Tender mollejas de pollo cooked in a flavorful sauce of tomatoes, onion, and jalapeño peppers. This Mexican dish is flavorful, fulfilling, and budget-friendly!

Mollejas de pollo are chicken gizzards and are considered a delicacy in many cuisines, they have a tender texture and mild flavor and can be prepared in various ways, such as grilled, sautéed, or fried.

In Mexico, we usually cook them in a mixture of onion, tomatoes, and chilies. We call them mollejas a la Mexicana or mollejas de pollo guisadas, and we usually serve them as a main dish with a side of rice, refried beans, and tortillas.

Since they are cheap and easy to make, once cooked, the flavorful gizzard mixture is also used as a filling for tacos, quesadillas, and gorditas.

Mexican-style chicken gizzards

Ingredients

  • Chicken gizzards: Called mollejas de pollo in Spanish, make sure you buy them from a trustworthy source and that they are perfectly cleaned.
  • Tomatoes: Use any type of fresh tomatoes you have available. This will add flavor and texture.
  • Onion: You will need some to cook the gizzards and some more, diced, for making the sauce.
  • Chilies: I used jalapeño peppers, but serrano chiles or any other type of fresh chili peppers are good options too.
  • Oil: Use your favorite cooking oil, I am using here extra virgin olive oil.
  • Spices and seasonings: Bay leaves, garlic powder, salt, and pepper.

How To Make Mollejas de Pollo

Clean and trim the chicken gizzards, removing any excess fat or membrane. Rinse them thoroughly under cold water.

Place them in a pot along with 1-2 bay leaves, 1/2 small onion, and 1 teaspoon of salt. Cover with 1-inch water and cook until the gizzards (mollejas) are cooked through and tender.

Note: I used an Instant Pot, so they cooked in about 30 minutes. On the stovetop, the chicken gizzards will take from 1 to 1 and a half hour to be nicely tender.

Meanwhile, prepare the veggies. Dice and chop the onion, tomatoes, chilies, and garlic.

Diced tomatoes, onion, and chopped chilies on a chopping board.

Once the chicken gizzards are ready, remove them from the pot and roughly chop them into small bites.

Cooked chicken gizzards cut into small bites in a white bowl.

Heat the olive oil in a large pan. Add the onion and green chilies then sauté over medium heat for 2-3 minutes or until the veggies are lightly soft.

Add the chicken gizzards and cook stirring often for 3-4 minutes until they are slightly browned and the onion and chilies are cooked through.

Sauteed onion, chilies, and chicken gizzards in a pan.

Stir in the tomatoes and season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Mix to combine and cook over high heat so the tomatoes start to release their juices.

Added diced tomatoes and seasonings to the pan with sauteed gizzards and onions.

Add 1/2 cup of water (or chicken stock) and cook for 10-15 minutes over medium heat allowing the meat to absorb the flavors and the tomatoes to become a chunky and flavorful sauce.

Fully cooked chicken gizzards, mollejas de pollo in the tomato, onion, and chili sauce.

Adjust seasonings to taste, turn off the heat, and leave the mollejas to rest for 10 minutes before serving.

Recipe Tips And Notes

  • I like to cook first the mollejas (gizzards) because it helps to remove any residual blood and ensures they are fully cooked and super tender. This step also contributes to a cleaner flavor.
  • I usually remove the veins and seeds from chilies, so the mixture won’t be so spicy. If you like spicy food, then leave them, and remember to adjust the quantity based on your preferences and the preferences of those you’re serving.
  • My mother, who had to feed our large family, used to scramble some eggs into the mixture for extra protein.

How To Serve

This recipe of mollejas de pollo is so versatile and can be served as a main dish with those sides:

Another popular way to serve mollejas in Mexican cuisine is as a filling or topping for tacos or tostadas. Prepare small tortillas or tostada shells and top them with the mollejas stew. Add other toppings like chopped lettuce, cream, cheese, salsa, and a squeeze of lime.

Or stuff them into gorditas and a spoonful of melty cheese, lightly cook them on a griddle so the cheese melts nicely, they are delicious!

Close-up of mollejas de pollo.

How To Store And Reheat

Since the mollejas de pollo take some time to make, I like to prepare a double batch and store them for later. If you cook them first as I instructed in this recipe, they won’t lose their texture or become chewy!

Once cooked these Mexican mollejas can last up to 3-4 days in the fridge stored in an airtight container, or they can be frozen for up to 2-3 months. I like transferring them in resealable bags because they’re easy to store and don’t take too much space in the freezer.

Once ready to enjoy again your mollejas, just thaw them overnight in the fridge, then reheat in a pan with a splash of water or chicken stock over medium heat, stirring from time to time until heated through.

More Mexican Recipes

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Mollejas de pollo recipe a la Mexicana.

Mollejas de Pollo

6 servings
Chicken sweetbreads cooked in a flavorful sauce of tomatoes, onion, and jalapeño peppers. Serve as a main with tortillas and a side of rice, or as a filling for tacos, quesadillas, and gorditas.
prep 15 minutes
cook 45 minutes
Resting time 10 minutes
total 1 hour 10 minutes

Ingredients 

  • 2.5 pound chicken gizzards (cleaned)
  • 4 medium tomatoes (diced)
  • 1 large white onion (diced)
  • 2 jalapeño or serrano peppers (seeds and veins removed, chopped)
  • 4 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1-2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ½ small onion (for cooking the sweetbreads)
  • salt and pepper (to taste)

Instructions
 

  • Place the sweetbreads in a pot and add the bay leaves, 1/2 small onion, and 1 teaspoon of salt. Cover with 1-inch water and cook until the sweetbreads are cooked through and tender.
  • Once the chicken sweetbreads are ready, remove them from the pot and roughly chop them into small bites.
  • Heat the olive oil in a large pan. Add the onion and green chilies and sauté over medium heat for 2-3 minutes or until the veggies are lightly soft.
  • Add the chicken sweetbreads and cook stirring often for 3-4 minutes until they are slightly browned and the onion and chilies are cooked through.
  • Stir in the tomatoes and season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Mix to combine and cook over high heat for 2 minutes.
  • Add ½ cup of water and cook for 10-15 minutes over medium heat allowing the sweetbreads to absorb the flavors and the tomatoes to become a chunky and flavorful sauce.
  • Adjust seasonings to taste, turn off the heat, and leave the stew to rest for 10 minutes before serving.

Notes

  • I used an Instant Pot, so they cooked in about 30 minutes. On the stovetop, the sweetbreads will take from 1 to 1 and a half hour to be done.
  • I usually remove the veins and seeds from chilies, so the mixture won’t be so spicy. If you like spicy food, then leave them, and remember to adjust the quantity based on your preferences and the preferences of those you’re serving.
  • Mexican mollejas de pollo can last up to 3-4 days in the fridge stored in an airtight container, or they can be frozen for up to 2-3 months.
Nutrition Information
Serving: 1serving | Calories: 353kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 35g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 446mg | Sodium: 927mg | Potassium: 686mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 18865IU | Vitamin C: 44mg | Calcium: 36mg | Iron: 11mg
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Maricruz Avalos Flores is a Mexican cook and photographer living in Italy where she shares authentic Mexican & Italian recipes that can be easily made at home using easy-to-find ingredients.

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