Grilled Chicken in a slightly sweet, slightly spicy Asado Sauce

by RRR
How to make Chipotle Mexican Grill's Pollo Asado

When Chipotle Mexican Grill announces a new chicken recipe  for the first time in almost 30 years, it breaks the internet.  According to Google Trends, Chipotle Mexican Grill and Pollo Asado searches increased 2,000% in 2 months.  America has voted and we love Chipotle Mexican Grill!  Chipotle delivers on the very things that matter most to consumers: it serves flavorful food made with fresh, healthy ingredients, quickly, at palatable prices.  And it encourages customers to customize their meal, so that they get exactly what they want.  In fact, Chipotle was voted America’s favorite fast-casual Mexican restaurant 3 years in a row.

But what is Pollo Asado?  It is grilled chicken (Chipotle uses thighs, but feel free to use chicken breast if you prefer), marinated in a delicious guajillo pepper recipe that is citrus-ey, smoky, slightly sweet and slightly spicy.  It is then tossed in an Asado Sauce and finished with fresh squeezed lime and chopped cilantro.  The chicken is grilled on a Plancha, so the meat has a beautiful charred crust that accentuates the smoky-ness of the chicken.

But what are guajillo peppers?  Guajillo peppers are dried, red peppers that are the second most used pepper in Mexican cooking, second to the ancho pepper.  You can find them in most grocery stores and certainly in every Mexican market.  But as I mentioned, they do come dried so they will need to be reconstituted in boiling water for about 20-30 minutes before using in this marinade recipe.  And they pack some heat, too.  So if you want to cut down on the spiciness, use only 1 (or even 1/2) in the marinade.

But what is a plancha?  A plancha is a large (usually commercial-sized), flat-top grill that cooks at extremely an high temperature and creates little smoke.  I know that a plancha is not a common, residential kitchen item, so feel free to use your outdoor grill.  I use my cast iron skillet on the highest heat setting possible and I am very happy with the results.  You just want to use a grill or a skillet that will create a great charred crust for the proper texture and flavor.

For a fun Mexican restaurant night at your house, try California Pizza Kitchen’s Mexican Street Corn , Chipotle’s Guacamole and Casa Gallardo’s Salsa Ranchera and enjoy!

How to make Chipotle Mexican Grill's Pollo Asado

Chipotle's Pollo Asado

Serves: 6-8 Prep Time: Cooking Time:
Nutrition facts: 210 calories 12 grams fat
Rating: 5.0/5
( 1 voted )


  • 6 (about 3.5 lbs.) boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed of excess fat
  • 2 large, dried guajillo peppers
  • ½ cup yellow onion, chopped
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped, plus extra for garnish
  • 1 lime juiced, plus extra for finishing
  • 1 cup of no-pulp orange juice
  • 3 TBL avocado oil
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • ½ TBL kosher salt
  • 1.5 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1.5 tsp. ground chipotle powder
  • Asado sauce:
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 tsp. cornstarch
  • ¼ cup orange juice
  • 1 TBL sugar
  • 1 lime juiced
  • ¼ tsp. red pepper flake
  • 2 TBL of the chicken marinade
  • 2 dashes each of garlic powder, onion powder & chipotle powder
  • Pinch of kosher salt
  • 2 cranks of cracked pepper


Marinade Instructions:

Soak the dried guajillo peppers in boiling water for approximately 20-30 minutes until very softened.  In a blender, add the 1 cup of orange juice, 1 lime juiced, avocado oil, garlic cloves, ½ TBL of kosher salt, cumin, and 1.5 tsp. of chipotle powder.  Remove the seeds and stems from the guajillo peppers, lightly chop and add to blender.  Blend all ingredients until pureed.  Reserve 2 TBL of the marinade.

In a large Ziploc bag, add the chicken thighs (whole), marinade, chopped onion and chopped cilantro.  Zip the bag tightly closed and refrigerate the chicken in the marinade overnight or a minimum of 8 hours.

Once chicken has thoroughly marinated, begin the asado sauce.  In a shakable container, add all the asado sauce ingredients and shake well.  In a small saucepan, over medium heat, simmer the asado sauce.  Stir frequently until the sauce has thickened and reduced and can stick to the back of a spoon.  Remove from heat and set aside.

In a cast iron skillet (or outdoor grill), heat skillet to extremely hot on a high temperature.  Brush the skillet with canola oil.  Cook the chicken for 7-8 minutes on each side until a nice, charred crust has formed and the internal temperature is 165 degrees.  You may need to work in smaller batches, do not overcrowd the pan or a charred crust will not form.  Once the chicken is finished, remove from the heat, place on a cutting board, and allow to rest for 5 minutes before chopping.  Chop the chicken in ¼ inch chunks and place into a mixing bowl.  Toss the chicken in the asado sauce to the desired moistness.  Finish with fresh squeezed lime juice and sprinkle with fresh cilantro.  Serve your favorite way, tacos, bowls or burritos!


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