Sinaloan Pork in Chile Sauce (Chilorio)

Sinaloan Pork in Chile Sauce (Chilorio)

The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 2 hrs 20 mins
Total: 2 hrs 40 mins
Servings: 4 to 6 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
464 Calories
31g Fat
4g Carbs
41g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 6
Amount per serving
Calories 464
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 31g 39%
Saturated Fat 11g 55%
Cholesterol 137mg 46%
Sodium 432mg 19%
Total Carbohydrate 4g 2%
Dietary Fiber 1g 5%
Total Sugars 0g
Protein 41g
Vitamin C 1mg 5%
Calcium 42mg 3%
Iron 2mg 10%
Potassium 647mg 14%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Chilorio is a dish with origins in the state of Sinaloa and enjoyed all over northern Mexico. It is usually made with pork but sometimes beef or chicken are used, and the sauce is created from dried chiles.

This dish is made by cooking the meat in water and fat, then frying it with the chiles and spices. Because of the ingredients used (especially when vinegar is included), it can be stored in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks with no problem and much longer in the freezer. The use of vinegar also helps to tone down the chiles’ spiciness while leaving their flavor intact.

Nowadays chilorio is relatively easy to find in large supermarkets or specialty stores in canned or jarred form, but it is so easy to make that it makes sense to prepare your own—that way you will know exactly what ingredients are in your chilorio, and you can tweak the spices to your taste.

Chilorio makes a great filling for tacos, tortas, burritos, and tamales or you can serve it as a main dish, accompanied by some refried beans and/or rice.

Note: This recipe calls for pork lard. You can use vegetable oil instead, but some flavor will be lost without the lard.


  • 2 pounds (900 grams) boneless pork

  • 4 to 5 cups water, or chicken, meat, or vegetable broth

  • 3 to 4 dried ancho chiles, or similar chiles, see note at the bottom

  • 1/2 cup pork lard

  • 1/2 medium onion, coarsely chopped

  • 1/4 cup white vinegar, or apple cider vinegar, optional

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano

  • 3 cloves garlic

  • 1 teaspoon salt

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Sinaloan Pork in Chile Sauce (Chilorio) ingredients

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

  2. In a large pot, simmer pork in water or broth, covered, for 2 hours.

    pork in a Dutch oven

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

  3. During the last 20 minutes of cooking time, ladle out enough liquid to cover the dried chiles in a bowl. Soak chiles in liquid until soft, then remove and discard stems and seeds. Set chiles aside.

    dried chiles in a bowl with water

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

  4. When pork is done simmering, drain off liquid, reserving 1 cup.

    pork on a cutting board, pork liquid in a measuring cup

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

  5. Pull pork into bite-sized chunks.

    pork pieces on a cutting board

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

  6. Heat lard in a large pan until melted. Fry pork in lard until it browns. Remove pork and set aside.

    pork in a pan

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

  7. Cook onions in lard until translucent. Remove from pan and set aside to cool slightly.

    onions in a pan

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

  8. Place chiles, onions, vinegar (if using), cumin, oregano, garlic, salt, and reserved (1 cup) water/broth in a blender. Blend until smooth.

    chiles, onions, vinegar, cumin, oregano, garlic, salt, and broth in a blender

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

  9. Drain most of the lard from pan, then put pork into pan with blended chile sauce. Simmer for 10 minutes or so to thicken the sauce and bring the flavors together.

    Sinaloan Pork in Chile Sauce (Chilorio) in a pan

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

Use Caution When Blending Hot Ingredients

Steam expands quickly in a blender, and can cause ingredients to splatter everywhere or cause burns. To prevent this, fill the blender only one-third of the way up, vent the top, and cover with a folded kitchen towel while blending.

Note: Any combination of dried Mexican peppers would work here. Try a mixture of ancho, pasilla, guajillo, and/or morita chiles if you have different varieties on hand; each type lends its own flavor accent. The number of chiles can also vary according to your taste—ramp the sauce up for hardcore chile heads, tone it down for more conservative diners.

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