Peruvian-Style Roast Chicken with Green Sauce

Tested & Perfected Recipes Cookbook Recipe

Tender and juicy Peruvian-style roast chicken with a spicy, luscious green sauce.

This is my take on Pollo a la Brasa, the delicious roast chicken made popular by so many Peruvian restaurants. The chicken is first marinated in olive oil, lime juice, garlic and spices, and then oven-roasted until tender, juicy and crisp-skinned. The accompanying green sauce, which gets its color from cilantro and jalapeño peppers, is spicy, creamy and downright delectable. You can put it on virtually everything, and it even makes a fabulous dip or salad dressing.

What you’ll need to make Peruvian-Style Roast Chicken

Before we get to the recipe, a few words on buying a whole chicken. In the poultry department, you’re likely to find birds labeled “broilers,” “roasters” and “fryers.” These labels are based on the weight of the bird, and are meant to suggest a method of cooking. This recipe calls for a four-pound chicken, which is typically considered a “fryer.” This might seem strange since we’re roasting but don’t worry about it — all of these chickens can be used in recipes interchangeably.

How to make Peruvian-Style Roast Chicken

Begin by making the marinade. Combine the lime juice, olive oil, salt, pepper, sugar, paprika, cumin, and oregano in a blender or mini food processor.

Blend until smooth.

Using your fingers or a wooden spoon, loosen the skin over the breasts and legs of the chicken.

Spoon 2/3 of the marinade under the skin.

And rub the rest over top. Place the chicken in a bowl and refrigerate at least 6 hours or overnight.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees, and set the chicken on a rack in a roasting pan. I like to tuck the wings underneath the bird and tie the legs together so the bird holds its shape.

Roast the chicken for 20 minutes, until the skin is golden, and then turn the heat down to 375 degrees and roast for about an hour and ten minutes more. Let the chicken rest, covered with foil, for about 20 minutes before carving.

While the chicken marinates, make the green sauce (recipe adapted from the Serious Eats Food Lab by J. Kenji Lopez-Alt).

Simply combine the mayonnaise, sour cream, cilantro, jalapeños, garlic, lime juice salt and pepper in a blender or food processor.

And process until smooth. With the motor running, drizzle in the olive oil. It will seem thin at first but, don’t worry, it will thicken up as it sits.


Keep in mind that the heat in the sauce comes from the ribs and seeds in the jalapeño peppers. I use about half of the seeds and ribs for a medium-hot sauce. If you’re worried about the heat, you can always leave them out at first and then blend them in to taste. (Also, be sure to wash your hands well after handling hot peppers, and do not touch your eyes while working with them.)

Transfer the sauce to a bowl and refrigerate until ready to serve. Garnish the sauce with a sprig cilantro, if desired, and serve with the roasted chicken.

Note: The green sauce in this recipe is adapted from one of my favorite columns, the Serious Eats Food Lab by J. Kenji Lopez-Alt. 

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Peruvian-Style Roast Chicken with Green Sauce

Tender and juicy Peruvian-style roast chicken with a spicy, luscious green sauce.

Servings: 4
Cook Time: 1 Hour 30 Minutes
Total Time: 2 Hours, plus at least 6 hours marinating time

Ingredients

For the Chicken

  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup lime juice, from 2 limes
  • 4 large garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 4 pound whole chicken

For the Green Sauce

  • 3 jalapeño chili peppers, seeded if desired (I use about half the seeds for a medium-hot sauce), and roughly chopped (see note)
  • 1 cup packed fresh cilantro leaves
  • 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise, best quality such as Hellmann's
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice, from one lime
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Instructions

For the Chicken

  1. Combine all of the ingredients except the chicken in a blender or mini food processor, and blend until smooth. Remove the giblets from the inside of the chicken and pat the outside of the chicken dry with paper towels; place in a bowl, breast side up with the legs facing you. Using the handle of a wooden spoon or your fingers, loosen the skin from the flesh over the breasts and legs, being careful not to tear the skin or push all the way through (you want the marinade to stay inside the bird). Spoon about 2/3 of the marinade evenly underneath the skin, and spread the remaining 1/3 evenly over the skin. Marinate the chicken in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours or overnight.
  2. Adjust the oven rack to the lower-middle position, and preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a roasting pan with aluminum foil for easy clean-up. Spray a rack (preferably a v-shape) with non-stick cooking spray and place the chicken on top. Tie the legs together with kitchen string. Roast for 20 minutes, until the skin is golden. Turn the heat down to 375 degrees, and continue to roast for about an hour and ten minutes more, or until the juices run clear when you cut between the leg and thigh. (Keep an eye on it -- if it's browning too quickly, cover it loosely with foil.) Tent the chicken with foil and let rest for about 20 minutes. Tilt the chicken over the roasting pan to release the juices, then transfer to a cutting board. Carve the chicken and serve with green sauce.

For the Green Sauce

  1. Combine all of the ingredients except the olive oil in a blender or food processor and blend into a smooth sauce. With the motor running, open lid and slowly drizzle in olive oil. It will seem very runny at this point but, don't worry, it will thicken up as it sits. Transfer the sauce to a bowl, cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
  2. Note: Be sure to wash your hands well after handling hot peppers, and do not touch your eyes while working with them.
  3. Note: The nutritional information does not include the green sauce.

Pair with

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Per serving (4 servings)
  • Calories: 1,095
  • Fat: 79 g
  • Saturated fat: 21 g
  • Carbohydrates: 7 g
  • Sugar: 3 g
  • Fiber: 1 g
  • Protein: 85 g
  • Sodium: 1,138 mg
  • Cholesterol: 340 mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

Gluten-Free Adaptable Note

To the best of my knowledge, all of the ingredients used in this recipe are gluten-free or widely available in gluten-free versions. There is hidden gluten in many foods; if you're following a gluten-free diet or cooking for someone with gluten allergies, always read the labels of your ingredients to verify that they are gluten-free.

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Reviews & Comments

  • I made this yesterday and it was a HUGE hit. We devoured the whole chicken in probably less than 15 minutes. I did not use seeds in my jalapeno sauce and it did not have enough of a kick for me. Do you have any suggestions for how many of the seeds to add to make it a “moderate” spiciness? Thank you for this amazing recipe! It will definitely become a staple!

    • — Margaret on March 29, 2021
    • Reply
    • Glad you enjoyed it! To make the sauce spicier, you could use the seeds from one of the jalapeños. Because jalapeños/seeds vary in terms of their level of heat, however, if you want to go with something more predictable, you could add Tabasco or cayenne pepper to the sauce. Hope that helps!

      • — Jenn on March 31, 2021
      • Reply
  • This was delicious! Everyone at the table thought it tasted like Viva chicken! Yum. I cooked mine in the instant pot for 28 min with a 23 min natural release ! Delish! Thanks!

    • — Erin on March 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • I am obsessed with this recipe! It’s so delicious!!! I’m making it again today…whole chicken plus a package of chicken thighs too so I can share with my sister’s family too. It’s such a yummy addition to my list of meals that i love!!!!

    • — Gloria Portilla on March 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • Hi Jenn,

    For boneless skinless thighs, you said in another comment to check for doneness at 35-40 minutes; does this mean roast at 425 for 20 minutes and then at 375 for 15-20 minutes more for a total of 35-40 minutes? Love all of your recipes, thank you for all your hard work!

    • — Lesley on March 19, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Lesley, Glad you like the recipes! I’d actually cook the thighs in a 400-degree oven for about 35 minutes. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on March 23, 2021
      • Reply
  • Wow this is good! Served it with potatoes. I wish I could have done something with those tasty drippings. We have leftover sauce, I guess we’ll make more chicken!

    • — Jennifer Kuntz on March 17, 2021
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  • I used chicken thighs instead of a whole chicken and it turned out wonderful and the green sauce was excellent.

    • — Grace on March 16, 2021
    • Reply
  • I will add to the many accolades of this recipe which is adapted from Kenji Lopez-Alt who also credits the original recipe to Pio Pio in NYC which serves a similar dish that inspired his recipe. I have eaten at Pio Pio a couple of times and their chicken is delicious. First of all, the chicken: Excellent in all regards. Also easily adapted to pieces. I have done Kenji’s version as well. Full chicken and also pieces. Recently I did thighs based on Jenn’s adaptation, skin-on boneless which I marinated overnight, cooked for 30 minutes at 425 and then simply finished under the broiler for about 6 minutes to crisp up. Served with Jenn’s version of the green sauce, some roast potatoes which I crisp in a cast iron skillet and green beans and was delicious. Best meal in a while and this is coming from someone with an excel spreadsheet of 450 tried and true recipes and a live in housekeeper / cook who helps me prep meals and test run new recipes weekly. I’ve been collecting and refining recipes for 30 years. We’ve lived in NYC, Hong Kong, London and Tokyo so we know our way around food. The green sauce is truly excellent. I think Jenn Segal’s modest changes work well and it is excellent modification. Kenji also has a recipe with chicken pieces (breasts) for a sandwich. On ciabatta, with lettuce and sliced avocado and the green sauce which is one of the best chicken sandwiches. So needless to say: I am a fan. I also don’t write reviews too often. But this deserved it. Kudos to Jenn and Kenji and Pio Pio.

    • — Scott on March 12, 2021
    • Reply
  • Absolutely DELICIOUS! Marinated the chicken overnight, made the green sauce after marinade, so sauce had 24 hours in the refrigerator to meld. Results were phenomenal! Thank you, Jenn for another sensational recipe!

    • — Steffie on March 11, 2021
    • Reply
  • This was amazing!!! My family really enjoyed the flavour of the chicken and the green sauce.

    • — Jane on March 8, 2021
    • Reply
  • This recipe is so delicious. I used chicken thighs that were marinated over night and cooked on my outdoor grill. Served with Mexican rice and steamed broccoli. YUM!!!

    • — Donna on March 8, 2021
    • Reply
  • Love this recipe❣️ Flavors are spot on. The only thing I changed was instead of cooking in the oven I cooked it on a sittin’ chicken (beer can chicken) in the Hasty Bake around 275* until breast meat registered 165. Incredibly moist and delicious and so is that sauce, oh my😃Served with roasted cauliflower, broccoli and asparagus thrown in last 10 or so minutes then a good dose of fresh shredded Parmesan As always, thank you for sharing Jenn !!!

    • — Debbie on March 7, 2021
    • Reply
  • I used an 8 piece cut up chicken, only marinated for 4 hours and subbed Mayo for sour cream to make dairy free. My family loved it.

    • — Diana on March 5, 2021
    • Reply
  • This looks amazing. Any suggestions for substitutes for the sour cream to make it dairy free? Just omit? Thanks!

    • — Sharon Fine on March 4, 2021
    • Reply
    • Not sure if they make dairy-free sour cream, but if not, a dairy-free yogurt would work here. Hope that helps!

      • — Jenn on March 4, 2021
      • Reply
  • Excellent recipe. The chicken was super moist and flavorful. Wouldn’t change a thing.

    • — Tom K on February 27, 2021
    • Reply
  • My friends absolutely loved this…especially the green sauce. YUMMY!!!

    • — Carol on February 21, 2021
    • Reply
  • If I double this and cook two chickens, how much longer will it take to roast?

    • — Ann J Conroy on February 20, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Ann, It will likely take a bit longer as the oven will be more crowded, but it’s hard to say by how much longer. I’d add an extra 10 minutes and then check the chickens with an instant-read thermometer. Please LMK how they turn out!

      • — Jenn on February 22, 2021
      • Reply
  • Hi Jenn,
    I have a general inquiry for you. Do you ever use the convection bake or convection roast settings on your oven, and if yes, when/what do you use them for? I am trying to determine if it is better to roast a chicken, or beef roast, or chicken pieces, pork chops, etc., using convection roast, or if it is better to just bake in a regular oven? I trust your opinion and expertise implicitly, and was hoping to get your feedback, if it is not too much trouble?

    Thank you,

    Debbie

    • — Debbie on February 15, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Debbie, I always develop and publish my recipes using the regular setting on my oven (because many people don’t have convection settings on their ovens), so I’d go with the regular/non-fan setting. (And I don’t recommend using convection for roasting meats and such – the fan tends to dry them out.) Hope that helps! 🙂

      • — Jenn on February 16, 2021
      • Reply
  • Incredible flavor! My family’s new favorite roast chicken. I also used the green sauce for my salad dressing because it is absolutely delicious!! I saved the chicken carcass for making bone broth which will probably amp up the flavor of the broth!

    • — Brenda Sparaco on February 13, 2021
    • Reply
  • Loved the chicken… moist and full of flavor ! It’s easy and surely a recipe to save and repeat. I used chicken thigh and leg pieces and it worked out well

    • — Sowmya Palanna on February 13, 2021
    • Reply
  • Perfect!

    • — Lany Susanto on February 12, 2021
    • Reply
  • You may as well stop making any other roasted chicken recipe, because nothing can beat this one!!!! My house smelled amazing while this was cooking-everyone loved it. My daughter practically drank that green sauce! 🙂

    • — Melissa B. on February 9, 2021
    • Reply
  • The green sauce is AMAZING! I was putting it on everything. The chicken was super moist and delicious on its own. I had to wait a day to make it because I didn’t read the recipe throughly in the beginning and started a little late for dinner since it has a 6 hours or overnight marinating time. Well worth the wait.

    • — Myra on February 3, 2021
    • Reply
  • I make this recipe all the time! It’s very flavorful and really easy to pull together. I could drink the green sauce straight up! I once lightened the green sauce a bit and subbed a portion of the sour cream/mayo with greek yogurt…it was still tasty, but I think it’s worth going for the full tanginess of the sour cream/mayo combo.

    This recipe also makes killer leftover nachos or tacos. Just reheat some of the meat, put it in a tortilla or on chips, and top with your favorite toppings…but don’t forget to drizzle on the green sauce at the end!

    • — Ben on February 3, 2021
    • Reply
  • This green sauce is the best hands down. I have tried others – they don’t compare. When I make this sauce I double and freeze some. We use on everything. Great recipe.

    • — Sharon Sullivan on February 1, 2021
    • Reply
  • Wonderful recipe and part of our regular dinner rotation. It is best with whole chicken, but we make it often with boneless skinless chicken breasts and just marinade for a shorter time. The green sauce is absolutely delicious and is wonderful on roasted potatoes or drizzled over rice and black bean burrito bowls.

    • — Amy on February 1, 2021
    • Reply
  • THIS CHICKEN DISH IS FABULOUS!!!!! (Trust me, because I don’t type a lot of reviews unless super satisfied)
    I made zero changes to any ingredients because they all work perfectly together. But what I have done is used the marinade with bone in Chicken breasts instead of the full fowl. I baked at 450 for 35 minutes then 375 for another 15, super juicy and perfect, although I do have a weird oven, so times may be different.
    I’ve used this marinade with pork tenderloin and BOOM! Lovely! And don’t get me started on the Green Sauce, which is a staple! I use this stuff on everything! From just dipping vegetables to fish to even a sauce on roasted vegetables on rice. Plus, more importantly for me, I usually have all of these ingredients on hand, and don’t have to whip out to grab anything.
    Thank you so much for another winner!!!!

    • — Penelope Cardas on January 30, 2021
    • Reply
  • Excellent recipe – the chicken comes out moist and flavorful, but picky eaters won’t be put off by the spices. The green sauce is delicious and we used it on two other meals later in the week. I have tried a different recipe for Peruvian chicken and green sauce and this was better – we will use this recipe again.

    • — Mairi Townsend on January 30, 2021
    • Reply
  • Winner, winner, chicken dinner! Is there really anything left to say? Honestly, this is one delicious bird. The recipe is super easy to make and the green sauce — really, there are no words. It’s true what others have said. I could eat that sauce on anything. Between the flavorful meat and the green sauce this is sure to be one meal that will impress your family and friends. I have followed Jenny’s advice to lift the skin with a wooden spoon to get in the marinade. It worked out just fine, the next time I made this recipe I opted to use disposable medical gloves that really allowed me to get the marinade in all the nooks and crannies. Seriously, if you haven’t tried this recipe, give it a go. It rivals all of the Peruvian chicken places I frequent near my home.

    • — Carolyn on January 30, 2021
    • Reply
  • This is the best roasted chicken recipe ever. It is so worth the effort and not as hard as it sound. I marinated the chicken early in the morning, started roasting around 4pm (between the meetings), and only had to make the green sauce after work was over. I served it with rice and coleslaw all topped with the green sauce. I did not use any seeds and only two jalapeño because of our sensitivity to spicy foods but I made no other changes. The chicken out of the oven was irresistible, I had to try it. Perfect crunch, complexed flavors and enjoyed by all, especially my picky eater. I am sharing it with all my friends.

    • — Sonja on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • This was one of the first recipes I tried from your website and I have to say I was hooked! I have made this a ton of times and it is always a hit in our home. The green sauce is like icing on a cake! Heavenly! I am from the Caribbean and love food that’s packed with flavor and spice! This recipe, like all the others I have tried from your site (and book!) did not disappoint. I use legs and thighs and it’s so good! Thank you!

    • — Jackie on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • Hands down this is my favorite recipe from your site! My husband loves it so much we make it every Sunday! And the leftovers are fabulous added to your smoky red lentil soup. F

    • — Lauren on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • We live in CA and love Pollo Inka. This is even better (as I know every organic ingredient I use). Simply the most tasty chicken … and the green sauce is addictive. I now want to try every single one of your recipes. Thank you!!! Oh, and my husband thanks you even more!

    • — Laurie on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • Absolutely delicious! Bonus point for being a great dish for entertaining. I made this when I had a few families come to visit and everyone loved it including the kids.

    • — Renata on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
    • This was great. I am in a never ending quest to find the perfect roast chicken recipe and this might be it. I love the combination of spices which was perfect. As always the texture and flavor of the skin are what makes a roast chicken and this one delivers.

      This gets added to the rotation, for sure.

      • — Patrick K on February 1, 2021
      • Reply
  • This is *the* one!

    I’ve made a lot of roasted chicken but nothing compares to this. If I want to make a meal that will blow socks off- I turn to this. It tastes like you put days of effort in and it’s the gift that keeps on giving! The broth made with the carcass is so flavorful and works wonderfully in tortilla soup, enchilada sauce, or flavoring rice. But the green sauce! Oh it’s the green sauce that holds my heart. I could literally eat it every day and it makes everything better- drizzle it over roasted veggies, use as a dipping sauce for a burrito, or put it on your eggs (yes please!). I adore this recipe and it will be in standard rotation for all of my days.

    • — Meredith Ferris on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • This recipe is my jam! I literally make it all the time, it is so delicious. I usually use already cut up chicken pieces (usually thighs) and grill the chicken. The sauce is so addictive, it’s like Red Hot, you can put that sh*t on anything. This was my first recipe I made from Once upon a chef and I have made countless since finding this site. I literally have so many go to’s from your site. It’s the first place I go when I’m looking for a recipe.

    • — Susan DiMaggio on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • This is my go to for dinner parties because you can do everything ahead. I always serve it with roasted potatoes because the green sauce can go on everything. Aside from that, it’s also delicious and unique. Thanks Jen

    • — Grace Saunders on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • The green sauce is amazing. We put it on all meats and all veggies. My whole family loves it. Easy and quick to make. We keep it in a jar in the frig and enjoy it all week.

    • — HB on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • Hello Jenn. I have made this recipe numerous times before, but never left a review until now. This is my favorite way to cook chicken. The green sauce is delicious and also goes well with other dishes. Thank you for sharing your recipe!

    • — Thuy on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • Made this for my sisters last summer, they where happy,and empress with my cooking,
    Merci

    • — suzanne bussiere on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • I forgot to add my five stars! Actually, it’s off the chart!!!

    • — Debbie Perrilloux on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • when I first read this recipe I was hesitant and the amount of herbs. I’m a skilled cook, but I have my things and this was outside of my comfort zone. Wow! Am I glad I took the leap. Those herbs I was afraid of imparted SO Much flavor and the recipe was truly an easy one to whip up. The whole family loved. Even my son who believes green things should be eliminated from our diets. If you’re on the fence as I was, give it a try and you won’t be disappointed!

    • — Debbie T. on January 28, 2021
    • Reply

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