chipotle chicken al pastor feature image

Chipotle chicken Al Pastor

Good news – Chipotle chicken Al Pastor is back on the menu in March 2024. According to Chipotle, they made the decision because they got three times more requests to bring it back. 

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But the problem is that we don’t know for how long the restaurant offers it as it’s only back for a limited time. Don’t worry. I’ve made Chipotle chicken Al Pastor at home, and it was super delicious. 

The question is, Is it easy to cook and does it deserve the hype? Here, I’m sharing my recipe, what people think, and my own review.

So, keep reading.

chipotle chicken al pastor

What is Chipotle Chicken Al Pastor?

Chipotle Chicken Al Pastor is a tasty and fun twist on a classic Mexican dish. Instead of using pork like the traditional Al Pastor, this version uses chicken. In my opinion, this makes the dish a bit lighter but still flavorful.

It feels like I’ve done a masters in Al Pastor because I’ve been cooking it for everyone for a long time. In my experience, the magic comes from marinating the chicken. You should do it in a mix of:

  • Chipotle peppers
  • Pineapple juice
  • Spices. 

This combo gives the chicken a smoky, sweet, and slightly spicy taste (that’s just amazing).

Now, let me tell you that most people get to know about Chicken Al Pastor by seeing the Chipotle’s menu last year.

Chicken Al Pastor first appeared on Chipotle’s menu in March 2023 for a few weeks and quickly became a sensation. The demand for its return was so high that Chipotle brought it back in 2024.

The first time I also tried Chipotle Chicken Al Pastor was a year ago. The chicken was so juicy and flavorful that I knew I had to try making it at home. After multiple attempts, I finally made a recipe that tastes just like the ones you eat at any Chipotle restaurant.

But first, let’s look at the materials and ingredients you will need.

What Will You Need for Chipotle Chicken Al Pastor?

To make Chipotle Chicken Al Pastor at home, you need some basic materials and ingredients. I suggest making a list so that you don’t miss anything.

Check out the materials first.

Materials NeededPurpose/Role
Grill or PanCooking the chicken
Mixing BowlMarinating the chicken
Measuring CupsMeasuring ingredients
TongsHandling the chicken
Cutting BoardChopping ingredients
KnifeCutting chicken and garlic

When you collect these materials, the next thing to do is to gather the ingredients you will need to cook this dish.

IngredientsQuantity
Chicken Thighs1 pound
Chipotle Peppers2-3
Pineapple Juice1 cup
Garlic3 cloves, minced
Cumin1 teaspoon
Oregano1 teaspoon
SaltTo taste
Olive Oil2 tablespoons

Now, you’re all set to make a delicious Chipotle Chicken Al Pastor.

How to Prepare Chipotle Chicken Al Pastor?

To prepare Chipotle chicken Al Pastor, marinate chicken thighs in a mixture of chipotle peppers, pineapple juice, garlic, cumin, oregano, and olive oil for at least 2 hours. Then, grill or pan-fry the chicken until fully cooked. Serve hot with your favorite toppings.

Step 1: Marinate the Chicken

First, you need to marinate the chicken. In a bowl, combine these ingredients:

  • Chipotle peppers
  • Pineapple juice
  • Minced garlic
  • Cumin
  • Oregano
  • Olive oil.
step 1 marinate chicken

You should mix well to create a flavorful marinade. When you’re done, add the chicken thighs to the bowl. Here, I highly suggest making sure each piece is well coated.

After this, cover the bowl and let the chicken marinate in the fridge for at least 3 to 4 hours. I suggest you even wait more because the longer you wait, the better the chicken will taste.

Step 2: Prepare the Grill or Pan

While the chicken is marinating, get your cooking equipment ready. If you’re using a grill, preheat it to medium-high heat. Also, make sure the grates are clean and lightly oiled to prevent sticking.

But what if you’re using a pan? In this case, I suggest heating it over medium-high heat. Traditionally, Al Pastor is cooked on Trompo, but since we don’t usually have it in our homes, both grill or pan will work.

Step 3: Cook the Chicken

Now, you can finally place the chicken thighs on the grill or in the pan. In this step, I recommend cooking for about 5-7 minutes on each side. You can use tongs to turn the chicken safely. Just keep in mind that you will have to ensure you cook evenly.

Wondering, “How to when the marinated chicken thighs are ready?” Well, you will see a nice char. Moreover, you can use a meat thermometer and check the internal temperature. If it is 165°F, it means you’ve cooked it well.

Step 4: Serve and Enjoy

step 4 serve and enjoy

After cooking, let the chicken rest for a few minutes to keep it juicy. Then, what I do is to slice the chicken into strips or bite-sized pieces. The reason is that I can then easily pick each piece with my hand or eat it with a fork without much hassle.

In this step, you can also add your favorite toppings. The top choices are fresh cilantro, onions, and a squeeze of lime.

Different Ways to Serve Chipotle Chicken Al Pastor

You can serve Chipotle Chicken Al Pastor in tacos, burritos, or salads. It’s also great as a topping for nachos or pizzas. You can also pair it with rice or vegetables for a complete meal. The versatility of this dish makes it a favorite for many occasions.

chipotle chicken al pastor burrito

Tacos & Burritos

One of the best ways to enjoy Chipotle Chicken Al Pastor is in tacos. Just do these three steps:

  • Grab some warm tortillas.
  • Next, fill them with the juicy chicken. 
  • Then, top with fresh cilantro, chopped onions, rice, beans, and lime juice. 

Chicken Salads

If you’re looking to eat something light, then try adding Chipotle Chicken Al Pastor to a salad. When I make chicken salad, I top it with a simple vinaigrette for a richer taste.

chipotle chicken salad

Nachos

You can also use Chipotle Chicken Al Pastor as a nacho topping. Here’s what I do:

  • I start by spreading tortilla chips on a baking sheet.
  • Then, I sprinkle the chicken on top. 
  • After this, I like to add cheese, jalapeños, and other toppings. 
  • At the end, I bake until the cheese is melted and bubbly.

Chipotle Chicken Al Pastor vs. Traditional Al Pastor: A Comparison

There are a few big differences between Chipotle and Traditional Al Pastor. The Chipotle one uses chicken and smoky chipotle peppers, while Traditional Al Pastor uses pork and a mixture of chilies. However, both are flavorful.

Here’s a table on Chipotle Chicken Al Pastor vs. Traditional Al Pastor:

AspectChipotle Chicken Al PastorTraditional Al Pastor
Main ProteinChickenPork
Key FlavorChipotle PeppersBlend of Chilies
Cooking MethodGrilled or Pan-FriedSlow-cooked on a Vertical Spit
Flavor ProfileSmoky, Sweet, SpicySweet, Savory
Preparation TimeAround 3 Hours (including marinating)More than 4 Hours (marinating and cooking)

Now, the details.

Main Protein

In Chipotle Chicken Al Pastor, we use chicken (as the name suggests). That is also why the dish is quicker to cook. On the other hand, Traditional Al Pastor uses pork. Pork gives it a richer and fattier taste. 

I love chicken because it’s a bit healthier and still so tasty!

Preparation Time

Preparing Chipotle Chicken Al Pastor takes about 2-3 hours, including marinating time. Therefore, you can say that it’s perfect for a quicker meal. Traditional Al Pastor, on the other hand, takes more than four hours.

Key Flavor

The key flavor in Chipotle Chicken Al Pastor comes from chipotle peppers. Note that these peppers add a smoky and spicy kick.

In comparison, cooking traditional Al Pastor is all about other common chilies (not chipotle). So, you get a savory flavor, but without the smoky notes.

Cooking Method

When I cook Chipotle Chicken Al Pastor, I usually grill or pan-fry it. This makes the chicken juicy with a nice char. However, Traditional Al Pastor is slow-cooked on a vertical spit, and the process is quite similar to cooking shawarma.

So, now you know how you can cook Chipotle Al Pastor at home. You must have also wondered, “What does Chicken Al Pastor from Chipotle restaurant taste like?” If yes, then the next part is for you.

Chipotle Chicken Al Pastor Review: Is It Any Good?

Chipotle introduced chicken Al Pastor last year and the response was overwhelming. However, just after a few weeks, they removed it from their menu. People who ate this dish started a trend on social media to bring it back. 

In March 2024, Chipotle announced that their special chicken Al Pastor is back on the menu. If you’re wondering whether you should eat it, then good news. I’m reviewing it for you. 

Flavor Profile Review

I think Chipotle’s chicken Al Pastor is a burst of flavors. According to the restaurant, the chicken is marinated in a rich blend of adobo, Morita peppers, and ground achiote. They also like to add pineapple for a hint of sweetness.

Versatility in Dishes

One of the best things about Chipotle’s chicken Al Pastor is its versatility. You can enjoy it in various dishes like burritos, tacos, bowls, and salads. In my opinion, the chicken also pairs well with rice, beans, and salsas.

But remember that Chipotle is offering chicken Al Pastor for a limited time. To increase the hype, there’s a $0 delivery fee when you order through the Chipotle app or website. Note that this deal is available in the USA, Canada, and some European countries.

Overall Experience

Chipotle’s chicken Al Pastor is a must-try for anyone who loves bold, spicy flavors. The combination of smoky, sweet, and tangy ingredients is super satisfying. This dish will surely impress you if you love Mexican food.

Now, let’s take a look at some reviews from people who have tried Chipotle’s Chicken Al Pastor:

John Maurice: “I was skeptical at first, but one bite and I was hooked! The smoky flavor from the chipotle peppers is amazing. It’s my new favorite at Chipotle.”

Sarah Langer: “I tried the chicken Al Pastor in a burrito bowl, and it was incredible. The flavors are so well-balanced, and the chicken was tender and juicy.”

Emma: “I’ve always been a fan of Chipotle, but the chicken Al Pastor took it to another level. The marinade is delicious, and it goes so well with all the toppings. Highly recommend giving it a try!”

David Rouse: “I ordered the chicken Al Pastor for the first time today, and I’m so glad I did. The flavors are bold and unique. It’s definitely going to be my go-to order from now on.”

Bottom Line

Chipotle chicken Al Pastor is a must-try for anyone who loves bold, spicy flavors. Here are the key takeaways:

  • Easy to cook: You can cook at home with simple grilling or pan-frying.
  • Fan favorite: Chipotle had to return it to the menu by popular demand.
  • $0 delivery fee: Order through the Chipotle app or website for free delivery.
  • Versatile: You can enjoy it in tacos, burritos, bowls, and more.

Don’t miss your chance to experience this delicious dish. Follow my recipe or go to any Chipotle restaurant now!

Chipotle Chicken Al Pastor

Chipotle Chicken Al Pastor
Course Main Course
Cuisine Mexican
Keyword Chipotle Chicken Al Pastor
Prep Time 7 minutes
Cook Time 8 minutes
Total Time 32 minutes
Servings 3
Calories 338kcal

Equipment

  • Grill or Pan
  • Mixing Bowl
  • Measuring Cups
  • Tongs
  • Cutting Board
  • Knife

Ingredients

  • Chicken Thighs
  • Chipotle Peppers
  • Pineapple Juice
  • Garlic
  • Cumin
  • Oregano
  • Salt
  • Olive Oil

Instructions

  • Step 1: Marinate the Chicken
    step 1 marinate chicken
  • Step 3: Cook the Chicken
    chipotle chicken salad
  • Step 4: Serve and Enjoy
    step 4 serve and enjoy
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