This Pollo Asado recipe is a must try. Chicken is marinated in a blend of citrus juices and plenty of great Latin flavors, giving you tender, juicy, delicious results.
It can be cooked on the grill, roasted, or pan seared. Whatever cooking method you choose, you’re in for a treat.
The next time you have some chicken on hand, give this flavor bomb a try…
It’s an especially popular ingredient in Latin cooking, and this Asado is one of the classics.
What is Pollo Asado
Translated as “grilled chicken” or “roasted chicken”, Pollo Asado is a popular chicken dish in Mexico, Puerto Rico and Cuba.
It is not to be confused with Filipino Chicken Asado, which is a stew.
This roasted or grilled chicken is marinated in citrus juice, garlic and spices for flavor and tenderness. The version we are sharing today is closest to that from Mexico.
One unique aspect to this chicken recipe is the use of achiote, also called annatto. It is primarily used as a food coloring, giving the chicken it’s beautiful color, but also adds a hint of unique flavor of it’s own.
Achiote Powder Substitutions
Nowadays, achiote powder is usually available in the spices or ethnic section of supermarkets. If not, you can definitely find it in a Latin grocery store, or online.
But if you want to make this dish right now, we recommend replacing the achiote powder with 2 tsp paprika and 1 tsp turmeric. It will give similar color, and the flavors are mild enough to not make a huge difference.
What is the Best Cut of Chicken to Use
When making this recipe, our first choice is boneless skinless chicken thigh. That being said, it is also great with bone in, skin on chicken thighs.
Other great options are leg quarters or whole cut up chicken.
- Chicken – boneless, skinless thighs today.
- Olive oil – This is essential to a marinade, as it helps the flavors infuse into the meat. It also helps keep the meat moist.
- Citrus – orange juice and lime juice.
- Garlic – plenty of it.
- Herbs and spices – achiote powder, oregano, paprika, cumin, coriander powder, red chili flakes, salt and pepper.
How to Make Pollo Asado
First, the most important part… the marinade! Mix together olive oil, citrus juice, garlic and spices. Place the chicken in a large bowl or baking dish, then pour in the marinade and mix well. Cover with cling wrap, then refrigerate.
Marinate your chicken at least 2 hours. We prefer to start the marination in the morning so it can do its magic for several hours. You can also marinate the chicken overnight in the refrigerator for the best tasting pollo asado. Remove it from the fridge 30 minutes before cooking.
Important: Never reuse marinade that has been used on raw meat without first boiling it for several minutes. We prefer to discard it and make new marinade each time.
When ready to cook, you have three options:
Roasting method: Place the chicken in a baking dish or skillet. Roast in an oven preheated to 450°F.
Grilling Method: Cook chicken on grill preheated to medium high heat, turning several times. If cooking skin on chicken, watch for flare ups.
Skillet method: Preheat skillet over medium high heat. Add 2-3 tablespoons of cooking oil. Sear 5 minutes per side. Reduce heat to medium, cover the pan and cook till chicken is finished.
How Long to Cook the Chicken
How long you cook Pollo Asado depends on the cut of chicken used, as well as the cooking method. For a ballpark, our grilled boneless skinless thighs take 8-10 minutes per side.
The best way to tell when chicken is ready is to use an instant read thermometer.
According to the FDA, chicken is safe to eat at 165°F. That is the best temperature to stop cooking chicken breast, as it can become tough and dry if cooked longer.
We prefer to cook our chicken thighs to 185-190°F. It still retains it’s moisture, and that is when the meat becomes fall off the bone tender.
What to Serve with Pollo Asado
It’s also great as a filler for tacos and burritos.
Leftovers and Storage
You can refrigerate the leftover chicken in an airtight container for 3-4 days.
It also freezes well. Place cooled chicken in a freezer bag and squeeze out any excess air. Freeze 2-3 months.
If you have a bunch left over, take a look at our roundup of leftover chicken recipes for usage inspiration.
Treat your taste buds to this incredible Pollo Asado. Something amazing happens when you marinate chicken in a few simple ingredients.
Pin or bookmark this great recipe so you always know where to find it. And be sure to subscribe to GypsyPlate, we’re always cooking up new recipes for you. Until next time…
Pollo Asado, on our Gypsy Plate… enjoy!
- 2.5-3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- 1/2 cup orange juice
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup lime juice
- 6-8 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 Tbsp achiote powder
- 1.5 Tbsp dried oregano
- 1 Tbsp paprika
- 1 Tbsp cumin
- 1 Tbsp coriander powder
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- 1-2 tsp red chili flakes
- Mix together olive oil, citrus juice, garlic and spices. Place the chicken in a large bowl or baking dish, then pour in the marinade and mix well. Cover with cling wrap, then refrigerate. Marinate your chicken at least 2 hours, to overnight.
- Remove chicken from refrigerator 30 minute prior to cooking.
- Preheat grill over medium high heat to 425-450°F.
- Grill the chicken 8-10 minute per side, or until the internal temperature reaches 185-190°F.
- Allow to rest 5 minutes before cutting.
Welcome to GypsyPlate! I'm Alpana, former wordwide tour manager and professional caterer, now full time blogger. I love exploring cuisines from around the world, and my recipes have been featured on sites such as MSN, Parade, Brit + Co, CNET and AOL. You can explore my entire collection of sortable recipes in my Recipe Index or learn more about me here.
Never miss a recipe!
Join the GypsyPlate mailing list and get easy dinner recipes right in your mailbox. From homestyle comfort food to exotic dishes from around the world.