Chicken al Pastor features tender, boldly flavored marinated chicken that’s oven roasted to perfection alongside juicy pineapple chunks. It’s great to pile high on top of a tortilla with all of your favorite toppings! Taco Tuesday has never been so good.

A small plate is topped with chicken al pastor.

Chicken al Pastor

Chipotle giveth and Chipotle taketh away. Chicken al pastor has always been one of my favorite menu items, so to see it taken away broke my heart! While they can bring it back whenever they please, I’ve moved on with this homemade recipe. Seriously, no Chipotle tacos have ever quit the spot quite like this.

This chicken al pastor is so much more juicy, flavorful and tender than anything I’ve ordered at a Chipotle! It’s marinated in the very best concoction of bold ingredients like guajillo chiles, achiote paste, pineapple juice and more. The marinating process not only infuses the meat with a ton of flavor, it also helps to break down the proteins and tenderize the meat.

The cooking process couldn’t be any easier. You just toss the marinated chicken on a sheet pan with some pineapple chunks and oven roast for 10 minutes to cook it all the way through. Then, broil it just a little bit so everything is browned and caramelized. I think the only hard part here is waiting for the chicken to cool off long enough to not burn your mouth!

Chicken and pineapple are spread out on a baking sheet.

How to Make Chicken al Pastor

This summery Cinco de Mayo recipe is so easy to toss together! For more details about the step by step process, scroll down to the recipe card.

  1. Prepare the chicken. Pat the chicken thighs down with a paper towel. Place them in a zip top bag and set aside.
  2. Make the marinade. Soak guajillo chiles in a bowl with boiling water until softened. Add them to a blender. Add remaining marinade ingredients to the blender and pulse until smooth.
  3. Marinate the chicken. Pour about 3/4 of the marinade into the bag with the chicken. Press out as much air as possible and seal. Place in the fridge and marinate for 4-24 hours. Store the remaining sauce in a separate container.
  4. Bake. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with nonstick spray. Spread the chicken across the baking sheet with pineapple chunks. Brush on the remaining sauce. Bake at 400°F for 10 minutes. Flip everything over, brush with remaining marinade and continue baking until the chicken is fully cooked.
  5. Broil. Turn the oven to broil. Broil the chicken and pineapple for about 3-5 minutes or until caramelized and crispy. Flip and broil on the opposite side as well.
  6. Prepare the tortillas. Toast the tortillas in a skillet to char slightly.
  7. Assemble. Chop up the chicken and pineapple. Assemble the tacos with all of your preferred toppings and serve immediately. Enjoy!
A sheet pan is topped with chopped chicken and pineapples.

Toppings to Try

Here are just a few of my favorite toppings to add to chicken al pastor tacos! When I’m entertaining friends at parties, I like to offer all of these different toppings as a taco bar so everyone can assemble their own perfect chicken taco.

  • Avocado slices
  • Chopped red onion
  • Sliced jalapeno
  • Salsa
  • Pico de Gallo
  • Sour cream
  • Lime juice
  • Cojita cheese
  • Cilantro

Storing and Reheating

Let your leftovers fully cool to room temperature. For the best results, I do NOT recommend storing assembled tacos! The toppings and tortillas will go limp if not enjoyed when assembled.

Just store the pineapple and chicken for later. Once cooled to room temperature, the cooked pineapple and chicken will stay fresh in an airtight container in the fridge for about 3-4 days. I recommend using the air fryer or oven to reheat.

Jalapeno slices are placed next to a chicken taco.

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Jalapeno slices are placed next to a chicken taco.

Get the Recipe: Chicken Al Pastor Recipe

Chicken Al Pastor brings the bold flavors of Mexico to your kitchen with a surprisingly simple recipe. A zesty marinade does the heavy lifting, making this perfect for weeknight meals or entertaining. Enjoy it in tacos, on salads, or as part of a delicious rice bowl – the possibilities are endless!
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  • 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs

For the Marinade

  • 2 dried guajillo chiles, seeded and stemmed
  • 2 tablespoons achiote paste
  • 1 chipotle chili in adobo sauce
  • 1 tablespoon adobo sauce
  • 1 onion, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 cup pineapple juice
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano, or 1/2 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne

For the Tacos:

  • Corn tortillas
  • Avocado slices
  • Chopped red onion
  • Sliced jalapeno
  • Salsa
  • Pico de Gallo
  • Sour cream
  • Lime juice
  • Cojita cheese


  • 1 sheet pan


  • Pat the chicken dry with a paper towel and transfer to a zip top bag.
  • Make the marinade.
  • Add the guajillo chiles to a bowl and cover with boiling water. Soak the chiles for 3-5 minutes or until softened. Remove and add the chile to a blender.
  • Add the remaining marinade ingredients to the blender and blend until smooth.
  • Pour 3/4 of the marinade in the bag with the chicken and seal pressing out as much air as possible. Transfer to the refrigerator and marinade for 4-24 hours. Store the remaining sauce in an airtight container.
  • Preheat ove to 400˚F.
  • Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and coat with cooking spray.
  • Arrange the chicken on the baking sheet with the pineapple chunks and brush with the remaining marinade.
  • Bake in the oven for 10 minutes. Flip the chicken and pineapple over, brush with the remaining marinade and bake until the chicken is cooked through and registers 160˚F on a thermometer.
  • Turn the oven to broil and broil for 3-5 minutes until caramelized and crispy. Flip and broil on the opposite side for an additional 3-4 minutes.
  • While the chicken is roasting, toast the tortillas in a skillet or over a gas stovetop to char slightly.
  • Remove the chicken from the oven and roughly chop the chicken and pineapple.
  • Assemble the tacos with your desired toppings and serve immediately.


Chicken al Pastor can be marinated up to 24 hours in advance making this an excellent option for prepping ahead.
Calories: 208kcal, Carbohydrates: 9g, Protein: 23g, Fat: 9g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 5g, Trans Fat: 0.02g, Cholesterol: 108mg, Sodium: 637mg, Potassium: 389mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 5g, Vitamin A: 337IU, Vitamin C: 8mg, Calcium: 41mg, Iron: 2mg