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Pollo Loco Recipe: El Loco Chicken Copycat – More Than a Mexican Favorite


If you’ve ever eaten at the popular El Pollo Loco restaurant, then you know how addictive their chicken can be. That juicy chicken, marinated in a blend of citrus juices and spices, grilled to perfection, is more than just a meal—it’s an experience. But what if you could recreate that same experience at home? Well, guess what? You can, with our pollo loco recipe. This crazy chicken, as it is fondly called, is a simple recipe that packs a punch of flavor.

Grilled chicken on a chopping board with lemon slices and herbs

Creating the Pollo Loco Marinade

The magic of the El Pollo Loco chicken recipe starts with the marinade. The chicken breasts are soaked in a blend of citrus juices, including pineapple juice, lime juice, orange juice, and a hint of lemon zest. A little bit of white vinegar is added for that tangy kick, with a sprinkle of black pepper for heat. The result? A marinade that takes your taste buds on a wild ride.

Citrus fruits and spices for the marinade

Preparing Your Chicken

For the best flavor, you’ll want to marinate your chicken pieces for a long time—overnight if possible. After marinating, you’ll place chicken on a grill pan over medium heat. If you’re a fan of cooking chicken in an instant pot, it’s a good thing you can also use this for our pollo loco recipe. Remember to remove the sides of the backbone for a whole chicken to lay flat on the grill.

Marinated chicken on a grill

Grilling the Chicken

Once the chicken hits the grill, it’s all about patience and control. You’ll want to grill your chicken over medium coals or medium-high heat until it’s golden brown. To achieve the distinctive yellow hue of the restaurant’s chicken, a touch of yellow food coloring is added to the marinade. But if you want a natural alternative, a mild chili pepper will do the trick.

Golden brown grilled chicken on a grill

Serving up the Crazy Chicken

With the chicken cooked to perfection, it’s time to serve. Traditionally, the chicken is served with cooked rice (you can opt for white rice, Mexican rice, or even cauliflower rice), alongside warm tortillas. You could also throw in a side dish of pinto beans or even black beans. And don’t forget the fresh salsa and sour cream to round off this great recipe.

Grilled chicken served with rice and beans

Adding Some Extras

When it comes to extras, the sky’s the limit. You can add some cheese dip or queso dip as an accompaniment or drizzle some hot sauce for an extra kick. Whether you’re making it for the first time or the final time, the pollo loco recipe is always a hit.

Chicken served with cheese dip and hot sauce

Pollo Loco Recipe – The Perfect Copycat Recipe

Our pollo loco recipe is an easy recipe designed to replicate the taste and experience of the mostly west coast chain of Mexican fast food, El Pollo Loco restaurant. This copycat recipe brings the unique taste of Los Angeles to your kitchen, allowing you to enjoy this Mexican favorite any time you wish.

Copycat El Pollo Loco chicken on a plate

Final Thoughts

Next time you’re craving El Pollo Loco chicken, don’t rush to the restaurant or Taco Bell. Instead, whip up this easy recipe at home. And if you’re missing any ingredients, remember Amazon Services LLC Associates Program is always there for last-minute shopping. So, why wait until next week? Try this pollo loco recipe today!

Pollo Loco Recipe – A Delicious Journey

From the simple recipes of the marinade to the delicate grilling process, every step of making this pollo loco recipe is a journey. A journey that takes you straight to the heart of a Los Angeles favorite, and leaves your kitchen smelling like a Mexican fiesta. Now, that’s a journey worth taking!

A delicious plate of Pollo Loco chicken with rice and beans

The Ultimate Pollo Loco Recipe

The Ultimate Pollo Loco Recipe

Yield: 4 Servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes

This Pollo Loco recipe, inspired by the famous flame-grilled chicken from El Pollo Loco, is perfect for a weeknight dinner or a weekend BBQ. The marinade is packed with zesty and spicy flavors that make the chicken incredibly tasty and juicy.


  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 cup of pineapple juice
  • 1/2 cup of lime juice
  • 1/4 cup of chili powder
  • 1/4 cup of brown sugar
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • Fresh cilantro leaves for garnish
  • Lime wedges for serving


  1. In a large bowl, combine the pineapple juice, lime juice, chili powder, brown sugar, minced garlic, salt, and pepper. Stir until the sugar is fully dissolved.
  2. Place the chicken breasts in the marinade, making sure each piece is fully submerged. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least two hours, or overnight for a deeper flavor.
  3. Preheat your grill or stovetop grill pan over medium-high heat.
  4. Remove the chicken from the marinade, shaking off any excess. Keep the marinade for basting.
  5. Lightly oil the grill or pan with olive oil to prevent the chicken from sticking.
  6. Grill the chicken breasts for about 6-7 minutes per side, or until they reach an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C). Baste the chicken occasionally with the leftover marinade during the grilling process for added flavor.
  7. Once cooked, remove the chicken from the grill and let it rest for a few minutes before serving. This allows the juices to redistribute throughout the chicken, making it more juicy and flavorful.
  8. Serve the Pollo Loco on a bed of rice or with a side of grilled vegetables. Garnish with fresh cilantro leaves and lime wedges for an added zesty kick.


Enjoy this delicious and easy-to-make dish at your next family gathering!

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 350Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 130mgSodium: 320mgCarbohydrates: 20gNet Carbohydrates: 18gFiber: 2gSugar: 10gSugar Alcohols: 0gProtein: 50g

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