Chipotle Chicken (Copycat)

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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).

Ancho chile powder dumped out of a glass jar onto a counter.

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:

Ingredients for Chipotle chicken in various bowls.

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.

Chipotle Chicken marinading in a plastic zipper bag.

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)
    Chipotle chicken cooking in a black skillet.
  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!

A Chipotle burrito bowl in a white bowl.

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:

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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. 
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Marinate Time 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 8 servings
Course Main Course
Cuisine American, Mexican
Calories 326
5 from 1424 votes




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


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.


Serving: 1 servingCalories: 326kcalCarbohydrates: 3gProtein: 44gFat: 14gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 3gMonounsaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0.04gCholesterol: 215mgSodium: 1008mgPotassium: 633mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 672IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 49mgIron: 3mg
Did you make this recipe?Tag @culinaryhill on Instagram so we can admire your masterpiece! #culinaryhill
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Meggan Hill is a classically-trained chef and professional writer. Her meticulously-tested recipes and detailed tutorials bring confidence and success to home cooks everywhere. Meggan has been featured on NPR, HuffPost, FoxNews, LA Times, and more.

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    1. Hi Summer! You can assume about 25% shrinkage (weight loss) when cooking most proteins including chicken. So while you start with 4 pounds of raw meat, you’ll have about 3 pounds chicken after it’s cooked. 3 pounds = 48 ounces, so each serving should be about 6 ounces of cooked chicken with 8 servings total. Thank you! -Meggan

  1. Great recipe and I loved all your tips! Thank you! I couldn’t believe how tender the chicken breasts were after oven baking and letting them rest before chopping. I’m hoping to make this recipe to freeze and serve at an upcoming party in a chafing dish. I’m worried the chicken will dry out. Do you have any recommendations for how I can minimize this? Should I add more oil to the marinade or should I add some chicken broth when in the chafing dish? Any other recommendations? Thank you so much!5 stars

    1. Hi Julie! I have done this exact thing – made it with chicken breast, baked it, froze it, reheated it. It was great! I understand your concern though. My recommendation would be to thaw it overnight in the refrigerator (rather than trying to thaw it in the microwave or something), then reheat it slowly in a pan or slow cooker, and possibly add some water to help it steam. It shouldn’t be dry if you don’t overcook it when you bake it. You should be fine. Chicken broth in the chafing dish would be good! I just think thawing it slowly and reheating it slowly are helpful, just treating it carefully rather than trying to force these things. You should be fine. You are welcome to add more oil to the marinade too, probably not necessary but peace of mind helps! Thank you! -Meggan

    1. Hi Patti! My vote is to reheat it in a skillet. That’s what I always do, even if I made it in the oven. You could also reheat it in the oven, of course, but that’s a lot of work for reheating something. The microwave is also fine, but sometimes that makes things taste a little off, in my opinion. I vote for skillet! You can add a little bit of oil or leave the skillet dry; it’s up to you. Sometimes I add a splash of water and cover the skillet to cook it through faster. Good luck! Thank you! -Meggan

  2. I can’t wait to try this recipe It sounds simple enough. I’m usually cooking for one or two so when I see 4 lbs of chicken it’s tough sometimes to get the amounts right. I can just improvise it doesn’t always work though lol!5 stars

    1. Hi Mike, I know sometimes it’s annoying to scale recipes down. You seem up for the task. I have also frozen the cooked chicken and then thawed it and reheated it later. Not quite as good as fresh, but still tasty, the flavor holds well. Good luck, I hope you love it and it works out for you! Thank you! -Meggan

  3. I am about to try this recipe for the 1st time and had a question. Could i used a roasted chicken? Debone a lets say Costco
    chicken. Let it soak in the marinade overnight. Take it out of the marinade and place on a baking sheet and put under a broiler until it is a touch crispy and serve it that way? What do you think?5 stars

    1. Hi Robert, if I’m understanding you, you want to flavor a pre-cooked rotisserie chicken. It’s worth a try! There is nothing about it that alarms me other than the chicken will already have that trademark rotisserie flavor… I would love to know if the chipotle marinade overpowers it. Such an interesting idea. It just might! This could absolutely work. I think it’s brilliant, such a great way to change up a Costco chicken. I’m so vested in this outcome! LOL! -Meggan

  4. I commented on the wrong post about cheesy breadsticks. I’m so sorry. I love your chipotle chicken recipe! Ignore the previous one as I don’t know how to delete it. 🙁5 stars

    1. Hi Jordan, no worries! I’ve removed your comment. If it was for one of my other recipes, please let me know which one and I’ll be more than happy to help with your question! I’m glad you enjoy the Chipotle chicken, too. 🙂 Take care! – Meggan

  5. My Chipotle in Adobo wasn’t very saucy, so I just used the peppers themselves. Otherwise, followed the recipe and it was phenomenal! Made faux Chipotle bowls with this chicken recipe and my son couldn’t get enough! Will make again and again. Packed with flavor. Thank you!5 stars

  6. I chop up my leftover chipotle peppers and spoon with the adobo sauce into an ice cube tray and freeze. Bag up the cubes after they are frozen and you have a handy tablespoon or so to use in future dishes. My favorite use is to add one cube to taco soup.

  7. I’m seeing that one serving indicates that it contains 14 g of fat. Is that with the assumption that chicken thighs are used? I have to be on a low-fat diet and am trying to find ways to reduce it from 14 g. Thank you in advance for your help.

    1. Hi Cindy, thank your for your question! Yes, I double checked the nutrition calculator and it assumes thighs are being used. If you’re not already doing it, I recommend using a food scale to weight everything out, an app to input the ingredients and calculate the serving size based on what the batch you make is. I hope you love this recipe! Please write again with anymore questions! – Meggan

  8. Hi Meggan! I’m looking forward to trying this recipe. I’m planning to make it for a crowd, including children. Could you give me an idea of how spicy this recipe is? I would like to make it kid friendly, or at least be able to modify the recipe to make a portion of the chicken less spicy for the kiddos. Thanks so much!

    1. Hi Abigail! Thank you for your question! First, I feel like “spiciness” is very subjective. When I eat Chipotle’s chicken with sour cream and cheese or a burrito shell, I feel like is never spicy because those offset. But sometimes when I eat it plain, I feel like it’s spicy. So, I don’t think this marinade is super spicy. It has flavor, but you are using 1 cup of marinade per 5 pounds of chicken. And when you cook it, some of the marinade comes off. At worst, you may find a spicy bite here and there, but not really. My toddler eats it with no problem. If you plan to make a kid-friendly batch, you can reduce the amount of adobo sauce and be sure to get rid of any and all seeds when you strain. I hope the chicken is a hit! Please let me know if you have anymore questions! – Meggan

  9. This will be my fourth or fifth time making this and it never fails to be amazing. Somewhere I saw that you’d asked what I do with my leftover chipotle peppers and adobo sauce. I usually don’t have much but when I do I buy another can and use both in the crock pot with a Boston butt and as much of a 2 liter of Dr Pepper as needed to cover the butt and turn it on low and let it cook for about 8-10 hours. In the harsh winter when I want a taste of summer and the Boston butt on the smoker this is a close substitute.5 stars

    1. Wow, thank you for your comment, Michele! I love your suggestion, will have to try it myself! Thanks again! – Meggan

  10. I’m looking forward to making this dish. The ingredients have adobo sauce and ancho chili powder. I the can of adobo peppers in sauce. I am wondering have you tried using the adobo peppers instead of the ancho chili powder? What are the effects? Slight variation or major?
    Thanks for your thoughts!

    1. Hi Angela, yes absolutely! You can do whatever you want. The recipe will still taste great. It will taste slightly different. Hope you love it! – Meggan

  11. Hello Meggan!
    I cooked the Chipotle chicken tonight in the oven per your recipe and earlier made the corn salsa. Hands down, better than Chipotle my kids and their friends said!
    Normally I would have put the chicken on my smoker, but it has been in the negative degrees for the last few days, so the reason for the oven.
    We did burrito bowls tonight with all of the various fixings and now it has been requested for 1x per week by everyone.
    I guess that I will be a Chipotle kitchen now for so much cheaper & better tasting is what the kids told me!
    Feeding 6 high school teenagers with Chipotle style food & flavors was absolutely awesome! Everyone thought that I brought it home from the restaurant.
    2 of the kids asked me where I learned how to make everything and I showed them your website. They now have it saved so they can make it for their families!
    You are amazing! Thank you!!!5 stars

    1. Hi Kevin, thank you so much for following up to your first note! Feeding a group of 6 teenagers is quite an undertaking, I’m so glad again it was a hit with them! Thank you so much for sharing the recipes with them, I love when people are excited about food. I hope they make it for their families as well. You’ve made my day! Happy cooking and please write again, I’m happy to help if you have any questions and loved reading your comments. Take care! – Meggan

    1. Hi Ani, yes! There are instructions to bake the chicken in the oven in the recipe itself. Its the best method for cuts of white meat. Here they are for you: 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. – Meggan

    1. Hi April, 4 pounds raw chicken breasts should yield about 48 ounces cooked, or about 8 (6-ounce) servings. Hope you love this chicken! – Meggan

    1. Hi Renee, I’m so happy you love this recipe, and thank you for the question! For the marinade, I prefer toasting the whole dried chilies in the skillet, soaking them, and blending them. For cooking, I love to grill the chicken. I wrote the version to use chili powder because it is easier, but I think the flavor of the whole dried chilies is worth the extra work. Please write again if you have any more questions! Happy cooking! – Meggan

    1. Hi Jessie, thank you so much for your question! I have only reheated it in a slow cooker, never cooked it the first time that way. I imagine the flavor would be fine, but you’d miss the crispy, caramelized edges that come from a grill or cast iron skillet. But, that texture loss aside, it should be fine. I’d suggest cooking 4 hours on HIGH or 8 hours on LOW. Please let me know how you like it! – Meggan

  12. I’ve prepared this so many times. The last time I used Ancho peppers and the extra step was SO WORTH IT. 5 stars from me for sure!5 stars

    1. Wow, Gigi! Thank you for such a nice compliment. I’m so glad you love it! – Meggan

  13. I want to try this recipe out and I was wondering if I can leave out the ancho chili powder or will it change the taste of the chicken a lot? Thank you

    1. Hi Leslie, thank you so much for your question! The flavor of the chicken will change if you omit it entirely. Some readers have substituted it with chipotle powder, or chili powder and paprika. It will likely still be delicious, just the flavors will not be the same. Please write back and let me know how it comes out! Take care! – Meggan

  14. I always struggle about what to do when the marinade is thick like in this one.

    Do i just lift the chicken breast off the marinade straight into the skillet/grill/roasting pan or should I blot the excess with paper towel (or something else) before cooking it?

    Can you clarify please?5 stars

    1. Hi B, thank you so much for your question! I like to leave some marinade on the chicken personally, but if it is really thick, I will use a pastry brush or spatula to scrape the excess off so it doesn’t burn. The marinade keeps the chicken moist and promotes grill marks. In the recipe card is a video that shows how much of the marinade I like to leave on when grilling. I hope you love this chicken! Please write if you have any more questions! – Meggan

  15. Great recipe. I had to improvise a bit but it still came out great. I didn’t have plain adobo sauce but i did have chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. I pureed the chipotle and adobo mix and used that instead of just adobo. I didn’t use ancho powder but some chipotle powder we had on hand. It was spicy but very good.5 stars

  16. We are planning a graduation party for 100 and the food is centered around a Chipotle rice bowl. How will the chicken taste if I make it the night before and heat it up with sternos? I want to prep as much as I can the day before.

    1. Hi Leigh Ann, thank you so much for your question! The chicken tastes great reheated! I would like to caution you against using Sternos/chafing dishes to reheat food. They do not produce enough heat to bring food up to 165 degrees in a safe amount of time. The FDA suggests reheating to 165 degrees, and then holding it covered in a 200 to 250 degree oven until it is time to serve. Once the chicken is out on the buffet over the Sternos, leave it out for no more than 2 hours. I hope your graduation party is a blast! Take care and please let me know if you have anymore questions! – Meggan

  17. This is a great recipe. I am not a fan of Chipotle restaurant so I don’t know how it compares but this recipe is now in my rotation!!! We make bowls, tacos, burritos, salads. It is SO yummy and easy! Everyone in my family likes it.5 stars

    1. Hi Nancy, thank you so much for your comment! I’m glad it’s a hit with everyone in your family. Take care! – Meggan

    1. Hi Deb, yes! You can freeze the marinated chicken. Just thaw and follow the directions for the way you would like to cook it. Hope you love it! – Meggan

  18. I have not made this yet, but am trying to figure out how to make it for 75 people for a graduation party and would like to do this in a slow cooker for my own ease. Any suggestion about what liquid to add for the slow cooker.

    1. Hi Rebecca, I haven’t made this directly in the slow cooker, only reheated it. I would reheat it with some of the liquid from cooking it, or even some chicken broth. I hope you have a great event! – Meggan

  19. Great recipe!

    You can’t really mess it up. Marinated the chicken for a few hours (I used chicken breast). Threw it on a pan and it turned out great! More flavor than the actual chipotle chicken, I would definitely say it’s better!5 stars

    1. I’m glad you loved it and found it simple to make, Triston! Take care! – Meggan

  20. Just made this tonight. It was fantastic.
    Thank you for this wonderful recipe.
    This will become a part of our regular rotation and is good enough to serve to company,5 stars

    1. You’re welcome, Scott! That is such a nice compliment, thank you for trying my recipe! – Meggan

    1. Hi Dequebanese, thank you so much for your question! The specific ingredients are listed in the recipe card which is closer to the bottom of the post. You can access it by clicking the “Jump to Recipe” button at the top of the post, or by scrolling down. I hope this helps and that you love this chicken recipe! – Meggan

  21. SO confused! “Pour into a measuring cup and add water to reach 1 cup”. Unable to blend without adding water to the blender. Am I missing something? I will say it smells amazing!

    1. Hi Jen, sorry you’re having some trouble with the marinade. It’s okay to add water to the blender or food processor as needed, at the end, you’ll want the marinade to be about 1 cup total. I’m not sure why it won’t blend. Sorry again and I hope this helps! – Meggan

  22. Ok so I forgot to add the cumin, but this was actually amazing! Topped with fresh cilantro this was probably the best marinade for chicken. 10/10.

    1. Hi Ariel! Thank you so much for your comment! I’m so glad you loved it! – Meggan

  23. Hi! Just wondering if you’ve tried the adobo paste you listed in your notes? I read reviews on Amazon of people saying it tastes nothing like the adobo sauce in the can with chipotles. I hate wasting so many peppers so I’m trying to find an alternative! Thank you so much! Love your recipes! 😍

    1. Hi Justine! Thank you so much for your question! I have tried the La Costeña brand and liked it, but I prefer the sauce in the can. I totally understand where you are coming from about the leftovers. I like to scoop them into a plastic zip-top bag and freeze them so the remaining peppers and sauce don’t go to waste. I hope this helps! Thank you again! – Meggan

    1. Hi Becky, I have only reheated it in a slow cooker, never cooked it the first time that way. I imagine the flavor would be fine, but you’d miss the crispy, caramelized edges that come from a grill or cast iron skillet. But, that texture loss aside, it should be fine. I’d suggest cooking 4 hours on HIGH or 8 hours on LOW. Hope this helps! – Meggan

    1. Hi Nick, thanks for pointing that out. I’ve updated the recipe card with more accurate conversions. Thank you! – Meggan

  24. Oh my…I haven’t even taste the chicken yet and this is the exact flavor of chipotle chicken…

    I substitute the oil for sesame see oil added a dash of rice vinegar, few other ingredients.

    Chefs kiss 🤌5 stars

  25. Absolutely delicious, and once you have all the ingredients, very easy to make. My kids and grandchildren came over, and I made them Chipotle Bowls with cilantro lime rice. It was a big hit. They loved it, and all made take home containers of the left overs! I am making it again today for me, my son, and granddaughter. Making Chipotle Chicken Tacos this time. This recipe is a keeper!! Thank you so much for sharing it!5 stars

    1. Hi Alice, thank you so much for the comment! Like you said, once you have all the ingredients figured out it’s not too bad. I’m so happy to hear it went over well and that you all liked it. Thank you so much! -Meggan

  26. Hello, I’m going to try this recipe. I have a question, can I use chipotle peppers in adobo sauce in place of adobo pepper and powder?

    1. Hi Lori, I hope you love it! So the marinade calls for adobo sauce, which comes from the can of Chipotles in adobo. The powder is ancho chili powder or dried ancho chilies. Ancho is sweeter, while chipotles are smoky. It wouldn’t be a direct substitute. Another reader did substitute some chili powder and paprika for the ancho powder and loved the results. Sorry and I hope this helps! – Meggan

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

  27. 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.

  28. 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

  29. 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

  30. 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

  31. 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

  32. 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

  33. 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

  34. I have chicken already cooked and shredded. May I use this marinade to season and help keep meat moist in a crock pot?

    1. Hi Courtney, I’ve never done this myself but I don’t see why it wouldn’t work. Let me know how it goes! – Meggan

  35. Made this today along with the Cilantro Lime Rice. Absolutely delicious!! Thank you for the easy to follow directions. I prepared the chicken breasts in a very hot (important step!) cast iron pan, aprox 10 minutes per side. Removed from the pan and placed on a cutting board tented with foil. So juicy and the perfect amount of seasoning. I used the adobo sauce from a can of Chipotle peppers – added 1 pepper to the marinade mix in the blender – perfection!! Served with the cilantro lime rice recipe. Thought I made enough for leftovers for lunch during the week – I will need to double the recipe next time! Huge hit with the family. Thank you Meggan for posting this recipe and for your step by step directions and footnotes, which I read a few times to ensure foolproof execution .5 stars

  36. Tried this recipe to see if it was comparable to Chipotle for a graduation party coming up. My family raved about the flavor and deemed it better than Chipotle. I was surprised by how thick the marinade turned out but just added water until it was a bit more manageable. I used both breast and thighs, cooked on the grill and it was fabulous. Definitely will be serving at the party in a few weeks!!5 stars

  37. Very very good! the chicken came out great. I did stove top and the marinade was so flavorful.5 stars

  38. 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.……then what? After they’re done soaking what do you do with them? Are these a substitute for the adobo sauce and powder? I want to make this, but would prefer to use real peppers than powders or sauce from a can.

    1. Hi Michael, they would be a substitute for the dried ancho chili powder. They are added to the food processor with the marinade ingredients. I understand! I hope this helps! – Meggan

  39. I see you left an alternative recipe for adobo sauce. Is there a store bought premade adobo sauce that you buy?

    1. Hi Larry, You can get adobo sauce from cans of Chipotle peppers or you can purchase a jar of just adobo paste (La Costeña makes one). Substitute about 3 tablespoons of paste + 1 tablespoon water. Hope this helps! – Meggan

    1. This recipe is amazing. my chicken came out so succulent and really flavoured. Will 100% make a again!5 stars

  40. I have really enjoyed your Chipotle copycat corn salsa as well as your Chipotle copycat and guac! I’m really excited for this Chipotle copycat marinade for chicken. I wanted to suggest an additional cooking method – airfrying the boneless skinless chicken thighs or breasts. Every time I marinate either both of these cuts of chicken and then air fry them the results are so juicy and incredible and it couldn’t be easier.

    1. Yes, I’ve tried this recipe on my Traeger pellet grill and it was awesome. I smoked it in the chipotle sauce for 2 hours on smoke then I quickly cooked on 400 degrees for about 15 minutes. Wow!

      I’ve also cooked it on a George Foreman grill and it also was wonderful. This recipe is the best I’ve ever tried.

  41. I’m surprised nobody Mentions that chipotle also uses bacon grease to cook chicken. At least our local one does.

  42. The chicken is outstanding. I used the oven bake method and can’t say enough how juicy, soft and delicious it was. I will be using the same method with other marinades as well. Thanks for the recipe.5 stars

  43. I have tried other recipes but this is by far the best and most informative. I love this recipe and expand it for group tacos at my cabin. Meaning I double the recipe. Makes plenty of great chicken.

    1. Hi Jackie, yes! Other readers have done the thighs in the air fryer at 390 for about 16 minutes with a flip halfway through. Hope this helps! – Meggan

  44. Meggan,
    I love your recipes and simplicity. I make into Seasoning Blends and save it for future and give it to my families “Meggan Hill Inspired Seasoning Blend.”

  45. Why did you decide to use ancho (poblanos) chilies instead of the chipotle (jalapenos) chilies that come in the can?

    1. Hi Bryson, Chipotle uses the ancho chiles so I used the same to create this copycat recipe! – Meggan

  46. i remember seeing the workers add what looked like orange juice to their chicken at the very end. i wonder if this is the citrus element that keeps it mexican-consistent

    1. Hi! For the oven method, it says to cover the chicken with parchment paper. Can I just use tin foil?

    2. Hi Christine, I think it should be fine but I’ve never tried it. Let us know how it goes! – Meggan

    1. Hi Jennifer, once you pour the marinade into a measuring cup, you add water to reach 1 cup total. Hope this helps! – Meggan

    1. Hi Sherri, I don’t see why not! I recommend breaking down the chicken and laying it in a single layer to bake. If you would like to bake the whole bird, I would recommend making sure you remove the giblets and truss the chicken. Since it is a whole chicken, the baking time may vary, since roasting a chicken (depending on its size) can take an hour. – Meggan

  47. Hi Meggan,
    Have you tried this in a slowcooker or instapot yourself and did I read in the comments you were going to post how to directions for that? Thanks so much! Sounds delicious

    1. Hi Rose, I haven’t cooked it the first time that way yet. However, I believe the flavor should be fine, but you’ll miss the crispy, caramelized edges that come from a grill or cast iron skillet. But, that texture loss aside, it should be fine. I’d suggest cooking 4 hours on HIGH or 8 hours on LOW. Hope this helps! – Meggan

  48. I couldn’t find boneless skinless thighs. should i cook them then trim? Or trim then cook and pull off the bone?

    1. Hi Michelle, it’s up to you! I would cook and then trim but it’s honestly just personal preference. Hope this helps! – Meggan

    2. I have made this several times and it’s always a hit. I was just concerned about grilling the chicken with the fat/skin. I’m sure it will be ok. It was definitely less expensive. I’ll let you know how it turns out

  49. Just made this tonight. My opinion – This really is better than Chipotles recipe. It packed a punch of flavor while Chipotle is more subdued. This will be a staple to come in my kitchen for years….Thanks for the recipe. It’s really very good.5 stars

    1. Hi Susan, I have only reheated it in a slow cooker, never cooked it the first time that way. I imagine the flavor would be fine, but you’d miss the crispy, caramelized edges that come from a grill or cast iron skillet. But, that texture loss aside, it should be fine. I’d suggest cooking 4 hours on HIGH or 8 hours on LOW. Hope this helps! – Meggan

  50. Hi Meggan,
    Thank you so much for sharing this recipe. I tried this many years ago (it was delicious) and found your recipe again recently. I don’t know if I’m overlooking it, but where in the recipe is the mention of how many chipotle peppers are called for? In the directions for using the quick soak method for the anchos, there is a mention of the canned peppers stating they’re included in step 2, but I don’t see any specification there or anywhere else in the recipe. I’m sorry if I’m overlooking it!5 stars

    1. Hi Monique, I’m so sorry for all the confusion. The recipe has evolved over time, so this note is from back when it was made with a can of chipotle chili peppers. You will need 1 ounce of dried chipotle peppers if you are substituting them for ancho chili powder. Sorry for the confusion! I’ve updated the recipe. Thank you – Meggan

  51. So I made this last night, it was quite good but also not quite as flavorful as I would have liked. Being fair I did only marinade for 1 hour, so I figure an overnighter would be a better option. Overall though, very easy to make and really close to what Chipotle serves.

    I did thighs in an air fryer, 390 for about 16 minutes with a flip halfway through. It’s a method I’ve used before with other spice rubbed or marinated chicken thighs and it works out every time. Will certainly make this again as I was quite impressed that right off it was so close, most other recipes you’ve got to fiddle with ingredient ratios because no one knows how to season properly lol.4 stars

    1. Hi Nathan, thanks! Cooking in the air fryer sounds great, so glad you enjoyed! – Meggan

  52. I made this on my Weber Kettle and it was some of the best chicken I have ever eaten hands down5 stars

  53. 5 stars. I do a quicker version where I use the whole can of chipolte peppers in Adobe sauce, just make sure you remove all stems.5 stars

  54. Wow! This was really good! I had to alter the recipe a bit based on what I had on hand and accidentally not reading the recipe thoroughly. I used about 9 lbs of chicken thighs, and used 2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, plus 2 Tbsp of dark chili powder instead of the ancho chili, and the other ingredients. I also added about a Tbsp of smoked paprika. I didn’t see you were supposed to add water, but the paste ended up coating the chicken perfectly. Next time I’ll probably add more chipotle peppers or cayenne because it wasn’t spicy at all. It’s very similar to Chipotle’s chicken. Thank you!5 stars

  55. Would the baking times need to be adjusted for chicken thighs? The recipe says that the oven method is for white chicken

    1. Hi Diana, sorry for the confusion. The baking time is still the same for thighs. When it says it’s preferred for chicken breast, I meant that chicken breast is the best in the oven (vs. grilling or whatever), not that thighs aren’t good in the oven. I see how that is poorly-worded, so I’ll fix it up. I’ve baked the chicken thighs a million times, it’s usually about 40 minutes for me. I always do the parchment paper. They are so juicy! Thanks. -Meggan

  56. Can you make this in a crockpot? Same proportions for sauce and can I still use chicken thighs or better to use chicken breast in crockpot

  57. Hello,
    Quick question, I’m planning on making this recipe this week but I’m a little confused. In the recipe you state to use 1/4 cup of Ancho Chile Powder but in the list of ingredients you list 2 tbsp of Ancho Chile Powder. Are those two the same thing? Also, for the adobo sauce I can either buy the sauce only or a can of the chilis in the sauce. Does it make a difference? Thank you.

    1. Hi Jonathan, sorry for the confusion! In the post, 1/4 cup ancho chile powder is 2 ounces of the dried peppers ground with seeds and stems removed. The recipe calls for 2 tablespoons of ground ancho chiles or 1 ounce of the ancho chile peppers for 8 servings. Sorry about that! For the adobo sauce, it doesn’t matter. I use the adobo sauce from the cans with the chilies and save the remaining sauce and chilies. If you purchase the adobo paste, you’ll substitute the sauce for 3 tablespoons of paste + 1 tablespoon water. I hope you enjoy this! – Meggan

  58. I look forward to trying this. Can you freeze or preserve the marinade in some way? I am interested in making a big batch to use as needed.

    1. Hi Richard! Yes, you can freeze the marinade and use when you’re ready to make another batch. I hope you enjoy it! – Meggan

  59. Absolutely LOVED this recipe. I live overseas and was really craving chipotle Mexican grills salad. I use this and it was sooooo good!!!5 stars

  60. Best recipe ever.
    Thank you so much for sharing
    It tasted just like a chipotle chicken bowl from the chipotle restaurant

  61. This my favorite chipotle chicken recipe. It’s actually the first and only recipe I use for Chipotle Chicken. I can’t get enough! When I initially made this recipe, I forgot to put in red onion. It still was good, but once I put in the red onion, for me, it took the recipe to next level. This is my go-to chipotle recipe for chicken and I can’t wait to try out the other copycat recipes. Thank you for an awesome recipe!5 stars

  62. I’ve used Adobo sauce the first time making this recipe & It was delicious! However, I just made it tonight randomly without Adobo sauce or the chiles & it’s still pretty good for what you have on hand or last minute. I used all dry seasoning (chili powder, chili flakes, garlic powder, oregano, dash of onion powder & paprika. also used olive oil, lime juice, cilantro and a dash of red wine vinegar for the marinade & left it for about 4 hours & cooked in the cast iron pan). Also used this sites chipotle copycat rice recipe which I think is all you need to taste like chipotle really5 stars

    1. Hi Shadel, you can freeze the marinated chicken. Just thaw and follow the directions for the way you would like to cook it. I haven’t tried it with pork, but I don’t see why not! – Meggan

  63. One of the best ever chicken recipe i have ever tried so far. Thanks for sharing this chipotle chicken recipe.5 stars

  64. Thank you! This is perfect (even without adobo sauce, can’t eat it). I replaced adobo sauce with paprika. This is the second time I made this and I wouldn’t change anything in the recipe. Enjoying being able to eat my chipotle chicken at home. Healthy and oh so good. Will enjoy all week.5 stars

  65. This recipe works great. I followed the marinade, using 1/2 the red onion called for, but all other items exactly as noted. I pounded the chicken to about 3/4″ thick to facilitate the grilling on the gas grill.5 stars

  66. This recipe tastes exactly like Chipotle! I made a big batch and ate it for a couple of days, it was even better after sitting in the fridge. Thank you!5 stars

  67. Hi Chef Hill,
    Thank you for this recipe! I made this and really liked it. I grilled the chicken on high heat (on a gas grill) to sear and get that charring (several minutes each side), then diced it into similar sized chunks as the restaurant and finished in a large pan on medium-high. Then transferred to a large bowl and mixed in a little of the adobo sauce to give it a little extra kick. However, I was tying to replicate the Chipotle Mexican Grill taste. You’re right about the onion–definitely a departure from the Chipotle Mexican Grill taste. Next time, I’m going to remove the onion.4 stars

  68. I tried this after wanting to eat chipotle twice in one day. It was excellent!
    I didn’t have the apple cider vinegar so I swapped for white vinegar. I marinated for about an hour and the chicken was so juicy. I made my own chipotle bowls rice beans chicken fajitas sour cream and cheese. I will definitely use this recipe again!5 stars

  69. Made this tonight on my indoor smokeless grill using a griddle plate. Came out perfectly and made enough for 2 meals! Thank you!5 stars

  70. Love this recipe! We have been staying at home due to Covid-19 and it helps to be able to make some of our favorite foods at home. Thanks much!5 stars

  71. Just want to thank you so very much for all you Chipotle copycat recipes!! We made them last night they were outstanding!! Everyone said they were better than Chipotle. I had no idea food this good could be made at home!! They only thing we changed was we used a 1/8 of a red onion in the marinade my son can’t stand onions. Thank you so very much!5 stars

  72. Excellent and easy. Marinated chicken approximately 4 hrs and had plenty of flavor. Not spicy at all. Next time I will increase the amount of adobo and add in a few of the chipotle peppers. I have some of the leftover marinade that I will try on some flank steak tonight. Should be great.5 stars

  73. I made this recipe last night. What great flavor! I didn’t have any ancho chilies but it was yummy all the same. I marinated the chicken for a couple of hours before cooking it on the stovetop.5 stars

    1. Hi Lexi, I’m glad you liked it! You’ll have to try it with the ancho chiles next time! 😉 -Meggan

  74. This was AMAZING! I am doing Whole30 and omitted adobo sauce from a small can of Chipotle peppers because I couldn’t find a compliant brand (and sometimes the spiciness really hits my acid reflux). This recipe was INCREDIBLE. My husband and I had the chicken with your Copycat Fajita Veggies and Guacamole on lettuce. We made enough for the whole week! This is so delicious AND healthy! Thank you!!!!5 stars

    1. Hi Anna, that’s really great! I’m so happy to hear all of this! I do the Whole30 too, it’s such a nice “reset.” I wanted to pass along one of my other favorite Whole30 recipes in case you need ideas. I apologize for the self-promotion and you can just ignore me. But I have this GREAT sweet potato hash, you just have to find Whole30 bacon for it. It’s so good, I love it, I make it all the time (not just when I’m doing a Whole30). Good luck to you! -Meggan

  75. Who needs a restaurant when you can food this delicious at home? I have used this chicken in tacos, in salads, and even just in sandwiches. Perfect taste!5 stars

  76. Meggan, I see in the commentS that you reheated it in a slow cooker. I was going to make a triple batch for a Super Bowl party. If I made it the day before and receive it in the slow cooker does it get dry? Did you add water when you put it in the slow cooker?5 stars

    1. Hi Andrea, yes I did a slow cooker reheat one time to see what would happen. I did not add water to the slow cooker and it didn’t dry out. If you use chicken thighs, you should be fine (when the chicken is in the fridge, any residual fat will cling to the chicken, so when you put it in the slow cooker, that will still be there). Of course, adding a couple of tablespoons of water isn’t really a problem either. You can definitely do that. But it’s hard to dry out chicken thighs! If you use chicken breast, that’s another story entirely but I haven’t tried reheating that in a slow cooker. But I still think it would be fine. I feel good about your situation, you’ll be fine! So flattered you are making that for the Super Bowl. It’s going to be great! Thank you again! -Meggan

  77. I ma trying this recipe today with some alterations…
    Adding juice of 1 lime
    I have used Ancho (and other dried) Chiles many times…
    the classic way to re- hydrate them… (from what I learned growing up in south Texas)
    -To me the best way to ‘re hydrate’ them is to
    1. Heat some water to boiling
    2. (While water heats) remove stems and seeds from chiles
    3. cut into strips (not really needed, I just like to see them look like bacon while re-hydrating)
    4. Once water is at a full boil… remove from heat
    5. Put Chiles in hot water… for 15-ish minutes
    6. remove chiles from water (reserve some water for the food processor as needed

  78. I don’t usually write reviews but after making this Chipotle Chicken recipe and the Chipotle Cilantro Lime Rice recipe and the Chipotle Pinto Beans and putting them all together in a burrito (along with Pico de Gallo and cheeeeeeese), it tasted just like it came from Chipotle! I’m so glad that I can make this at home now since my nearest Chipotle is miles and miles away. I have tried other copycat Chipotle chicken recipes before, but this is BY FAR the best one! My search has ended! Thanks so much!5 stars

    1. Thank you so much Margaret, that’s great news! Cheeeeeeeeeeese! Love it. Thanks for letting me know. -Meggan

  79. I worked at Chipotle for 4 years as a manager but I also have a culinary background in food service. This recipe isn’t terrible… but it’s not the REAL thing and it’s super time consuming for NO reason! So here’s the secret….
    Go to your local grocery store and purchase 2 small cans of chipotles in adobo sauce (this will be found in the international food section or Mexican section at Publix or other grocery chains).
    Puree said cans of chipotles with adobo.
    Pour into whatever bowl, dish, or pan you normally use to marinate.
    Add 1/4 cup of honey and 3 tbsps of vegetable oil…. swirl with spoon to mix.
    Add 4-6 chicken thighs and let marinate 6 hours. Chipotle let’s it marinate overnight but you really don’t need too! After 6 hours you’re good!
    Now the easy part! It can literally be cooked anyway you want to do it! Grill, cast iron skillet, but my preferred method… is using the sauté function on my instapot… browning for 2 mins on each side the setting the pot for 10 mins on pressure cook.

    Thank me later!

    1. Hi Dan! I definitely like your method WAY better. But what about all the other ingredients that Chipotle has listed on their site as being part of the recipe? ( There are so many things! Way more than chipotles in adobo sauce, honey, and oil. But I’m trying your way for sure to see if it tastes like the real thing. I mean, you would know, you worked there! I was just wondering if maybe they have special adobo sauce with other flavorings in it. I appreciate your insider scoop! Thanks. -Meggan

    2. Thanks for this! Don’t you have to add liquid to the instant pot when you are cooking the chicken?

    3. Dan
      I am making this tonight! I saw you do it in the IP. Do you add water after you sauté it to pressure cook?

      Thanks in advance! So excited to try this. It’s been marinating overnight!!


    4. I like you Dan. You making sure I get my Chipotle chicken fix the right way. I appreciate this recipe but I also appreciate hearing how to do this from experience. Thanks my dude! 😎

    5. I checked out the chipotle site, and they do list chipotle peppers, but if you click on the ingredient, they list dried chipotle peppers. Cans/jars of chipotles in adobo have water, chipotle peppers, tomato paste, vinegar, salt, nacho peppers, sugar, spices.
      So it sounds like all the things they add to the dried peppers are in the peppers/adobo. They just do it long-form to keep it “natural.”

    6. Hi Don, so are you saying all we have to do is marinade chicken in Chipotle peppers with adobo, and we’d get the same thing? You might be right! I’ll have to try it! That would be way easier.

    7. I’d add the honey and oil like Dan suggested. But, yeah, sounds simple and I’m going to try myself.

  80. This was amazing with Chicken thighs. So juicy and actually better than Chipotle. Chipotle can be too salty some days. Thank you for sharing.5 stars

    1. Hi Angela, it’s true they aren’t in the recipe (you could add them if you wanted to, but they would make it so very spicy!). My favorite way to use chipotle chiles are in Chicken Tinga ( Another good option is my Vegetarian Stuffed Peppers ( You could also mix them in with mayonnaise for a spicy sandwich spread if that sounds good to you. I usually put them in the freezer until inspiration strikes! I hope this is helpful. Thanks! -Meggan

  81. Delicious recipe! I will definitely be enjoying my burrito bowls all week!
    However I am confused about the nutrition, it says 8 servings at 133 calories each… is that just for the marinade? Or does that include the chicken? When I logged all the ingredients in MyFitnessPal, it came out to 366 calories when divided into 8 servings.5 stars

    1. Hi Mel, the calories are for one serving. 🙂 You can click on the 8 and adjust the serving size of the recipe. Thank you! – Meggan

  82. Has anyone tried cooking the chicken in a slow cooker with the marianade? Wondering how it’d turn out before experimenting.5 stars

    1. Hi Ryan, I have only reheated it in a slow cooker, never cooked it the first time that way. I imagine the flavor would be fine, but you’d miss the crispy, caramelized edges that come from a grill or cast iron skillet. But, that texture loss aside, I assume it would be fine? Thanks for the question! -Meggan

  83. Hi Meggan, 

    I tried for the first time today your Chipotle chicken, fajita veggies and guacamole recipe and it was a super hit with my family, esp my 8 year old picky eater!!! The recipe was everything I hoped it would be and more. My search for Chipotle chicken bowl has come to an end with your recipes !!! I used the exact ingredients the recipe called for and it made all the difference!! 

    Thank you so much , it’s such a relief that the whole family approves of it. phew !!!5 stars

  84. This recipe is amazing! I baked boneless, skinless, organic thighs for 45 mins (they seemed a little thick) and they came out amazing!5 stars

  85. i simplified for 5 pounds and only if you’re using the ancho chilli powder.



    All in the marinade:
    1/2 red onion
    7 tablespoons chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
    3 cloves of garlic
    1 teaspoons of cumin
    1 teaspoon of Italian dried oregano
    1 tablespoon of salt
    1 teaspoon of pepper
    2 tablespoons olive oil
    2 tablespoons ancho chili

    5 pounds of chicken
    . “““““““““““““““““` Make sure it is a cup, if not add water. Then blend it or processor, really well! Put all in bag or bowl to marinate for 30min or more.

    Then cook with adding to 2 tablespoons to put in pan to cook with. Then add chicken. Cook and let it caramelize on each side, don’t flip immediately so it can happen.5 stars

  86. I’m confused you list 2tbs of the chili powder but all the comments say 1/4 cup also you list add water to reach 1 cup but in the comments you say 2 cups what is the right way?

  87. So with the Chile’s in adobo sauce you strain out the Chile’s and just use the sauce right?? 

    What do you do with the chilies you strain the sauce off?

    I used ancho chili power option. 

  88. I am so confused. I found your recipe awhile back and made it once and we all liked it. It didn’t have a lot of flavor but with all the other items tasted good so I knew I wanted to keep it in family dinner rotation. Last night I was going to make the marinade so I came back to your site and read through all of the comments. In one post you said to someone that it should make 2 cups. The time I made it and followed the instructions to a T it was less than one cup. I read where you said to the man, with the can of peppers, the oil, and a few other ingredients it was unbelievable to only produce one cup. I read the recipe and it says to just use two tablespoons of the sauce without the peppers but I wanted to follow your comment so I used the whole can. I am so confused because the recipe says 2 tablespoons of oil yet the comment said 1/4 cup of oil. Can you please help me with the ingredient list? Also is this chicken going to be extremely spicy because I used the entire can?

    Thank you so much for sharing your recipe.

    1. Hi Sherae! I’m so sorry for all the confusion. The recipe has evolved over time, so you probably made it back when it was made with dried ancho chiles, and now it’s just being made with ancho chile powder. But if you read the comments, many will reference that old recipe. To further complicate things, the original recipe was for 10 pounds of chicken, but the new version is for 5 pounds. Why would I change the recipe? Basically I had too many options in the post, people were getting confused, and overwhelming people wanted the simplest way to make it. So that’s what the recipe is now. But if you made it the old way, you will wonder what on earth is going on.

      And to your question of is the chicken going to be extremely spicy with a whole can of adobo… YES. But I’m a few days late replying to your comment, so you probably figured that out by now. I’m so sorry for the confusion.

      Here is the original recipe:

      *This recipe yields 2 cups of marinade, enough for 10 pounds of chicken. 5 pounds of chicken = 20 servings, 4 ounces chicken per person.

      Prep Time 20 minutes
      Cook Time 1 hour
      Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes
      Servings 20 servings

      1 (2 ounce) package dried Ancho Chiles quick-soaked or using the overnight method (see notes)
      1 (7 ounce) can chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
      1 red onion coarsely chopped (see notes)
      6 cloves garlic
      2 teaspoons cumin
      2 teaspoons dried oregano (see notes)
      Salt and freshly ground black pepper
      1/4 cup olive oil or rice bran oil, plus more for oiling the cooking surface
      5 pounds boneless, skinless chicken
      US Customary – Metric
      To make the marinade with dried chiles (see recipes notes for substituting Ancho chilie powder):
      Split open each softened ancho chile and rinse the inside to remove the stem and all seeds (wearing gloves is recommended). Place in the bowl of a food processor or blender.

      Strain adobo sauce into a small bowl, pressing down on the peppers to extract as much liquid as possible (you should have at least ¼ cup). For an especially spicy dish, add chipotle pepper seeds to taste. Add strained liquid to the food processor. Discard chipotle peppers or reserve for another use.

      Add red onion, garlic, cumin, oregano, 2 tablespoons salt, and 2 teaspoons pepper to the food processor. Pulse several times until a coarse paste develops.

      With the motor running, pour ¼ cup oil through the feeding tube and continue to process until smooth. You should have two cups of marinade. Reserve one cup for immediate use and freeze the remaining for future use.

      Meanwhile, place half the chicken in a large freezer-safe plastic bag. Spoon in half the marinade, close the bag, and mash around to distribute. Add remaining chicken, remaining ½ cup marinade, and repeat the mashing until all chicken is evenly coated. Place the plastic bag in a dish and refrigerate at least 30 minutes or overnight.

      To cook on a grill, indoor grill pan, or cast iron skillet (preferred method for dark meat):
      Preheat over medium-high heat. Coat with 2 tablespoons oil. Grill the chicken in batches, turning occasionally until the internal temperature reaches 165°F 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 chop into small pieces. Season to taste with salt. Serve on tortillas or in bowls with additional toppings as desired.

      To bake 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°F when tested with an internal thermometer.

      Remove to a cutting board and chop into small pieces. Season to taste with salt. Serve on tortillas or in bowls with additional toppings as desired.

      Recipe Notes
      ¼ cup Ancho Chili Pepper powder may be substituted for the dried Ancho chiles. Skip step 1 and add the powder with the other spices in Step 3. After processing the marinade in a food processor, pour into a measuring cup. Add water to reach a total of 2 cups of marinade.
      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.
      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, reserving 1/4 cup cooking liquid. Add peppers to the food processor, using the reserved cooking liquid to rinse as much adobo as possible from the canned chipotle peppers in Step 2.
      Chipotle doesn’t have red onion in their marinade. In the past they may have, but right now they don’t. However, I’ve tried it with and without the red onion, and it’s better with the red onion. If you decide to omit the red onion, you won’t have 2 cups of marinade, but you can always add more water or oil to get to 2 cups if you want to.
      Use regular (sometimes called Italian) oregano. Mexican oregano is completely different and tastes like marjoram.

  89. Hi, I’m sorry… I’m a little confused after reading the comments and your blog/watching the video. I am trying to make this this weekend for about 35-40ish people. I don’t have a chance to test out the recipe. In your comments, you say that the ingredient list you wrote up is good for about 10lbs of chicken. Is that still true? Or is what is currently written on the ‘Ingredients’ good for ~5lbs of chicken? Also, in your video it doesn’t show you adding any water into a measuring cup, but we should not skip that step of adding water to the marinade, right? Just wanted to make sure. Also, do you think it would be ok to precut all the chicken, then marinate, and then cook it? Or is it better to marinate the chicken thigh whole, cook the entire thigh and then cut up? Thanks for any advice you may have!

  90. Wow! That is the ultimate comfort food. I haven’t had chipotle chicken in a long time. I think I’ll be making this soon. My heart goes out to you. Thanks!5 stars

  91. Hello Megan! Thank you so much for this. I had a quick question-
    I’m having a Chipotle Bar Party tomorrow, and I wanted to see- could this recipe be made in a crock pot and be adapted to make chipotle flavored shredded chicken?

    Could I just throw everything in the crock pot with some broth and shred it or would you have any other suggestions on modifying it?

    Thank you!5 stars

    1. Hi Rabia, I’m so sorry I didn’t reply to you in time. The answer is, you can definitely make it in a crockpot and shred it. Did you try it, or did you plan something else because I never replied? So sorry about that. I’ve made it in a crockpot before and it works really well. I hope your party was a success! Thanks!

  92. This recipe is best!! I love Chipotle and this recipe right here taste just like their chicken. This makes me soo happy!
    I made the chicken along with the guacamole and cilantro lime rice. Followed the recipe and marinated the chicken over night. Then the next day, my husband threw it on the grill. It was absolutely delicious, juicy and filled with flavor! Can’t wait to make this again. 
    Thank you for sharing this recipe along with the rest. You’re amazing!!5 stars

  93. Do you have any recipes that use those leftover chipolte peppers that were in the adobe sauce. I hate to toss them but don’t want a bunch of lost peppers in my freezer.5 stars

  94. Can I just use a Chipotle pepper or two from the can with adobo sauce instead of dealing with finding ancho in my small town?5 stars

    1. Hi Josh, yes absolutely! You can do whatever you want. The recipe will still taste great. And I know what you mean, I live in Southern California and sometimes those anchos just aren’t around like you’d expect them to be! Proceed. And you’ve played with chipotle peppers before right? So you know they are really spicy? Okay good. 😀

  95. I added about 1/2 cup cos the marinade only made half a cup. Is that too much water? I cooked the chicken in the skillet, but the meat was really thick. I’m going to try to cut the chicken meat into thinner pieces. Not giving up on this marinade yet.5 stars

  96. Tried this today, marinated the chicken for 4 hrs and it didn’t have any flavor and the chicken was dry. What am I doing wrong? Will the thickness of the chicken breast matter? Does adding water as mentioned in the steps dilute the flavor of the marinade? Was really hoping to like this recipe.4 stars

    1. Hi Gretchen, how much water did you add? And did you cover the chicken with parchment paper as directed? The thickness of the chicken breast could matter if you did not adjust your baking time based on it. So for example if you were cooking chicken breast cutlets, they would cook much quicker and potentially get tough and rubbery. However, the parchment should help prevent them from drying out.

  97. Hi Megan,

    Quick question. I am making this recipe for a large amount of people (50) and was wondering if it will make a different if I were to marinate and bake the chicken breast as cut up pieces or will that just ruin it all.

    Rabiya5 stars

    1. Hi Rabiya! You make me laugh! You can definitely bake it, you’ll be fine. Cover the chicken with a piece of parchment paper while you back it so the moisture is trapped and the chicken stays juicy. You’ll be just fine! It’s going to taste amazing! Please note 4 pounds of chicken will serve 8 people. My recipe was wrong, it said 4 pounds of chicken served 20 people (obviously that’s crazy). I just fixed it. Sorry for the confusion. Please let me know if you need anything else!

  98. Thank you for this recipe. It looks absolutely delicious.

    I am just wondering:
    How does a 4 oz serving have 20 g of fat? 
    Chicken (16 g fat x 4 lb = 64 g)
    Olive oil (14 g fat x 4 tbsp = 56 g)
    Total fat, approximately, is 120 g. Divide that by 20, and a 4 oz serving should have about 7 g of fat. 

    I am trying to monitor my macronutrients, and I want to make sure I am not missing something. Thank you again.5 stars

    1. Hi Rebecca, I’m so sorry for all of the confusion here! First, I use a 3rd-party nutrition label generator which access a nutrition info API, the same as sites like MyFitnessPal use. So that’s one thing. The 2nd thing is, the nutrition label was generating completely inaccurate so I’m REALLY glad you pointed this out to me. For one thing, it was using 5 pounds of chicken WITH SKIN, but the chicken should be boneless skinless. Also, the recipe is not for 20 servings. It used to be (I used to have the recipe make 10 pounds of chicken) but I scaled it down to 4 pounds of chicken, so now it serves 8. So an entirely new label is on the site. If you feel like taking a look, I hope you are much more satisfied with what you find! The last one was a total disaster. So sorry about that.

  99. I tried this recipe and it’s great. I have a question though. Why no vinegar. On Chipotles site vinegar is one of the ingredients for the chipotle chicken.5 stars

    1. That’s fascinating! They changed their recipe. I swear I’m not making this up – I live and die by their ingredient list. It’s how I formulate all of the Chipotle copycat recipes on my site. So they must have added it at some point within the last 6 months. They also used to have red onion in their recipe but don’t anymore. I appreciate you pointing this out! I can definitely try adding it. I’m guessing it’s a really small amount since it’s the last ingredient in the list, but still. I’m curious to know how it affects the marinade. Thanks Nick! Sorry for the confusion.

    2. The ancho chile powder is basically simulating the flavor of the dried Chipotle chiles you see pictured in their ingredient list. It’s the same thing – they are showing it without the adobo sauce. However, I have friends that work there and the marinade shows up in a bag and they can’t even say for sure what’s in it. I have tried making the chicken with just chipotles in adobo, without the ancho chile powder, and I don’t think it tastes quite right. However, I should probably try making it with the adobo and see how it tastes.

  100. This chicken is OUT OF THIS WORLD AMAZING!!!!!!! I actually used chicken breasts and baked for 30 minutes at 450. Heavenly!!!! Thank you!!!5 stars

    1. Thank you so much Tashina!!!! You made my day! Glad you liked it and I hope you make it again!

  101. Hi Meghan,

    I have been using this recipe for a while, absolutely love it. Did you change something? The site design/layout has changed, but I feel like the recipe itself changed recently as well. Did you cut the recipe in half? I swear I used an entire onion before, and a 1/4 cup of oil. Please let me know. Thanks!5 stars

    1. Hi James, I am SO SORRY for your confusion. Yes to everything. Based on tons of reader feedback, I cut the recipe in half and also just recommend the ancho chile powder now instead of dealing with the dried chiles (although all the information for the dried chiles remains in the recipe). People just felt like the post was too long and overwhelming and no one knew what to do. Too many options! So technically all the options are still there, in the recipe itself, but all that extra text is not in the post anymore. And the recipe is smaller. I will add a note to the recipe about this so no one else is confused (one other person who makes the recipe regularly contacted me asking what happened, too!!! I feel so bad! And I’m also flattered!). So. That’s that! 1/4 cup of oil and a whole onion, yes. Just double everything in the recipe if you want to make it the way you made it before, enough for 10 pounds of chicken. Thank you and sorry again, and please let me know if you have any other questions!

  102. Hi Meggan, where it says to use dried ancho chiles, in the first step to adding the marinade, it says to remove the stem and seeds with gloves. However, in the third step, it says to do the same thing by rinsing it out. What do I have to do?5 stars

    1. Hi Ashwin, I am so sorry for the confusion. I completely reworked this recipe and obviously messed up the recipe notes as you have seen. I removed the part in Step 3 because that is leftover from the slow-soak method for ancho chiles which I’m no longer listing on the blog. So, step one is right (removing the seeds and stem while the chiles are still dry, before you power-soak them). I’m so sorry again for the confusion and I corrected it, thank you so much!

  103. I love this recipe, but did you remove information on the quantity of dried chile ancho? I feel like there’s a lot less information than last time i did this recipe. Is it only 1oz since it’s only for 1 cup of marinade now?5 stars

    1. Hi Sébastien, I’m sorry for the confusion. I got a lot of feedback from readers that my post was too complicated and overwhelming, so yes, I moved a lot of the information to the recipe card. I also cut the recipe in half because people don’t want to make so much marinade. It’s 1 ounce of dried anchos instead of 2, yes, and it makes just 1 cup of marinade for 5 pounds of chicken. I will review this and make sure it’s clear!

  104. easyroasted, all I can say is the brick thing is not cool. And it’s not just because I’m uncoordinated… although I am. 🙂 This was a fun series to create, and even more so to EAT! I love Chipotle, and I really love being able to eat massive quantities in one sitting5 stars

  105. Yummmm!! This looks like such a simple marinade and I love chipotle peppers and adobo sauce. I look forward to trying this!5 stars

  106. I was wondering if I can cook this in a pressure cooker? Sorry if this has been asked already. Sounds really good.5 stars

    1. Hi Michelle! I’m sure you can. I have zero experience with pressure cookers, but if you know how to cook chicken thighs in one in general, this recipe should work just fine! Thanks for the question.

  107. i don’t typically follow food blogs and just stumbled upon this recipe randomly but I have now made it more than any other recipe EVER. It is absolutely fantastic and we make it at least weekly. It’s SO flavorful and the chicken thighs are so tender. Such a perfect way to eat healthy. This is the only recipe I follow exactly AS-IS. If you want it spicier, you can add some seeds but that is the only variable I’d think of tweaking now and then. This is actually better than Chipotle and one of my most invaluable recipes. Thanks!5 stars

    1. This is the nicest comment I have ever received! THANK YOU! You have made my day, maybe my life. I make this all the time too, and like you said, it’s one of the tastiest ways to eat healthy. Thank you so much for letting me know, and I’m glad you like it! Take care.

  108. My family loves Chipotle and we thought this chicken was spot on! Thank you so much! One question: I am going to make this next weekend for 60 people and need to make a less spicy version. I used the powder version you have listed, but didn’t read the detail enough to add water to make 2 cups. So, I used the 1 cup yield for 4 lbs of chicken thighs. Not that we thought it was spicy, but I’m wondering if using that 1 cup yield without adding the water for just 4 lbs of chicken gave it a more concentrated/strong flavor? I don’t have time to test the recipe again before making it next weekend and thought you might have an opinion. If the lesser yield wasn’t more concentrated, to get a milder version, would I just use less ancho chile powder? I’m going now to look at more of your recipes! 🙂5 stars

    1. Hi Rebecca! Thank you so much for the question and I’m glad you liked the recipe. 🙂 In my experience, the spiciness mostly comes from the adobo sauce, not the ancho chile powder. If you didn’t add the water, then the overall marinade would be more concentrated up to a point but there are a lot of variables there too. So what I would do, personally, is leave out a can of adobo sauce (use just 2 instead of 3, assuming you are tripling the recipe ) and definitely don’t add any chipotle peppers or their seeds. You can also use less chile powder just to be sure. If you have any other questions, just let me know! Thank you! 😀 And good luck with your amazing Chipotle feast!

    2. Meggan – I posted back in September but the event was canceled that weekend. I finally got to serve your recipes this past weekend. Everyone liked it – many compliments!! One even said they thought it was BETTER than Chipotle! 🙂 I passed on the name of your website so they could make it as well.5 stars

  109. Thanks so much for this recipe. Is it possible to soak the chiles for too long? I will soak them the night before but won’t be able to take them out til the next night and just want to make sure they aren’t gonna end up too “pruney”. Thanks!5 stars

    1. Hi Mike, I honestly cannot envision a scenario where you could soak the chiles too long. And since they are dried to begin with, they are already pruney. Plus it all just gets blasted in a food processor. You should be fine! Maybe I’ll soak some for a week and see what happens. 😀

  110. Meggan – THANK YOU SO MUCH for posting this recipe!!! Honestly, this could be one of the best-tasting recipes that I’ve ever made!!! You nailed it!! Using chicken thighs was, for me, the secret ingredient, along with the marinade. I’ve been making bowls for years, but I’ve never been able to get grilled chicken breasts to taste like this! OUTSTANDING!!! I’ll be trying your other recipes – Thanks for sharing!!!5 stars

    1. Hi Bob, I’m so excited by your excitement! I know though, chicken thighs make everything better. And yes, the marinade is awesome, the recipe is solid, it’s one of my go-to’s. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and your success. It makes my day so much better! Have a terrific weekend and take care!

  111. RICK — AUGUST 14, 2017 @ 4:55 PM REPLY
    I’ve made this several times and am certain there was red onion in the recipe (but there is no mention of it in the ingredients or directions anymore). Did I imagine this?

    MEGGAN — AUGUST 14, 2017 @ 5:04 PM
    Hi Rick! You did not imagine it. I literally removed it last week because I was looking at Chipotle’s ingredient list (to check my own recipe for accuracy) and they don’t have it listed anymore. Or maybe they never did, but that was my source in the past and it’s not there now. I do wonder if the marinade would be better off having it in. I am really sorry for the confusion and I feel bad. I should definitely add this to the recipe notes for any repeat visitors who might be wondering – where did the red onion go?! Sorry again, really. I feel bad. Thanks for the question and take care.

    I had the same question as Rick, I shared the link to the recipe with a friend this week and she was confused about how the recipe makes almost 2 cups of marinade. We finally figured out that her recipe was not the same as the one I had been using. I will continue to make the one with the red onion added, but you might want to update the instructions to change the amount that the recipe will yield, just a suggestion. I love all of the Chipotle copycat recipes, thanks for posting them!

    1. You know what, I’m going to add the red onion back in. I tried it without, and I just really prefer it with the red onion (not to mention the yield problems). I’m SO SORRY for all the confusion. It comes down to a philosophical question – should I add the red onion because it tastes better, or should I leave it out so it is a “truer” copycat? I’m adding it back in, and I’ll add a note that Chipotle doesn’t use red onion but it tastes better with it. My best judgment says it should be there. Thank you for the comment and sorry again for taking it out for a few weeks!

  112. I cooked my meat Thursday and we have enjoyed a bowl with the fixing for three days. A great recipe helps to complete our dish.5 stars

  113. I’ve made this several times and am certain there was red onion in the recipe (but there is no mention of it in the ingredients or directions anymore). Did I imagine this?5 stars

    1. Hi Rick! You did not imagine it. I literally removed it last week because I was looking at Chipotle’s ingredient list (to check my own recipe for accuracy) and they don’t have it listed anymore. Or maybe they never did, but that was my source in the past and it’s not there now. I do wonder if the marinade would be better off having it in. I am really sorry for the confusion and I feel bad. I should definitely add this to the recipe notes for any repeat visitors who might be wondering – where did the red onion go?! Sorry again, really. I feel bad. Thanks for the question and take care.

  114. CHIPOTLE CHICKEN RECIPE This is amzing, chipotle chicken recipe, I think I can eat this all day it looks so delicious mmmmmmm…… 🙂 thanks for this chicken delight.5 stars

  115. Thanks so much for this delish recipe!! It was a hit at the grad party!  I froze a few weeks in advance.  My only advice, JUlie, is be sure to give yourself plenty of thaw time so you aren’t rushing to thaw like I was.  We kept batches warm in the oven in metal brownie / baking pans. Put some into smaller electric serving / chafing dishes on the table.  Made rice in crockpots and also served in electric chafing dishes.  So yummy and def cheaper than ordering!5 stars

  116. Meggan, I am so excited to try this for my daughter’s grad party. Chipotle charges $12-14 a person. Yikes! Can this chicken be made ahead of time and reheated?5 stars

    1. Hi Julie, yes it can! I’ve made it, frozen it, and reheated it in a crockpot. Or, you can make it the day before and reheat it however you want. Thigh meat is super juicy no matter what, so you should be set! Good luck with the grad party! 🙂

  117. One more question (and thanks for your answer to my first one!)…
    Is the 20 servings off of 5 lbs of chicken (half the marinade) or 10 lbs of chicken (all the marinade).  I assume the latter, but on the recipe at the end it lists 5 lbs.

    Making a lot so I want to be sure I have the right amount of everything.  Thanks!!5 stars

    1. Hi Kathy! The 20 servings is based on 5 pounds of chicken. The prevailing wisdom on this is that 1 pound of chicken will serve 4 people (4 ounces of chicken per person). So 5 pounds x 4 people = 20 servings. At parties, though, people may pig out so you may want to assume 20 servings for 10 pounds of chicken, ha ha! Thanks for asking and I’ll update the recipe to clarify this information. Take care!

  118. Not sure if you are still answering questions here, but, if so, I have one for you. 🙂
    I am going to make this for my son’s grad party and want to cook ahead. I assume that I can cook a bunch of it and freeze it ahead of time and then warm it back up in a crock pot, stove top, or oven? Any thoughts about this?

    Thank you!5 stars

    1. Hi Kathy! I’m always taking questions. 🙂 I have literally done exactly what you described – made a batch ahead, froze it, and then reheated it in a crock pot. Well I assume you could heat it any way you wanted, but I tried in the crock pot and it was delicious. I did it specifically as a test for the recipe/this post and I didn’t realize I never added the information. Thanks so much for your question and please let me know if you need anything else! So excited that you are going to make the chicken for your son’s graduation. So smart! 🙂 And congrats to him!

  119. I’m always looking for a way to make chicken taste better I made the marinade It taste great. and have the chicken sitting in it can’t wait till tonight when I cook it. But I want to know the calories in this marinade? Anybody  have a idea?5 stars

    1. I plan to figure it out at some point soon. I do have the Barbacoa figured out, if you need it let me know (I realize it’s not the same as the steak). I haven’t posted it yet but I have it.

    1. Yes, you can. I have. You won’t get the crispy, caramelized bits that you would from a cast iron skillet or grill, but it will still be good. I will add instructions for this! 4 hours on HIGH or 8 hours on LOW. Thanks Meredith!

  120. Hello Meggan! Thank you for your thorough explanation. Good to know that there isn’t much difference in the marinating time.  Now that I am thinking again, I think I used chicken breast the second time I made this chicken. I will be making again this dish on Saturday and this time I will use the brown meat. Thank you! 5 stars

  121. Hello and thanks for posting this recipe. I have made it twice already! First time it turned out great and the second time it dried up. I also felt like the 2nd time maybe I have over marinated the chicken, i think i left it overnight. What is the ideal time for marinating this chicken?5 stars

    1. Hi Julie, marinating the chicken overnight will not dry it out. I used to actually recommend that, but then I realized that it didn’t make much difference whether you marinate it for 30 minutes or 30 hours. The marinade is obviously very flavorful but it can only impact the chicken so much. Did you change anything else in the recipe? Did you use a different type of chicken (white vs. dark meat) or cook it a different way? Was the chicken marinating in a completely sealed container (i.e., a ziplock plastic bag) or was it just in a bowl that might have been exposed to the air of the fridge? Just checking in case something clicks. 🙂 Sorry you had difficulties. I really don’t think it was from the added marinating time (and to answer your question, I really don’t know what is “ideal” but I’ve frozen the uncooked chicken in the marinade for 2 months and then cooked in a slow cooker and it was still good…).

  122. I am not having luck yet finding dried ancho chiles and I got to wondering…if the recipe calls for reconstituting, would it work to just buy fresh poblanos? Or is there something about the process of reconstituting the dried chiles that makes a difference?

    1. Hi Rachel, I think the flavor would be quite different if you used fresh poblanos. Not that you couldn’t, but I’m not sure what it would taste like. When the poblanos are dehydrated into anchos, it both changes and concentrates the flavor. They aren’t even really recognizable as poblanos to my taste. Have you been able to locate dried ancho chile powder by any chance? That might be your best bet, if you can’t find the dried chiles. Good luck and thank you for your question!

  123. I tried this, and sadly, did not have any success. It was not at all similar to Chipotle, and I didn’t like it. I see some god reviews, so I’m wondering what I could have done wrong. Did I get bad Ancho chilies or something? After soaking them (long method), they were leathery like fruit roll-ups. Is that normal? Just wondering if anybody had similar issues and had to make adjustments.

    1. Hi Kris! So sorry to hear that the recipe didn’t work for you. I doubt you had bad Ancho chiles. Yes, after you soak them overnight, they are leathery like fruit roll-ups. That is correct. I assume you put everything in a food processor after that, along with the leathery chiles? Did your marinade look like the photo? I don’t suppose you left out any ingredients by any chance? I am sure you didn’t, but for you to say the recipe was “not at all similar to Chipotle” makes me think something was missing. It is a labor-intensive recipe to be sure, but if you included everything and followed the method, your results would definitely be in the ballpark of Chipotle. Did you use dark meat or white meat, and which cooking method did you use? I’m so sorry for the issues you had. :-/

    2. Hi, Meggan. I’m pretty sure I added everything. I used one of those little “bullet” blender thingies. (Cheap $10 walmart thing.) The result was indeed a coarse paste, but the color was more of a sick looking orange, not the rich color like your photo. I used dark meat (white is always too dry), and I baked it. I may try a skillet next time. Grilling would be ideal, I think, but since I’ve downsized from a 4-bedroom house to an apartment, I can’t grill. Maybe I’ll try again and halve the recipe to make sure I get the right amounts. Mistakes are always a possibility. If you and others had success with this recipe, then I must be doing something wrong. It definitely had an odd taste. Maybe I should use fresh garlic instead of stale, minced.stuff in a jar. I love garlic, just seriously hate peeling it.) I felt that the marinade needed to be a lot sharper. …And of course, baking makes a mushy texture.

      Thank you so much for writing back. Take care, and have a wonderful holiday season!

    3. Hi Kris, a “sick looking orange” color is possibly the saddest thing I’ve heard all day. I’m wondering if it was just a horrible brand of chipotles in adobo, although I didn’t think there was such a thing. Maybe try using a different brand? I would definitely try to use fresh garlic if you can manage. The stuff in a jar is heat-treated so it always has an off taste. However, I cannot imagine that would even show up much considering all the other stuff in the marinade. I completely understand about hating to peel it. I have a garlic press in my shop that works without peeling garlic (you just put the cloves with the skin on right through it, works like a charm) but I’m certainly not suggesting you buy some gadget just for this one recipe! Here is a video of Martha Stewart showing how she peels garlic by putting two bowls together and shaking it. For some reason I haven’t tried this yet, but Martha can’t be wrong! Anyway, if you get a chance to try again, please keep me posted. You can also email me anytime at Good luck Kris!!

  124. I want to try this and some other Mexican recipes you offer, but the audible commercials are truly annoying, especially at 6:30 in the morning when I’m trying to not wake my husband. As a webmaster, I can tell you that anything audible that plays automatically is the number one reason people do not re-visit a website. Those who like to surf while on break at work (and those who are doing it on company time!) are not going to come back at all. Affiliate marketing for money is a great little income producer, but you’ll have a lot more visitors if you can the commercials. Just trying to be honestly helpful. Your recipes look fabulous and I would love to try many of them.

    1. Hey there! I agree with you 100%, I click off a site IMMEDIATELY if something auto-plays. I will notify my ad company immediately because that is not supposed to happen. I’m really sorry about that. I would never visit a site again and I certainly wouldn’t be nice enough to tell them. So, thanks for that. I cannot get rid of ads on my site (they fund the operation) but they should not be playing sound automatically. Sorry again. Take care.

  125. I’m not sure how to get a whole onion in there and only kick out 2 cups of marinade. Seems physically impossible….maybe I’m bad at picking out onions.

    1. Hi Jason, the onions I pick are usually the size of a softball or a little larger. I trim the ends and quarter it. If you have one the size of a cantaloupe, you might have an issue. 🙂

  126. How many burritos do think 5 lbs of chicken makes? Would it affect the taste if I stored extra cooked chicken in the freezer?

    1. Hi Bryson, I’ve made the chicken and stored it in the freezer and reheated it later in a crockpot, and it still tasted great. So you should be fine there. As far as how many burritos would 5 pounds of chicken make, I don’t know off-hand but I would guess at least 10 (of the 10-inch size). I mean, that would be roughly a half-pound of chicken per burrito if my math is correct… I suppose it depends on what else you are putting in there, you could obviously use less chicken and get more burritos. I hope this helps!

  127. Surprised there is no citrus in your marinade, such as lime juice. But, I guess cause there is vinegar in the canned chipotles. Love the details you provided for your recipe.5 stars

    1. Now that you mention it, that IS a little strange (no citrus). Ha. Yes, I am so grateful for all the questions and insights readers have shared over the years so I could build this recipe up with all those details. It didn’t start out that way! Thanks so much for your kind words. 🙂 Have a great week Jack!

  128. Hi Megan,!  We LOVE Chipotle at our house and couldn’t be happier with the out come of the pork and chicken!  Wonderful!!  I did goofed on the chicken and used more of the liquid so mine did not come out as a dry rub but rather a thick marinade but the results were still fantastic.  Thanks for sharing!!5 stars

    1. Hi Colleen! That is SO GREAT to hear! The marinade should be wet and thick, not a dry rub, so you probably did it right. 🙂 I’m so glad you enjoyed the recipes! Have a great weekend. 🙂

    1. Hi Armando, it’s a 2-ounce package but because the size of chiles varies, the number would vary. I would say it’s 2 large chiles, or 3-4 small chiles, or a combination such as 1 large and 2 small. But I only find them in the 2-ounce package so that’s what I get. I hope this helps!

    1. Ho Bonni, it absolutely can although at this point I cannot claim it is a “copycat.” I haven’t tested it or reviewed their ingredients. It’s on my list to do, though! But in the meantime, you can certainly try it out. It’d probably be super delicious, copycat or not. Thanks! Take care!

  129. hola patry, por favor me dices de qué marca es el lápiz color crema?

    es difícil encontrarlo! mil besos

  130. Could this same marinade be used to make a copycat chipotle steak? If so, what kind of steak should I use?


    1. Hi Anakin, you could certainly try it on steak. I don’t know if it would be the exact same as Chipotle’s, but I think it would be delicious. They use round steak for the “steak” and chuck for the “barbacoa.” I hope to test this out at some point and post my findings so we’ll all know for sure! Take care.

  131. I made the Chipotle chicken for my son’s high school graduation. People thought I had it catered. I followed your recipe exactly and used the quick soak method. Thank you for the recipe.5 stars

    1. Hi CariAnn, YAY! That’s awesome! Yes, I always use the quick-soak method now myself. I’m so glad people loved it, and you saved a bundle of money. Thanks for sharing! Take care! And congrats to your son. 🙂

  132. …Speaking of charcoal, what do you think of using mesquite?  I started to buy some today, but I don’t want to mess with something that’s already working out so well.  If it ain’t broke, why fix it?

    1. You know, I haven’t dabbled in the whole flavored grilling/smoking situation. My brother has a smoker and knows a lot about that stuff, but I’m just a dreamer at this point. I think if you have the time and the interest, why not give it a shot? You clearly cook for the love of it and there just aren’t enough people like that around!

  133. Hello, Meggan!  Thank you for this!  Since the restaurant chain has received such negative press lately, we decided it would be better to just do it ourselves.  I have augmented your recipe, followed to the precise letter, with the addition of a jar of Herdez’ Chipotle cooking sauce.  Perhaps redundant, perhaps overkill, but it works for us.  Also, since my wife’s tastes skew spicier than most, I add dried chipotle pepper flakes to the marinade.  But hats of to you, Meggan — the basic recipe alone is better than Chipotle’s in the first place.  I think the Herdez sauce adds an extra layer to the meat such that I can also marinate and place breasts on the grill without loss of moisture.  Also, I use indirect charcoal heat to grill them and then direct heat to achieve the all-important char.  No, I’m not a shill for Herdez; I’m a recently retired federal employee with time on my hands and who cooks for my still-employed wife who used to eat Chipotle chicken bowls once a week.  Thanks to your recipe, she can now have it whenever she wants, and it’s sure to be a hit at our next dinner party.   My gratitude to you is only exceeded by my gratitude.5 stars

    1. Hi, Darryl! I’m so overwhelmed by your thoughtful, lovely comment. I am definitely going to seek out the Herdez Chipotle cooking sauce. I have to say, I’m trying to train my taste buds to “skew spicier” anyway. I’ve started adding dried chili flakes to everything! Not sure if that will do the trick. 🙂 I do think the breasts run the risk of drying out if grilled, so I can’t wait to try your adaptation. Thank you again for your comment, your tips & tricks, your support, and your gratitude! Also congrats on your retirement. 🙂 Your wife is one lucky lady!

  134. Hello Meggan, thank you so much for the post! I’m a pretty novice cook and have no idea what I’m doing, but I’m good at following instructions and as I’m typing this comment I’m preparing your recipe and cooking something legit for the first time EVER!

    I have two questions though:
    1. Did you see the ingredients items listed on the Chipotle website for every items they serve on their menu? I’m asking this because you use Ancho Chiles and Adobo Sauce while Chipotle listed only Chipotle Chile on their ingredient list for the chicken. 

    2. I was looking through the rest of your recipes but never found the Vegan Pinto Beans and Brown Rice recipes :(, is there a future release where you will post those two recipes? Or maybe guide me in the right direction to prepare those two items? I would appreciate any feedback.

    Thank you again and have a good one.5 stars

    1. Hello Moustafa! I’m so excited for you! I firmly believe that when it comes to cooking, practice makes perfect. You’re well on your way. 🙂

      1. Hmmmm, that is interesting about the ingredients list. I have for sure looked at it, but not recently. Chipotle chiles are typically canned in adobo sauce, so they would get that flavor there. But, maybe they now just use the chipotles (which are dried jalapenos) instead of the anchos (which are dried poblanos). I may have to experiment with my recipe. I do think the flavor really comes through the way I have it now, and hope you agree. But, it would be a lot easier if I could eliminate those dried chiles entirely! I’ll have to work on that. Thank you so much for that insight!

      2. I don’t have the vegan Pinto beans but I hope to add them. I don’t know when, but I will try to move it up in my schedule.

      Thanks so much for you comment and I hope you love what you cook! 🙂 Take care.

  135. AH.MA.ZZZZING!!! I did a Chipotle Bar for a b-day party, and even though I was a little skeptical of getting awesomeness from baked chicken breasts, I decided to try it. I followed the recipe closely with the quick soak method and removed all the seeds, and marinaded 10 lbs in 3/4 of the marinade for about 18 hrs. The only difference was I removed the parchment paper at the end and broiled for a few minutes. It TASTED GREAT when I cut it, and I transferred it and some liquid to a slow cooker to keep warm for the party. Several hours later my exhausted husband and I sat down to a late post-toddler-party-madness dinner. I expected cold and dry chewy chicken. What I got instead was mindblowingly tender chunks of perfection. My goodness. How is that possible? I love you. Thank you.5 stars

    1. CHRISTINE!!!! I love you too. I love that you made my recipe (took a gamble on a stranger’s blog) and had great results, especially with the chicken breast. I think the broiling was genius – it would add that caramelization normally reserved for grilling. Great idea!!! I’m so glad this worked out for you. Makes me want to cry or sing or something. Take care and thank you so much for your comment which has made my day/week/life.

  136. M..Meggan what other kind of animals can I use for this recipe. I tried lamb and it was delicious. I was wondering  if I could use ghost peppers instead of ancho chilies?5 stars

    1. Hi Ross! You tried lamb? And it was good? That’s news to me! I’ve been meaning to try it on beef but haven’t yet. Ghost peppers? Aren’t those INSANELY hot? LOL! Sure – use them if you want to! You’re quite the adventurous eater!

  137. I just made this for the second time inside as I don’t have a grill (small apartment). I used a cast iron pan and boneless skinless breast. If you marinade it for at least 30mins and cook it to the correct temperature, it is very tender. I did not personally care for the results in the oven (it wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t very chipotle-like to me). I added a tiny bit of liquid smoke, just a few drops, to the marinade. It just gave it the tiniest hint of a grilled taste.

    Basically, I cooked it and it didn’t even make it to being used in a recipe. I ate it all 🙁 If you like chipotle, this is as good as it gets at home. Honestly, I think I like the home version a bit better. I will try this again when I pick up some thighs from the grocery store.5 stars

    1. Hi Alice!!! This is a lovely comment despite the sad face. 😀 You are right, baking chicken breast in the oven is not quite the same as Chipotle’s. But, I’m glad you found a way to make it indoors that you enjoy! Adding the liquid smoke sounds really good, I’m definitely going to try that! Thanks again for sharing your experience. I seriously appreciate it! Take care.

  138. HeyHey Meggan! Can I use Olive Oil instead of Canola oil? (I never use canola and don’t have any, if I buy some I’m unlikely to ever use it again!) Sorry if this is a stupid question, I’m a pretty novice cook!5 stars

    1. Robyn, YES! Not a stupid question. I use olive oil and canola oil interchangeably for the most part, except perhaps in baking if the olive oil is too fruity. In this instance, you would never notice the taste anyway… and I am going to re-write the recipe to include olive oil!!! I’ve made it that way myself. 😀 Thanks!!!

  139. Hi Meggan! I’m excited to try this recipe–it looks amazing! I know you mentioned freezing the marinade, but have you also tried freezing the chicken after it’s cooked? 5 pounds is a lot for just me and my fiancé so I’m trying to figure out if I should make less or freeze some of it for later.5 stars

    1. Hi Becky, YES! I have definitely frozen the cooked chicken for later and even dumped it in a slow cooker to warm it up. It tasted great. I completely understand the whole not wanting to make a million pounds of chicken at a time, no matter how good it is. 🙂 But you should be fine freezing it after! Worked for me! xoxo

  140. Hi Meggan,

    We made this for Thanksgiving and it was delicious! We made beans – the bacon (better than Chipotle), salsa, rice, and chicken.  My three-year-old would eat Chipotle 9 days per week if you allowed him and he loved it. This is certainly a more cost-effective option.  Thank you for taking the time to formulate the recipe and sharing.5 stars

  141. Hi Meggan!

    This recipe looks great, but I only have a mini food processor and it definitely can’t hold two cups. Would it be possible to make the marinade using a Vitamix blender?

    1. Hi Ellen, YES, definitely! I will update the recipe to reflect this. Thank you so much for your question and for making this recipe even better. 🙂

  142. Hi Megan, 
    I’ve read all the comments and your responses.  But, I just want to clarify it before I start making it. 
    1/4 c ancho chili pepper powder
    drain 1 can chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
    1/4 c oil
    1 red onion
    cumin, oregano, black pepper
    Then you add water to bring it to a total of 2 cups
    Is this right?

    1. Hi Fay, yes. You do drain the chipotle peppers but reserve the adobo sauce (you probably know this but I just want to make sure). Blend with ancho chile pepper powder, onion, spices, and oil. Pour into a measuring cup and add water until you are at 2 cups. Yes. Good job! I know this recipe is kind of overwhelming.

  143. Meggan – Thank you for taking the time to work this out and post it. I ran a test last night and it was FABULOUS! I will now make 10 lbs for my husbands BD party. I used the Chili Powder (easy), chicken thighs, and cast iron skillet. Perfection!5 stars

    1. Jeri this makes me so happy!!!! Thank you for sharing. Happy BD to your very lucky husband. 🙂

    1. Hi Terry! If anyone has tried, they haven’t commented. But, I think it would work really well. Why not?! It works great on a cast-iron indoor grill pan which is kind of similar, right? Should be glorious. 🙂 Good luck!

    1. Hi Rachel, I haven’t cooked it in a slow cooker. However, I don’t think the marinade would be overpowering. I have cooked this in a cast iron skillet many times and I think it’s probably pretty much the same – nowhere for the marinade to go, it just stays in the pan (vs. cooking it on a grill where some marinade might fall off). I have reheated this chicken in a slow cooker (it was already cooked) which is not exactly the same as what you are describing, but it was delicious! I definitely need to try making this chicken in a slow cooker. I am always re-testing some aspect of this recipe. 🙂 Good luck!

  144. Hello,
    Thank you for this recipe. Everybody seems so happy with it.
    Just a question: Instead of putting the marinade in a freezer can it be kept in a refrigerator? and how long?
    Thank you.

    1. Hi Gabriel, you can certainly refrigerate the marinade. I am not sure how long though, at least 1 week. I’m not a food scientist though so I don’t know for sure! I know I’ve kept it refrigerated for over a week and didn’t suffer from any flavor loss or apparent spoilage. I’m glad the recipe was a success!

  145. Sorry, forgot to mention in my previous post the Chipotle peppers (in the adobo sauce) can be blended with tomatoes, onion, cilantro, lemon juice, and other pepper types (anaheim, jalapeno, etc.) to make a killer salsa for chips.

  146. A little note about me.  I’ve been eating Chipotle every meal for months now to lose weight (didn’t trust myself to go into a grocery store).  After losing 60 lbs and feeling like cooking on my own again I came across your recipe. All I can say is a big, heartfelt “Thank You!” this recipe ROCKS!  I made it this weekend and loved every bite; the only change I made was to eliminate the salt as I’ve never been much of a salt eater by choice.  I was so thrilled with it I shared it with all of my Twitter followers and will send it out to my department at work in a “Weekly Wellness” blast I do.  Keep up the good work!
    Jennifer 5 stars

  147. Hi Meggan, I have a question, do I have to soak the ancho powder in water as well, or pour in the blender with the rest of the ingredients?

    1. Hi Tim, you do not soak the ancho powder. Just blend it up with everything. You end up adding more water to your marinade to equal 2 cups, but there is no need to soak the powder. I am sorry this wasn’t clear. I’ll try to fix the wording. Thanks so much for taking a look at this post and please let me know if you have any other questions.

  148. Meggan – Thank you for this fabulous recipe!  I made (Method 2) yesterday.  Such a wonderful smokey flavor.  Both my husband and I loved it.  We started thinking we would make taco salads with the chipotle chicken but quickly changed to chipotle chicken nachos.  Yum!  ANd I froze the remainder of the 5 lbs of chicken thighs.  Good suggestion on the thighs.  Much tastier than breast.  5 stars

    1. Lisa, I totally laughed out loud at your comments about chipotle chicken nachos. This is what my husband ALWAYS does. I can never get him to make a salad or even a burrito bowl! Has to be nachos. 🙂 I am so glad you both enjoyed the recipe. This makes my day. Happy weekend to you! 🙂

  149. Is the 2 tablespoons of salt not too much? I increased the recipie by half, and the salt was the only thing I left at 2 “shy” tablespoons. Really weary about adding a third… Thoughts?

    1. Hi Kalli, I personally do not think 2 Tablespoons of salt is too much, and if I were increasing the recipe by 50% I wouldn’t blink an eye adding a third Tablespoon. 3 Tablespoons of salt seems like a fine amount (to me) when you consider that marinade is going to season 15 POUNDS of chicken. I know I had another reader who also though 2 T. of salt seemed like a lot, and that person said the marinade itself tasted too salty, but the finished chicken was perfect. And of course we are all only eating the finished chicken, no one is eating the marinade!

      That being said, you can ALWAYS add more salt to the finished dish if you find it lacking. If you are weary of the salt, just cut back and add more later if you need it. Good luck, I truly hope you love it!

  150. This recipe is awesome!! I made 15 lbs of chicken along with the rice for my daughter’s graduation party and it was a HUGE hit, with all of my friends begging for the recipe and my kids asking me to make it again! So much more economical than ordering Chipotle catering!! I used the quick method for the chilies, grilled the chicken thighs then put it in a big electric roasting pan on low for serving, and it stayed nicely moist., although I was pretty generous with the marinade up front, so had some extra and just mixed it in the pan. So glad I just spotted the guac recipe as well. Thanks for your easy to follow and nicely detailed instructions.5 stars

    1. I love this!!! If you have time to answer this question, did you just use the one marinade recipe (I have previously identified it for 10 lbs. of chicken) or did you double it? Just wondering if the marinade works for up to 15 lbs. of chicken. 🙂 I honestly could see how that would happen because that stuff is so potent. Such a wonderful story. 🙂 Thank you so much for sharing! Glad it was a success!!

  151. You are a rock star. This is so informative. Thank you for reminding me that I want to get a grill press. This recipe sounds so good I can’t wait to try it. But you will never convince me to toss those chipotle peppers 😉 Also I had no idea about wheat in canned chipotles! That stuff pops up in the weirdest places.5 stars

  152. Hi,

    This looks like an awesome recipe. I will be using chicken breasts. Do you think it would dry out the chicken if I cut it into small pieces then baked it?

    1. Hi Amber, if you follow the parchment paper method I would think that would still trap the moisture and keep the chicken breast from drying out. The trick is to not overcook the chicken breasts. I can’t tell you exactly how long to cook it for if it’s cut up because I haven’t tried it that way, but there is definitely a point where it will be done but not dry. You just have to check the temperature often, I think, to find it! Good luck. 🙂

  153. Thank you so much for your help! It turned out very delicious and just melt in your mouth tender! Perfect ?5 stars

    1. That is so great to hear!!!! I am definitely going to try making it a slow cooker myself so I can add a section on that to the recipe. Thank you so much for letting me know. 🙂

  154. Hey. So if Im using a total of 5lbs of a mixture of chicken thighs and breasts in the crock pot, how long would you cook it for? And would it be best on low or high do you think?

    1. Hi Bee! I’m a big fan of: 3-4 hours on HIGH or 7-8 hours on LOW. This seems to be a the standard crock pot time for most things, including chicken. If you are around, you could always check it earlier and see if it’s done sooner. I think the results (taste-wise) would be the same no matter if you did high or low. 

  155. Hey! So I want to use a blend of chicken thighs and breasts for pulled chicken tacos. But I’d like to do it in the crockpot? I know it won’t have the same texture but hoping it will still have the great flavor.  Thoughts?

    1. Hi there Bee! The marinade is outstanding and I think it would be fantastic in a crock pot and used for tacos. I will add this to my list of things to try out, too. I am currently testing out the freeze-ahead options! I plan to reheat it in a crock pot (although it has already been grilled so it won’t be the same). But I think it would work just fine. Delicious, even!

  156. Because I’m thinking more of a pulled chicken for tacos. I know it won’t have the same texture. But hoping it would still give it a great flavor?

  157. Hey! I want to use a blend of chicken breasts and thighs, and I was hoping to do it all in the crock pot….what do ya think?

    1. And yes, using a blend of chicken breast and thighs should work just fine. Again, another option I’ll add to my list to test out. 🙂

  158. I am considering trying this for  a group of 25.  Can I make the ckn ahead of time and freeze it?  If so, what is the correct way to heat it without it getting dry.  Looking forward to trying this recipe.  

    1. Hi Carolyn, I have never made the chicken ahead cooked and then reheated it. I have, however, frozen the chicken while it’s in the marinade and then cooked it after that. It was perfect! I think freezing & reheating it once cooked would probably work fine although like I said I haven’t tested it. If I were doing it, I’d probably reheat it in the oven at 350 degrees or so, maybe for 30 to 40 minutes, covered in foil. This is just off the top of my head. I will try this out and report back (I will also try reheating in a slow cooker) although likely not in time for you to know for your gathering. I do hope you like it. Also, with regard to avoiding dryness, first be sure to start with the dark meat. That’s your best insurance against dry chicken! Then, using the foil on the pan in the oven should help prevent it from drying out too. Thanks for your question and good luck. I will definitely reply again (and update the recipe) once I’ve tried this out. Thank you so much!

  159. I am having a taco bar at my son’s graduation party and this recipe sounds great!  If I make the chicken in advance, do you think it could be re-heated and kept warm for several hours without drying out?  Thanks for sharing!  I just discovered your blog and can’t wait to check it out.

    1. Hi Betsy – YES. I would definitely use dark meat (chicken thighs) and you shouldn’t have any issues. Are you thinking crock pot? People are going to love it! Great idea!

  160. Hi Meggan, 

    Thank you so much for the detailed info, this helped me so much! I thought I’d pass along that the first time I made this I used the adobo sauce from a can and it turned out fine but for my second run I used a bottled sauce (no need to dirty a strainer or waste peppers – yay!) and I found the flavor to be spot on! The kind I used was the Badia Chipotle Mild Sauce (beware, there’s nothing mild about it – it has quite a kick), I found it right in my grocery store’s ethnic aisle. 5 stars

    1. Amy!!! You rock my world. I have been wondering all this time, is ever possible to buy JUST adobo sauce? For some reason I thought this was not possible. I would much rather buy just bottled adobo sauce… I use it all the time! It goes in the Chipotle Copycat salad recipe I’m posting soon, but just 1 Tablespoon, and today I found myself opening a can of chipotle peppers just to get that 1 tablespoon. I put the rest in the freezer until I make the marinade again, but having a bottle of adobo sauce is obviously the answer. Thank you so much for this tip and for the brand name. I will track this down and try it out and add the info to my post (with credit to you, Amy, of course!)! GENIUS!!!

  161. Hello Meggan.

    I’m hosting a picnic this weekend and cooking for 35 adults, I’m planning on cooking 8 pounds of chicken, I have several questions for you, If I add chipotle peppers in adobo sauce with seeds will my chicken be super spicy? we enjoy spicy food, Can I marinate chicken for more than a day? finally I’m planning on cooking boneless chicken breasts for this can I sear in the grill pan and cook in oven? Should I line the pan with parchment paper or oil bottom of  the pan and only cover the top of the pan? Thanks so much!!!

    1. I have never added the seeds to my marinade, but yes it would definitely make it spicier. I am not sure HOW spicy, though. It’s hard to quantify spiciness. If you have ever cooked with chipotle peppers, you might have a better handle on what you enjoy. You can marinate the chicken for more than a day, yes. I have marinaded it for 2 days myself. As for your cooking method, I haven’t tried it but I am sure it would work just fine. I would oil the bottom of the pan (it might not even be necessary because there is oil in the marinade, so I don’t think the chicken would stick). The parchment paper just goes over the top of the chicken, not on both the top and the bottom. Did I forget anything? I hope not!!! Thank you and good luck!

  162. I’m really excited to try this! I just ordered my ancho chiles from amazon!

    Do you soak them in the fridge? Or do you just leave the bowl on the counter overnight?

    1. Hi Jason, I’m so excited FOR you! 🙂 I do not soak them overnight in the fridge, I just leave them on the counter at room temperature. I have never had any issues. Good luck!

  163. Hi Meggan,
    Thanks for the recipe! It looks perfect for me! I am going to try to make different freezer meals to start bringing to work. Sooo tired of sandwiches!!! Lol. I can get a bunch of lunches out of this recipe 🙂
    Leigh5 stars

    1. Hi Leigh, yeah you can! That’s a whole lot of burrito bowls, or tacos, or quesadillas, or sandwiches, or whatever you want to do! Even with juice rice and veggies it’s spectacular, flavoring the whole thing. It’s incredibly popular around my house. 🙂

  164. You said “2 T. of salt”, did you mean tablespoons or teaspoons? I did two tablespoons, and the marinade was super salty. However, once I marinated the chicken and grilled it, the chicken tasted fantastic. 5 stars

    1. Hi Jonathan, I did mean 2 Tablespoons. And I would say the same thing as you – the marinade tastes super salty, but the final chicken does not. It sounds like a lot of salt, but when you remember that 2 tablespoons is supposed to season 10 pounds of chicken total, it sounds slightly less crazy… I think. Glad you liked it!!

  165. Yes! Excellent! Really delicious! Thank you so much for this!

    I only had a couple of ancho chilies on hand, so I substituted mulatto chilies to weight. I’m not sure how this compares to anchos only, but the flavour I came out with is great. I’ve also seared my first batch in a cast iron pan with a lodge grill press to very fine effect, but it was super messy so I’ll be grilling the rest outside. Mmm, love that Maillard browning!

    FYI: I couldn’t wait two days to taste this chicken, so I used a technique I picked up from another recipe to soften those chilies up in a fraction of the time: I stemmed and seeded and then toasted them all in a dry pan, stirring frequently until fragrant but not smoking, about five minutes, and then microwaved them in a quart of water and two additional tablespoons of adobo sauce for about 6 minutes to soften them. I then used about a quarter cup of that water to rinse the sauce from the chipotle chilis into the food processor to maximize flavour. Feel free to give this procedure a try and report back—it shaved 12 hours off the wait!5 stars

    1. Ryan, thank you so much for your amazing comment! You are adding value here left and right. 🙂 So first, I’ve never had a mulatto chile but I will definitely see if I can find them! If only for “research” purposes and also because I’m curious. And thank you a million times over for your super-soak technique. I am definitely going to be testing that out so I can add it to my post. That is perhaps the last stone unturned for me, beating the soaking time on those chiles. That’s awesome! Thank you so much! I can’t wait to try it out. I will comment again and let you know when that happens!

  166. These recipes are fantastic!!! We just made this amazing chipotle chicken, cilantro lime rice, slow cooker black beans, peppers and onions, and guacamole. It was so very close to chipotle, almost better!! (Because we have leftovers for tonight!!). Thank you for sharing these recipes with us. We love chipotle and are so thrilled to be able to recreate our favorite foods at home.5 stars

    1. Thank you so much Rachele! I really appreciate your support and I’m so glad the recipes are a hit in your household.

  167. Would the chicken retain the same flavor if I cooked the marinated chicken in the Crock Pot or would I have to grill them? I’m a cooking novice but I’d like to make Chipotle burritos for my boyfriend’s birthday. 🙂

  168. I am a weightlifter and a Chipotle ADDICT. Thank you so, so much for this recipe. It is delicious and very easy to follow for a not-so-great cook like myself lol5 stars

  169. This is so good! My whole family loved it – even the picky 13 year old! It tastes so much like the real thing. I’m going to try dicing the chicken prior to marinating next time and see how that goes. I used the ancho chili powder and it worked just fine. It takes some time and can be messy – but totally worth it! The cilantro lime rice recipe is also amazing. Thanks for sharing this – now I need a good recipe for their hot salsa! 🙂5 stars

    1. 1 cup of the marinade? That is incredibly strange if you started with 2 ounces of dried ancho chile peppers, a 7-ounce can of chipotle peppers in adobo, and 1/2 cup oil. The only other variable would be the red onion. I will weigh the red onion the next time I make this so I can advise the size. Each of the main components should account for roughly 25% (1/2 cup) of the total marinade: the soaked ancho chiles, the adobo sauce, the oil, and the red onion.

    2. Wow you’re quick on replies! I followed it to a T. I did use 1/4 cup Ancho pepper powder instead of the 2 oz. It made about 1-1/4 cup total.5 stars

    3. Okay. Clearly I need to go back to the drawing board on my Ancho Pepper powder conversion, I am so sorry. It clearly needs to be tested again. I do sincerely apologize. Thank you for telling me about this.

    4. LOL Don’t feel bad at all. This is great conversation and it turned out excellent considering I thought it would be almost double potent! You don’t have to apologize at all. Hey, this is free stuff here! I wonder how many fluid ounces you have from the soaking the Ancho peppers?

    5. Wow you are so nice! And yes, I too think the water from soaking the peppers has to be the other variable. In terms of spiciness it should be the same because I ground down the chiles to determine how much powder you would need. But I failed to account for the water that the peppers would absorb. But you were short by about 12 ounces. That seems like a lot. I should also provide the weight of the onion. Thanks again for being so understanding.

    6. It took me 2 months, but I finally perfected the Ancho Chile Powder method! I’ve actually added a lot more information to this post including instructions for baking (great for boneless, skinless chicken breasts) and more ideas on adobo sauce. But I digress. Basically, if you’re using the powder, pour your marinade into a measuring cup and just add water until you get to 2 cups of marinade. That’s what we were missing, the water from soaking the chiles. The consistency of the marinade is quite different (it seems runny when you add water), but it works just as well and tastes just as great. That is what I was thinking in my head, but I wanted to test it out and make sure. There are some brands of chipotles in adobo that have more sauce in the can (I discuss this in the post above) so if you chose one of those, you wouldn’t have to add quite as much water. But anyway. Thanks again for pointing out this deficiency so I could correct it!

    1. It varies depending on the size of the peppers, but typically it’s either 2 large or 1 large and 2 small. That’s what I’ve seen in my experience. And “large” would be about 3″ to 4″ long, small would be about 2″ long. I hope this helps!

    1. Hi Tom, sorry for the confusion. For the Ancho chile peppers, you rinse out and discard the seeds and also remove the stem after they have been soaked. For the chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, you only use the sauce, so you can discard the chipotle peppers. I hope this helps. Thanks!

    1. I am using regular oregano because that is what I have. Mexican oregano is probably delicious too, possibly more authentic even, but I haven’t made it that way so I don’t know how different it would taste. I also used cumin powder, not seeds, so I’m sorry that wasn’t clear. I will update the recipe to reflect “ground cumin” so there is no further confusion. Sorry about that! Thanks for your comment!

    1. Hi Artie, I’m so sorry about that! I’ve added information to the notes of the recipe about soaking the chiles. Here is the info: To soak the 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.

  170. Recipe was spot on for chicken and white rice..even better than restaurant!! Wow. I did make a quick version of beans and corn salsa for my first time so it would save me time and I could focus on the chicken and rice. I grilled the chicken which really helps to keep authentic flavor. (BBQ on med heat, about 350 deg, flip after 10 min, cook 10 more min, should be done or close. Test with thermometer. 165 degrees in fattest part is safe. Pull it off grill and cover with foil for 7 min or so and dice it up. If it wasn’t 165 degrees, move away from direct flame but maintain bbq heat level for 5 more min, but you shouldn’t need to.) Family LOVES Chipotle and agreed it was awesome. Thank you!!5 stars

  171. This is by far, the best copycat recipe for the Chipotle Chicken dish! All of the spices presented matched perfectly! The only challenge that I had was cooking the chicken in a pan on an electric stove. Cooking it that way (I believe) gave it a gummy consistency. I had to almost burn the chicken for it to become more firmer. The chicken thighs that were used may not have been the best selection choosen. Perhaps grilling it or cooking on a gas stove would have produced better results for me. It’s winter here so I thought I’d try it indoors instead! Really miss my gas stove though. Gas stoves cook so much better. Thank you so much for sharing such an awesome recipe! Splendid! 5 stars

  172. Loved this chicken. Huge Chipotle fan, and my whole kitchen smells just like the restaurant after cooking this! I would have loved to have grilled the chicken, but my trusty cast-iron pan did just fine. I’m not a big marinade fan, choosing instead to season and perfectly cook meat to make it taste delicious, but this marinade was spot on and worth every minute of the overnight wait. Excellent!5 stars

    1. Wow, this is high praise! Thank you for taking the time to make the recipe and report back. A happy review doesn’t hurt. 🙂 I am really glad you liked it. I spent a lot of time making this recipe over and over again myself. I too wish I could grill the chicken, but I always use a cast iron pan. Thanks again for your comment.

    1. I used Mediterranean oregano. It’s an excellent point to make though, maybe Mexican oregano would be a better ingredient here.

  173. I made all of this for my bunco gathering and all the gals went crazy! They said it was BETTER than Chipolte. I went on youtube and found a recipe for their medium salsa and used Chipolte Fan’s corn recipe……….it was AWESOME all together. Thanks!5 stars

    1. Love Bunco! 🙂 I am so glad the recipe was a success for you. I am definitely going to look up/work on the salsa recipes too because they are so.good. Thank you for leaving a comment!

    1. Hi Sonia, you are correct. Going forward I will always write out “cup” instead of abbreviating. Sorry for the confusion!

  174. Meggan, were you able to figure out how much dried Ancho chili powder would be needed in place of the actual chiles?5 stars

    1. Lindsay, yes! Yes I was, sorry for not replying until you reminded me. It’s 1/4 c. of ancho chile powder. Thank you for checking back and sorry for the delay. I’m going to update the recipe now as a standard way to make it going forward. Thanks again!

  175. ALSO….those who are gluten free like me, BE CAREFUL with Adobo sauce…the ones I was looking at had the dreaded wheat in it. SO I actually just got some adobo seasoning instead.

    1. Hi Katie, I did some investigating and found a few brands of chipotle peppers in adobo without wheat. One is La Morena, the other is La Costena. Both are imported from Mexico and I found them at my local Walmart. I took pictures of the cans, so if for any reason you’d like to see them, just let me know and I can email them to you. Good luck!

    2. Hello! If I buy the canned chipotle peppers to use the adobo sauce, do I have to substitute about 3 tablespoons of paste + 1 tablespoon water as well? Or just use the sauce in the can without adding anything!

    3. Hi Miranda, you can just use the sauce from the can directly! The substitution is if you were to purchase a jar of adobo paste. I hope you enjoy this! – Meggan

  176. I made this yesterday – SO GOOD! Thanks for the recipe! Just wondering if you put any of the marinade on the chicken afterwards and it seemed a bit…dry? that’s not the write word, but just not as seasonful as chipotle. Thanks again for the great recipe!5 stars

    1. Hi Katie, I can imagine a lot of scenarios where the chicken might be dry. It hasn’t happened to me, but here are my suggestions. First, make sure you’re using dark meat, because chicken breast will obviously be drier. Also, as you cook the chicken in batches, if your skillet or grill pan seems dry, be sure to add more oil. Also, I appreciate the tip on adobo sauce. I think since you switched to the Adobo seasoning, that probably made your chicken much drier. I wonder if more liquid should be added to the marinade if you aren’t using adobo sauce? I also want to research adobo sauce and look at brands so I can (hopefully) suggest one that doesn’t have gluten. What a bummer! Thanks for your comments, and I hope your next batch is not so dry. I do think swapping the adobo sauce for seasoning was probably the biggest factor, if you followed the rest of the recipe. Thanks for your feedback!

    2. Hello! What would be the instructions if I’m using an air fryer to cook my Boneless Sknls Chicken Thighs?

    3. Hi Gia, I usually cook my chicken at 390 degrees for 10 minutes, then add more time as needed, checking until the chicken reads 165 degrees. I’m going to add this to my test list though so I can give you a more accurate time. Thanks for the question! – Meggan

  177. I’m really excited to try out this recipe. Where can I find the chipotle peppers and ancho chiles? Also, since I don’t have a grill, would baking the chicken be an option? TIA!

    1. Hi Ann, thanks for stopping by! Chipotle peppers are at most grocery stores, Walmart, and Target. They will be in the Mexican food aisle near things like green chiles and salsa. Just look for a small can, “chipotle peppers in adobo.” Ancho chiles are not as widely available, but Walmart and grocery stores do have them. They are large, dried chiles (maybe 6″ long or so) usually sold in clear plastic bags. International food markets also often carry them. McCormick also sells a bottle of Ancho Chile Pepper in their “gourmet” line of spices, so you could look for that. I will figure out how much of that spice you will need, if you go that route, and post another reply today letting you know. Just in case. Also some international food markets might sell “bulk” spices, and if so, you could find ancho chile powder there which would also work.

      Last, no problem about the grill! I usually use a cast iron pan now on my stove top. Baking the chicken would certainly work, but you would probably not got as many “caramelized” pieces as you would from a skillet. It will still be delicious and flavorful, I’m sure. If you don’t want to run your oven, you could also cook the chicken in a regular skillet (nonstick or otherwise) on your stovetop. Good luck!

  178. Hi, I would like to make this, however, does it come out very “hot/spicy”? My reason for asking is that I don’t believe the Chipotle Restaurant version is spicy at all. I mean I don’t ever remember it being spicy any time I’ve ordered it at one of their restaurants.

    1. Hi James, thank you for your question. First, I think “spiciness” is very subjective. If I eat chipotle’s chicken with sour cream and cheese or a burrito shell, it is never spicy because those offset. But if I eat it plain, sometimes it’s spicy. Having said that, I don’t think this marinade is super spicy. It has flavor, but you are using 1 cup of marinade per 5 pounds of chicken. And when you cook it, some of the marinade comes off. At worst, you may find a spicy bite here and there, but not really. My toddler (almost 2) eats it with no problem, and it’s not like we eat jalapenos for fun around here. To minimize the spiciness, be sure to get rid of all possible seeds from your adobo sauce. In the recipe I recommend straining, so you shouldn’t really have any, anyway. Have I answered your question? Or offered any help at all? I hope so. Spicy as in flavorful, yes. Spicy as it hot, no. Not really. Good luck.

  179. This recipe is pretty awesome!!!! It’s very very close to Chipotle’s chicken. My husband has been asking forever to make it and I thought I’d never find something even close. I was wrong! I LOVE the ancho chiles and the chipotles!!!! Thank you for this awesome recipe, you now have one happy new fan :))5 stars

    1. I think I’m on 3 weekends in a row making the Chipotle chicken… we just gobble it right up. 🙂 Not sick of it yet! And now that I know I can freeze half the marinade, that makes it so much easier to eat this All.The.Time. 🙂

    2. if you do use 10lbs if chicken would you double your spices etc? going to have a large party.

    3. The recipe for the marinade above is enough for 10 lbs. of chicken; you don’t need to double the spices. I talk about it in my post, but not everyone has time to read my babblings. You will end up with 2 cups. of marinade based on my ingredients above (2 oz. dried chiles, 1 can of chipotle peppers, etc.). That is enough for 10 lbs. of chicken. I apologize for the confusion and I’ll try to reword the recipe so it makes more sense. I normally make the whole marinade recipe, freeze half, and cook 5 lbs. of chicken right away. Please let me know if you have any other questions!

  180. What a fun theme! And I could feel the fear of the kitchen situation with the brick. Glad everyone survived ! 😉 Can’t wait to see the rest of your Chipotle copycats!5 stars

    1. Yeah, all I can say is the brick thing is not cool. And it’s not just because I’m uncoordinated… although I am. 🙂 This was a fun series to create, and even more so to EAT! I love Chipotle, and I really love being able to eat massive quantities in one sitting.

  181. Love Bunco! 🙂 I am so glad the recipe was a success for you. I am definitely going to look up/work on the salsa recipes too because they are so.good. Thank you for leaving a comment!

  182. Hi Sarah, sorry you didn’t care for the chicken. I hope if you do try it again, you can adjust the heat and seasoning to your preference. Sorry again. Take care! – Meggan