Delicious and Easy El Pollo Loco Chicken Recipe Image

5 min read

Imelda Connelly, Senior Lead Writer


If you’re a fan of Mexican cuisine and are craving a mouthwatering chicken dish, then you’re in for a treat! In this article, we’ll explore the famous El Pollo Loco chicken recipe—a delicious and easy-to-make dish that will surely delight your taste buds. Whether you’re a seasoned cook or a beginner in the kitchen, this recipe is perfect for anyone looking to elevate their culinary skills. So, grab your apron and prepare to embark on a flavorful journey!

Introduction to El Pollo Loco Chicken

What is El Pollo Loco?

El Pollo Loco is a well-known Mexican restaurant chain that specializes in flame-grilled chicken dishes. The name “El Pollo Loco” translates to “The Crazy Chicken” in English, which perfectly describes the bold and flavorful tastes their dishes offer. From their signature citrus-marinated grilled chicken to an array of sides and sauces, El Pollo Loco has been satisfying hungry customers for decades.

Why is El Pollo Loco Chicken So Popular?

El Pollo Loco chicken has gained immense popularity due to its unique flavors and cooking techniques. The secret behind their delicious chicken lies in their marinade, which infuses the meat with tangy citrus flavors and various spices beautiful mind merchandise. Moreover, their grilling method ensures that the chicken is cooked to perfection—juicy on the inside and slightly charred on the outside. This combination of flavors and textures makes El Pollo Loco chicken a beloved dish among food enthusiasts.

The Ingredients You’ll Need

Before diving into the cooking process, let’s gather all the essential ingredients necessary for preparing your own El Pollo Loco chicken:

  • 4 bone-in, skin-on chicken pieces (such as thighs or drumsticks)
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • Juice of 1 orange
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon of dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon of chili powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Feel free to adjust the quantities depending on the number of servings you require. Now that you have all the necessary ingredients, let’s move on to the cooking process.

Cooking Instructions

Step 1: Prepare the Marinade

To begin, we need to prepare the flavorful marinade that will infuse the chicken with its delicious taste. In a bowl, combine the olive oil, lime juice, orange juice, minced garlic, dried oregano, ground cumin, chili powder, salt, and pepper. Whisk all the ingredients together until they are well incorporated.

Step 2: Marinate the Chicken

Next, place the chicken pieces in a shallow dish or resealable plastic bag. Pour the marinade over the chicken, ensuring that it coats each piece evenly. Massage the marinade into the chicken to ensure maximum flavor penetration. Once the chicken is coated, cover the dish or seal the bag and refrigerate for at least 2 hours (or overnight for deeper flavors).

Step 3: Preheat the Grill

While the chicken is marinating, preheat your grill to medium-high heat. This will ensure a perfectly cooked chicken with a tantalizing charred exterior.

Step 4: Grill the Chicken

Once the grill has reached the desired temperature, remove the chicken from the marinade, allowing any excess marinade to drip off. Place the chicken pieces on the grill, skin side down, and cook for approximately 6-8 minutes per side. Cooking times may vary depending on the thickness of the chicken pieces, so ensure the internal temperature reaches 165°F (74°C) for safe consumption.

Step 5: Rest and Serve

Once the chicken is cooked to perfection, remove it from the grill and let it rest for a few minutes. This allows the juices to redistribute, resulting in a moist and flavorful chicken. Serve the El Pollo Loco chicken with your choice of sides, such as Mexican rice, grilled vegetables, or a fresh salad.

Tips for Flavor Variations and Enhancements

While the classic El Pollo Loco chicken recipe is undeniably delicious on its own, you can always experiment with additional flavors and ingredients to enhance the dish. Here are a few suggestions to consider:

  • Citrus Zest: Add extra zing to the marinade by incorporating the zest of the lime and orange. This will intensify the citrus flavors and give the chicken an extra aromatic boost.
  • Spice it up: If you enjoy a spicier kick, increase the amount of chili powder or add a pinch of cayenne pepper to the marinade. Adjust the heat level according to your personal preferences.
  • Herb Infusion: Experiment with different herbs to elevate the dish further. Fresh cilantro or parsley can add a refreshing and herbal note to the marinade.
  • Go Smoky: If you’re a fan of smoky flavors, consider adding a teaspoon of smoked paprika to the marinade. This will give the chicken a subtle smokiness reminiscent of traditional Mexican barbecue.

Feel free to get creative and tailor the recipe to your own preferences. The beauty of cooking is that you can experiment and customize dishes to suit your taste.

Nutritional Value of El Pollo Loco Chicken

Before indulging in this delectable dish, let’s take a look at the approximate nutritional value of El Pollo Loco chicken per serving:

  • Calories: 250-300
  • Protein: 20-25 grams
  • Fat: 12-15 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 5-10 grams

Please note that these values may vary depending on the specific cut of chicken you use and any additional sides or sauces you pair with the dish. It’s always a good idea to consult a nutritionist or use a food tracking app to get accurate nutritional information.


In conclusion, the El Pollo Loco chicken recipe is a delightful culinary experience that brings the vibrant flavors of Mexican cuisine to your kitchen. With the right combination of citrus, spices, and grilling techniques, you can recreate this beloved dish at home. Whether you’re hosting a dinner party or simply craving a delicious homemade meal, the El Pollo Loco chicken recipe is sure to impress your taste buds and leave you wanting more. So, gather your ingredients, fire up the grill, and embark on an exciting culinary journey with the crazy chicken that is El Pollo Loco!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is El Pollo Loco?

El Pollo Loco is a popular Mexican-inspired fast food chain known for its flavorful grilled chicken.

What makes this chicken recipe delicious?

The chicken is marinated in a blend of citrus juices, herbs, and spices, which infuses it with incredible flavor and tenderness.

How easy is this recipe to make?

This recipe is very easy to make. With just a few simple steps, you can enjoy a homemade version of El Pollo Loco chicken right in your own kitchen.

What ingredients do I need for this recipe?

You will need chicken pieces, lime juice, orange juice, garlic, cumin, oregano, paprika, salt, and pepper for the marinade. Additionally, you'll need olive oil for grilling.

How long do I need to marinate the chicken?

For best results, it is recommended to marinate the chicken for at least 2 hours, or overnight if possible. This allows the flavors to penetrate the meat and make it even more delicious.

Can I grill the chicken if I don't have an outdoor grill?

Yes, you can definitely grill the chicken indoors if you don't have access to an outdoor grill. Simply use a grill pan or a regular non-stick pan to cook the chicken on the stovetop.

What can I serve with this El Pollo Loco chicken?

This chicken pairs well with Mexican-inspired sides such as rice, beans, tortillas, and salsa. You can also serve it with a fresh salad or grilled vegetables for a lighter option.

Can I adjust the level of spiciness in the marinade?

Absolutely! If you prefer your chicken to be spicier, you can add a pinch of cayenne pepper or some hot sauce to the marinade. Adjust the amount according to your taste preferences.

Is this recipe suitable for meal prep?

Yes, this recipe is great for meal prepping. You can marinate the chicken in advance and grill it when you're ready to eat. It also reheats well, making it perfect for leftovers.

Can I use boneless chicken breasts instead of chicken pieces?

Yes, you can use boneless chicken breasts if you prefer. However, keep in mind that the cooking time may be slightly shorter for boneless breasts compared to chicken pieces with bones.

Imelda Connelly, Senior Lead Writer
Imelda Connelly

About the Author Mission Statement: As a Senior Food Writer, I am passionate about exploring and sharing the diverse world