My take on How To Make Pollo Asado starts with marinating chicken in orange and lime juice, oregano, cumin, garlic and achiote paste overnight. Grill & eat!
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How To Make Pollo Asado

My take on How To Make Pollo Asado starts with marinating chicken in orange and lime juice, oregano, cumin, garlic and achiote paste for 2-4 hours or overnight. Grill & eat! Prep Time does not include marinating overnight.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time45 mins
Course: Dinner, Lunch, Main
Cuisine: Cuban, Mexican
Keyword: asado marinade, Mexican grilled chicken, pollo asado
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 455kcal
Author: Kevin Is Cooking


  • 5 lb whole chicken, cut into 8 pieces
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 6 garlic cloves minced
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp Mexican oregano
  • 4 oz achiote paste packet optional (See Note 1)
  • 1/2 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1/2 cup fresh lime juice


  • Heat oil in a skillet over medium-low heat. Add garlic, cumin, salt, pepper, oregano, and half of the achiote paste (if using, See Note 1) and cook for several minutes, stirring. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Set aside.
  • Put cooled achiote garlic mixture, orange juice, and lime juice in a large Ziploc freezer bag. Add chicken pieces, seal bag, and massage chicken and marinate 2-4 hours or overnight. Any longer will toughen the chicken. We want TENDER. (See Note 2)
  • Preheat grill to 350°F to 400°F. Remove chicken from marinade; and set marinade aside.
  • Grill chicken, covered, until an instant-read thermometer registers 165°F when inserted into thickest portion of each piece. About 20 to 30 minutes. I do not turn them over during cooking, no need for grill marks.
  • Meanwhile while chicken is grilling: purée marinade and baste chicken often throughout grilling. Discard when done.


1. Most achiote paste is packaged in 4 ounce cubes. We will only need 2 ounces, save remainder for another use. I break up and smash the achiote paste as best I can in the marinade mixture, making sure it's blended in. You can also puree in a blender for a smoother mixture after it cools. BELOW is an achiote spice blend substitute, enough for this recipe. 
Achiote Paste Alternative
  • 3 tbsp paprika
  • 2 tbsp white vinegar
  • 2 tsp dried Mexican oregano
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • Combine in a small bowl and use to marinate chicken along with other seasonings and usually citrus juice.
  2. Acid bases include vinegar, wine, citrus juice, and tomatoes. Acidic marinades might actually toughen chicken. So when using a highly acidic marinade for chicken, add a little olive oil and/or minimize marinating time. With the garlic, spice and achiote mixture included up to overnight (8 hours) is OK.


Calories: 455kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 24g | Fat: 37g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 95mg | Sodium: 866mg | Potassium: 337mg | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 240IU | Vitamin C: 19.4mg | Calcium: 39mg | Iron: 2mg