Skip to main content

Cheesy Pork and Tomatillo Skillet

Cheesy Pork in a cast iron skillet
Photograph by Isa Zapata, Food Styling by Mieko Takahashi
  • Total Time

    35 minutes

If you are looking for a sign to make a meaty, cheesy, saucy skillet dip for dinner, this is it. Great when eaten with tortilla chips but just as great scooped into a bowl and devoured with a spoon, this one-pan dish comes together in just over 30 minutes. Bright and acidic tomatillos are the star here; often sold in their papery husks, this tart fruit softens and gets sweeter as it cooks, adding freshness to the otherwise rich and oozy skillet (thank you, melty pepper Jack cheese). Pork is a natural friend to green chiles and cumin, but feel free to use any ground meat—or meat substitute—you have on hand. If the speed at which the contents of this skillet disappeared in the test kitchen is any indication, you won’t have to worry about leftovers.

All products featured on Bon Appétit are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through the retail links below, we earn an affiliate commission.

What you’ll need


4 servings


lb. ground pork


tsp. Diamond Crystal or ½ tsp. Morton kosher salt, plus more


tsp. ground cumin


tsp. smoked paprika


Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil


small red onion, thinly sliced


garlic cloves, thinly sliced


large poblano chile, ribs and seeds removed, thinly sliced


medium tomatillos, husks removed, rinsed, coarsely chopped


4-oz. cans diced green chiles


oz. pepper Jack cheese, coarsely grated

Cilantro leaves with tender stems and tortilla chips (for serving)


  1. Step 1

    Place 1 lb. ground pork in a medium bowl and sprinkle with 1 tsp. Diamond Crystal or ½ tsp. Morton kosher salt, 1 tsp. ground cumin, and 1 tsp. smoked paprika. Using your hands, gently mix to incorporate.

    Step 2

    Heat 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Cook pork mixture, undisturbed, until browned and beginning to crisp underneath, about 3 minutes. Break up meat into ½" pieces with a wooden spoon and continue to cook, stirring often, until just cooked through, about 2 minutes more. Transfer to a small bowl with a slotted spoon, leaving fat behind; set aside.

    Step 3

    Add 1 small red onion, thinly sliced, and 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced, to same skillet; season with salt. Cook, stirring often, until onion is slightly softened and garlic is starting to turn golden, about 3 minutes. Add 1 large poblano chile, ribs and seeds removed, thinly sliced, and 3 medium tomatillos, husks removed, rinsed, coarsely chopped; cook, stirring occasionally, until poblano is golden in spots, about 1 minute. Add two 4-oz. cans diced green chiles and 1 cup water and cook, stirring occasionally and scraping up any browned bits, until almost all liquid is evaporated and tomatillos are mostly softened, 7–9 minutes. Remove from heat.

    Step 4

    Heat broiler. Add reserved pork mixture to skillet and stir to combine. Top evenly with 8 oz. pepper Jack cheese, coarsely grated. Broil until cheese is melted and starting to blister in spots, about 3 minutes. Let cool slightly.

    Step 5

    Top with cilantro leaves with tender stems. Serve with tortilla chips.

Sign In or Subscribe
to leave a Rating or Review

How would you rate Cheesy Pork and Tomatillo Skillet?

Leave a Review

  • Heeded the reviews and amped up the seasoning in the meat. Added garlic and onion powder, cayenne and chili powder. Instead of water I used broth. Used cotija cheese and served over rice. Delish!

    • Barb M

    • NY

    • 9/9/2023

  • My family loved this. I read the comments and went with David fro Boise's comments to amp up the flavor: tablespoon of cumin; teaspoon of ancho chile instead of smoked paprika; roasted the poblanos before adding to the onions and garlic; and reduced the jack cheese by half and added a 1/4 cup of crumbled cotija cheese. Another trick: instead of water, I added 3/4 cup of tomatillo salsa. If eating it with tortilla chips seems weird -- try it on rice or a base of masa/polenta.

    • Sheila

    • Bethesda

    • 9/2/2023

  • This was delicious. But having it for dinner was weird. In the future I’ll serve this at party’s as a dip.

    • Mark

    • 9/1/2023

  • Recipes are great templates to build and make your own - only baking really requires testing and precision of ingredients, and even then... Just looking at this and planning to make it, with changes, to address the underflavored comments. No need for evoo - a good vegetable oil or even lard would do just as well. I'll up the cumin to probably at least T. Swap the paprika for either chipotle (for smoky heat) or ancho chile powder and increase it, as well. Swap yellow onion for the red (more mellow). Poblanos and tomatillos should be roasted, not sauteed. If you can score some good diced Hatch chiles or other green chiles from New Mexico, that'd be better than the bland canned versions. And add some cotija with the Jack at the end.

    • David

    • Boise

    • 8/31/2023

  • This was underwhelming. It just didn't have enough flavor on its own. I topped it with fresh jalapeño slices and cilantro and served salsa and hot sauce on the side which definitely helped, but I wouldn't make it again.

    • Deb

    • Virginia

    • 8/31/2023

  • I gave this 4 stars. We thought it was good, but not quite flavorful enough to stand on its own. I thought it needed lime juice and some hot sauce. Next time, I'd make it as a filling for enchiladas or something.

    • Chris

    • Delaware

    • 8/31/2023

  • Excellent , levels of flavors are amazing. Need to put the cup of water in the ingredients …almost missed

    • Bob

    • Moraga Ca

    • 8/26/2023