Chipotle Chicken Al Pastor Recipe

Chipotle Chicken Al Pastor Recipe

Are you tired of the same old chicken recipes? Looking for something new and exciting to spice up your dinner routine?

Well, look no further than the tantalizing flavors of Chipotle Chicken Al Pastor. This mouthwatering dish combines smoky chipotle flavors with tender grilled chicken, creating a truly unforgettable culinary experience.

But how do you achieve that perfect balance of heat and sweetness? Stay tuned as we reveal the secret behind this delectable recipe and take your taste buds on a journey they won’t soon forget.

Chipotle Chicken Al Pastor Recipe
Chipotle Chicken Al Pastor Recipe

Key Takeaways

  • Chipotle Chicken Al Pastor is a flavorful recipe made with boneless, skinless chicken thighs, chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, pineapple juice, and garlic cloves.
  • Variations on Chipotle Chicken Al Pastor allow for customization based on personal preferences, such as adjusting the spiciness level, adding pineapple chunks for a sweeter twist, or experimenting with different spices and herbs.
  • Chipotle Chicken Al Pastor offers several health benefits, including a good source of protein from chicken thighs, metabolism-boosting capsaicin from chipotle peppers, and digestive support and anti-inflammatory properties from pineapple juice’s bromelain.
  • Marinating the chicken in a flavorful mixture of chipotle peppers, pineapple juice, lime juice, garlic, and spices is recommended, with possibilities to customize the marinade ingredients and marinate the chicken for at least 2 hours or overnight for optimal flavor.

Ingredients Needed

To make this delicious Chipotle Chicken Al Pastor recipe, you’ll need a variety of flavorful ingredients. The main ingredient is boneless, skinless chicken thighs, which provide a tender and juicy texture to the dish. You’ll also need a can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, which adds a smoky and spicy kick to the marinade. Other essential ingredients include pineapple juice, garlic cloves, dried oregano, ground cumin, and salt. These ingredients work together to create a well-balanced and mouthwatering flavor profile.

Variations on Chipotle Chicken Al Pastor can be made by adding or substituting ingredients according to personal preferences. For those who desire an extra spicy kick, additional chipotle peppers can be added to the marinade. On the other hand, for a milder version, the number of chipotle peppers can be reduced. Additionally, pineapple chunks can be included in the marinade for a sweeter and more tropical twist.

Apart from its delicious taste, Chipotle Chicken Al Pastor also offers several health benefits. Chicken thighs are a good source of protein, which is essential for muscle growth and repair. Chipotle peppers contain capsaicin, a compound that may boost metabolism and aid in weight loss. Pineapple juice, especially when extracted with the help of a modern slow-squeeze juicer, is rich in vitamin C and bromelain, both of which have anti-inflammatory properties and support digestion.

Marinating the Chicken

After gathering all the flavorful ingredients, the next step in preparing the Chipotle Chicken Al Pastor is marinating the chicken. Marinating is an essential technique that infuses the meat with delicious flavors and helps to tenderize it. To marinate the chicken, you can use a variety of techniques and alternative ingredients to suit your taste preferences.

One popular marinating technique is to use a marinade made with chipotle peppers, pineapple juice, lime juice, garlic, and various spices. The chipotle peppers add a smoky and slightly spicy flavor, while the pineapple juice and lime juice provide a tangy and refreshing twist. The garlic and spices enhance the overall taste profile, creating a well-rounded marinade.

If you’re looking for alternative marinating ingredients, you can experiment with different sauces, herbs, and spices. For a tangy and sweet marinade, you can try using barbecue sauce mixed with honey and mustard. If you prefer a more herbaceous flavor, you can use a combination of fresh herbs like cilantro, oregano, and basil, along with garlic and lemon juice.

Remember to marinate the chicken for at least 2 hours, but preferably overnight, to allow the flavors to penetrate the meat fully. When marinating, ensure that the chicken is evenly coated with the marinade by using a zip-top bag or a shallow dish. This will guarantee that every bite is bursting with flavor.

Marinating the chicken is a crucial step in creating the delicious Chipotle Chicken Al Pastor. By using various marinating techniques and alternative ingredients, you have the freedom to customize the flavors and make it your own. So go ahead, get creative and let your taste buds guide you in your culinary adventure.

Grilling the Chicken

Now that the chicken has been marinated to perfection, it’s time to fire up the grill and get cooking.

First, make sure to prepare the grill by preheating it to medium-high heat and oiling the grates. This will ensure that the chicken cooks evenly and doesn’t stick to the grill.

Keep in mind that the cooking time and temperature may vary depending on the thickness of the chicken breasts, so be sure to monitor it closely to avoid overcooking.

Marinating the Chicken

For the perfect Chipotle Chicken Al Pastor, transform your ordinary chicken by marinating it with a blend of flavorful spices and grilling it to perfection. Marinating the chicken is a crucial step in infusing it with the rich and smoky flavors that make this dish so irresistible.

Here are three marinating techniques to elevate your Chipotle Chicken Al Pastor:

  1. Traditional Marinade: Combine chipotle peppers, pineapple juice, lime juice, garlic, and a variety of spices like cumin, oregano, and paprika to create a bold and tangy marinade. Let the chicken soak in this mixture for at least 4 hours, allowing the flavors to penetrate the meat.

  2. Citrus Marinade: If you prefer a lighter and refreshing flavor, try marinating the chicken in a mixture of orange juice, lime juice, cilantro, garlic, and a touch of honey. This citrusy marinade adds a zesty kick to the chicken, complementing the smoky chipotle flavors.

  3. Teriyaki Twist: For a unique twist on the traditional recipe, experiment with an alternative marinade. Combine soy sauce, ginger, garlic, brown sugar, and pineapple juice to create a sweet and savory teriyaki marinade. This adds a delightful Asian-inspired twist to your Chipotle Chicken Al Pastor.

Preparing the Grill

To achieve the perfect Chipotle Chicken Al Pastor, you’ll need to prepare the grill for grilling the marinated chicken. Grilling techniques can vary depending on the type of grill you have, whether it’s a charcoal or gas grill.

If you prefer the smoky flavor that comes with charcoal grilling, start by arranging the briquettes in a pyramid shape and ignite them. Once the coals are covered with white ash, spread them out evenly and place the chicken on the grill grates.

For a gas grill, preheat it by turning on the burners to high for about 10 minutes. Then, reduce the heat to medium and place the chicken on the grates.

Regardless of the type of grill you choose, make sure to cook the chicken until it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F, and remember to flip it occasionally for even cooking.

Cooking Time and Temperature

To ensure that your Chipotle Chicken Al Pastor is cooked to perfection, it’s essential to pay careful attention to the cooking time and temperature while grilling the chicken. Follow these guidelines to achieve the best results:

  1. Preheat the grill to medium-high heat: This will allow the chicken to cook evenly and develop a delicious smoky flavor.

  2. Cook for about 6-8 minutes per side: The chicken should reach an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C) for safe consumption. Use a meat thermometer to ensure accuracy.

  3. Baste with the marinade: As the chicken grills, brush it with the remaining marinade to enhance the flavors and keep the meat moist.

Preparing the Chipotle Sauce

To make the chipotle sauce for your Chipotle Chicken Al Pastor, start by blending the chipotles until smooth. This will give the sauce its smoky and spicy flavor.

Once the chipotles are blended, add them to the marinade to infuse the chicken with the delicious chipotle taste.

Blending the Chipotles

Blending the chipotles creates a smoky and spicy sauce that adds a bold and flavorful kick to the Chipotle Chicken Al Pastor recipe. Here are three blending techniques you can try to achieve the perfect chipotle sauce:

  1. Traditional Blending: Start by soaking the dried chipotles in hot water until they soften. Then, remove the stems and seeds before placing them in a blender. Add a splash of vinegar, a pinch of salt, and a squeeze of lime juice. Blend until you achieve a smooth and thick sauce.

  2. Creamy Variation: For a creamier sauce, combine the chipotles with mayonnaise, sour cream, and a hint of garlic. Blend until the sauce becomes velvety and smooth. This variation adds a luscious texture to your dish.

  3. Citrus Twist: To enhance the tanginess of the sauce, blend the chipotles with freshly squeezed orange juice and a touch of honey. The citrusy flavor balances out the smokiness and adds a vibrant element to your dish.

Experiment with these flavor variations and find the perfect chipotle sauce that suits your taste. Enjoy the freedom of creating a sauce that brings out the best in your Chipotle Chicken Al Pastor recipe.

Adding the Marinade

After blending the chipotles to create the perfect sauce, it’s time to move on to the next step of adding the marinade to the Chipotle Chicken Al Pastor recipe.

The marinade is what gives the chicken its flavorful and smoky taste. There are various marinade variations you can try, depending on your preference. You can use a traditional blend of spices like cumin, oregano, and garlic, or you can add a twist by incorporating ingredients like pineapple juice, lime juice, or even tequila for an extra kick.

The marinade not only infuses the chicken with flavor but also helps tenderize the meat, making it juicy and succulent. If you’re looking for alternative meat options, you can also use pork or beef instead of chicken. The marinade will work just as well with these meats, giving you a delicious and versatile dish.

Chipotle Chicken Al Pastor Recipe
Chipotle Chicken Al Pastor Recipe

Assembling the Al Pastor Tacos

Gather your prepared ingredients and set up a clean, spacious workstation for assembling the flavorful Al Pastor tacos. The assembly process is where you bring all the elements together to create a mouthwatering taco experience.

Here are three key steps to help you assemble the perfect Al Pastor tacos:

  1. Warm the tortillas: Place the tortillas on a hot, dry skillet or griddle for a few seconds on each side. This will make them pliable and enhance their flavor.

  2. Layer the ingredients: Start by adding a generous amount of the marinated chipotle chicken al pastor to each tortilla. Next, top it with a spoonful of tangy pineapple salsa, which adds a refreshing sweetness. Finally, sprinkle some chopped cilantro and onions for a burst of freshness and crunch.

  3. Fold and enjoy: Fold the tortilla in half, creating a taco shape. Hold it firmly and take a big, satisfying bite. Let the flavors of the tender chicken, smoky chipotle, juicy pineapple, and zesty cilantro come together in every mouthful.

For additional flair, you can experiment with different assembling techniques, such as double-layering the tortillas or adding a squeeze of lime juice. As for recommended toppings, consider serving your Al Pastor tacos with a side of guacamole, sour cream, or hot sauce to customize each taco to your liking.

The possibilities are endless, so feel free to get creative and make these tacos your own. Enjoy the freedom of assembling a taco that suits your taste buds perfectly.

Chipotle Chicken Al Pastor Recipe

Recipe by Heather SmithCourse: Main CourseCuisine: MexicanDifficulty: Moderate


Prep time


Cooking time





Chipotle Chicken Al Pastor is a flavorful and vibrant Mexican dish featuring marinated and grilled chicken thighs. The marinade, rich with chipotle peppers, garlic, and a blend of citrus juices, infuses the chicken with a smoky, spicy, and tangy taste. Grilled to perfection, the chicken is complemented by the sweet char of bell peppers, onions, and pineapple. Served on warm tortillas, the tacos are garnished with fresh cilantro and diced onions, creating a delicious and satisfying meal. This recipe strikes a balance between bold flavors and approachable preparation, making it an excellent choice for those seeking a taste of authentic Mexican cuisine with a touch of smoky chipotle goodness.


  • 2-3 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin

  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano

  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 1/4 cup pineapple juice

  • 1/4 cup orange juice

  • 1/4 cup lime juice

  • Salt and pepper to taste

  • 1.5 to 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs

  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced

  • 1 bell pepper (any color), thinly sliced

  • Fresh pineapple chunks


  • In a blender or food processor, combine chipotle peppers, minced garlic, cumin, oregano, smoked paprika, cinnamon, pineapple juice, orange juice, lime juice, salt, and pepper. Blend until smooth.
  • Place the chicken thighs in a bowl or a large zip-top bag and pour the marinade over them. Ensure that the chicken is well-coated. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight.
  • Preheat your grill to medium-high heat.
  • Remove the chicken from the marinade and thread onto skewers. Discard excess marinade. Grill the chicken for 6-8 minutes per side or until fully cooked and slightly charred. Baste with extra marinade while grilling.
  • In the last few minutes of grilling the chicken, add the sliced onions, bell pepper, and pineapple chunks to the grill. Cook until the vegetables are tender and slightly charred.
  • Remove the chicken from the skewers and slice into bite-sized pieces. Serve the grilled chicken, vegetables, and pineapple on warm tortillas.
  • Top the tacos with chopped cilantro, diced onions, and a squeeze of lime. Serve with your favorite salsa or hot sauce.

Serving and Enjoying Your Chipotle Chicken Al Pastor

Now that you have assembled the perfect Al Pastor tacos, it’s time to savor the delicious flavors of your chipotle chicken masterpiece. The combination of juicy, smoky chipotle chicken and tangy pineapple salsa is sure to tantalize your taste buds and leave you craving more. But how should you serve and enjoy your Chipotle Chicken Al Pastor? Here are some serving suggestions and flavor variations to elevate your dining experience:

Serving SuggestionsFlavor Variations
– Serve the chipotle chicken in warm corn tortillas, topped with pineapple salsa, cilantro, and a squeeze of lime juice.– Add a dollop of creamy avocado sauce for a cool and creamy contrast to the smoky chipotle chicken.
– Pair your tacos with a side of Mexican rice and black beans for a complete and satisfying meal.– For an extra kick of heat, sprinkle some chopped jalapenos or drizzle hot sauce over your tacos.
– Garnish your tacos with thinly sliced red onions and crumbled queso fresco for added texture and flavor.– Experiment with different marinades for the chipotle chicken, such as a citrus marinade or a honey glaze.
– Don’t forget to serve some refreshing beverages like cold Mexican beer or a pitcher of homemade agua fresca.– Substitute the corn tortillas with lettuce wraps or make a Chipotle Chicken Al Pastor bowl with rice, beans, and your favorite toppings.

With these serving suggestions and flavor variations, you have the freedom to create a Chipotle Chicken Al Pastor experience that suits your taste preferences. So go ahead, dig in and enjoy every bite of your flavorful creation.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Long Should I Marinate the Chicken For?

To properly prepare the chicken for marinating, you should first season it with salt and pepper. Then, combine the chipotle marinade with the chicken in a ziplock bag and let it marinate in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours. Marinating for longer can enhance the flavors.

Can I Use a Different Type of Meat Instead of Chicken?

Yes, you can use different meat alternatives instead of chicken in the Chipotle Chicken Al Pastor recipe. This opens up a world of flavor variations, allowing you to explore new tastes and experiment with your favorite meats.

What Other Toppings Can I Add to the Al Pastor Tacos?

You can get creative with your al pastor tacos by adding different types of salsas as toppings. Try pairing it with a spicy salsa verde or a tangy pineapple salsa. For vegetarian options, consider adding grilled veggies or pickled onions for added flavor.

Can I Make the Chipotle Sauce Ahead of Time and Store It?

Yes, you can make the chipotle sauce ahead of time and store it. This allows you to have the sauce ready whenever you want to use it, saving you time and effort in the future.

How Spicy Is the Chipotle Sauce and Can I Adjust the Level of Heat?

You can adjust the level of heat in the chipotle sauce to suit your taste. Whether you prefer mild or spicy, there are different ways to use the sauce to add flavor to your dishes.

Chipotle Chicken Al Pastor Recipe
Chipotle Chicken Al Pastor Recipe


In conclusion, this chipotle chicken al pastor recipe is a delicious and flavorful option for taco night.

The combination of marinated and grilled chicken with the smoky chipotle sauce creates a mouthwatering experience.

Imagine sinking your teeth into a warm tortilla filled with tender chicken, topped with tangy sauce, and garnished with fresh cilantro and onions.

The explosion of flavors and textures will transport you to a street food stand in Mexico City.

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