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Orange–Guajillo Chili Pulled Chicken

4 Servings

45 minutes

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Chilorio, a pulled pork from the Mexican state of Sinaloa, inspired this dish, but instead of pork, we use faster-cooking boneless, skinless chicken thighs. Fresh orange juice amplifies the fruity notes of the guajillo chilies while giving the sauce a natural sweetness; a little vinegar and honey helped the balance. Serve the shredded chicken with Mexican rice or tortillas, or use it as a filling for tacos. Diced white onion, sliced radishes and/or crumbled queso fresco are excellent garnishes.




Don’t forget to trim any excess fat from the chicken thighs before cooking to prevent the dish from being greasy.

45 minutes


  • 1

    ounce guajillo chilies (5 medium), stemmed, seeded and torn into 1-inch pieces

  • cups orange juice


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Joe H.
August 30, 2023
Full of flavor
Fun to make, delicious to eat. This Mexican treat will have your guests raving. One of my favorite tacos made this about five times in the last six months.
Janice N.
October 18, 2022
Good one!
Prepared recipe as written. Good flavor profile and results in moist chicken
Dana P.
June 22, 2022
Just the right amount of everything
Forgot to add the vinegar, otherwise followed recipe exactly. Perfect in every way! Served with avocado, Oaxaca cheese, and radishes on tortillas.
Jennifer G.
July 13, 2022
Orange Guajillo Chili Pulled Chicken
We only did 2 peppers, would do more next time. Was a different flavor than normal which was nice! Nice, easy meal for a weeknight to cook.
May 10, 2023
New Go-To Chicken Dish
this is a favorite of the family, I've made it a couple times a month since discovering it. As to the reviews that this dish is 'too spicy': guajillo chilis are NOT spicy; those cooks may have thought they used guajillos, but they did not. I add a couple chile de arbol since we like a like a little kick
Lynne J.

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Cynthia F.

I only have pasilla chilies. Could I substitute those? My family cannot tolerate much heat.

Lynn C.

Hi Cynthia -

Of course! Use whatever dried chilies you'd like.

The Milk Street Team

Lynne J.

My comment has never shown up, posted it way back in Feb. 2020, so I am trying again. I made this recipe exactly as written and used fresh oranges off my tree. It was absolutely delicious. The chicken was so tender and flavorful. I served it with street taco sized corn tortillas along with the suggested toppings. I have made it twice since then and it always comes out great.

David D.

I made this tonight. Sorry you simply can't take 2 tsps of coriander, 1 tsp of oregano, 5 garlic cloves, and 5 guajillo chiles reduced down to 1 cup of liquid and expect it to be edible. Way over powers the chicken. Maybe, just maybe this might be ok with 25% of the ingredients in 1 cup of liquid. Very dissatisfied with this recipe.

Mike B.

I just made this yesterday and I followed the recipe exactly..... It turned out beyond-spicy-hot! We love spicy food at our table and eat highly seasoned dishes all the time, but this son-of-a-gun was too hot to handle. I wound up squeezing a half of a juicy lemon over the plated dish so that we could finish it, but it was really still too hot for comfort. Maybe my quajillo chilis were especially hot, but this one is not going to go into the repeat recipe folder.

Amy B.

This was very flavorful and super easy. My chili peppers weren’t hot at all, unlike some other commenters. I actually ended up adding in some red pepper flakes to spice things up. This one is going into regular rotation for sure.

John B.

I'm a subscriber. Wondering why there' seems not to be a button for a printable recipe on Milk Street online sources?

Lynn C.

Hi John -

If using a laptop, there is a small black and white "Print" button to the left of the word "Ingredients" on the left side of the screen. It is a little bit hidden so I totally understand why you don't find it easily. I hope this helps!

The Milk Street Team

Ginger A.

I have McCormick ground guajillo pepper but I’m not sure how to substitute if for the actual peppers. Any help you can give us would be appreciated. I’m making it tonight for dinner so wish me luck.

Robert J.

This recipe is a winner! We have made it several times. It's very well balanced. (Perhaps the commenters who said it was too spicy weren't careful to remove the seeds from the guajillo chiles.) We use the finished pulled chicken for either tacos or burritos, with shredded chinese or napa cabbage, thin slices of radish, fresh cilantro, and a drizzle of plain yogurt. Yum.

Chris V.

Great recipe. Added a tsp of Chipotle powder and cumin