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El Pollo Loco Chicken Recipe

Are you craving the mouthwatering flavors of El Pollo Loco’s famous grilled chicken? Look no further, because we’ve got the perfect recipe for you.

Get ready to indulge in the freedom of flavor with this sensational El Pollo Loco Chicken Recipe. Marinating the chicken in a blend of bold spices, herbs, and citrus juices will infuse it with a tantalizing taste.

Then, fire up the grill and let the sizzling heat bring out the smoky char that makes El Pollo Loco chicken so irresistible.

Whether you’re hosting a backyard barbecue or simply want to treat yourself to a delicious meal, this recipe will set you free with its incredible flavor and simplicity.

Get ready to experience the ultimate freedom of taste with El Pollo Loco Chicken Recipe.

Key Takeaways

  • El Pollo Loco’s grilled chicken has mouthwatering flavors that come from a blend of bold spices, herbs, and citrus juices.
  • The chicken is perfect for backyard barbecues or as a delicious meal option.
  • The recipe allows for customization with endless cooking variations and customizable marinades.
  • Marinating the chicken for at least 2 hours, or overnight for best results, infuses bold flavors and tenderizes the meat.


To make El Pollo Loco Chicken, you’ll need a variety of fresh and flavorful ingredients. The cooking variations are endless, allowing you to customize this dish to suit your taste buds. Whether you prefer a smoky chipotle marinade or a tangy citrus glaze, the choice is yours.

The nutritional information is also worth noting, as this chicken is lean and packed with protein, making it a healthy choice for those seeking a balanced diet.

Marinating the chicken is a crucial step in infusing it with the bold flavors that El Pollo Loco is known for. As you let the marinade work its magic, the flavors will meld together, resulting in juicy and tender chicken that’s sure to delight your senses.

Now, let’s dive into the process of marinating the chicken.

Marinating the Chicken

To marinate the chicken for the El Pollo Loco Chicken recipe, begin by combining the ingredients in a large bowl. Marinating the chicken is a crucial step that infuses it with flavor and tenderizes the meat. Here are some marinating techniques to make your chicken truly delicious:

  • Make sure to evenly coat the chicken with the marinade to ensure maximum flavor.
  • Allow the chicken to marinate for at least 2 hours, but for best results, marinate overnight to let the flavors fully develop.
  • Consider using a resealable plastic bag for marinating, as it allows for easy mixing and ensures that the chicken is evenly coated.
  • For additional flavor, you can also add herbs, spices, or even citrus fruits to the marinade.
  • Don’t forget to refrigerate the chicken while it’s marinating to prevent any food safety issues.

Now that your chicken is marinated to perfection, it’s time to move on to the next step: grilling the chicken.

Grilling the Chicken

Once the chicken has finished marinating, it’s time for you to grill it to perfection. Grilling is an art that requires skill and technique, but with the right guidance, you can achieve juicy and flavorful results every time. Start by preheating your grill to medium-high heat, ensuring that it’s clean and oiled to prevent sticking. While the grill is heating up, take the marinated chicken out of the refrigerator and let it sit at room temperature for about 15 minutes. This allows the flavors to meld and the chicken to cook more evenly. Place the chicken on the grill, making sure to leave space between each piece. Use the table below as a guide for grilling times and temperatures for different cuts of chicken.

Cut of ChickenGrilling TimeInternal Temperature
Chicken breasts6-8 minutes per side165°F
Chicken thighs8-10 minutes per side165°F
Chicken drumsticks10-12 minutes per side165°F

Flip the chicken halfway through the cooking time to ensure even browning and to prevent it from drying out. Keep an eye on the chicken and use a meat thermometer to check for doneness. Once the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165°F, it’s ready to be served.

Now that the chicken is perfectly grilled, let’s move on to the next section and explore some delicious serving suggestions.

El Pollo Loco Chicken Recipe

Recipe by Heather SmithCourse: MainCuisine: MexicanDifficulty: Intermediate


Prep time


Cooking time





Embark on a culinary journey with our Grilled Citrus Fiesta Chicken Recipe, a homage to the iconic flavors of El Pollo Loco. This recipe promises to bring the magic of flame-grilled goodness infused with citrus and spices right to your backyard. Get ready for a fiesta of flavors that will transport you to the heart of Mexico.


  • 4 bone-in, skin-on chicken leg quarters

  • 1/2 cup orange juice

  • 1/4 cup lime juice

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced

  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce

  • 1 tablespoon oregano

  • 1 tablespoon cumin

  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika

  • Salt and black pepper to taste

  • Olive oil for brushing


  • Whisk together orange juice, lime juice, minced garlic, soy sauce, oregano, cumin, smoked paprika, salt, and black pepper to create the marinade.
  • Marinate chicken in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or overnight for optimal flavor.
  • Preheat grill to medium-high heat.
  • Remove chicken from marinade, brush with olive oil.
  • Grill for 25-30 minutes, turning occasionally, until the internal temperature reaches 165°F.
  • Baste with reserved marinade during the last 10 minutes of grilling.

Serving Suggestions

After grilling the chicken to perfection, it’s time to explore some delicious serving suggestions. Take your flavorful side dishes to the next level by pairing them with the mouthwatering El Pollo Loco chicken.

Here are some creative chicken plating ideas to inspire you:

  • Create a vibrant and fresh chicken salad by combining the grilled chicken with mixed greens, cherry tomatoes, avocado slices, and a tangy cilantro lime dressing.

  • Serve the chicken on a bed of fluffy cilantro lime rice, topped with a zesty salsa verde and a sprinkle of crumbled queso fresco.

  • Get creative with tacos by filling warm corn tortillas with the grilled chicken, pickled onions, shredded cabbage, and a drizzle of chipotle mayo.

  • Transform the chicken into a flavorful sandwich by layering it with sliced tomatoes, lettuce, and a creamy avocado aioli on a fresh ciabatta roll.

  • Amp up your pasta game by tossing the grilled chicken with spaghetti, sautéed bell peppers, onions, and a spicy arrabbiata sauce.

With these serving suggestions, your El Pollo Loco chicken will be the star of any meal.

Now, let’s move on to some helpful tips and tricks for perfecting this recipe.

Tips and Tricks

To ensure that your El Pollo Loco chicken is cooked to perfection, here are some helpful tips and tricks to keep in mind. First, you want to marinate the chicken for at least 2 hours to infuse it with delicious flavors. Next, make sure to preheat your grill or oven to the recommended temperature. This will ensure that the chicken cooks evenly and retains its juiciness. Additionally, using indirect heat when grilling or roasting will prevent the chicken from drying out. Lastly, don’t be afraid to experiment with different flavor variations. You can add spices like paprika, cumin, or chili powder to give your chicken a smoky kick. Or, you can try using different marinades like citrus, teriyaki, or garlic. The possibilities are endless when it comes to cooking techniques and flavor variations for your El Pollo Loco chicken.

Cooking TechniquesFlavor Variations
GrillingSmoky Paprika
RoastingSpicy Teriyaki
BakingTangy Citrus

Frequently Asked Questions

How Many Calories Are in a Serving of El Pollo Loco’s Grilled Chicken?

You’re wondering about the calories per serving in El Pollo Loco’s grilled chicken. Well, the nutritional information may vary, but you can find all the details you need to make an informed choice.

Can I Use Boneless, Skinless Chicken Thighs Instead of Chicken Breasts in This Recipe?

Yes, you can use boneless, skinless chicken thighs instead of chicken breasts in this recipe. They are a great alternative and can be easily marinated and grilled using the same techniques and methods. Enjoy the freedom to choose!

Can I Marinate the Chicken Overnight for Extra Flavor?

You absolutely can marinate the chicken overnight for an explosion of flavor! Marinating techniques like this are game-changers for grilling chicken. Embrace the freedom to enhance your dish with a tantalizing marinade. Get ready for an unforgettable taste experience!

What Sides Pair Well With El Pollo Loco’s Grilled Chicken?

When it comes to pairing sides with El Pollo Loco’s grilled chicken, the possibilities are endless. From classic choices like rice and beans to fresh salads or roasted vegetables, you have the freedom to create the perfect meal.

Can I Use a Gas Grill Instead of a Charcoal Grill to Cook the Chicken?

You can definitely use a gas grill instead of a charcoal grill to cook your chicken. Here are some tips for grilling chicken on a gas grill: preheat the grill, adjust the heat accordingly, and use a meat thermometer to ensure it’s cooked to perfection. Enjoy the freedom of grilling!


In conclusion, this El Pollo Loco chicken recipe offers a delicious and flavorful way to enjoy grilled chicken. By marinating the chicken in a blend of spices and grilling it to perfection, you can recreate the mouthwatering taste of the famous fast-food chain at home.

Whether you serve it with rice, tacos, or in a salad, this recipe is sure to impress your taste buds. Give it a try and elevate your chicken game today!

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