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Copycat El Pollo Loco Chicken Recipe

Now you can make the famous restaurant recipe at home in one hour and still get that signature slow cooked rotisserie chicken taste!
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 40 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 8


  • 2 cups water
  • 4 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp pepper
  • 1 whole garlic clove
  • 2 tbsp pineapple juice
  • 1 tsp lime juice
  • 1 pinch saffron can substitute tumeric for saffron
  • 1 tsp natural yellow food coloring (optional)
  • 1 whole 3-4 pound fryer chicken


  • Stir in a bowl or blend in a blender all marinade ingredients (minus the chicken). Store one cup of the marinade away. You will use the rest of the marinade.
  • Remove the gizzards and insides of the chicken. Remove the backbone of the chicken. (Often called the spatchcock, butterfly or flat roast method) You can see a video of how to remove the backbone of the chicken here. Rinse the chicken.
  • Pour the remaining marinade into a bowl and place the chicken in the bowl. Allow chicken to sit in the marinade for 45 minutes to an hour, flipping chicken over halfway through marinade time.
  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees or a grill to medium low heat. Heat a pan to medium heat and place on the stove. pour a tablespoon of oil in the pan. Once pan is heated, place the chicken in butterfly position and cook for 2-3 minutes covered. Flip the chicken and cook on the other side for an additional 2-3 minutes. Remove chicken from the pan and arrange in a roasting pan or arrange on the grill.
  • Cook the chicken on the open grill for 30-40 minutes turning often. Or cook chicken in the oven at 425 degrees for 40-45 minutes or until chicken is done. (Do not turn the chicken if cooking in the oven). Brush additional marinade on the grilled chicken once or twice and brush and pour remaining marinade on top of the cooked chicken prior to baking. Cook until chicken reaches approximately 165 degrees farenheit.
  • Remove from oven and cut chicken into eight pieces with a large knife. Serve.


To store: store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to several days. You can also shred any remaining chicken and refrigerate for several days to use in other meals or freeze for up to one month. 
Suggested things to serve with copycat El Pollo Loco Chicken: Warm tortillas, rice, beans, grilled vegetables 
Additional Meals to Make with Leftover Copycat El Pollo Loco Chicken:
Keyword copycat, el pollo loco, mexican