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Paleo Green Chicken Chili Pozole

Updated: Sep 5, 2023

paleo chicken chili pozole
Photo by Autumn Michaelis

One of our favorite weeknight recipes is chicken pozole in the Instant Pot where I can have a hot nourishing dinner ready in about 30 mins. I try to be 80% paleo/Whole30 in my diet, so I love having this option that uses Japanese sweet potatoes in place of hominy for a paleo version of this favorite.

Ideally, I've thought ahead to thaw 2 lbs. of bone-in chicken thighs (which I usually get in bulk from Butcher Box). Having them thawed means I can take the skins off easily before seasoning and browning the chicken for deeper flavor and texture in the stew. If you're a chicharron-lover like myself, hang on to that chicken skin! Throw it in the air fryer with some flake salt sprinkled on top for 10-12 mins and serve it as a crunchy pairing with the stew -- or keep it to yourself... the chef always deserves an extra treat!


  • 2 lb. (1 kg) organic chicken thighs

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

  • 2 Tbs. avocado oil

  • 1 onion, diced

  • 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced or minced

  • 1 jalapeño chili, seeded and finely chopped (or sub with whatever spice/chili sauce you have on hand i.e. TJ's Green Dragon Sauce)

  • 1 tsp. dried oregano

  • 1 tsp. ground cumin (I don't usually have cumin on hand and it tastes fine without)

  • 1 large white or Japanese sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 3 cups)

  • 4 cups (32 fl. oz./1 L.) chicken broth

  • 8 tomatillos, husks removed, rinsed and coarsely chopped/diced

  • Juice of 1 lime

  • Fresh cilantro leaves for garnish

  • Avocado slices for garnish

  • Lime wedges for garnish


  1. Season the chicken breasts generously on both sides with salt and pepper. In an Instant Pot set to “sauté” on high, warm the oil until it beeps. In batches, sear the chicken, turning once, until golden brown, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer the chicken to a plate. (Shortcut: I usually skip the transfer and just cook the onions with the browned chicken)

  2. Add the onion to the pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender and translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic, chili, oregano, cumin, 1 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. pepper and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the sweet potato, broth and tomatillos to the pot and stir to combine. Return the chicken to the pot.

  3. Cover the pot with the lid, lock the lid into place and turn the valve to “sealing.” Set the Instant Pot to cook at high pressure for 20 minutes.

  4. When the pressure cooking is complete, turn the valve to “venting” to manually release the steam. When the steam stops, carefully remove the lid and transfer the chicken to a large bowl. Use 2 forks to shred the chicken into pieces and debone if using bone-in thighs. Return the chicken to the pot, add the lime juice and stir to mix. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

  5. To serve, ladle the soup into individual bowls. Garnish with the cilantro, avocado and lime wedges, and serve immediately. Serves 4.

This recipe would also do well in a slow cooker according to the Whole30 recipe, cooked on low for 5 to 6 hours or on high for 2 1/2 to 3 hours.

This recipe is packed with protein, healthy fat from avocados, and lots of herbaceous goodness. I hope you enjoy this recipe and add this paleo chicken stew to your regular rotation of favorites!

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