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Pan Con Pollo Salvadoreno Recipe | Salvadoran Sandwich

Let us introduce you to the flavorsome world of Salvadoran cuisine with our Pan Con Pollo Salvadoreno recipe.

Similar to pan con chumpe, any panes con pollo salvadorenos recipe isn’t just a sandwich, it’s an experience.

You’ll marinate succulent chicken, layer it with fresh veggies, and nestle it in crusty bread.

We’ll guide you through each step, so you’ll master this traditional dish in no time.

Get ready, because you’re not just making lunch, you’re crafting a culinary masterpiece. Here’s the scoop on our Pan Con Pollo Salvadoreno recipe.

Understanding the Ingredients of Pan Con Pollo Salvadoreno

You’ll need the right ingredients for your pan con pollo salvadoreno, including chicken, baguettes, tomatoes, and herbs and spices.

A traditional Salvadoran sandwich, panes con pollo salvadoreños, share similarities with panes con pavo and panes rellenos from El Salvador.

Though there are various ways to a Salvadoran sammy, the pan con pollo salvadoreno recipe is unique with its main ingredients.

Instead of baguettes, Salvadorans prefer using bolillo rolls, a key ingredient giving the sandwich its authentic feel.

At the base of my pan con pollo recipe is the chicken and fresh vegetables. A surprisingly yummy addition, by the way, would be rábanos cortados.

The chicken, preferably slow-cooked, is married with the tomatoes, herbs, and spices creating a rich, flavorful mix that’s distinctively Salvadoran.

Once you’ve mastered these ingredients, you’re on your way to creating this traditional Salvadoran sandwich recipe.

Remember, perfection lies in understanding and respecting the ingredients.

Preparing the Chicken for Pan Con Pollo Salvadoreno

In this step, you’re going to focus on getting the chicken ready for the Pan Con Pollo Salvadoreno.

Salvadoran cuisine is known for its flavorful and succulent chicken dishes, and this recipe is no exception.

Here’s a quick breakdown of the process:

  1. Start by choosing your chicken. Use rotisserie chicken, chicken thighs, or chicken legs. Any chicken meat will do, but dark meat is preferred for its juiciness.
  2. Heat a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook until browned on all sides.
  3. Lastly, add chicken broth to the pan. This not only keeps the chicken moist but also adds a depth of flavor to the final dish.

Assembling the Pan Con Pollo Salvadoreno Sandwich

Now that your chicken’s cooked and ready, it’s time to assemble your pan con pollo salvadoreno sandwich, and here’s where the fun truly begins!

Take your subway sandwich roll and slice it open from the side, but not all the way through. A different way is to slice the top to create a pocket.

Slather on a generous layer of the sauce ingredients, a delicious medley of Salvadoran flavors. There are clever shortcuts, but don’t skip this step.

Next, pile on your shredded chicken, the star of this traditional Salvadoran turkey sandwich.

Top it with shredded cabbage, a classic ingredient in Salvadoran cuisine that adds a delightful crunch and is good luck on holidays like New Years.

Add slices of cucumber for a refreshing bite and a squirt of yellow mustard for that tangy kick.

Putting together your pan con pollo salvadoreno is a labor of love and a culinary journey into the heart of Salvadoran culture.

Now, sit back and enjoy your tasty treat!

Essential Tips for Perfecting Your Pan Con Pollo Salvadoreno

Perfecting your traditional Salvadoran sandwich takes some practice, but don’t worry, we’ve got some essential tips that’ll make it easier.

Here’s how you can perfect your pan con pollo salvadoreno:

  1. Tomato Sauce: Start by sautéing roma tomatoes, cloves garlic, bay leaves, black pepper in olive oil until they’re nicely caramelized. This forms the base of your tomato sauce and intensifies the flavor.
  2. Chicken Marination: Marinate your chicken in Worcestershire sauce, on a covered baking sheet overnight. This will tenderize and infuse the meat with an umami flavor that’s key to the pan con pollo salvadoreno.
  3. Slow Cooking: Don’t rush the cooking process. Slow-cook the chicken in the tomato sauce, letting the flavors meld together. This will ensure a moist, flavorful sandwich filling.

The Cultural Significance of Pan Con Pollo Salvadoreno

Beyond just being a delicious dish, you’ll find that the pan con pollo salvadoreno holds a special place in the heart of Salvadoran culture.

Salvadoran restaurants across Central America serve this traditional sandwich, often during special occasions and the holiday season.

The preparation of pan con pollo salvadoreno, especially during ‘fin de año‘ (New Year’s), is a cherished tradition that brings families together.

It’s more than just a meal; it’s a cultural experience.

Although there’s a Peruvian variant, pan con pollo peruano, and a Guatemalan one, pan de pollo guatemalteco, they don’t quite compare.

The Salvadoran version uses a unique combo of ingredients and prep methods that have cultural significance, rooted in the nation’s identity.

Pairing Suggestions for Pan Con Pollo Salvadoreno

You’re probably wondering what beverages or sides could enhance the flavor of traditional Salvadoran sandwich, the pan con pollo salvadoreno.

This flavorful smothered chicken sandwich, often prepared in an olla grande with a teaspoon pepper, is a delight on its own.

But the right accompaniments can elevate your culinary experience from any panes con pollo salvadorenos recipe.

Here are three suggestions:

  1. Curtido: A tangy slaw of raw vegetables, primarily cabbage, green bell pepper, and white onion, it’s the crunchy contrast to your pan con pollo recipe’s tender chicken.
  2. Sopa de Pata: This hearty Salvadoran soup pairs well with the sandwich, offering a warming balance.
  3. Horchata de Morro: A traditional Salvadoran drink made of sesame seeds, it complements the savory flavors perfectly.

Common Mistakes to Avoid While Making Pan Con Pollo Salvadoreno

Here are some common pitfalls when preparing this traditional Salvadoran sandwich and how you can avoid them for a flawless meal.

One common mistake is using too much vegetable oil. It’s key to lightly coat your pan and heat it over medium heat, not high.

Also, don’t skimp on the pumpkin seeds and bell peppers, they add authentic flavor to your delicious chicken stew.

A food processor can be your best friend for blending these ingredients along with the chile guajillo.

Finally, remember to mix everything thoroughly in a large bowl, ensuring all ingredients incorporate well.

Avoid these common mistakes, and your Salvadoran sandwich will be a hit!

Making Pan Con Pollo Salvadoreno for Special Occasions

For special occasions, it’s always a great idea to consider this traditional Salvadoran sandwich, ensuring a meal your guests won’t forget.

This recipe is a delightful representation of South America’s culinary culture, offering a treat that outshines countless chicken stew recipes.

  1. The type of meat you use can drastically affect the flavor. Dark meat, such as thighs, is rich while white meat offers a leaner, delicate taste.
  2. The addition of a bay leaf is crucial to the recipe’s authentic taste. This potent herb provides a subtle yet complex depth to the stew.
  3. Lastly, don’t forget to garnish your sandwich with crisp vegetables for a refreshing crunch.

Celebrate New Year’s Eve, or any occasion, with this authentic, savory delight. It’s a journey to El Salvador on a plate.

Food for Thought

In the end, mastering pan con pollo salvadoreño isn’t just about creating a delicious sandwich—it’s about celebrating Salvadoran culture.

By understanding each ingredient, carefully preparing the chicken, and avoiding common mistakes, you’re not only perfecting a recipe.

You’re keeping a long time culinary tradition alive with every panes con pollo salvadorenos recipe you try.

Pair it with the right sides, serve it even to large numbers on special occasions, and you’ve got a piece of El Salvador right in your kitchen.

Yield: 8 servings

Pan Con Pollo Salvadoreno Recipe

A chicken sandwich on a plate.

Take a piece of El Salvador with you in your lunchbox, with our Pan Con Pollo Salvadoreno recipe.

Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 25 minutes


Making the Chicken

  • 1 4-lb whole chicken
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup yellow mustard
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil

Making the Sauce

  • 5 roma tomatoes
  • 1/2 white onion
  • 2 dried guajillo chiles, soaked
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 3 cloves
  • 1 tsp achiote
  • 2 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 1/3 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 bay leaves

Making the Dressing

  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tbsp yellow mustard
  • 1 1/2 tsp white vinegar

Making the Sandwich

  • 3 tomatoes, sliced
  • 1 English cucumber, sliced into rounds
  • 1 head romaine lettuce
  • 1 carrot, sliced into rounds
  • 4 radishes, sliced into rounds
  • 1 bunch watercress leaves
  • 8 bread buns


  1. Add the whole chicken into a large bowl. Sprinkle with 3/4 tsp salt, 1/4 cup mustard, 2 tsp cumin, and 1/2 tsp black pepper. Stir with hands to fully coat the chicken, then set aside.
  2. Add 3 tbsp vegetable oil to bottom of a Dutch oven pan on medium heat.
  3. Add the chicken into the pot, frying in the oil for about 3-5 minutes on each side, until browned on both sides.
  4. To make the sauce, blend roma tomatoes, half yellow onion, guajillo chilies, garlic, cloves, achiote, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, cumin, oregano, salt, and 1 cup water. Blend until completely smooth.
  5. When the chicken's fried, add sauce and 2 bay leaves.
  6. Replace the lid and put the pot over medium heat. Let it cook for an hour.
  7. After an hour, turn off the heat. Use tongs to remove the chicken meat from the bones. Discard the bones, keeping the chicken in the sauce.
  8. Once the bones have been removed, leave the chicken on the stove (turned off) while preparing the dressing.
  9. Add all of the dressing ingredients into a bowl and whisk to combine.
  10. Prepare the sandwiches by cutting a slit in the top of the bun and opening the bun from the middle. Spread the dressing around inside the bread.
  11. Use a piece of lettuce to line the inside of the bun. Then add the chicken & sauce into the lettuce.
  12. Place the veggies (tomatoes, cucumbers, radishes, watercress leaves, etc) inside the bun.
  13. Repeat until the sandwiches are assembled and enjoy!


  • I recommend using vegetable oil because it has a higher smoke point than olive oil.
  • We had extra chicken left over, so we put the leftovers in bell peppers and made stuffed peppers. The chicken leftovers would also be yummy in tacos or enchiladas.
  • Wait until right before serving to assemble the sandwiches to keep them from being soggy.

Happy cooking, and buen provecho!

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