Peruvian Chicken

5 from 3 votes
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This bright, flavorful Peruvian chicken recipe 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!

Once you’ve tried this dish, keep the fun going with more chicken recipes that bring a world of flavors right to your table. Like my Chicken Marbella for a perfect mix of sweet and savory flavors. And don’t miss my Moo Shu Chicken.

Peruvian chicken thighs served on a dinner plate and topped with a green sauce.


 

Peruvian food is a hidden gem, offering a combo of distinct and exciting flavors, and this Peruvian chicken is a delicious example of that. My first encounter with Peru chicken was during a vibrant street food festival in Lima. The aroma alone was enough for me to run over to the street vendors and eat all the food! Then we ended up in a beautiful small restaurant that night and I had my first bite of pollo peruano. As I bit into each forkful, I knew I had to bring this irresistible dish back home to share.

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.

Ingredients for Peruvian chicken labeled and separated into bowls.

Ingredients You’ll Need

Before you start on this flavorful Peruvian chicken recipe, here’s a list of everything you’ll need to ensure your roast chicken turns out perfectly juicy and delicious!

  • Bone-in skin-on chicken thighs – Bone-in, skin-on chicken drumsticks or breasts can be used, but cooking times will vary.
  • Salt & Pepper – Simple seasoning to enhance all the flavors.
  • Cumin – Provides a warm flavor that is almost standard in Latin cooking.
  • Smoked paprika – Adds a bit of a smoky touch to the chicken. A pinch of chili powder or regular paprika can be used.
  • Dijon mustard – I suggest a finely ground dijon instead of a grainy one. Yellow mustard is also okay to use.
  • Lime – Fresh lime juice is best, but you can use store-bought lime juice, too.
  • Olive oil – Any neutral-flavored oil like avocado or vegetable oil will also work.
  • Honey – Balances the spices with its sweetness. Maple syrup is a good alternative.
  • Sriracha – This is optional, but I like the spicy kick it brings. Any hot sauce can be used.
  • Jalapeno – Seeded and sliced unless you want a spicier sauce. If you don’t like it spicy, you can use a green bell pepper.
  • Fresh cilantro – Adds a fresh flavor to the sauce.
  • Garlic – If you don’t have fresh garlic, garlic powder or minced shallots will work.
  • Lime juice to brighten up the sauce.
  • Mayonnaise – Mayo is used as the base for the sauce, but you can also try it with plain yogurt or sour cream.

How to Make Peruvian Chicken

Follow these simple steps to master this tender and juicy Peruvian-style roast chicken, served with a rich, spicy green sauce right in your own kitchen.

  1. 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 marinate for 30 minutes.
  2. 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.
  3. Blend together the jalapeno, cilantro, garlic, lime juice, olive oil, mayonnaise, and salt until smooth.
  4. Spoon the sauce over the cooked chicken, and serve.
Overhead of pollo Peruano arranged on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil.

Recipe Tips

  • 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.

Serving Suggestions

Whether you’re planning a family dinner or a special occasion, here are some fantastic ideas to complement the juicy flavors of this peruvian chicken recipe. I love to serve it with my Crispy Smashed Potatoes in the Air Fryer or these Lemon Garlic Oven-Roasted Potatoes.

These Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Parsnips, and Carrots or my Roasted Green Beans with Squash and Tomatoes always taste amazing alongside any chicken dish. We also 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.

Overhead of Peruvian chicken served on a dinner plate and topped with cilantro-lime sauce.

Storing Leftovers

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.

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5 from 3 votes

Peruvian Chicken

Peruvian Chicken, also known as pollo Peruano, is made by marinating chicken thighs in a mix of olive oil, lime juice, and spices and then roasting the chicken until crispy. It's served with a creamy cilantro sauce for an added burst of flavor and texture.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Marinade Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings: 6

Ingredients 

For the chicken

  • 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

For the sauce:

  • 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
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Instructions 

For the chicken:

  • 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.

For the sauce

  • 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.

Notes

  • 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.

Nutrition

Serving: 1chicken thigh | Calories: 647kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 24g | Fat: 59g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 16g | Monounsaturated Fat: 28g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 149mg | Sodium: 765mg | Potassium: 402mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 704IU | Vitamin C: 15mg | Calcium: 41mg | Iron: 2mg

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.

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8 Comments

  1. Allyson Zea says:

    This was so flavorful and delicious! Thanks for the easy recipe!

    1. Katerina Petrovska says:

      Thank YOU! I am very glad you enjoyed it! 🙂

  2. Erin | Dinners, Dishes and Dessert says:

    Looks so delish! Adding on our must make list!

    1. Katerina Petrovska says:

      Thank YOU! I hope you enjoy it! 🙂

  3. Beth says:

    I have to make this! The flavors sound amazing, and I love how golden the chicken is. I have some chicken I just bought, so I’ll be making this tomorrow!

    1. Katerina Petrovska says:

      I hope you enjoy it! Thank YOU! 🙂

  4. Betsy says:

    What would accompany this chicken recipe? How to modify, so it’s not too spicey hot?

    1. Katerina says:

      Hi!
      There is a list of serving suggestions in the post above — potatoes, roasted veggies, etc. As far as spicy, the sriracha is optional, so you don’t have to use it, and for the jalapeno, you can use a few tablespoons of chopped green bell pepper.