Pollo Asado

Juicy, tender and so simple, this Authentic Pollo Asado recipe will be a hit on your grill this season! Packed with fresh, citrusy flavors and achiote paste, it is addictively delicious. Serve in tacos, burrito bowls, quesadillas, or salads! Perfect for Taco Tuesday or Cinco de Mayo!

Nothing beats grilling throughout the summer! Try my Grilled Huli Huli Chicken Skewers which are perfect for the whole family, and my Grilled Sweet Potato Wedges make an amazing side dish anytime!

Grilled pollo asado on a white plate with cilantro garnish and a wedge of lime

Authentic Mexican Pollo Asado

This Pollo Asado recipe is one you’ll keep coming back to all season! These tender, juicy chicken thighs are loaded with amazing flavor: achiote paste (which is earthy and nutty), orange juice for citrusy sweetness, onion, garlic, cumin, oregano, and lime. It is so delicious and really easy to make!

To make this Pollo Asado, you, first of all, make a marinade for the chicken and allow the chicken to sit in it for a couple of hours. After that, you just grill it, slice it and serve it with some lime and cilantro. SO simple and has so much flavor!

I like serving Pollo Asado as tacos with corn tortillas and some salsa verde, however, you could also add it to burrito bowls, salads, loaded nachos, or quesadillas. This Pollo Asado is also perfect for meal prep! Make a double batch and save it for lunches throughout the week, or freeze it for later.

Ingredients for Mexican Pollo Asado

  • Chicken: I opted for chicken thighs with this Mexican chicken recipe because the thighs stay nice and juicy when they’re grilled. You can also use chicken breasts, just take care to not overcook them as they will dry out.
  • Achiote Paste: Your new favorite pantry staple! Achiote paste is a mixture of annatto seeds, spices, garlic, and orange juice. It’s sweet, spicy, garlicky and a little smoky thanks to the annatto seeds. You can find this paste in your local Mexican grocery store, online, or you can make your own.
  • Orange juice: Orange juice adds citrusy sweetness, and helps to tenderize the meat. You can also use lime juice instead if that’s what you have on hand.
  • Onion & garlic: Onion and garlic provide a ton of flavor to the Pollo Asado marinade.
  • Seasoning: Cumin, oregano, salt, and pepper pack in even more amazing flavors to the marinade!
  • Lime: A squeeze of fresh lime over the chicken is the perfect balance to this recipe.
  • Cilantro: To finish, I sprinkled fresh cilantro over the chicken as a garnish. It’s refreshing and goes so well with all of the other aromas.

How to make this authentic Pollo Asado recipe

1. Begin by adding achiote paste, orange juice, onion, garlic, oil, and seasonings to a blender.

Ingredients in a blender cup

2. Pulse the ingredients together until the mixture is smooth. This mixture will be the marinade for the chicken thighs.

Ingredients blended in a blender

3. Add the marinade and chicken to a large ziplock bag and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or up to 2 hours.

A ziplock bag with chicken marinating in a red-orange sauce

4. It’s time to grill! Preheat the grill to 425°F and spray it with nonstick cooking spray. Grill the chicken for 5-7 minutes on each side. Tip: use a meat thermometer to check the temperature of the chicken. I choose the thickest piece of chicken and insert the end of the thermometer into the middle. It will read at least 165°F when the chicken is done.

Pollo Asado on the grill

5. Finally, remove the pollo asado from the grill and allow the chicken to rest for 5 minutes before slicing. This keeps the juices in the chicken and not on your cutting board! Juice 1 whole lime over the chicken, sprinkle with fresh chopped cilantro then slice and serve!

Sliced pollo asado on a white chopping board with a knife

Storage & Reheating Instructions

  • Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.
  • Reheat in the microwave or oven until it’s heated through. Alternatively, you can also serve this Pollo Asado cold, straight from the fridge. It’s great on salads!
  • Freeze in an airtight container or zip-top bag for up to 4 months. Thaw completely before reheating.

What can I serve Pollo Asado with?

What is Achiote paste?

Achiote Paste (annatto) is a mixture of annatto seeds (that are earthy, nutty, and a little bitter), oregano, cumin, cilantro, cloves, black pepper, garlic, a chili pepper (like jalapeno, serrano, or habanero) and bitter orange juice. The flavor is powerful and perfect for marinades like this pollo asado marinade.

A box of achiote paste opened on a white table

What is a good substitute for achiote paste?

Make achiote paste at home! All you need is paprika, white vinegar, oregano, garlic, olive oil, and cumin. It’s a great substitute if you’re unable to get your hands on achiote paste itself.

Grilled pollo asado on a white plate with cilantro garnish and a wedge of lime

More Mexican Chicken Recipes to try

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Pollo Asado

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Marinating: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
Servings: 4

Juicy, tender and so simple, this Authentic Pollo Asado recipe will be a hit on your grill this season! Packed with fresh, citrusy flavors and achiote paste, it is addictively delicious. Serve in tacos, burrito bowls, quesadillas, or salads! Perfect for Taco Tuesday or Cinco de Mayo!

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 tbsp achiote paste
  • 1/3 cup orange juice or lime juice
  • 1/2 medium onion, large dice
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • chopped cilantro, for serving

Instructions

Images:
  • Add achiote paste, orange juice, onion, garlic, oil and seasonings to a blender. Pulse until smooth.
  • Add the marinade and chicken to a large ziplock bag and refrigerator for up to 2 hours.
  • Preheat grill to 425 degrees. Spray the grill with non stick cooking spray.
    Grill chicken for 5-7 minutes on each side.
  • Remove from the grill and allow the chicken to rest for 5 minutes before slicing. Juice 1 whole lime over the chicken then slice and serve!
Nutrition Facts
Pollo Asado
Amount Per Serving
Calories 421 Calories from Fat 216
% Daily Value*
Fat 24g37%
Saturated Fat 3g19%
Trans Fat 1g
Polyunsaturated Fat 6g
Monounsaturated Fat 12g
Cholesterol 215mg72%
Sodium 786mg34%
Potassium 662mg19%
Carbohydrates 7g2%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 3g3%
Protein 44g88%
Vitamin A 121IU2%
Vitamin C 17mg21%
Calcium 50mg5%
Iron 3mg17%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: Achiote paste, Chicken Thighs, Cinco de mayo, Pollo Asado