This Pollo Asado recipe is quick, easy, and incredibly flavorful! It is full of bright and zesty flavors. This easy chicken recipe is a great way to make chicken. It’s quick and easy enough for busy weeknights!
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This is the best Pollo Asado recipe – full of zesty, bright flavors and mildly spicy. The chicken comes out juicy, tender, and full of balanced flavors. This summery dish is the perfect weeknight dinner and is just as good as the Asado Chipotle you know and love! It only takes 20 minutes in total. Pollo Asado has its roots in Mexico and Cuba but is great for picky eaters. You will also love these super quick blackened fish tacos and this easy shrimp tacos with lime and chipotle mayo!
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- This pollo asado recipe is quick and easy.
- It only takes 20 minutes in total.
- If desired, marinate the chicken for up to 2 hours. This creates very flavorful.
- This recipe can be grilled, baked, or pan-seared.
- The chicken is juicy, tender, and delicious.
- The combination of achiote powder, garlic with citrusy lime, and orange is so good.
- This versatile pollo asado goes beautifully with many different sides. The options are endless, from beans to rice, salads, potatoes, and veggies.
- The achiote powder gives the chicken a glowing red appearance. The chicken has a bright and summery aesthetic.
- The chicken thighs are cooked with only a little olive oil and without their skin.
- As written, this recipe is Whole30 compliant, Paleo, Keto, low carb, gluten-free, dairy-free, and added sugar-free.
- It is suitable for many diets and lifestyles.
- Check out this Blackened Chicken for another hearty dinner!
What is Pollo Asado?
Pollo asado refers to a Mexican or Cuban-style chicken dish. Directly translated, the name means “roasted” or “barbecued” chicken.
The chicken gets marinated in a tasty, well-balanced blend of citrus, garlic, achiote powder, onion powder, and herbs. It is then barbecued, grilled, or roasted until juicy and tender.
Ingredients & Substitutes
Scroll down to the recipe card for the full pollo asado recipe.
This recipe calls for boneless, skinless thighs, which result in juicy, melt-in-the-mouth chicken. The dish can also be made with bone-in chicken or other cuts like fillets or wings.
Olive oil distributes the overall flavor and is a healthy, relatively neutral choice.
Freshly squeezed orange juice adds a bright, citrusy flavor to the marinade. It also helps to tenderize the chicken and adds a touch of sweetness.
Lime juice provides a zesty flavor to the pollo asado marinade. It balances the sweetness of the orange juice. Lemon juice is an acceptable alternative. Either way, fresh is best.
Garlic is an essential ingredient that brings depth and savory notes to the marinade.
Onion powder balances the marinade with more savory tones.
Achiote powder gives a lovely color and smokiness to the whole dish. Use paprika as an alternative if you cannot access achiote powder.
Oregano is a common herb used in Latin American cuisine. It contributes a slightly bitter, earthy flavor to the marinade.
A warming and aromatic spice. Cumin is a crucial flavor contributor to the marinade.
Taste & Texture
This pollo asado recipe delivers soft, buttery chicken that bounces with zesty and bright ingredients. The fresh orange and lime juice cuts through the rich garlic, achiote, and onion flavors.
The dish is punchy and bright, giving the feeling of summer and warm nights eating at a long table outside with friends and family.
How to Make
First, add chicken thighs and all ingredients to a large bowl. Toss until fully coated in juices and seasonings. Make this recipe immediately or marinate the chicken for up to 2 hours.
Add the olive oil to a large nonstick skillet over medium heat.
Once the oil is hot, add the seasoned chicken to the skillet.
Cook for 5 minutes. Then, carefully flip.
Cook for another 5 minutes.
Reduce the heat to medium-low. Continue cooking, flipping occasionally, until the chicken is fully cooked through. The chicken should be 165 degrees Fahrenheit internally.
Finally, remove the pollo asado from the pan. Top with fresh herbs if desired. Serve!
Expert Tips for Success
Marinate for longer: To achieve the best flavor, marinate the chicken thighs for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight. This step allows the chicken to absorb all the beautiful flavors in this pollo asado recipe.
Baste as you go: Set aside a little of the marinade to baste the chicken as you cook it. This will keep it moist and prevent it from burning.
Allow resting time: Let the chicken rest (covered to keep it warm) for a few minutes before serving. Doing this will prevent drying out as the juices redistribute inside the flesh.
Flavor Variations & Add-Ins
Honey and soy: For an Asian twist, stir in some honey and soy sauce. This variation of pollo asado will be a warmer color.
Smoky Chipotle: Mix a few chipotle peppers for a smokier version of this pollo asado.
Fruity: Dice up ripe mango, pineapple, and jalapeños. Spoon this mixture over the chicken to serve.
Caramelized onions: Sauté sliced onions until the slices are golden brown. Serve these on top of the chicken with some fresh herbs.
Other Cooking Methods
Baking: Marinate the chicken as usual, then preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit (190 degrees Celsius). Place the marinated chicken pieces in a baking dish and bake for about 25-30 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and reaches an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C).
Slow Cooking: Use a slow cooker or crockpot for a hands-off approach and tender, fall-off-the-bone chicken. Simply place the marinated chicken in the slow cooker, set it to low heat, and cook for 6-8 hours or until the chicken is tender.
Broiling: Broiling is an excellent option to achieve a nicely charred exterior without using an outdoor grill. Preheat your broiler on high heat and place the marinated chicken on a broiler pan or wire rack set over a baking sheet. Broil for 6-8 minutes per side or until the chicken is cooked and has a beautiful char. Keep a close eye on it to prevent burning.
How to Serve & Store
Pollo asado is gorgeous alongside other Mexican-style dishes like this Mexican street corn salad or these stuffed mini peppers (re-fried bean style). Serve them with beans, rice, corn, fresh cilantro, and a wedge of lime. Perfection!
Store any pollo asado leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to four days. The chicken should be completely cool before adding it to the container. The chicken will keep in the refrigerator for up to four days.
Store leftover pollo asado in the freezer for around two months. The chicken will need to be packed in a freezer-friendly container.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Achiote powder, or annatto powder, is a traditional ingredient in pollo asado marinades. It adds a distinct red color and earthy flavor to the chicken.
No. Achiote powder is made with dried and ground annatto seeds. Achiote paste combines achiote powder, oil, spices, and vinegar and is a thick paste.
Yes, the chicken can be baked or broiled in the oven. Bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 25 to 30 minutes. Chicken thighs take longer than chicken breasts. If making chicken breasts, bake for only 20 to 25 minutes or so.
Yes. Chicken breasts and wings can also be used in this recipe. They may require an adjusted cooking time.
Yes, pollo asado is mildly spicy. Feel free to adjust the amount of seasonings to suit your taste.
Marinating chicken can help tenderize it. Do not overcook the chicken. Perfectly cooked chicken is tender and juicy.
Meat Mallet: If using chicken breasts, pound thin. This device helps tenderize the chicken.
Large Nonstick Skillet: This nonstick skillet is great for cooking chicken.
Cast Iron Skillet: This is a great cast iron skillet for making dinner.
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Enjoy this pollo asado recipe!