m glad I remind you of your friend…and that all of your friends enjoyed the sandwiches!

  31. Susan Smith

    Oct 15

    Could you not become the Mexican American ambassador and try to win our government’s representative’s through their hearts and stomach’s? I live in Texas and I love to cook and I love your show. I wish there was some way that women and mother’s could bridge the gap. I’d vote for you anytime to represent us.
    Love and light
    Susan Smith

    1. Pati

      Oct 30

      I would LOVE to, Susan!

  32. Kyle

    Oct 15

    Hello Pati,
    I Love your show I watch your show each night the Pibil Sandwich is yum and many other things I’ve tryed to make.
    You remind me of my mom’s friend
    She loved to cook you two look very similar

    1. Pati

      Oct 27

      Thank YOU Kyle!

  33. Eddy

    Oct 07

    Hello Pati:
    I was watching the show, and I had to run here to get this recipe… Mexico is in my life, part of my family live there. I love the way you do your program… So natural, entertaining and warm. I also like your beautiful family, we have a girl and a boy, and I love and really enjoy cooking for them. Thankyou for give us good moments watching your show.

    1. Pati

      Oct 12

      Thank you so much Eddy! I’m so happy you and your family watch the show!

  34. Patricia Gonzalez. New Orleans, LA

    Aug 03

    Pati… desde la primera vez que vi tu programa, que fue cuando preparabas los camarones con coco… quedé fascinada, a los pocos días estaba usando tu receta y recomendaciones especialmente para el empanizado y coco… fueron todo in éxito. Pero además de tus deliciosas recetas, gozas de gran simpatía y todo en el programa es de gran calidad, veo que cuidan muy bien todos los detalles de producción… realmente pones el nombre de México muy en alto y nos enorgulleces a todos los mexicanos que estamos en E.U. Que sigas cosechando muchos éxitos más. Bendiciones.

    1. Pati

      Aug 04

      Gracias por tu mensaje tan lindo Patricia. Significa mucho para mí.

  35. Annie

    Jul 09

    Pati –

    Love you…love your show! Your heart of gold “oro”(?) shines through every episode. My husband actually bought me a comal yesterday, because I have told him how much I love your show, i.e. the customs and/or differences of the U.S. and Mexico, and how you have shared your beautiful family and traditions with us. I am excited to try your chicken pibil recipe, and have purchased some of the ingredients; although, if you heard me pronounce them, you would have a great laugh! Thank you so much for sharing the sights, colors, and flavors of Mexico with us. I look forward to every episode. Wishing you and your family the best, always!

    1. Pati

      Jul 11

      What a lovely message Annie…thank you so much! I hope you love your comal as much as I do. I’m so excited to share more of Mexico with you in season six.

  36. Cheryl

    Jun 25

    Hi Pati! I’m going to make your chicken pibil for our 4th of July barbecue, and wasn’t sure if you recommended a brand of achiote paste? I can’t seem to find one without sodium benzoate as a preservative (and am trying to avoid that for a food sensitive guest). Any recommendations, or can I make it myself? I absolutely LOVE watching your show, you make cooking look so effortless! Thank you for any advice 🙂

    1. Pati

      Jun 30

      There are many brands that sell it…but you should look for the ones that say Yucatecan or from the Yucatan.

  37. Jan

    Jun 24

    This is simply delicious. The flavors are so well balanced. I used pain au lait buns. Wouldn’t change one thing.

    1. Pati

      Jun 29

      Thank you so much Jan.

  38. Janet Chacone Miami, Fl

    Jun 17

    Hi Patti, just saw your recepie for your Delicious chicken pibil sandwich which looks amazing can’t wait for my kids to try them. Since I have a little mexcican in me by my father’s side, never met them though, I just love watching your show. Thank you for all that you share!! Dips the bendiga!

    1. Pati

      Jun 30

      Janet, I hope you and your kids enjoy them!

  39. Penelope

    Jun 13

    I just went and bought all the ingredients to make this. You make food look sooooo good.

    1. Pati

      Jun 15

      I hope you enjoy them Penelope.

  40. Lorraine D., Santa Rosa, CA

    Jun 02

    I just made this. I did use a fresh whole raw Chicken, cooked it in the fabulous sauce, then shredded the meat and put it back into the sauce. The whole house was happy! It was very remeniscent of eating in the Yucatan. Several steps, but so very worthwhile. This is a keeper recipe!

    1. Pati

      Jun 05

      That’s fantastic!

  41. Kimberly

    May 30

    This episode was wonderful. I have always wanted to go to the Yucatan. This recipe looks so good! Going to try it tomorrow- Is there a non dairy substitute for Mexican Creme I can use for the avocado sauce? My husband can not have dairy…..
    Love your recipes and show Pati!! 🙂

    1. Pati

      Jun 02

      I recommend you skip the crema and make it more like a guacamole…or you can try vegan mayonnaise.

  42. Paola Gee

    May 13

    I’m going to try this on mothers day for my mom and also someday you should make an episode with vegan Mexican food. Your show is my favorite ! (: ?

    1. Pati

      May 13

      Aw, thank you so much!

  43. Jonathan

    Apr 10

    Hi Patti, I love yucatan flavors. Especially la cochinita pibil. For health reasons I have recently gone to a plant strong diet. Do you think that jack fruit would work well in place of the chicken? Thank you! I love your show!

    1. Pati

      Apr 24

      Oh yes, give it a try Jonathan! Potatoes are also really good in that pibil sauce…

  44. Lynn

    Mar 06

    I bought two bars of achiote paste in a market while in Progresso almost two weeks ago. It’s not pre-packaged and was made by the market vendor. It’s just wrapped in plastic wrap. I brought it home to New York with me and I want to try this recipe. How long does achhiote paste keep, and does it need to be refrigerated?

    1. Pati

      Mar 10

      ​The paste should last for at least year, as long as it is stored in a shaded area that has no humidity and is sealed well.

  45. Nye

    Feb 28

    I would love to try this recipe soon. ..I’m just wondering what achiote paste is made of. Are there multiple ingredients in it, and if so, which ones?

    1. Pati

      Mar 02

      Hi Nye, yes there are all sorts of delicious spices…here’s some additional info

  46. Mandy

    Feb 21

    Could you make this with achiote powder?

    1. Pati

      Feb 23

      Hola Mandy…the powder and paste are very, very different seasonings. I recommend you look online, there are a ton of sources, including Amazon, that sell the paste. Here’s more info:

  47. Susan

    Feb 19

    Apologies in advance for how lengthy this is: For some unknown to me reason I have never made anything from the show though I watch regularly (and I have the tamaliza episode still sitting on my DVR from over a year ago just to inspire me to finally make tamales and the casserole version). I also don’t normally make new (to me) recipes for others before trying them myself but when I saw this I knew I had to try it out. Living in a suburb of Los Angeles, we have many Hispanic markets nearby so getting the achiote paste and a bottle of naranja agria was not a problem at all and I already had everything else on hand. This meal was a HUGE hit and after 1, maybe 2 bites everyone said this is something to add to the “definitely make again” list. I made a few very small changes: I cut open the jalapeno for the pickled red onions and I think next time will use serranos instead for some more heat. I also added a bit of white vinegar too as we like pickles that pack a punch. Also, instead of the avocado crema we used guacamole with a ton of fresh and roasted jalapenos (needed to use up the guacamole and this seemed a good way to do it).

    I think the only issue I had was that I figured the recipe as is would not be enough for our group (plus the mandatory leftovers) so I had about 16 cups of chicken (3 whole rotisserie chickens) and made 1.5x the recipe for the sauce and the chicken was still soupy. Not, like, actual soup but very wet and this is even with reducing the sauce before adding the chicken. Next time I will stick with the recipe as is for the sauce amounts and will reduce them even further before adding the chicken. Even with this it was still outstanding as a sandwich, over a salad, as a soft taco filling, standing at the stove picking at it as it cooked … 🙂 On the side I served the chayote, jicama and apple salad from a different episode and for dessert I served some various pan dulce I bought at the market. Long story short: a great meal that was mostly from your show(s). Thank you!

    1. Pati

      Feb 23

      Susan thank you so much for sharing your story with me. It sounds like an epic meal and I’m super happy everyone loved it!

  48. Melissa

    Feb 16

    Going to make these very soon! I just recently purchased one of your cook books! Just waiting for it to be here! Soooo excited! Love watching your show! You are an amazing cook! Thanks, xoxo.

    1. Pati

      Feb 17

      Melissa thank you so much for purchasing my book and watching the show…it means so much to me.

  49. Louis Becerra Jr.

    Feb 13

    This came out really good. Love the tangy taste of the chicken. Made the pickled onions also but used habaneros, and mango guacamole. Thanks for the recipes!!!

    1. Pati

      Feb 16

      Thank you!

  50. Mark

    Feb 12

    I bought the achiote paste at a Mexican market or you can get it on Amazon

  51. Ariel

    Feb 11

    Immediately purchased the ingredients to make this right after watching this episode! So inspiring! Thank you!

    1. Pati

      Feb 13

      Gracias Ariel…hope you enjoy it!

  52. Louis Becerra Jr.

    Feb 11

    I’m part of a cast iron group on Facebook and we have a bi-monthly cookoff. I watch your show with my soon to be 81 year old mother (she LOVES your show) and wanted to make this for the cookoff. Can’t wait to get it done.

    1. Pati

      Feb 13

      Good luck in the cookoff Louis!

  53. D Roberts

    Feb 09

    Made it. Loved it and your onion pickles too.

    1. Pati

      Feb 13

      Wonderful! So happy you loved them.

  54. Richard B.

    Feb 09

    Going to make this tonight! Thanks for all that you do.

    1. Pati

      Feb 09

      I hope you enjoy them Richard.

  55. Natacha Echavarria

    Feb 07

    I love your program and the mexican food. I will try to make this sandwich.

    1. Pati

      Feb 09


  56. Bob And Nancy Evertsen

    Jan 30


    My wife and I watch Create every night and we love it when you are on there. Your enthusiasm and the wonderful tips and recipes are awesome.

    Bob and Nancy Evertsen

    1. Pati

      Jan 30

      Thank you so much Bob and Nancy!

  57. Rosie Snider

    Dec 26

    Where do you purchase the achiote paste?

    1. Pati

      Dec 29

      You can try your local Latin market or a specialty food store

  58. Migdia Chinea

    Dec 13

    This looks sooo good. I will make it for company soon. Thanks. Migdia.

    1. Pati

      Dec 14

      Thank YOU, Migdia!

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