Pollo Asado Recipe (Chipotle Copycat)

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Pollo Asado Recipe (Chipotle Copycat) results in super tender and juicy chicken marinated in a chipotle-based marinade with lime and orange juice. It is super easy to make (the marinade does all the work) and packed with delicious flavors. The perfect meal for busy weeknights or a Mexican-themed dinner party.

You might think; this isn’t a classic Italian recipe! No, it is not, but we are big fans of Chipotle Mexican Grill and this is one of our favorite menu items. I wanted to make this from scratch so we could enjoy it any time we want. Search for more chicken recipes here.

pollo asado rice bowl with fix-ins
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If you are a fan of Chipotle Mexican Grill, you will love this copycat recipe! Chipotle Mexican Grill added a tasty chicken dish to their menu, which is only here for a limited time. Good thing you have this copycat recipe and can make it any time you want.

The first time I saw this Pollo Asado on the menu, I’ve been obsessed and get it every time we go. We love Mexican cuisine in our home, and the flavors in this chicken recipe pack great flavors!

Honestly, I like this copycat version better than the original. Let’s see what you think!

Pollo Asado Recipe (Chipotle Copycat) made into tacos

Simple Ingredients

ingredient shot for recipe

Chicken

  • 4-5 pounds bone-in chicken thighs (also use chicken breasts) 

Pollo Asado Marinade (You can find most of these items in the Latin foods section of your local grocery stores)

  • Olive oil
  • Orange juice
  • Fresh lime juice
  • Yellow onion, chopped
  • Garlic
  • Cilantro
  • Achiote paste
  • Ground coriander
  • Ground cumin
  • kosher salt
  • Smoked paprika
  • Dried oregano
  • Chipotle chile pepper
  • Fresh cilantro (chopped) for serving
  • Fresh lime slices for serving 

See the recipe card for quantities.

The Spanish word “pollo” means “chicken,” and asado means “roasted” or “barbecued,” so pollo asado means roasted or barbecued chicken. 

Pollo Asado is deeply flavorful chicken marinated in a mixture of citrus juices, cumin, oregano, paprika, and most notably, achiote powder, which gives the chicken a signature orange and red color. 

You’ll find variations of Pollo Asado in Mexico, Puerto Rico, Cuba and the Caribbean. This is a Mexican-inspired pollo asado recipe.  

Pollo Asado Recipe (Chipotle Copycat) on plate with lime wedges

How to Make Pollo Asado (Chipotle Copycat)

The marinade recipe comes together in the blender and is super easy!

process of making the polo asado marinade

Add all marinade ingredients into a blender cup (or food processor).

process photo all ingredients blended in blender

Pulse and blend until smooth, consistent similar to a sauce.

pouring sauce over chicken to marinade (process)

Add chicken to a ziplock bag or an air-tight container. Pour the marinade over the chicken. Mix until the chicken is evenly coated.

process photo marinating the chicken

Marinate the chicken in the refrigerator for 4 to 24 hours. Let the chicken sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before cooking. (If using chicken breasts, marinate for up to 12 hours)

process photo pollo asado on the grill

Preheat the grill to medium-high heat, 425-450°F. Sear chicken for 5-7 minutes per side or until the chicken is cooked through and an internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F for chicken breast and 175 degrees F for chicken thighs. Use an instant-read thermometer.

grilled pollo asado on grill

Transfer chicken to a cutting board and let rest for 5 minutes before slicing. Enjoy hot with your favorite Mexican-inspired sides. 

Variations

There are many different ways to change up this popular protein for some variety or to better fit your taste. Test some of these modifications to find out what you like best!

  • Vary the seasoning ratios to mix up the flavor profile
  • Spicy: add cayenne pepper for an extra kick
  • Add jalapeño: remove the seeds and membrane and add some to the marinade

FAQ

When is the chicken done cooking?

The internal temperature of the chicken must be at least 165 degrees. Insert a meat thermometer into the thickest parts of one of the chicken pieces to see if it’s done. Remember that cooking time may vary depending on the cut of the chicken.

What Cut of Chicken is Best for Pollo Asado?

You can use any chicken cut, including boneless skinless chicken thighs or breasts, bone-in chicken thighs or breasts, chicken drumsticks, or chicken wings. I use bone-in chicken thighs since they are more flavorful than all-white chicken breasts. You can use any variety you prefer.

How do you bake Pollo Asado in the oven?

You can grill, sear, bake, or air fry Chipotle Pollo Asado. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray or oil. Place chicken on the baking sheet in a single layer. Do not overcrowd the baking sheet. Bake at 425 degrees F for 20-25 minutes or until an internal temperature reaches 165 F for breasts and 175 degrees F for bone-in chicken thighs.

Pollo Asado Recipe (Chipotle Copycat) cut in chunks with grilled tortillas

Make ahead of time

This is a great marinade to prep and make a day in advance. Marinade the chicken for up to 24 hours in the fridge and cook it when ready.

When you are ready to grill or roast the chicken, let it sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. For best results, do not grill chicken or any protein straight out of the refrigerator.  Room-temperature protein is juicier and cooks more evenly.

Pollo Asado Recipe (Chipotle Copycat) made into a rice bowl with sides

What to Serve with Pollo Asado Recipe (Chipotle Copycat)

The tender and juicy chicken breasts with a smoky flavor and a dash of spice. This chicken recipe (pollo asado) works well for tacos and salads, and you can make your burrito bowl at home.

Pollo Asado Recipe (Chipotle Copycat) made into a rice bowl with sides

Serve with cilantro lime rice, corn salsa, corn, pico de gallo, and black beans. Add a dollop of sour cream and fresh squeezed lime for extra flavor.

Pollo Asado Recipe (Chipotle Copycat) made into a rice bowl with sides with fork taking a bite.

You can also serve pollo asado with white rice, corn tortillas, and red peppers.

More ideas: Pollo Asado Tacos, Pollo Asado Quesadillas, Pollo Asado Nachos, or Fajiatas.

Pollo Asado Recipe (Chipotle Copycat)made into tacos

Storage

  • Refrigerator: Cool the Pollo Asado and store it in an air-tight container or resealable bag in the fridge for 3-4 days.
  • Reheat: To reheat the chicken, microwave for 2 minutes with a splash of water or place it in a frying pan with a bit of oil over medium-high heat for about 2-3 minutes per side.

Top tips

  • Let the chicken marinade for at least 30 minutes, 4 hours for maximum flavor, and 24 hours for authentic taste.
  • For an authentic taste with charred bits, cook on the grill.
  • Let the chicken sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before cooking. For best results, do not grill chicken or any protein straight out of the refrigerator.  Room-temperature protein is juicier and cooks more evenly.
  • Use a meat thermometer! This helps avoid dry and overcooked chicken. Good Meat Thermometer.
Pollo Asado Recipe (Chipotle Copycat) on a platter with cilantro

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Pollo Asado Recipe (Chipotle Copycat) made into a rice bowl with sides on a platter

Chipotle Pollo Asado Recipe

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

5 from 5 reviews

Pollo Asado Recipe (Chipotle Copycat) results in super tender and juicy chicken marinated in a chipotle-based marinade with lime and orange juice. It is super easy to make (the marinade does all the work) and packed with delicious flavors. The perfect meal for busy weeknights or a Mexican-themed dinner party.

  • Total Time: 20 minutes + marinade time
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x

Ingredients

Units Scale

Chicken

  • 45 pounds bone-in chicken thighs (also use chicken breasts)

Marinade 

  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1/2 cup yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, diced
  • 2 ounces achiote paste
  • 1 tablespoon of EACH: ground coriander, ground cumin, kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons of EACH: smoked paprika and dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon chipotle chile pepper
  • Cilantro (chopped), for serving
  • Fresh lime slices for serving

Instructions

  1. Add all of the marinade ingredients into a blender cup. Pulse and blend until smooth, consistent similar to a sauce.
  2. Add chicken to a ziplock bag or an air-tight container. Pour the marinade over the chicken. Mix until the chicken is evenly coated.
  3. Marinate the chicken in the refrigerator for 4 to 24 hours. Let the chicken sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before cooking. (If using chicken breasts, marinate for up to 12 hours)
  4. Preheat the grill to medium-high heat, 425-450°F. Grill for 5-7 minutes per side or until chicken is cooked through and an internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F for chicken breast and 175 degrees F for chicken thighs. Use an instant-read thermometer. Transfer chicken to a cutting board and let rest for 5 minutes before slicing. Enjoy hot with your favorite Mexican-inspired sides. 

Notes

Top tips

  • Let the chicken marinade for at least 30 minutes, 4 hours for maximum flavor, and 24 hours for authentic taste.
  • For an authentic taste with charred bits, cook on the grill.
  • Let the chicken sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before cooking. For best results, do not grill chicken or any protein straight out of the refrigerator.  Room-temperature protein is juicier and cooks more evenly.

Serving Suggestions

Serve with cilantro-lime rice, tortillas, corn salsa, pico de gallo, guacamole, and black beans. Add a dollop of sour cream and fresh squeed lime. Also serve as a salad bowl, burrito, or quesadilla. 

Storage

  • Refrigerator: Cool the Pollo Asado and store it in an air-tight container or resealable bag in the fridge for 3-4 days.
  • Reheat: To reheat the chicken, microwave for 2 minutes with a splash of water or place it in a frying pan with a bit of oil over medium-high heat for about 2-3 minutes per side.

  • Author: Elena Davis
  • Prep Time: 5 min + marinade time
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Category: Savory
  • Method: Mexican
  • Cuisine: Mexican

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About Elena

My dream is to share delicious wholesome recipes that you will share around the table with all your loved ones. The memories surrounded by food are the heart and soul of CucinaByElena.

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11 Comments

  1. This recipe is absolutely delicious and packed with flavor! So many options… Taco, burritos, rice bowls, salads. I plan to make a double batch moving forward, as my family of five, including three hungry preteen and teenagers devoured it!






    1. That is the best compliment coming from the teens! I love that it is so easy to make and double batch. Enjoy!

  2. Recipe indicates bone-in chicken thighs but no mention if with or without the skin. Look forward to your reply. Thanks

    1. Hi Kathy! You can use either! I prefer without skin for this recipe, but I’ve made it both ways, and everyone loved both. Enjoy!

  3. THAT. WAS. AWESOME!! So easy and so much flavor. Living in Wyoming with a foot of snow on the ground, the BBQ was not an option so under the broiler it went. It was perfect accompanied by rice & cabbage salad. Thank you.