Pollo Pibil (Chicken Pibil)


Have you heard of Cochinita Pibil? It is a dish from Yucatán, Mexico made with pork, achiote a mix of annatto seeds, spices, bitter orange and other ingredients, it is a delicious recipe that you have to try to make because you will wow your family, it is call cochinita because it is make with pork, but you can use achiote to cook other lovely recipes, like this recipe made with chicken.

I bought an organic chicken at my local butcher because I believe in good and conscious farming and also I think the flavour is better. The recipe has the same ingredients as the pork pibil, but it takes less time.

Serves 4
Prep 15 min plus 2 hrs marinate or over night


  • 1 whole organic chicken 1.5 kg
  • 3 tbsp achiote paste
  • Juice of 3 mandarins
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 small white onion julienne
  • 2 garlic cloves finely chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Pinch oregano
  • 1 cup water

To garnish


In a blender put the achiote paste, Orange juice, lemon and oregano to blend until the achiote has dissolve. Set the achiote mix aside.

On a casserole dish (Dutch oven) place the sliced onion on the bottom together with the mince garlic.

Then place the whole chicken inside the casserole dish (Dutch oven), add salt and pepper and the achiote mix and leave to marinate for at least 2 hours.

Preheat the oven 15 min to 180 degrees C. Add a cup of water to the chicken, before place it into the oven (this will prevent the chicken to get dry and it will make a lovely achiote broth) put the lid on and place in the oven.

Cook for an hour and a half. Checking half way, if the chicken is not dry. If it needs more water add 1/2 cup.

Take the chicken out. Cut it in to pieces and serve it with corn tortillas, pickled onion, spicy salsa and some guacamole!

How to make red pickled onion
Cut a red onion in julienne, wash through with cold water, put it in a bowl, add some salt, leave it for 10 min.

Wash it again and add the juice of a lime, a pinch of oregano and salt.

Leave it to pickled for 10 more min and done.



Join the Conversation

  1. Robert Keys says:

    Karla,I am a displaced Southern Cal guy. How do I get that Ensenada taste in my food? Why does Ensenada food taste different than Tex-Mex food?

    1. Hi Robert, thanks for your message, but I’m afraid I can’t help you with that, sorry, but the Mexican flavours are difficult to recreate outside Mexico 😊

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