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10 March 2021

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 (Mexican roast chicken) in a pan

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

Moist and juicy Pollo Asado (Mexican roast chicken) garnished with lime wedges

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.

Pollo Asado Marinade Ingredients

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.

Pollo Asado (Mexican roast chicken) marinating in a dish

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!

Pieces of Moist and juicy Pollo Asado (Mexican roast chicken) in a pan

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!

Moist and juicy Pollo Asado (Mexican roast chicken) in a pan

Cookbook Recommendation

If you love traditional Mexican cooking, I love this cookbook with recipes from all over Mexico. Definitely recommended.

Try Some of My Other Popular Recipes

Pollo Asado (Mexican roast chicken) ready to serve

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 (Roast Chicken)
Print Recipe
4.67 from 3 votes

Pollo Asado Recipe (Mexican Roast Chicken)

This pollo asado recipe is the ultimate roast chicken with bone-in chicken marinated in citrus and spices then roasted for big flavor. So tender and juicy.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Marinating1 hr
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: achiote, chicken, roast, sazon, spicy
Servings: 6
Calories: 449kcal

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  • 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!

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 and roast until it cooks through to 165 degrees F. internally.

Nutrition

Calories: 449kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 24g | Fat: 38g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 96mg | Sodium: 218mg | Potassium: 305mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 872IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 40mg | Iron: 2mg

6 comments

  1. 4 stars
    After finally getting all the spices, I tried this recipe tonight. Great flavor and the chicken was nice and juicy. I did have a few problems with the recipe however. The ingredients listed olive oil and vinegar, however you never say what to do with these two ingredients, I assume they go in the marinade at least that is where I put them. The other issue is after you remove the chicken from their rest in the fridge, you say to reserve the remaining marinade but you never use it. I really don’t think you would want to be using a marinade that was used for chicken. In spite of these minor issues, we will be saving this recipe for later use.

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      5 stars
      Ron, thanks. I neglected to list the oil and vinegar, which DO go into the marinade. I’ve updated the recipe to make that clear. For the reserved marinade, it is written to baste the chicken with it as it is roasting to keep it moist. Glad you enjoyed it.

  2. 5 stars
    This recipe was great used thighs and legs and marinated a day and a half. i used smoked paprika with cayenne not brave enough for all cayenne. It was spicy enough with chipotle black beans. Great recipe we be making again. Thank you Caren

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      I hope to do one in the future for this recipe, Karin.

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