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Chipotle Chicken (Pollo Asada) is a popular grilled chicken dish that’s rich with bold Mexican flavor. Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, chili powder, garlic and more make these grilled chicken thighs positively mouthwatering. Pretend you’re actually at Chipotle when you make a burrito bowl at home, where the guac isn’t extra!

two bowls are filled with toppings, chicken, and rice.
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Why You’ll Love This

  • Authentic flavors and no frills. You’ll notice that the list of ingredients here is pretty short, and that’s the way it should be. You’ll find no unnecessary frills in this authentic recipe… Just the flavors you’re craving made with inexpensive ingredients!
  • Grilled to perfection. If you’re anything like me, you’re looking for excuses to fire up the grill as soon as the weather goes above 70 degrees! This marinated chicken recipe is perfect for backyard parties on Cinco de Mayo or on a regular summer evening.
  • It’s a copycat. Being called a copycat usually isn’t a good thing, but I sure do love a good copycat recipe! This chipotle chicken recipe tastes pretty similar to the stuff you’d actually be served at Chipotle, but it just might be a little better if I do say so myself.
a full chipotle chicken burrito bowl is placed next to a lime wedge and a fork.

Ingredients You’ll Need

Here are the essential ingredients you’ll need to make pollo asada. Make sure to scroll down to view the full recipe for exact measurements.

  • Boneless skinless chicken thighs – you may use chicken breasts but I promise you it will taste so much better with chicken thighs.
  • Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
  • Garlic
  • Cumin
  • Dried oregano
  • Chili powder
  • Olive oil
  • Water
  • Kosher salt
  • Black pepper

How To Make Chipotle Chicken (Pollo Asada)

Here‘s how to make this copycat Chipotle chicken! Be sure to scroll to the bottom of this post for the full recipe.

Marinate the chicken. Place the chicken thighs in a large bowl. Combine all of the marinade ingredients together in a food processor until smooth, then pour it evenly all over the chicken. Place the chicken in the fridge for a minimum of 4 hours.

Grill the chicken. Preheat your grill to high. Cook the chicken thighs until a meat thermometer reads 165°F when inserted into the thickest part of the chicken thighs.

Enjoy! Chop the chicken into cubes and use it to build your very own burrito bowl.

a cutting board is topped with grilled, chopped chicken thighs.

Substitutions and Variations

The pollo asada can’t change too much while still being considered authentic, but there are some ways you can still customize it:

  • Add a touch of citrus – You can brighten the flavor palate here even more with some freshly squeezed lime juice or orange juice. Add either juice to the marinade for a note of natural summery flavor.
  • Make it smokey – If you want to enhance that grilled flavor even more, add about 1 teaspoon of smoked paprika to the marinade. It’ll add a nice smokey flavor to the chicken. Be careful not to add too much, though, as it’s a pretty powerful spice!
  • Heat things up a bit – Craving some heat? The chipotle peppers already lend a nice spicy kick, but you can make this chicken even hotter by adding ingredients like cayenne powder or habanero peppers to the marinade. Only add these ingredients if you’re really craving serious spice!
a burrito bowl is served with plenty of vibrant toppings.

Tips for Success

Check out these easy tips and tricks for the BEST Chipotle Chicken:

  • Marinate for at least 4 hours. If you rush the marinating process, you won’t have very flavorful chicken. Marinating the chicken thighs for at least 4 hours really gives them enough time to allow the flavor to soak into the meat and make a big impact.
  • Let the chicken rest. After you remove the hot chicken thighs from the grill, let them sit for at least 5 minutes before chopping it up. You’ll want the chicken to have enough time to let the natural juices distribute themselves. If you start chopping the thighs right away, you’ll lose a lot of those juices and end up with dry meat.
  • Double check the temperature. When grilling chicken, it’s always best to use a meat thermometer to double check for doneness. Fully cooked chicken is safe to eat when the internal temperature reaches 165°F.

Storage and Reheating Instructions

Chipotle chicken is great for meal prep! Once it’s fully cooled to room temperature, transfer the chicken to an airtight food storage container and keep it in the fridge. Properly stored, it’ll stay fresh for about 3-4 days. Feel free to reheat it in the microwave or on your stove top. If you go with the stove top method, simply heat a pan over medium-low heat and add the chicken. Let it heat until warmed through, and enjoy!

chicken, beans, and guacamole are placed on top of white rice in a brown bowl.

What to Serve with Chipotle Chicken

Turn your kitchen into a Chipotle when you make a burrito bowl right at home with this easy copycat chicken recipe!

If you’re serving this chicken on a day like Cinco de Mayo, consider serving more of my south of the border favorites like Mexican Street Corn off the Cob and a cool Watermelon Mint Margarita.

5 from 1 vote

Chipotle Chicken – Pollo Asada

Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, chili powder, garlic and more make these grilled chicken thighs positively mouthwatering.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Marinade time: 4 hours
Total Time: 4 hours 25 minutes
Servings: 4


  • 1 ½ pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs

For the marinade:

  • 2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ¼ cup + 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
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  • In a large bowl or glass container, add chicken thighs.
  • In a food processor, process the ingredients for the marinade then pour all over the chicken and use your hands to make sure all the chicken is well-coated in the marinade.
  • Cover and place in the fridge for at least 4 hours.
  • When ready, preheat outdoor grill to high and cook chicken thighs until internal temperature is 165 °F (74 °C)
  • Let rest then chop into cubes and build your own bowl over white rice and chopped cilantro. We like pretending we’re at chipotle – rice, beans, corn, salsa, guac, etc.


Serving: 1serving, Calories: 247kcal, Carbohydrates: 3g, Protein: 33g, Fat: 11g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 5g, Trans Fat: 0.03g, Cholesterol: 162mg, Sodium: 743mg, Potassium: 454mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 1g

This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition information can vary for a variety of reasons. For the most precise nutritional data use your preferred nutrition calculator based on the actual ingredients you used in the recipe.

The default measuring system for this website is US Customary. Unit conversions are provided for convenience and as a courtesy only. While we strive to provide accurate unit conversions, please be aware that there may be some discrepancies.

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