Pollo Asado Recipe (Grilled or Roasted) - The Big Man's World ® (2024)

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This Mexican pollo asado features marinated grilled (or baked) chicken that is full of flavor and always juicy. Enjoy it on its own, or use the chicken in tacos, bowls, and more.

Pollo Asado Recipe (Grilled or Roasted) - The Big Man's World ® (1)

Mexican-style grilled and roasted meats are popular in Mexican cuisine, as they yield flavorful and delicious results every time. These include arrachera (Mexican grilled steak), beef barbacoa, and carne asada. If you want to give your standard grilled or roasted chicken a makeover, pollo asado MUST be next on your menu!

Table of Contents
  1. What is pollo asado?
  2. Ingredients needed
  3. How to make pollo asado
  4. Recipe tips and variations
  5. How to store leftovers
  6. Frequently asked questions
  7. More Mexican chicken dinners to try
  8. Pollo Asado (Recipe Card)

What is pollo asado?

The Spanish word “pollo” translates to chicken, and “asado” means roasted or grilled, so this dish involves chicken marinated in a blend of citrus juices, herbs, and spices.

Now, this isn’t your standard grilled or roasted chicken. It’s ultra flavorful, thanks to the unique spice blend. While a whole chicken can be used, it’s more common to use a mix of chicken thighs or chicken leg quarters.

Here are some reasons why I LOVE this recipe:

  • It’s versatile.As they do at Chipotle, we love to use this juicy Mexican chicken in all our classic Mexican dinners or as a protein option in sandwiches and wraps, too.
  • Perfect texture and flavor.The texture of the chicken is crispy on the outside, juicy, and moist in the middle. It’s got a smoky, tangy, and subtle citrus flavor that works so well together.
  • Oven and grill option. In Winter, I typically roast the chicken in the oven, but come summertime, it’s a firm favorite on the grill.

Ingredients needed

Besides chicken, the rest of the ingredients are seasonings, spices, and citrus, which make up the incredible marinade. Here is what you’ll need:

  • Chicken thighs.Skin-on and bone-in chicken thighs. I’ve tried this with boneless skinless chicken thighs, and it didn’t hold the flavor as nicely as I liked. I also experimented with chicken breast fillets, but it wasn’t as juicy.

Pollo Asado marinade

  • Citrus.Juice of both a lime and an orange is needed. I prefer squeezing my own, but if you only have it in a bottle, that is fine to use, too.
  • Olive Oil.Or vegetable oil. You can also use butter too.
  • Vinegar.For a subtle zesty flavor and tang. Any vinegar works, including white vinegar or apple cider vinegar.
  • Achiote paste. Achiote paste is a condiment blending ground achiote seeds with other spices. Thanks to the vinegar and seeds, it has a sweet, smoky, and peppery flavor. It also gives this chicken its signature red color. You can find this unique seasoning at most grocery stores, online, or in specialty food stores.
  • Garlic.Always use fresh garlic over the dried kind- the flavor is unmatched, especially as a marinade for meat.
  • Mexican spices.I kept things simple with a blend of Mexican oregano, ground cumin, black pepper, onion powder, and salt.

Homemade achiote paste

If you can’t find achiote paste, here is a simple homemade recipe to use:

  • 3 tablespoons annatto seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 1/2 teaspoon cloves
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Toast the annatto seeds, cumin seeds, black peppercorns, and cloves until fragrant. Grind toasted spices into a powder. Blend with garlic cloves, oregano, orange juice, white vinegar, and salt.

How to make pollo asado

I’ve includedstep-by-step photosbelow to make this recipe easy to follow at home. For the full printable recipe instructions and ingredient quantities, scroll to therecipe cardat the bottom of this post.

Step 1- Make the marinade: Combine the orange juice, lime juice, olive oil, vinegar, achiote paste, garlic, oregano, cumin, onion powder, salt, and pepper in a small bowl.

Pollo Asado Recipe (Grilled or Roasted) - The Big Man's World ® (2)

Step 2-Marinate the chicken: Whisk this with a fork to fully combine, then add the chicken to a large bowl and pour the marinade over it.Make sure to fully coat the chicken on all sides, then cover and let the chicken marinade for 30 minutes or up to 4 hours in the refrigerator.

Pollo Asado Recipe (Grilled or Roasted) - The Big Man's World ® (3)

Step 3- Prepare the chicken: When the chicken is almost done marinating, preheat the oven to 200C/400F and let the chicken sit at room temperature before cooking.

Step 4- Bake the chicken and serve: Arrange the chicken on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake the chicken for 30 minutes.

Pollo Asado Recipe (Grilled or Roasted) - The Big Man's World ® (4)

How to grill the chicken

Because I know everyone loves options, I’ve tested this exact recipe on the grill too. Here is how:

Prep the chicken as instructed, clear the charcoal grill grates, grease them, and preheat to medium-high. Next, grill the chicken (skin side down!) for 5-7 minutes, flip it, and cook it for another 4-5 minutes. Once the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165F, it’s ready to serve.

Recipe tips and variations

  • Use a meat thermometer. My #1 tip when working with any kind of meat. It’s the easiest way to tell when your chicken is done. To know if you’re chicken is fully cooked, test the thickest piece with ameat thermometerfor an internal temperature of 74C/165F.
  • Marinate for longer. While 30 minutes is ample time for this chicken to marinate, I prefer marinating it for at least 4 hours or even overnight. I find the chicken absorbs even more flavor and actually yields a more tender piece of chicken.
  • Reserve some marinade. I like to baste the chicken regularly throughout the cooking process with the leftover marinade, as this adds more flavor and moisture to the meat.
  • Rest the chicken. As with any chicken recipe (especially ones with darker meat), let the chicken rest for 4-5 minutes before serving. This allows the internal juices to re-distribute.
  • Add some spice: If you are a spice fiend like I am, add some extra heat to the marinate. I find fresh chilis to be a little too overpowering, so a touch of dried cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes is great, or even a drizzle (no more than 1 1/2 teaspoons) or a chili sauce.

How to store leftovers

To store: Store leftovers in an airtight container or wrapped in aluminum foil in the fridge. Stored this way, it will last up to 4 days in the fridge.

To freeze: Store cooled leftover chicken in an airtight container or freezer-safe bag and freeze for up to 3 months.

To reheat: Transfer leftovers to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake at 177C/350F for 10-12 minutes or until fully reheated. If the chicken is wrapped in foil, do not unwrap it and bake it in the foil.

What to serve with this dish

My family loves to enjoy this chicken as the protein star during our Mexican night dinners. Inspired by Chipotle, I serve this with cilantro lime rice, warm tortillas, and some refried beans.

Other delicious ideas include Mexican rice, a corn salad, and, let’s not forget, lashings of salsa and guacamole.

Pollo Asado Recipe (Grilled or Roasted) - The Big Man's World ® (5)

Frequently asked questions

Is this recipe gluten-free?

Yes! When made exactly as written, this dish is suitable for celiacs.

Is pollo asado spicy?

While there are some spicy elements in the marinade, this dish is not overtly spicy so even those chili-averse can enjoy it.

More Mexican chicken dinners to try

  • Chicken Tinga– Seasoned and shredded chicken, perfect for tacos.
  • Chicken fajitas– I make these at least once a week!
  • Pollo Guisado– The most delicious chicken stew ever.
  • Chicken Al Pastor– Sweet and savory skillet-cooked chicken.

Pollo Asado Recipe (Grilled or Roasted) - The Big Man's World ® (6)

Pollo Asado

5 from 40 votes

This Mexican pollo asado features marinated grilled or baked chicken that is full of flavor and always juicy. Enjoy it on its own, or use the chicken in tacos, bowls, and more. Watch the video belowto see how I make this in my kitchen.

Servings: 6 servings

Prep: 1 minute min

Cook: 30 minutes mins

Total: 31 minutes mins

Rate This Recipe

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Video

Ingredients

  • 6 bone-in chicken thighs skin-on
  • 1 small orange juiced
  • 1 small lime juiced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons achiote paste * See notes
  • 3 cloves garlic crushed
  • 1 teaspoon oregano dried
  • 1 teaspoon cumin dried
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Instructions

  • Whisk together all the ingredients in a mixing bowl, except for the chicken, until combined.

  • Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to four hours.

  • Preheat the oven to 200C/400F and let the chicken sit at room temperature.

  • Lightly grease a large baking tray and arrange the marinated chicken thighs on it.

  • Bake the chicken for 28-30 minutes, or until crispy on the outside.

Notes

Grilled option: Clean the grill grates and lightly grease them, then add the chicken. Grill the chicken for 5-7 minutes on one side, then flip and grill for another 4-5 minutes. Continue grilling the chicken until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165F.

TO STORE: Store leftovers in an airtight container or wrapped in aluminum foil in the fridge. Stored this way, it will last up to 4 days in the fridge.

TO FREEZE: Store cooled leftover chicken in an airtight container or freezer-safe bag and freeze for up to 3 months.

TO REHEAT: Transfer leftovers to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake at 177C/350F for 10-12 minutes or until fully reheated. If the chicken is wrapped in foil, do not unwrap it and bake it in the foil.

Nutrition

Serving: 1servingCalories: 306kcalCarbohydrates: 5gProtein: 19gFat: 24gSodium: 476mgPotassium: 296mgFiber: 1gVitamin A: 142IUVitamin C: 12mgCalcium: 33mgIron: 1mgNET CARBS: 4g

Course: Main Course

Cuisine: Mexican

Author: Arman Liew

Tried this recipe?Give us a shout at @thebigmansworld or tag #thebigmansworld!

Pollo Asado Recipe (Grilled or Roasted) - The Big Man's World ® (2024)
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