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Packed with smoky flavors, and a hint of citrus, this Chipotle Pollo Asado recipe is better than the restaurant version! Whether you’re feeding the family or spicing up a weekend gathering, this juicy chicken is always a winner. It’s simple to make, big on flavor, and bound to become a new favorite. Perfect for meal prep!

Sliced pollo asado on a bed of white radish rice, garnished with shredded cheese and herbs.

The way this recipe cooks up is pretty straightforward but loaded with smart techniques to ensure every bite is bursting with flavor while customizing it to your convenience. I’ve tried 4 different methods, but one thing I’ll say about all of them is that marinating the chicken overnight makes a huge difference. It helps the spices and smoky flavors really soak into the meat, making each bite incredibly tender and delicious.

❤️ Why you will love this recipe

  • Flavorful: Every bite packs a punch of smoky, spicy flavor thanks to the chipotle and adobo.
  • Versatile: Perfect for burritos, tacos, burrito bowls, or just on its own with a side of rice or radish rice.
  • Meal Prep Friendly: Make ahead for quick and easy meals throughout the week.
  • Customizable: Adjust the heat and spices to suit your taste.
  • Diet-Friendly: Perfect for keto and low-carb diets, it’s also gluten-free. 6g net carbs per serving.

🗝️ Key ingredients & substitutions

Overhead view of ingredients for a chipotle pollo asado recipe. Includes chicken thighs, lime juice, orange juice, cumin, smoked paprika, oregano, coriander, salt, pepper, oil, onion, garlic, cilantro and chipotles in adobo.
  • Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs: Ideal for staying juicy and tender; substitute with bone-in chicken thighs or chicken breasts if preferred. Just slice them in half and keep an eye on the cooking time to avoid drying out.
  • Olive Oil: Helps to bind the marinade and add moisture; avocado oil is a great substitute.
  • Citrus Juices (Lime and Orange): These add a fresh zing and help tenderize the chicken. Lemon juice can work instead of lime if you’re in a pinch.
  • Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce: These are crucial for that deep, smoky flavor. If you want less heat, reduce the amount or use a milder chili. If you can’t find this ingredient at the grocery store, they’re easy to find online (e.g. Amazon).
  • Fresh Cilantro: Adds a bright, herbal touch. If you’re not a fan, try parsley for a milder flavor.
  • Garlic and Onion: Essentials for a full-bodied flavor. Powdered versions can work if fresh isn’t available.
  • Spices (Cumin, Coriander, Smoked Paprika, Oregano): Each adds depth and complexity. Feel free to adjust amounts to your preference.
  • Salt and Pepper: For seasoning. Always adjust these according to your taste.

🥣 How to make copycat Chipotle pollo asado

  1. Blend the pollo asado Marinade: Combine olive oil, fresh lime juice, orange juice, chopped chipotles in adobo, fresh cilantro, garlic, onion, cumin, coriander, smoked paprika, dried oregano, salt, and black pepper in a food processor or blender. Blend until smooth.
  2. Marinate the Chicken: Place the chicken in a ziplock bag or airtight container. Pour the marinade over the chicken, ensuring it’s well-coated. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, though overnight is best for maximum flavor.
  3. Prepare for Cooking: Remove the chicken from the marinade and let it come to room temperature before cooking. This helps it cook evenly.

Cooking methods

  • Stovetop Cooking: Heat a medium-large pan (non-stick or cast iron skillet) over medium-high heat. Cook the chicken for about 5 minutes on each side or until the internal temperature reaches 160°F (71°C). Let it rest for 5 minutes before slicing.
  • Air Fryer Method: Preheat the air fryer to 356°F (180°C). Place the chicken in a single layer in the basket. Cook for 12-15 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 160°F. Rest before slicing.
  • Oven Method: Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Arrange the chicken on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for about 30 minutes, until the internal temperature reaches 160°F. Let it rest before slicing.
Close-up of pollo asado chicken breasts covered in a thick, seasoned sauce, resting in a baking dish with visible brown sauce.
  • Grilling: Preheat the grill to medium-high. Grill the chicken thighs for 5 to 7 minutes per side, until the internal temperature reaches 160°F. Rest the chicken before slicing.

Note on methods: Personally, my favorite method is cooking the pollo asado over a charcoal grill. However, if I’m not firing up the BBQ, baking them in the oven or air fryer yields delicious, juicy results.

A bowl of sliced pollo asado on a bed of rice, topped with shredded cheese, guacamole, and a dollop of sour cream.

🪄 Recipe notes & tips

  • Marinating Time: For the best flavor, let the chicken marinate overnight. If you’re short on time, even 30 minutes can make a difference.
  • Internal Temperature: Always use an instant-read thermometer to check that your chicken has reached the safe internal temperature of 160°F (71°C).
  • Resting: Let the chicken rest for at least 5 minutes after cooking. This helps the juices redistribute, making your chicken even more tender and delicious.
  • Spice Levels: Adjust the amount of chipotles in adobo based on your heat preference. More for spicy, less for mild.

✨ Variations 

  • Extra Spicy: Add more chipotle peppers or include a teaspoon of chili powder to the marinade for a fiercer kick.
  • Citrus-Infused: Mix in some grapefruit juice with the orange and lime for a tangier, more aromatic flavor profile.
  • Herb Freshness: Incorporate different herbs like mint or basil for a unique twist on the traditional cilantro.
  • Sweet and Smoky: Introduce a tablespoon of honey or brown sugar to the marinade to balance the heat with some sweetness.
  • Barbecue Style: Brush the chicken with barbecue sauce in the last few minutes of grilling for a sticky, sweet finish.

🫙 Storage instructions

  • Cool and Airtight: Allow the cooked chicken to cool to room temperature, and store leftovers in an airtight container to keep the chicken fresh and prevent it from drying out.
  • Refrigerate: Keep the chipotle chicken in the refrigerator where it will stay good for up to 3-4 days.
  • Reheating: Reheat in the microwave, air fryer, or oven until heated through.
  • Freezing: For longer storage, freeze the chicken in a sealed container or freezer-safe bag for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before reheating. 
  • Freezing Before Cooking: You can also freeze the raw chicken in the marinade for up to 3 months. Just thaw overnight and cook as per your preferred method.

🍽️ What to serve with this copycat recipe

❓ Frequently asked questions

Can I make this recipe without a food processor?

Absolutely! Just finely chop all the marinade ingredients and mix them well in a bowl. The flavors might be a bit chunkier, but it’ll still taste great.

Is there a way to make this dish less spicy?

Yes, you can easily adjust the heat level by reducing the amount of chipotles in adobo used or substituting them with a milder chili sauce.

How can I ensure the chicken stays juicy?

Marinating the chicken for a longer period helps a lot, and make sure not to overcook it. Using a thermometer to check for the right internal temperature (160°F) is your best bet.

Can this recipe be prepped ahead of time?

Definitely! You can marinate the chicken overnight in the fridge, which actually helps deepen the flavors. Just cook it when you’re ready.

What’s the best way to reheat leftovers without drying out the chicken?

Reheating in a covered skillet over low heat with a splash of water or broth can help keep the chicken moist. Alternatively, you can use a microwave at a lower power setting and cover the dish to trap steam.

😋 More keto chicken recipes you will love

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📖 Recipe

A close-up of a radish rice bowl topped with sliced pollo asado, shredded cheese, and a side of guacamole.

Chipotle Pollo Asado Recipe

Bethany Galloway
Packed with smoky flavors, and a hint of citrus, this Chipotle Pollo Asado recipe is better than the restaurant version! Whether you're feeding the family or spicing up a weekend gathering, this juicy chicken is always a winner. It’s simple to make, big on flavor, and bound to become a new favorite. Perfect for meal prep!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Chill Time (Optional) 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Mexican, Tex-Mex
Servings 6 Servings
Calories 321 kcal

Ingredients
 
 

  • 3 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs or boneless skinless chicken breast sliced in half lengthwise
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/3 cup lime juice
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1 can chipotles in adobo
  • 1/3 cup fresh cilantro
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1/2 tablespoon cumin
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1.5 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

Instructions
 

  • Add all of the ingredients except the chicken to a food processor or blender, and blend for 2-3 minutes, until it is a paste. You can also do this with an immersion blender, but will need to chop the ingredients up a little smaller.
    1 tablespoon olive oil, 1/3 cup lime juice, 1/2 cup orange juice, 1 can chipotles in adobo, 1/3 cup fresh cilantro, 5 garlic cloves, 1 medium onion, 1/2 tablespoon cumin, 1/2 tablespoon ground coriander, 1 teaspoon smoked paprika, 1 tablespoon dried oregano, 1.5 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • Add the pollo adobo marinade and chicken to a ziplock bag or airtight container and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, preferably overnight.
    3 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs

For the Stove Top:

  • Heat a medium-large pan on the stove over medium-high heat. Non-stick or cast iron is great.
  • Cook the chicken for 5 minutes on each side or until the internal temperature reaches 71°C/160°F.
  • Remove from the heat and allow it to rest for 5 minutes before slicing.

For the Air Fryer:

  • Preheat the air fryer to 180°C/356°F.
  • When it’s ready, place the marinated chicken in a single layer in the air fryer basket.
  • Air fry for 12-15 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 71°C/160°F.
  • Remove from the air fryer and allow it to rest for 5 minutes before slicing.

For the Oven:

  • Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F.
  • Arrange the marinated chicken in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  • Bake for 30 minutes, until the internal temperature reaches 71°C/160°F.
  • Remove from the oven and allow it to rest for 5 minutes before slicing.

For the Grill:

  • Preheat a grill to medium-high heat.
  • Once the grill is hot, arrange the chicken thighs on the grill grates. Let them cook for 5 to 7 minutes per side, until the internal temperature reaches 71°C/160°F.
  • Remove from the grill and allow it to rest for 5 minutes before slicing.

Notes

    • Marinating Time: For the best flavor, let the chicken marinate overnight.
    • Internal Temperature: Always use an instant-read thermometer to check that your chicken has reached the safe internal temperature of 160°F (71°C).
    • Resting: Let the chicken rest for at least 5 minutes after cooking. This helps the juices redistribute, making your chicken even more tender and delicious.
    • Spice Levels: Adjust the amount of chipotles in adobo based on your heat preference. More for spicy, less for mild. You can also add a little hot paprika, chili powder, or cayenne pepper powder to amp up the heat.

Storage instructions

    • Cool and Airtight: Allow the cooked chicken to cool to room temperature, and store leftovers in an airtight container to keep the chicken fresh and prevent it from drying out.
    • Refrigerate: Keep the chipotle chicken in the refrigerator where it will stay good for up to 3-4 days.
    • Reheating: Reheat in the microwave, air fryer, or oven until heated through.
    • Freezing: For longer storage, freeze the chicken in a sealed container or freezer-safe bag for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before reheating. 
    • Freezing Before Cooking: You can also freeze the raw chicken in the marinade for up to 3 months. Just thaw overnight and cook as per your preferred method.

Nutrition

Calories: 321kcalCarbohydrates: 7gProtein: 44gFat: 12gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0.04gCholesterol: 215mgSodium: 787mgPotassium: 678mgFiber: 1gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 335IUVitamin C: 17mgCalcium: 43mgIron: 3mg
Keyword air fryer, grill, keto, low carb, oven baked, pollo asdado, skillet
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