Pollo Asado (Mexican Roast Chicken)
This pollo asado recipe is the ultimate roast chicken with bone-in chicken marinated in citrus and spices, quick grilled then roasted for big flavor. So tender and juicy.
If you’re looking for a super flavorful roast chicken recipe that is easy to make and truly satisfies, this Pollo Asado recipe will absolutely deliver.
Roasted chicken can be pretty boring sometimes. A lot of roasted chicken recipes wind up delivering bland chicken that leaves us wanting more. Not so with pollo asado. This is a Latin American dish with lots of seasonings.
With pollo asado, flavor is built first by marinating the chicken in lot of citrus juice and a collection of seasonings, including achiote, which is vibrant and unique, as well as sazon, a popular Caribbean seasoning blend, along with other commonly used Mexican spices.
The name, “pollo asado”, means either grilled chicken or roasted chicken, and cooking methods will vary from cook to cook. You’ll find variations in Mexican, Puerto Rico, Cuba and the Caribbean. This is more of a Mexican version.
My favorite Mexican cookbook refers to it as grilled chicken, though their recipe pan sears the chicken first before roasting in the oven to finish.
I’ve adapted that recipe to use my grill, for more of a Mexican grilled chicken that is then finished in the oven. I marinate with my favorite citrus and use my favorite seasonings for a roast chicken dish that is sure to satisfy the spicy food lover.
Let’s talk about how we make pollo asado, shall we?
Pollo Asado Ingredients
- Chicken. Use a whole cut up chicken or your favorite parts, like leg thigh quarters, breasts, or a combination. You can make this with boneless chicken, though will need to reduce the cooking time.
- Olive oil. For cooking. Any vegetable oil will do.
- Liquids. Orange juice, lime juice, vinegar
- Seasonings. Garlic, sazon, achiote powder, paprika, Mexican oregano, cumin, red pepper flakes, and salt and pepper.
- Garnish. Fresh chopped cilantro, lime wedges, chili flakes
How to Make Pollo Asado – the Recipe Method
Marinate the Chicken. Mix together 1/2 cup olive oil, citrus juices (orange juice, lime juice), vinegar, garlic, sazon, achiote, paprika, oregano, cumin, red pepper flakes and a bit of salt and pepper.
Add the chicken to a large platter or dish and pour in the marinade. Alternatively, you can use a large sealable bag. Refrigerate and marinate the chicken for at least 1 hour. 3 hours is best.
Just look at the gorgeous color of the chicken from all those wonderful seasonings, particularly vibrant achiote.
Grill the Chicken. Remove the chicken from the marinade and reserve the marinade. Preheat the grill to medium heat and lightly oil the grates. Sprinkle the chicken with extra sazon and achiote powder. Grill the chicken pieces 5 minutes per side.
Roast the Chicken. Heat oven to 450 degrees F. Set the grilled chicken into a baking dish or cast iron pan and roast the chicken for 20 minutes, or until the chicken cooks through, turning half way through and basting often with the reserved marinade. Cook the chicken to 165 degrees F. internally when checked with a meat thermometer.
Garnish and serve! I love mine with corn tortillas and toppings, like my favorite spicy guacamole, onions, cilantro and chiles toreados (Mexican blistered jalapenos), so I can tear off the tender, juicy chicken and make tacos. So good!
Serve it with Arroz Verde (Green Rice)!
Boom! Done! Pollo asado is ready to serve! This is the best roast chicken on the planet, my friends. We really love this recipe. So delicious, huge on flavor. Making this again very soon!
Recipe Tips & Notes
- Simple Roasting Method. If you prefer, you can skip the grill and simply roast the chicken for 30 minutes, or until it cooks through. You can turn on the broiler and broil the chicken the last few minutes to get a nice char on the skin.
- Simple Grill Method. You can also skip the oven and finish roasting the chicken on the grill. To do so, after grilling the chicken over direct heat, move the chicken to the other side of the grill with the burners off for indirect cooking, or just lower the heat to medium low heat, and roast until it cooks through to 165 degrees F. internally with an instant read thermometer. I love this on my charcoal grill. Extra flavor!
- Variations. As mentioned, this is a Mexican version of pollo asado. My Puerto Rican cookbook uses a very simple marinade of only oil, vinegar, oregano, garlic and salt and pepper. I love the Mexican version with many more seasonings. You can use lard in place of oil. Lemon juice is commonly used in the marinade.
That’s it, my friends. I hope you enjoy this pollo asado recipe. Let me know if you make it. I’d love to hear how it turned out for you. Keep it spicy!
If you love traditional Mexican cooking, I love this cookbook with recipes from all over Mexico. Definitely recommended.
- Mexico: The Cookbook (affiliate link, my friends!)
Try Some of My Other Popular Recipes
- Chicken Tinga (Chipotle Shredded Chicken)
- Rajas Poblanas
- Pollo Guisado (Chicken Stew)
- Chicken Enchiladas
- Chicken Pozole
- Carne Asada (Grilled Steak)
- Pollo a la Brasa (Peruvian Chicken)
- Chicken Paprikash (Paprika Chicken)
Got any questions? Ask away! I’m happy to help. If you enjoy this recipe, I hope you’ll leave a comment with some STARS. Also, please share it on social media. Don’t forget to tag us at #ChiliPepperMadness. I’ll be sure to share! Thanks! — Mike H.
Pollo Asado Recipe (Mexican Roast Chicken)
- 2.5 pounds chicken parts bone-in, skin on - use a whole cut up chicken or your favorite parts, like leg thigh quarters, breasts, etc
- 1/2 cup olive oil + more as needed
- Juice from 1 large orange
- Juice from 1 large lime
- 2 tablespoons vinegar
- 6 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tablespoon sazon + more for sprinkling
- 1 tablespoon achiote powder + more for sprinkling
- 1 tablespoon paprika or use cayenne for more heat
- 1 tablespoon Mexican oregano
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- Salt and pepper to taste
- FOR GARNISH: Fresh chopped cilantro lime wedges, chili flakes
- Marinate the Chicken. Mix together 1/2 cup olive oil, orange juice, lime juice, vinegar, garlic, sazon, achiote, paprika, oregano, cumin, red pepper flakes and a bit of salt and pepper. Add the chicken to a large platter or dish and pour in the marinade. Alternatively, you can use a large sealable bag. Refrigerate and marinate the chicken for at least 1 hour. 3 hours is best.
- Grill the Chicken. Remove the chicken from the marinade and reserve the marinade. Heat your grill to medium heat and lightly oil the grates. Sprinkle the chicken with extra sazon and achiote powder. Grill the chicken pieces 5 minutes per side.
- Roast the Chicken. Heat oven to 450 degrees F. Set the grilled chicken into a baking dish or cast iron pan and roast the chicken for 20 minutes, or until the chicken cooks through, turning half way through and basting often with the reserved marinade. The chicken should measure 165 degrees F. internally when checked with a meat thermometer.
- Garnish and serve!
NOTE: This recipe was updated on 7/30/21 to include new information and video. It was originally published on 3/10/21.