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Skip the restaurant and make your own copycat Chipotle Chicken recipe at home. The marinade is quick, easy, healthy, and tastes even better than the real thing! Make white meat or dark meat and follow my instructions for either baking or grilling.

Chipotle chicken in a white serving bowl.

The perfection of Chipotle Mexican Grill, made even more perfect because you get to eat it in the comfort of your own home, whenever you want it.

Chipotle Chicken is tender and juicy, packed with flavor, and perfect on everything. And whether you want to grill it, sauté it, or bake it in the oven, I’ve got all your options covered!

How to Make Chipotle Chicken Marinade

That smoky, spicy flavor in Chipotle’s chicken comes from two primary ingredients: Dried ancho chiles and adobo sauce.

To create this flavor, you can:

  1. Buy Ancho Chile powder – Depending on how much you want to buy, we recommend McCormick Gourmet Ancho Chile Pepper and Amazing Ancho Chile Powder.
  2. Make your own Ancho Chile powder
  3. Soak Dried ancho chiles (We recommend Olé Rico Dried Ancho Chiles)

Marinade Method 1: Using Ancho Chile Powder

Ancho Chile Pepper powder is available to purchase, or you can make your own.

  • ¼ cup of the powder is equivalent to 2 oz. of the peppers (stems and seeds removed, ground up).

Marinade Method 2: Soaking Dried Ancho Chiles

  • Slow-Soaking the dried ancho chiles takes at least 12 hours. Once the chiles are soft, I like to open them up, remove the stems, and rinse out the seeds (I recommend using kitchen or latex gloves).  For additional heat, add in seeds from the chipotle peppers.
  • Quick-Soaking shaves 12 hours off this recipe. You toast the dried chiles in a skillet and microwave them in water. It works perfectly!

Chipotle Chicken Ingredients:

Skip the restaurant and make your own copycat Chipotle Chicken recipe at home. The marinade is quick, easy, healthy, and tastes even better than the real thing! Make white meat or dark meat and follow my instructions for either baking or grilling.

Chipotle does not use red onion in their marinade. However, the recipe tastes better with it, so it comes down to this philosophical question: Do I post the recipe that tastes closest to Chipotle’s recipe, or do I post the recipe that tastes the best? I kept the onion.

  1. Combine all the marinade ingredients in a food processor or blender.
  2. Blend until smooth, then transfer to a plastic bag or covered container.
  3. Add the chicken, mash around to distribute, and let marinade for 30 minutes.

Skip the restaurant and make your own copycat Chipotle Chicken recipe at home. The marinade is quick, easy, healthy, and tastes even better than the real thing! Make white meat or dark meat and follow my instructions for either baking or grilling.

How to Cook Chipotle Chicken

If you’ve ever been to the restaurant, you know Chipotle grills their boneless, skinless chicken thighs on a flat-top grill.

Here are your cooking options at home:

  1. Stove-top skillet (indoor, similar to Chipotle’s method)
    Skip the restaurant and make your own copycat Chipotle Chicken recipe at home. The marinade is quick, easy, healthy, and tastes even better than the real thing! Make white meat or dark meat and follow my instructions for either baking or grilling.
  2. Gas grill (outdoor, minimal cleanup)
  3. Baked in the oven (cover with parchment paper for juicy chicken every time)

Photo collage of three photos, the right in the upper right hand corner is the seasoned chicken covered in parchment paper, below is a seasoned sliced chicken breast, and the upper left are three seasoned chicken breasts in a white baking dish.

Slice or dice and use for burritos, tacos, bowls, salads, everything!

What is a substitute for adobo sauce?

Whisk together:

  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon chipotle powder (or ½ teaspoon each smoked paprika and cayenne powder)
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • Pinch EACH of oregano, garlic powder, and salt

What can I do with my leftover Chipotle peppers and/or adobo sauce?

Transfer to a bag and freeze for future use, or use in:

Chipotle chicken in a white serving bowl.

Chipotle Chicken (Copycat)

Skip the restaurant and make your own copycat Chipotle Chicken recipe at home. The marinade is quick, easy, healthy, and tastes even better than the real thing! Make white meat or dark meat and follow my instructions for either baking or grilling. 
4.99 from 662 votes
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Marinate Time 30 mins
Total Time 50 mins
Servings 8 servings
Course Main Course
Cuisine American, Mexican
Calories 326

Ingredients 

Instructions 

To make the marinade (see recipe notes for dried chiles method):

  • To the bowl of a food processor or blender, add red onion, garlic, adobo sauce, ancho chile powder, olive oil, cumin, dried oregano, 1 teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper. Blend until smooth. Pour into a measuring cup and add water to reach 1 cup.
  • Place the chicken in a large freezer-safe plastic bag. Pour in marinade, close the bag, and mash until chicken is evenly coated. Place the plastic bag in a dish and refrigerate at least 30 minutes or overnight.

To make the chicken on the stove:

  • Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet until shimmering. Add chicken to the pan and cook, turning occasionally, until the temperature reaches 165 degrees on an internal thermometer. Depending on the size of your skillet, you can cook the chicken in batches.
  • Remove to a cutting board and tent with foil for 10 minutes. Chop into small pieces. Season to taste with salt. Serve on tortillas or in bowls with additional toppings as desired.

To make the chicken on the grill:

  • Preheat over medium-high heat. Coat with 2 tablespoons oil. Grill the chicken in batches, turning occasionally until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees on a thermometer and bits of caramelized fond have begun to cling to the outside of the chicken, 10 to 15 minutes. Add 1 - 2 tablespoons oil to your grilling surface between batches.
  • Remove to a cutting board and tent with foil for 10 minutes. Chop into small pieces. Season to taste with salt. Serve on tortillas or in bowls with additional toppings as desired.

To bake the chicken in the oven (preferred method for white meat):

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Coat a baking dish with oil or nonstick spray and arrange chicken in a single layer. Cover with parchment paper, tucking the paper around the chicken so it is completely covered. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until the chicken reaches 165 degrees when tested with an internal thermometer.
  • Remove to a cutting board and tent with foil for 10 minutes. Chop into small pieces. Season to taste with salt. Serve on tortillas or in bowls with additional toppings as desired.

Recipe Video

Notes

To make the marinade with dried ancho chiles:
  1. Quick-Soaking method for ancho chiles: Remove stems and seeds from dried chiles (wearing gloves is recommended). In a dry skillet over medium-low heat, toast the chiles until fragrant but not smoking, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl and add 4 cups (1 quart) water and 2 tablespoons adobo sauce. Microwave on HIGH for 6 minutes. Drain well.
  2. Slow-Soaking method for ancho chiles: Place in a bowl and add enough water to cover completely. Top with a small plate or bowl to weigh down the chiles so they are completely submerged. Soak at least 12 hours or overnight. Drain well.
You can use either Italian or Mexican oregano. They have different flavors (Mexican oregano tastes more like marjoram) but both taste great in this recipe. Feel free to use whatever you have.
Adobo sauce: You can get adobo sauce from cans of Chipotle peppers (I recommend La Costeña) or you can purchase a jar of just adobo paste (La Costeña makes one). Substitute about 3 tablespoons of paste + 1 tablespoon water.
Rice Bran oil: Chipotle uses Rice Bran oil in all of their products. Olive oil is more widely available (probably already in your pantry) and works equally well, especially if it has a neutral taste.

Nutrition

Calories: 326kcalCarbohydrates: 3gProtein: 44gFat: 14gSaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 215mgSodium: 1008mgPotassium: 633mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 672IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 49mgIron: 3mg
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I’m the Executive Chef and head of the Culinary Hill Test Kitchen. Every recipe is developed, tested, and approved just for you.

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Meggan Hill

I’m the Executive Chef and head of the Culinary Hill Test Kitchen. Every recipe is developed, tested, and approved just for you.

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Comments

    1. Hi Brittney, any boneless and skinless cut works great, such as thighs or breasts. Hope this helps! Take care! – Meggan

  1. Looking at Dan’s method. 2 cans of chipotles and 1/4 cup honey for 4 to 6 thighs. Seems like you should use 4 times the amount of thighs.

  2. Love this recipe!! I leave out the onions and substitute the adobo sauce with a teaspoon or so of red hot’s hot sauce and it’s still sooooo good. I eat this a lot in my meal prep burrito bowls. Thanks so much for this!5 stars

  3. I make this recipe at least once a month!
    Thank you for sharing it with us. It’s easy and I always look forward to having it for dinner!
    Great leftovers too!5 stars

  4. We made this recipe last week and it is amazing! Quick question – how long can it last in the fridge? Trying to determine if we can use for part of our weekly-prepare ahead meal plan.

    1. Hi Susan, this recipe is perfect for meal prep! It lasts about 4 days in the fridge. Hope you enjoy! – Meggan

  5. I made the chicken recipe and added the cheese and omg it was delicious I had it for 2 days it took some time to cut and get everything together but it was worth it
    Thank You

  6. Does this marinade use orange juice? I notice it in your photo of your laid-out ingredients, but noticed it wasn’t on your ingredient list. Additionally, people have commented on how thick the marinade was. Just wondering if the lack of orange juice is a typo?

    1. Hi Jade, that’s actually olive oil in the photo not orange juice! This recipe doesn’t call for it. – Meggan

  7. I love your recipes. I’m making Chipotle Chicken for the first time and know I’ll love it per the comments. Did you ever try Dan’s (comment on Dec 16, 2019 and Chipotle manager for 4 years) simple recipe of adobo sauce, honey? And if you did, did you like it? Thanks5 stars

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