Copycat Chipotle Chicken Recipe
This copycat recipe for Chipotle chicken is spot-on, and arguably even better than the original! You will LOVE this marinade!
I’m back today with the recipe I promised you would complete the cilantro-lime rice that I shared yesterday…
A copycat recipe for Chipotle’s chicken!
When my husband suggested replica Chipotle burritos for lunch a couple of Saturdays ago, the chicken was an essential. While I will get either chicken or barbacoa in my burrito or tacos, my husband is a straight-up chicken burrito lover, so I knew that’s what I’d make for lunch. Another round of searching for the perfect Chipotle chicken recipe led me to this amazing marinade. When my husband smelled it, he said he wanted to just eat it by the spoonful. It’s seriously some amazing stuff!
The chicken can be marinated for just an hour, or up to one full day. Of course, the longer you let it stew in that marinade, the more the flavor is going to soak into that chicken.
You can choose to cook the chicken however you’d like – baked, grilled, sautéed – but I really, really recommend that you sauté in a pan, preferably a cast iron skillet if you have one. Doing so will guarantee a wonderfully crusted exterior, which is the creme de la creme of this chicken. If you’d prefer to use chicken breasts instead of thighs, you can do that too, but I highly recommend the dark meat, as it ensures chicken that is nice and juicy, and nowhere near dry, which is a potential pitfall of using chicken breasts.
So, how did this recipe fare? My husband declared it better than Chipotle, and my mom and father-in-law, neither of whom are huge fans of Mexican food, LOVED it. I’ll call that a massive success. We used the chicken to make burritos, and then I used leftovers to make my own burrito bowl the next day.
I’ve already made this Chipotle chicken again to have in the fridge for salads and wraps, and it is definitely on its way to becoming a weekly staple on our menu!
Copycat Chipotle Chicken Recipe
The key to this amazing copycat recipe for Chipotle chicken is the marinade, and getting a nice sear on the chicken for those crunchy bits of cooked marinade!
- ½ medium red onion, coarsely chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
- 2 tablespoons adobo sauce (from a small can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons ancho chile powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 tablespoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- Water, as needed
- 3 to 4 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- Make the Marinade: Place the onion, garlic, adobo sauce, olive oil, chile powder, cumin, oregano, salt, and pepper into a food processor or blender and process until smooth. Pour the marinade into a 1-cup measuring cup and add enough water to reach to 1 cup.
- Using a fork, poke holes all over the chicken thighs and place in a resealable plastic bag. Pour the marinade over, seal, and use your hands to move the marinade around so that all of the chicken is evenly coated. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or overnight.
- Cook the Chicken: Preheat a large skillet over medium heat. Add enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Add the chicken to the pan and cook, turning occasionally, until completely cooked through, 165 to 175 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer. (I recommend cooking in two batches and adding more olive oil in between, if needed). Remove the chicken to a large cutting board and allow to rest for at least 10 minutes. Slice or chop the chicken, as desired. Serve in a burrito, in a salad, or on its own!
Note: You will not need all of the sauce from the can of chipotle peppers, but you can freeze the remainder (use an ice cube tray for easy measuring!), as well as the chipotle peppers, for another recipe.