Pollo Asado is a boldly flavored chicken that’s first marinated, then grilled to absolute perfection! It’s perfect for Cinco de Mayo, or really any time you’re craving savory, juicy, oh so satisfying chicken. If you’re not afraid of powerful flavors, this is the chicken thigh recipe for you!

Cilantro, limes, and jalapenos are placed on and around cooked pollo asado.

Pollo Asado

There are gazillions of ways to prepare bone-in chicken thighs. While I struggle to say which method of preparation is my favorite (because that is one VERY long list), I will say that pollo asado is a dish that I crave pretty constantly! Grilled meats are pretty much always good, especially when that meat is chicken thighs that have been soaking in a delicious marinade for hours.

The Pollo Asada marinade is made with ingredients like freshly squeezed orange juice, fresh jalapenos, and a medley of mouthwatering seasonings. As if the marinade wasn’t enough, the flavor that comes from grilling is what really adds all of the right elements! Slightly charred chicken skin crisps up perfectly, all while the meat itself remains juicy and tender as can be. Gosh, I love grilling season!

While you’re enjoying some pollo asado fresh off the grill this Cinco de Mayo, make sure to serve it with a side of Mexican Street Corn Salad, Easy Cilantro Lime Rice and wash it all down with a Classic Margarita. I always highlight May fifth on my calendar, because that’s when I know the weather will be warm enough to grill, and I’ll have the perfect excuse to make tons of these marinated chicken thighs for friends and family!

The ingredients for pollo asado are spread out on a white surface.

How to Make It

Bag the chicken. Place the chicken in a large zip top bag and set aside.

Make the marinade. Add the remaining ingredients to the bowl of a food processor or blender and puree until almost smooth.

Marinate the chicken. Pour the marinade over the chicken and marinate in the refrigerator for 4-24 hours.

Cool the chicken. Remove the chicken from the refrigerator and allow to come to room temperature for 30 minutes. If using chicken breasts, only marinate for up to 8 hours or the marinade will break down the protein in the chicken causing it to become unpalatable.

Grill the chicken. Heat the grill to 425°F-450˚F. Grill the chicken, skin side down, for 5-7 minutes. Flip the chicken and continue grilling for an additional 7-10 minutes or until an internal temperature reaches 165˚F on an instant read thermometer.

Rest the chicken before slicing. Transfer the chicken to a platter and allow to rest for 10 minutes.

A square white platter is filled with cooked chicken thighs.

Can I bake pollo asada?

Here’s the deal – you can definitely bake these chicken thighs instead of grilling them if you have to, but you will be missing out on that signature grilled flavor and charred skin. With that being said, they’ll still be delicious thanks to that bold marinade!

To bake pollo asada, first preheat your oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil, then place the marinated thighs on there. Bake the chicken for about 35-40 minutes.

Tips for the Best Pollo Asada

  • Don’t slice it too soon! Allowing the grilled chicken to sit for about 10 minutes lets the natural moisture of the chicken to redistribute, making every bite just as juicy as the last.
  • This marinade isn’t overly spicy at all – just crazy flavorful! However, if you’d like to add more flavor, there are a few things you can do. Instead of removing the jalapeno seeds, leave them in! They create a ton of extra heat. You can also sprinkle in some cayenne pepper.
  • Make sure the orange and lime juices are both freshly squeezed for the BEST results. The acidity of those freshly squeezed citrus fruits is what really helps develop the flavors of the chicken.
A cooked chicken thigh is garnished with fresh cilantro.

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A cooked chicken thigh is garnished with fresh cilantro.

Get the Recipe: Pollo Asado

Easy Pollo Asado is made with juicy, tender chicken thighs that are marinated in a citrus, herb marinade then grilled or baked. A great family meal any night of the week.
5 from 1 vote

Ingredients

  • 5 pounds bone-in skin-on chicken thighs
  • 1/2 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 jalapeno, stem removed and seeded
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro
  • 2 ounces achiote paste
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ancho chili powder

Equipment

  • grill

Instructions 

  • Place the chicken in a large zip top bag and set aside.
  • Add the remaining ingredients to the bowl of a food processor or blender and puree until almost smooth.
  • Pour the marinade over the chicken and marinate in the refrigerator for 4-24 hours.
  • Remove the chicken from the refrigerator and allow to come to room temperature for 30 minutes. (If using chicken breasts, only marinate for up to 8 hours or the marinade will break down the protein in the chicken causing it to become unpalatable.)
  • Heat the grill to 425-450˚F.
  • Grill the chicken, skin side down, for 5-7 minutes. Flip the chicken and continue grilling for an additional 7-10 minutes or until an internal temperature reaches 165˚F on an instant read thermometer.
  • Transfer the chicken to a platter and allow to rest for 10 minutes.

Notes

Pollo Asado can be baked in the oven on a baking sheet lined with foil at 400˚F for 25-30 minutes or until the temperature reaches 165˚F.
Calories: 549kcal, Carbohydrates: 5g, Protein: 40g, Fat: 17g, Saturated Fat: 11g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 8g, Monounsaturated Fat: 17g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 236mg, Sodium: 193mg, Potassium: 605mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin A: 597IU, Vitamin C: 15mg, Calcium: 42mg, Iron: 3mg