This Peruvian chicken recipe is a simple yet elegant dinner idea. It features roasted juicy chicken thighs served with a refreshing and mildly spicy green sauce.
It’s no secret that we love a variety of chicken recipes here.
It is easily the most versatile meat and we use it in plenty of dishes, both simple ones, and more exotic ones. Just like our tandoori chicken or Marry Me chicken, if you are looking to change up your chicken game, this Peruvian chicken recipe is one to try next!
What is Peruvian chicken?
Peruvian chicken, also known as Pollo a la Brasa, is a roasted chicken dish where the chicken is first marinated in a mixture of citrus juice, garlic, herbs, and spices. Then it is roasted until it is crispy and golden on the outside.
A signature feature of this dish is the irresistible green sauce, known as Aji verde. This is often drizzled on top and truly is a flavor explosion.
For such an elegant-looking recipe, you’ll love how simple and quick it is to make. The chicken doesn’t require much marination time, and the sauce comes together in seconds.
It’s healthy, flavorful, and the chicken turns out perfectly juicy and tender every single time.
Similar to my Tuscan chicken and chicken Florentine, this recipe makes a fantastic weeknight dinner that comes together in no time. Serve it with some brown rice, pasta, or even a green salad for a well balanced and satisfying meal.
This recipe is very simple and uses everyday spices and seasonings to prepare. If you don’t already have them in your pantry, you’ll easily find them at any basic grocery store. Here is what you’ll need:
For the chicken:
- Chicken thighs. I use boneless chicken thighs, skin-on or skinless. You can also use whole chicken for this recipe.
- Garlic. Chopped.
- Olive oil. To help transfer all flavors to the meat.
- Lemons. Both lemon zest and juice are needed for the marinade.
- Spices. I use paprika, cumin, and ground black pepper.
- Oregano. A staple flavor enhancer in Peruvian cooking.
- Salt. To balance all flavors. Add to taste.
For the green sauce:
- Cilantro. Mostly leaves. Use the stems if they are small and tender.
- Garlic. Finely chopped. Adjust the number of cloves based on your preferences.
- Jalapeno. Chopped jalapeno peppers to make the sauce mildly hot.
- Lime juice. For tanginess and acidity.
- Olive oil. To improve the consistency of the sauce and act as a binder.
- Sour cream. I use sour cream for a creamy base for this Peruvian green sauce.
- Salt. To taste.
How to make Peruvian chicken
Besides making the marinade and the sauce, there is barely any hands on time to make this recipe. In fact, the oven and the blender take care of all the hard work! Ready to cook some chicken?
Step 1- Make the marinade
Start by making the marinade. In a small bowl, mix olive oil, cumin, paprika, black pepper, and oregano. Add salt to taste. Add the zest from one lemon and lemon juice. Mix well.
Step 2- Marinate the chicken
Before you marinate the chicken, turn on the oven and preheat it to 400 degrees.
To marinate the chicken, put the chicken thigh pieces in a bowl and pour the marinade over them. If the chicken thighs have their skins on, you can spread some of the spice mixture under the skin too. Massage the chicken to infuse it with all the flavors of the marinade.
Step 3- Roast the chicken
Arrange the chicken thighs on a roasting pan or in an oven-safe skillet. Roast for 35 to 45 minutes. Baste the chicken with the pan drippings and the remaining marinade. Do this every 15 minutes to add more flavor to the chicken and help it stay moist and juicy.
Cook the chicken thighs until the temperature in the thickest part of the pieces reads 165 degrees.
Step 4- Make the green sauce
Make the green sauce while the chicken cooks. Add cilantro leaves, roughly chopped jalapenos, garlic cloves, salt, lime juice, and olive oil into a blender or a food processor. Blend until smooth. Add the sour cream and mix. Give the sauce a taste test and adjust the sauce if needed. Transfer the sauce into an airtight container and refrigerate until ready to use.
Once the chicken is cooked, drizzle the green aji verde sauce on top.
Tips to make the best recipe
The beauty of this chicken recipe is just how easy it is to customize to suit your taste buds. Here are some suggestions:
- Use other cuts of chicken. You can use any chicken cut you want for this recipe. Whether you are using chicken breast or wings, you will end up with flavorful and juicy chicken meat. You only need to adjust the cooking time to avoid overcooking and drying out the smaller and faster-cooking cuts.
- Spatchcock when using a whole chicken. If you are roasting a whole chicken, spatchcock it, i.e. cut the chicken open down the middle and flatten it.
- Make it vegan. If this recipe makes your mouth water but you’re vegan, use portobello mushrooms instead of chicken thighs.
- Keep an eye on the chicken. Boneless chicken thighs cook faster than bone-in thighs. Have an instant-read thermometer at hand to know when the chicken is done.
Chicken leftovers are amazing for lunch the next day. You can use them to make sandwiches, wraps and salads. Just be sure to store the chicken and the green sauce separately.
To store the chicken: Store leftover Peruvian chicken in the fridge in airtight containers or wrapped in aluminum foil. It will last up to 4 days in the fridge. Reheat in the oven wrapped in foil.
To store the green sauce: The leftover green sauce should also be stored in the refrigerator, covered, and it will keep for up to one week.
What to serve with Peru chicken?
We tend to keep things simple and pair our Peruvian-style chicken with some veggie sides, and air-fried ones are a fast and fresh option. Here are some suggestions:
Frequently asked questions
You can serve both white and red wine with Peruvian-style roasted chicken. Oaked chardonnay is a great pick. If you have used chicken thighs, serve it with a glass of Pinot Noir. The latter pairs specifically well with dark meat chicken.
Peruvian food is moderately spicy but not burning hot. There is more to Peruvian food than heat. You can always make it more or less spicy to adjust Peruvian dishes to your preferences.
Place the cooked and cooled leftovers in a shallow container and store it in the freezer for up to 2 months.
- 2 lbs chicken thighs skin on
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1/2 tablespoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 large lemon juiced
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
For the Green sauce (Aji Verde)
- 1 cup cilantro
- 1 small Jalapeno chopped
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- Preheat the oven to 200C/400F. Line a large baking dish with baking paper (parchment paper).
- In a mixing bowl, add the garlic, cumin, smoked paprika, salt, and pepper, along with the juice of a lemon. Add the chicken thighs and mix together until fully coated.
- Place the chicken thighs, skin on, onto the baking dish and roast for 30-35 minutes, or until they reach an internal temperature of 165F.
- While the chicken is roasting, prepare the green sauce. Add all the ingredients into a high speed blender or food processor and blend until smooth.
- Remove the chicken from the oven and let it rest for 5 minutes, before serving and drizzling the sauce on top.