Chicken Al Pastor: A Flavorful Fusion 2024

If you’re a fan of Mexican cuisine, you’ve likely heard of the famous Tacos Al Pastor, traditionally made with pork. But have you ever tried Chicken Al Pastor? This delightful variation combines the rich, smoky flavors of Al Pastor with the tender juiciness of chicken. Perfect for a weeknight dinner or a weekend fiesta, Chicken Al Pastor offers a delicious twist on a classic favorite. Let’s dive into this recipe and discover how to make this mouth-watering dish at home.

Chicken Al Pastor

Chicken Al Pastor: Ingredients

  • 500g boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1/2 cup pineapple juice
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons achiote paste
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon adobo sauce from chipotle peppers
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup fresh pineapple, diced

For Serving

  • Warm corn tortillas
  • Chopped cilantro
  • Diced onions
  • Lime wedges
  • Sliced radishes
  • Salsa of your choice


1. Prepare the Marinade:

  • In a large bowl, whisk together the pineapple juice, orange juice, apple cider vinegar, achiote paste, olive oil, soy sauce, adobo sauce, minced garlic, ground cumin, dried oregano, smoked paprika, ground black pepper, and salt until well combined.

2. Marinate the Chicken:

  • Add the chicken pieces to the marinade, ensuring they are thoroughly coated. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or preferably overnight, to allow the flavors to meld.

3. Cook the Chicken:

  • Preheat your grill or a large skillet over medium-high heat. If using a grill, oil the grates lightly. If using a skillet, add a small amount of olive oil to prevent sticking.
  • Remove the chicken from the marinade, allowing any excess to drip off. Grill or cook the chicken pieces in batches, ensuring they are well-seared and cooked through, about 5-7 minutes per side.

4. Add Pineapple:

  • In the last few minutes of cooking, add the diced pineapple to the grill or skillet, cooking until caramelized and slightly charred.

5. Assemble the Tacos:

  • Warm the corn tortillas on the grill or in a dry skillet until pliable.
  • Fill each tortilla with the cooked chicken and caramelized pineapple.

6. Garnish and Serve:

  • Top the tacos with chopped cilantro, diced onions, and sliced radishes. Serve with lime wedges and your favorite salsa on the side.

Tips for the Perfect Chicken Al Pastor

  • Marinating Time: Allow the chicken to marinate for as long as possible, preferably overnight, to absorb all the flavors.
  • Grilling vs. Skillet: Grilling imparts a smoky flavor that is characteristic of Al Pastor, but a hot skillet works well if a grill is not available.
  • Achiote Paste: This ingredient is key to achieving the distinctive flavor and color of Al Pastor. It can be found in most Latin American grocery stores or online.


Chicken Al Pastor is a delicious and versatile dish that brings the authentic taste of Mexican cuisine to your home. With its rich marinade and the sweetness of caramelized pineapple, this recipe is sure to become a favorite. Whether served in tacos, over rice, or with a fresh salad, Chicken Al Pastor is a fantastic addition to any meal. Try it out and enjoy a taste of Mexico!


1. Can I use chicken breasts instead of thighs? Yes, you can use chicken breasts, but thighs are preferred for their juiciness and flavor.

2. What if I can’t find achiote paste? You can make a simple substitute by blending equal parts of paprika and ground cumin.

3. How long can I store marinated chicken in the fridge? Marinated chicken can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

4. Can I make Chicken Al Pastor in the oven? Yes, bake the marinated chicken at 400°F (200°C) for about 20-25 minutes, or until fully cooked.

5. What sides go well with Chicken Al Pastor? Mexican rice, black beans, and grilled vegetables make excellent side dishes.

Enjoy making and eating this flavorful Chicken Al Pastor!

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