This bright, flavorful Peruvian chicken is made with chicken thighs marinated in a delicious rub of lime juice, olive oil, and spices. The chicken is roasted until beautifully crispy and served with a spicy cilantro-lime sauce. If you’ve never had pollo peruano, you have to try this recipe!
Peruvian Roast Chicken Recipe
Peruvian food is a hidden gem in the United States, offering a combo of distinct and exciting flavors, and this Peruvian chicken is a delicious example. Each bite of pollo peruano hits you with a burst of flavors packed with juicy meat and a crispy, golden skin. The secret is in the rub made from a blend of lime, olive oil, cumin, and smoked paprika. The chicken is then topped with a velvety, mayonnaise-based sauce infused with lime, jalapeño, and garlic, making every forkful of this chicken utterly irresistible!
What Is Pollo Peruano?
Pollo Peruano is essentially roast chicken marinated in a tangy rub of bright lime juice, olive oil, and spices before being roasted to a crispy perfection. It is often served with aji verde, a creamy Peruvian green sauce of jalapeno, cilantro, garlic, mayonnaise, and more.
Peruvian Chicken Ingredients
- Salt & Pepper
- Bone-in skin-on chicken thighs or you can use chicken breasts.
- Cumin provides a warm flavor.
- Smoked paprika gives a smoky touch to the chicken
- Dijon mustard, I suggest a finely ground dijon instead of a grainy product.
- Lime, freshly squeezed lime is best, but you can use store-bought lime juice, too.
- Olive oil
- Honey balances the spices with its sweetness.
- Sriracha is optional, but I like the spicy kick it brings.
- Jalapeno should be seeded and sliced unless you want a spicier sauce.
- Fresh cilantro adds a fresh flavor to the sauce.
- Lime juice to brighten up the sauce.
- Olive oil
- Mayonnaise is the base for the sauce, but you can also use plain yogurt or sour cream.
How to Make Peruvian Chicken
- Make the rub. Whisk together the salt, black pepper, cumin, smoked paprika, Dijon mustard, lime juice, olive oil, honey, and sriracha. Pat the chicken dry before spreading the rub all over the meat. Let it sit for 30 minutes.
- Prepare to bake. Preheat the oven to 425˚F, arrange the chicken on a foil-lined sheet pan, and bake for 25 minutes or until done.
- Blend together the jalapeno, cilantro, garlic, lime juice, olive oil, mayonnaise, and salt until smooth.
- Spoon the sauce over the cooked chicken, and serve.
Tips for Success
- Pat the chicken dry before spreading the rub over it, this extra step results in crispier chicken.
- Allow time to marinade because this will yield a much more flavorful finished product.
- Make it ahead and marinate the chicken for up to 24 hours, tightly covered, in the refrigerator. You can also make the sauce the day before and store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
- Let the chicken rest for 5 minutes after you pull it out of the oven. This will result in a juicier chicken.
What to Serve with Pollo Peruano
- Potatoes. Serve my Crispy Smashed Potatoes in the Air Fryer or these Lemon Garlic Oven-Roasted Potatoes.
- Roasted veggies. Try these Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Parsnips, and Carrots or my Roasted Green Beans with Squash and Tomatoes.
- Salad. I love this Grilled Zucchini Salad with Corn and Tomatoes and this Light and Creamy Avocado-Lime Salad Dressing tossed with mixed greens. Or try it with my Chickpea Salad.
To store, let the chicken cool completely before sealing it in an airtight container and store it in the fridge for up to 4 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Unfortunately, the sauce will not thaw well, so I recommend making a fresh batch when you decide to serve the chicken.
More Chicken Recipes
- Chicken Marbella
- Moo Shu Chicken
- Chicken Bulgogi
- King Ranch Chicken Casserole
- Chicken Lettuce Wraps
- Crispy Lemon Pepper Wings
- 6 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
- 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
- ¾ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 lime, juiced
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1 teaspoon sriracha, optional
- 1 jalapeno, seeded and sliced
- 2 cups fresh cilantro
- 3 cloves garlic
- 2 limes, juiced
- ½ cup olive oil
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- ¼ teaspoon salt, or to taste
- In a small bowl, whisk together the salt, ground black pepper, cumin, smoked paprika, Dijon mustard, lime juice, olive oil, honey, and siracha until smooth.
- Pat the chicken dry with a paper towel and rub the lime mixture all over the chicken thighs, getting into every nook and cranny.
- Let the chicken marinate for 30 minutes to soak in all of the flavors if you would like to marinate the chicken overnight, that is even better. Just cover the bowl with saran wrap and place it in the refrigerator. When you are ready to bake it, let the chicken sit at room temperature for 15 minutes first.
- Preheat the oven to 425 ˚F and line a sheet pan with aluminum foil.
- Arrange the chicken thighs on the sheet pan and bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until the skin is crispy and the internal temperature of the chicken registers at 165˚F.
- Meanwhile, in a food processor or blender, combine the jalapeno, cilantro, garlic, lime juice, olive oil, mayonnaise, and salt. Process until smooth.
- Pull the chicken out of the oven and let it rest for 5 minutes.
- Spoon the sauce over the chicken and serve.
- For Crispier Chicken: Pat dry the chicken before applying the rub to achieve that desirable crispy finish.
- Marinating: Giving the chicken ample time to marinate enhances the flavors, making every bite a delightful experience.
- Prep Ahead: Prepare the chicken and sauce a day in advance and store them in the fridge.
- Resting: Give the chicken a 5-minute rest after cooking to lock in its juiciness before serving.
- Spice: If you don’t like spicy foods, eliminate the sriracha, use sweet paprika, and instead of a jalapeno, use a few tablespoons of a chopped green bell pepper.
- Choose Your Cut: Bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs and small chicken breasts work great, but adjust the cooking time. Chicken is cooked through when its internal temperature registers at 165˚F on an instant-read meat thermometer.
Nutritional info is an estimate and provided as courtesy. Values may vary according to the ingredients and tools used. Please use your preferred nutritional calculator for more detailed info.