Chicken Al Pastor ingridients

Chicken Al Pastor

Vadim Rachok
On this page:
Recipe Ingredients Video Nutrition
9 / 10
Health score
Dairy FreeEgg free dishGluten free dishNut Free Dish

What is Chicken al pastor?

Chicken al pastor is a Mexican dish of marinated and grilled chicken with a blend of spices and sweetness. A fusion of Lebanese shawarma and Mexican street food, cooked on a vertical spit.

Chicken Al Pastor is a culinary voyage that brings together the vibrant flavors of Mexican street food and the rich tradition of Lebanese shawarma. The marriage of spices, achiote paste, and citrusy notes creates a symphony for your taste buds. Grilling it to perfection allows the marinade to work its magic, resulting in juicy, caramelized goodness. Whether wrapped in tacos or served in a nourishing bowl, it's an adventure worth savoring!

Tacos al Pastor is a classic Mexican dish that features marinated pork cooked on a vertical spit. Many people enjoy this traditional meal.

Chicken Al Pastor recipe

The Unique Preparation of Chicken Al Pastor

Chicken Al Pastor is a delicious grilled chicken dish that is marinated in a blend of spices including achiote paste, orange juice, garlic, and pineapple juice. This unique marinade adds sweetness and helps to tenderize the meat before grilling. Traditionally, the chicken is cooked on a vertical spit, which allows the juices to baste the meat for even cooking and caramelization. However, you can still achieve similar results using a grill or oven.

Ingredients used for Chicken al pastor 

  1. Chicken thighs: For a tender texture and maximum flavor absorption, it’s best to use boneless, skinless chicken thighs.
  2. Pineapple juice: The marinade gets a delicious taste of sweetness and tanginess when this ingredient is added.
  3. Lime juice: The bright and citrusy flavor of the ingredient adds a perfect balance to the sweetness of the pineapple juice in the dish.
  4. Achiote paste: Achiote paste is a Mexican condiment made from ground annatto seeds, spices, and vinegar. It imparts a lively red hue and a unique earthy taste.
  5. White vinegar: Adding acidity to a dish can help balance its flavors and also aid in softening the meat.
  6. Adobo sauce:  add a smoky and spicy flavor to the dish.
  7. Morita peppers: Soak the ingredients overnight, drain, and add for a smoky and spicy flavor. Adjust according to your heat preference.
  8. Garlic: The addition of a savory and aromatic ingredient enhances the flavor of the marinade.
  9. Smoked paprika: The addition of a smoky and slightly sweet flavor to the marinade enhances its richness.
  10. Ground cumin: A warm and earthy spice can enhance the overall taste of a dish.
  11. Dried oregano: The herb adds a slightly floral note to the marinade.
  12. Salt and black pepper: Improve the taste of the marinade by enhancing its flavors.
  13. Fresh cilantro: Adding freshness and a vibrant herbal note to the Chicken al pastor.

How to cook Chicken Al Pastor

How do you make Chicken al pastor? 

  1. Blend the ingredients: To make the recipe, put all the ingredients together and blend them until they become smooth using a blender.
  2. Marinate the chicken:  marinate the chicken thighs, put them in a large ziplock bag or a non-reactive container. Make sure to pour the marinade all over the chicken and ensure that it is evenly coated. Seal the bag or cover the container.
  3. Preheat a grill: or grill pan to medium-high heat. After marinating, remove the chicken and let any excess marinade drip off. Brush the grill or grill pan with vegetable oil to prevent sticking.
  4. Grill the chicken: To cook the chicken, grill it for about 6-7 minutes per side until the internal temperature reaches 165°F (74°C). 
  5. Allow the chicken to rest: To prepare the meat, let it rest for a few minutes before slicing it into thin strips.
  6. Serve the Chicken: Enjoy Al Pastor in tacos, burritos, or bowls with your favorite toppings.

The best Chicken Al Pastor

What to Serve with Chicken Al pastor

  1. Tacos: These vibrant tacos embody the true essence of Mexican street food. Fill warm corn tortillas with juicy Al Pastor chicken, finely chopped onions, fresh cilantro, and a squeeze of zesty lime.
  2. Salads: Transform your Chicken Al Pastor into a healthy and satisfying salad by arranging it atop a bed of crisp lettuce, along with colorful veggies, avocado slices, and a drizzle of tangy dressing.
  3. Create a nourishing grain bowl: Pair it with rice or quinoa and roasted veggies, and add salsas or hot sauces for extra flavor and heat.
  4. Rice and beans: To complete your meal, you can serve the chicken with Mexican-style rice, cilantro lime rice, and your choice of black or pinto beans.
  5. Roasted vegetables: Grilled bell peppers, onions, or zucchini are excellent choices for side dishes to serve with chicken.


  1. Marinate chicken for 2 hours or overnight for optimal flavor.
  2. Let the chicken cook undisturbed for a few minutes on each side to achieve a delicious char and smoky flavor.
  3. If you prefer a milder taste, use less adobo sauce and Morita pepper.

A wonderful and healthy dish, perfect for lunch when paired with a vegetable salad or a serving of grilled vegetables. The balanced macronutrient composition will provide your body with energy and a feeling of satiety (but not heaviness) for several hours. Despite being a Mexican dish, it will also suit you if you follow a classic Mediterranean diet. I can confidently recommend it to those who practice intermittent fasting (Chicken Al Pastor could be your perfect last meal of the day - it can be your late lunch or early dinner).

Jenny Dobrynina
Jenny Dobrynina
Nutrition Editor
Health score:
9 / 10
Chicken Al Pastor
Author:Vadim Rachok
Discover the delicious flavors of Chicken al pastor, featuring succulent, tender marinated chicken with the smoky, spicy, and slightly sweet flavors of achiote, guajillo chilies, and pineapple juice.
Chicken Al Pastor ingridients
Cook Time:
1 hr 30 mins
Active Time:
30 mins
Marinate Time:
8 hrs
Stand Time:
10 mins
Total Time:
10 hrs 10 mins
20 tacos
The ingredients you need
4 dried guajillo chiles, stemmed and seeded
2 tablespoons achiote paste
6 large cloves garlic, peeled
1 (7 ounce) can chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, drained
1 ⅓ cups finely chopped onion, divided
⅔ cup orange juice
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut in half
8 (12-inch) jumbo wooden skewers
1 large fresh pineapple - peeled, cored, and sliced
20 (6 inch) corn tortillas
¼ cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro
Let’s start !

1 Toast dried chiles in a skillet over medium-high heat for 3-5 minutes. Add 1 cup water to cover chiles and simmer for 5 minutes. Drain well.


2 Combine chiles, achiote, garlic, chipotles, 2/3 cup onion, orange juice, vinegar, oil, cumin, brown sugar, and salt in a blender; process until smooth for about 30 seconds. Reserve 1/2 cup marinade, cover, and refrigerate until ready to use.


3 Marinate chicken in the remaining marinade in a dish or bag for 8-24 hours.


4 Soak wooden skewers in water while chicken marinates.


5 Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C) and position the oven rack 8 inches away from the heating element. Line a small roasting pan or a 13 x 9-inch baking dish with aluminum foil.


6 To prepare the dish, take 2 skewers and thread 1 slice of pineapple onto each skewer. Make sure to pierce through the center core of the pineapple and keep the skewers about 1 inch apart. Leave a 1 1/2-inch space from the end of each skewer. Next, thread 5 to 6 pieces of marinated chicken onto each skewer, stacking them on top of the pineapple slice. Follow this by threading another pineapple slice onto each skewer. Repeat this process until all the chicken pieces and pineapple slices are used, making 4 stacks in total. Finally, brush the skewers with any remaining marinade from the chicken.


7 Place skewers on pan edge to prevent chicken from touching bottom.


8 Preheat the oven and bake the skewers for 30 minutes. After that, flip the skewers over and brush them with the reserved 1/2 cup marinade. Bake for another 30 minutes or until the chicken is no longer pink in the center and the juices run clear. To ensure that the chicken is cooked thoroughly, use an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center, which should read 160 degrees F (71 degrees C). Once the chicken is cooked, increase the oven temperature to broil and broil the skewers until they are browned and crispy, which should take about 3 to 5 minutes. Flip the skewers and broil them again until they are browned and crispy, which should take another 3 to 5 minutes.


9 Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over high heat. Working two at a time, add tortillas; cook, turning once, until heated and browning in some spots, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Repeat with remaining tortillas.


10 Take the chicken and pineapple off the skewers and place them on a cutting board. Then, roughly chop them.


11 Place equal amounts of chicken and pineapple onto each heated tortilla. Then, sprinkle the remaining onion and cilantro on top of the chicken and pineapple mixture.

Nutrition Information
Servings Per Recipe: 10 Calories: 324
% Daily Value *
 % Daily Value *
Total Fat 10g13%
Saturated Fat 2g10%
Cholesterol 113mg38%
Sodium 422mg18%
Total Carbohydrate 31g11%
Dietary Fiber 4g13%
Protein 28g 
Potassium 603mg13%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

Powered by the ESHA Research Database © 2018, ESHA Research, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Watch video
Watch How To Make It

For an extra flavor boost, marinate the chicken overnight to let the spices and juices meld, ensuring a more succulent and flavorful Chicken Al Pastor. Additionally, let the grilled chicken rest before slicing to seal in the savory juices and elevate the overall dining experience.

Vadim Rachok
Vadim Rachok
Pro tip from chef
Looking for more?
35 mins
Vadim Rachok
35 mins
Vadim Rachok
Desserts, Appetizers
30 mins
Vadim Rachok
35 mins
Vadim Rachok
1 hour
Vadim Rachok
30 mins
Vadim Rachok