Looking for a delicious and easy way to spice up your chicken dinner? Look no further than this mouth-watering pollo asado mariande recipe! It features a zesty blend of citrus, spices, and a touch of heat, this recipe is a surefire way to add some excitement to your next meal.
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Pollo asado is becoming more well-known and popular in the states thanks to the menu additions at El Pollo Loco and Chipotle. Although the later was very short-lived.
But I so loved the flavors that I wanted to learn to make a version with ingredients I could find at my local grocery store.
📖Why This Recipe Works
This easy pollo asado marinade keeps things as close to the original spite of the dish as possible by using achiote paste (technically achiote powder plus oil, but really paste.
But we kept the recipe flexible. You can use any cut of chicken you like from skinless chicken breasts to whole birds.
In fact, you can use this citrusy chicken marinade on other cuts of meat.
Citrus- This recipe uses freshly squeezed orange juice and fresh lime juice. Sure you can use bottled, but be sure there is no added sugar.
Oil- I use vegetable oil but you can also use avocado oil. The key is to use a neutral flavored oil.
Vinegar- I use white wine vinegar but any light-colored vinegar will work.
Achiote Powder- Achiote powder is ground annatto seeds. My grocery store stocks it in the Mexican foods section and not with the spices. Just in case you have trouble locating it.
Can't find it? Try mixing paprika with a pinch of turmeric. You can also use achiote paste just cut down the oil a smidge.
Other Seasonings- A yellow onion or white onion, fresh garlic, oregano and cumin round things out.
See the recipe card for exact quantities.
I think in the U.S. we often think of Mexican grilled chicken as being spicy. But this recipe is more about big citrus flavor.
But if you want to make things spicy there are three ways to do that:
- Double the crushed red pepper
- Add one canned chipotle pepper with a little adobe sauce
- Add part or all of a jalapeno pepper (taste test before adding to gauge the spice level)
🍲How to Make a Marinade for Pollo Asado
This recipe will make about 2 cups of marinade.
Combine all the mariande ingredients in the blender. Puree for 3o to 60- seconds until totally smooth.
It's crucial to blend the mixture until completely smooth if you will be using the remaining marinade for the sauce.
To marinate chicken, you can use a resealable plastic bag or a shallow dish. Make sure the chicken is fully covered with the marinade. Mariande for at least 2 hours for maximum flavor.
Remove the chicken and shake off the excess marinade. If you want to brush the chicken with the mariande during cooking or use it as a dipping sauce you will need to cook it.
Transfer the sauce to a small pan. Bring to a boil and cook for at least 2 minutes to kill off any bacteria.
Grill or bake your chicken as desired. Cook the chicken to an internal temperature of at least 165 F degrees.
I recommend using a high-speed blender to totally puree the sauce. You can also use a food processor.
In a pinch, you can finely dice the onion and herbs and just add everything to a bag but you won't be able to cook down the mariande to make the delicious dipping sauce.
Leftover mariande should be discarded or cooked according to the recipe directions. Leftover sauce will last 3 days when stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
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💭 Frequently Asked Questions
No pollo asado is not spicy. It has citrus and smoky flavors. See the variations section for a spicy variation.
In the US people often serve pollo asado with rice and beans, grilled vegetables, or their favorite version of elote (Mexican street corn). You can serve it with yellow rice or do a Chipotle copycat version of cilantro lime rice.
📖 Printable Recipe Card
Pollo Asado Marinade
- ½ cup orange juice
- ¼ cup lime juice
- 3 Tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 small onion roughly chopped
- ¼ cup fresh cilantro
- 1 Tablespoon achiote powder ground annatto (see note)
- 1 Tablespoon white wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 cloves garlic
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- Add all the ingredients to a high-speed blender. Puree until smooth.½ cup orange juice, ¼ cup lime juice, 3 Tablespoons vegetable oil, 1 small onion, ¼ cup fresh cilantro, 1 Tablespoon achiote powder, 1 Tablespoon white wine vinegar, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, 3 cloves garlic, 2 teaspoons dried oregano, 2 teaspoons cumin, 1 teaspoon black pepper, ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- Pour the mariande over your chicken or choice of meat. Marinate for at least 2 hours or overnight. Toss every few hours.
- Remove the meat from the marinade and shake off the excess. Cook as desired.
- OPTIONAL: Transfer the excess marinade to a small pan. Bring to a boil and cook for two minutes. You can use this to brush on the chicken during or after cooking.
- Achiote powder is the same as ground annatto seeds. If you can't find ground annatto substitute smoked paprika with a pinch of turmeric.
- This recipe can be used on any cut of chicken. For use in bowls, tacos, or burritos I recommend boneless skinless chicken thighs. For eating as a main course, I prefer bone-in skin-on chicken legs.
- You can also use this mariande on pork loin, tofu, shrimp, or lamb chops.
- Spicy Variation- For a slight increase in heat double the crushed red pepper. For smoky heat, try adding 1 chipotle pepper with adobe sauce. For refreshing heat, add half to a whole jalapeno to the mariande.
- High Speed Blender