Peruvian-Style Roast Chicken with Green Sauce

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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
  • ¼ 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
  • ½ cup mayonnaise, best quality such as Hellmann's
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice, from one lime
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ⅛ 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 ⅔ of the marinade evenly underneath the skin, and spread the remaining ⅓ 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: 614
  • Fat: 43 g
  • Saturated fat: 10 g
  • Carbohydrates: 7 g
  • Sugar: 3 g
  • Fiber: 1 g
  • Protein: 49 g
  • Sodium: 694 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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Comments

  • Hi Jenn! I’ve made this recipe before for my family of 4, and we love it! Here’s my question…we’re hosting 14 for the holidays, but dinner is directly after services, so I won’t be home until just before we eat. Any suggestions on how to make this ahead and just reheat? Maybe make with chicken pieces instead and reheat? I just hate for it to dry out, which is why I love it as a whole chicken, although I’d have to make 2 or 3 for 14 people…thoughts? Thank you!! (And Shana Tova)

    • — Melissa B. on September 21, 2022
    • Reply
    • Shana Tova! You can make this ahead and reheat it (and if you use chicken pieces they will reheat more quickly than a whole chicken). I’d reheat it in a 300° oven for about 20 minutes or until hot in the middle. That will also crisp up the skin a bit.

      • — Jenn on September 21, 2022
      • Reply
  • This looks delicious! I was wondering if if could use Cornish hens with this recipe. What would the cooking directions be?

    • — Cindy on September 13, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Cindy, I think it would. I’d roast it in a 375-degree oven for 60 minutes or until a thermometer inserted into thickest part of the meat registers 165°F. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on September 14, 2022
      • Reply
  • Bonjour Jenn,
    Excellent recipe. I did it on my grill with a “flatten open whole chicken” (“crapaudine”), cooking it for 90 min.
    The green sauce is divine (and great with homemade french fries). 🙂
    Thank you.

    • — Martine on September 3, 2022
    • Reply
  • I’ve been using this recipe for years. It’s always delicious. The only changes I make is to the sauce. I’m not a big fan of mayo. So I decrease the mayo & increase the sour cream (I use 1/3 cup mayo & 1/3 cup sour cream). It comes out fabulous. If you ever want to impress someone, then this is the dinner to make! I always serve it with a side of sautéed veggies (baby carrots, zucchini, etc.). Sooo good!

    • — Angela on August 14, 2022
    • Reply
  • Hello I’ve tried this recipe and it is wonderful! This time I’m trying it out with about 8 pounds of chicken leg quarters. Is this still the same process for cooking ?

    • — Joanna on August 3, 2022
    • Reply
    • Glad you like it! f you’re using chicken quarters, I’d preheat the oven to 450 degrees and roast for 35-40 minutes, or until the skin is golden brown. Turn the heat down to 375 degrees; continue to roast for 15-20 minutes more, or until done. Chicken should be done in less than an hour; do not overcook. Enjoy!

      • — Jenn on August 3, 2022
      • Reply
  • Loved this recipe! We used chicken thighs instead-marinated them and then broiled them on a rack on a pan in oven for 20 min. Sliced and served over rice with the green sauce. Was delicious and will definitely make again. Thanks for great recipe!!

    • — Heather on July 19, 2022
    • Reply
  • I cut the recipe in half for two bone in breasts, I decreased the cumin since I know I don’t love too much cumin let it marinate for 2 hours and threw them in the air fryer at 390 for 28 minutes, it was spectacular!! Green sauce- I followed exactly but it didn’t thicken! Delish regardless!! Found my new favorite chicken!

    • — Sandy on July 13, 2022
    • Reply
  • SOOO good! I don’t even like chicken! I usually cook for my family and try a small piece just to taste it. This recipe is amazing and the sauce complements it so well! I ate every piece of my chicken!

    My recipe changes:
    I squeezed two full limes into the marinade and 1full lime into the sauce.
    I also only put a .25 cup of mayonnaise instead of the .5 since I don’t like heavy mayonnaise in my food.
    Also, instead of a full chicken I used 4 thigh pieces and then grilled them.

    This recipe is truly amazing people!

    • — Rayne on July 11, 2022
    • Reply
  • I have made this recipe multiple times and absolutely love it! This sauce is amazing! I do have a question – could you and how would you do this on the grill? I’d probably use thighs and drumsticks. Thanks!

    • — Jocelyn Sims on July 9, 2022
    • Reply
    • So glad you like it! Yes, you can grill thighs and drumsticks. I’d use the guidance from this recipe. Enjoy!

      • — Jenn on July 10, 2022
      • Reply
  • Ugh I thought I had sweet paprika in the house and don’t. Just smoked paprika and mild chili powder. What should I use?
    Also using skinless bones less chicken thighs… 400 degrees for 30 min sound right?

    • — Holly on June 30, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Holly, I’d use 1 teaspoon smoked paprika and 1 teaspoon chili powder. And for thighs, that sounds about right I would guesstimate they’ll take 30 to 35 minutes. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on July 1, 2022
      • Reply
  • Have made this in the past for guests and they always love it. My daughter and her boyfriend were here tonight, and everyone really enjoyed it. The sauce is the key. My husband kept complimenting me on it as we cleaned the kitchen. It is a winner.

    • — Mary M Ward on June 19, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Jenn,
      I’m sorry if you’ve answered this before. I searched thru a lot of comments but didn’t see my question…
      Do you heat the green sauce or serve cold with the chicken?
      By the way, I absolutely LOVE your recipes! I’ve tried many of them and sing your praises to my friends – you and I are on a first name basis now…”yep, this is one of Jenn’s recipes again!” 😍

      • — Chari on June 21, 2022
      • Reply
      • So glad you like the recipes, Chari! The green sauce is served cold. 🙂

        • — Jenn on June 21, 2022
        • Reply
  • This was absolutely fabulous!!!!!! Made as written except jalapeños in green sauce

    • — Julie on June 16, 2022
    • Reply
  • Made as written, except I used 2.5 lbs of boneless skinless chicken thighs. Baked at 375 degrees for 25-30 mins until a meat thermometer read 160 degrees (pull it out and let the rest time cook the remaining 5). Perfection!!

    • — Emily H. on June 9, 2022
    • Reply
  • I love all the recipes I’ve made of yours Jenn! Thank you for helping those of us who are mediocre cooks on our own make delicious meals.

    I want to make this with bone in skin on thighs, but I’m arule follower. 😂🙈 Can you tell me what changes I’d need to make with cooking times, etc to accomplish this?

    Thanks!!

    • — Stephanie on June 7, 2022
    • Reply
    • So glad you like the recipes, Stephanie! For bone-in skin-on thighs,keep the oven temperature the same, but reduce the cooking time. I’d start checking them at about 50 – 55 minutes. (Also, place the chicken pieces on a rack so the skin crisps up.) Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on June 7, 2022
      • Reply
  • This was fantastic! My husband cooked it on the charcoal grill instead of in the oven and it tasted just like our favorite takeout Peruvian chicken. And that sauce was to die for. I could’ve licked my plate!

    • — JoJo on June 4, 2022
    • Reply
  • Question: What type of paprika do you recommend – Sweet California, Hungarian Sweet or Hot, or Spanish Smoked? (It probably depends on whether the paprika is there more for the flavor or the color.) Am eager to try the recipe!

    • — MKT on June 3, 2022
    • Reply
    • I use sweet paprika here, but feel free to use one of the others if you’d like. Hope you enjoy the chicken!

      • — Jenn on June 4, 2022
      • Reply
  • Hi Jen
    Anyway to “cool” down green sauce? Guess my chiles/seeds were ??
    Thank you

    • — JJ on May 30, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi JJ, The only way is to add more of everything except for the chiles. Hope that helps!

      • — Jenn on May 30, 2022
      • Reply
      • It worked!

        • — JJ on May 31, 2022
        • Reply
        • 👍

          • — Jenn on May 31, 2022
          • Reply
  • Followed the recipe the first time I made this and spatchcocked two small chickens. Both were moist and flavorful. I cheated on the sauce and used a tube of cilantro paste and it was delicious. Make sure your mayonnaise is fresh otherwise it will taste off and the chicken is too good to ruin with old mayo (this is from experience, unfortunately). And live large – keep all of the jalapeno seeds in the mix, it really gets a nice after taste zing. I agree with other commenters that the sauce is so good you could eat it by spoonfuls, the melding of the creamy with the citrus and garlic is amazing.

    • — Marilyn on May 27, 2022
    • Reply
  • So this chicken was so good I’ve actually catered several meals with this as the star. The first time I hosted my entire family (both sides) for Christmas, I made this as a pre-dinner and you would have thought they’d never eaten before. Previous to that, my mother in law had me cater a family dinner with it BEFORE SHE WAS MY MOTHER IN LAW. I’ve been making it for years now and every single time it’s amazing. I use a cast iron Dutch oven to cook it and it does great.

    • — AJ on May 26, 2022
    • Reply
  • I’m confused by the first picture of the marinade – it looks like sour cream is in the blender bowl? I have the chicken marinating overnight but should I add sour cream to it?

    • — Marilyn on May 16, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Marilyn, that’s actually the roughly chopped garlic (but I agree that it looks like sour cream)! Hope you enjoy the chicken. 🙂

      • — Jenn on May 16, 2022
      • Reply
  • Hello Jen, can i use chicken wings for this recipe?

    • — Kelly on May 9, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Kelly, Sure — I’d put them on a rack over a baking sheet and roast them at 400° for about 50 minutes, flipping halfway through. Please LMK how they come out!

      • — Jenn on May 9, 2022
      • Reply
  • SO good! This was an interesting and super yummy recipe. Thank you so much, Jenn! I did it with all drumsticks and used your roasting technique from your tandoori chicken recipe.

    • — Tamara Y. on April 30, 2022
    • Reply
  • Oh my goodness – another hit from Jenn! I had boneless skinless breasts and was a bit skeptical of this marinade with the lime juice but tried it anyway – grilled outdoors and they turned out moist and so tasty! The sauce is amazing, too, and I’m sure I’ll be making it for other meals or as some have mentioned as a dip for veggies. Absolute winner!

    • — Megan on April 19, 2022
    • Reply
  • Delicious, moist chicken, and a versatile sauce. I think the green sauce is a copycat for El Torito restaurant’s Mexican Caesar dressing. It’s delicious on avocados, an omelet, and the chicken, lol. I’ll try it on more things this week, I’m sure! Thank you for the great recipe – looking forward to cooking it again.

    • — Valency on April 18, 2022
    • Reply
  • Another great recipe from Jen! Used bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs since that’s all we had in the freezer. Had my husband slow grill the chicken because the weather was nice. Otherwise followed the recipe exactly. We’ll be making it again next week. So good.

    • — Nina on April 15, 2022
    • Reply
  • This is the best roast chicken I have ever made-it turned out amazing! Also, I want green sauce on everything now.

    • — Kristin on April 14, 2022
    • Reply
  • I will add to the more than 1,000 comments! This meal was delicious. It was full of flavor, the chicken was so tender and moist, and it got rave reviews from my family. I marinated the chicken overnight, and roasted the chicken for the time Jenn instructed. As other reviewers said, the green sauce is so good, and can be used with other foods as a dip, etc. I also made the suggested sides (Mexican Rice and French Green Beans with Shallots). The whole meal was amazing and will definitely be made again. Thank you, Jenn, for always making me look good with your easy-to-follow and flavorful recipes ❤️

    • — Lynne on April 14, 2022
    • Reply
  • just started marinating my chicken-so looking forward to dinner tomorrow night! i was a bit curious about the amount of cumin… 1 tablespoon seems like a lot and usually ingredients are listed from greatest quantity to least… is the 1 tablespoon accurate?

    • — shelly on April 13, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Shelly, 1 tablespoon of cumin may sound like a lot but the flavors are well balanced. And I actually list my ingredients in the order in which they’re used. Hope that clarifies and that you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on April 13, 2022
      • Reply
      • Thank you for listing ingredients that way it makes the prep work SO much easier!

        • — Shannon C on July 15, 2022
        • Reply
  • I’m obsessed with Viva Chicken and I needed something comparable. My husband, myself and even our 1-year old agree that your recipe is better. Exceptional ingredients, instructions and the entire recipe was amazing. We made Arroz Chaufa and Broccolini to go along with it… so tasty! Excellent job, Jenn!

    • — Octavia on April 10, 2022
    • Reply
  • This was delicious. I marinated chicken wings in the spice mix for a few hours, baked at 425 for 30 minutes. Served roasted cauliflower, raw carrot and celery sticks to dip in the green sauce. We had sauce leftover and my husband liked it so much he put the green sauce on a grilled hamburger. I did add some siracha to the green sauce, because I didn’t use any ribs or seeds from the jalapeño.

    • — WENDY on April 10, 2022
    • Reply
  • Can I use this recipe for a turkey breast?

    • — Tamara on April 8, 2022
    • Reply
    • Sure, Tamara, that should work. Enjoy!

      • — Jenn on April 8, 2022
      • Reply
  • I really want to make this but have a real allergy to cilantro raw- can I replace it with basil or parsley?

    • — Laurie Welsh on April 7, 2022
    • Reply
    • Sure!

      • — Jenn on April 7, 2022
      • Reply
  • Wow this turned out so delicious!! Trader Joe’s carries organic whole chicken with all the gizzards and parts removed to make things easier 🙂 I used the air fryer and it only took ~40 minutes to cook. Served with lightly fried potatoes and corn on the cob. The sauce was a perfect balance of creamy with a slight kick. Bookmarking this to repeat again!

    • — Mich on April 4, 2022
    • Reply
  • Amazing recipe, as usual. I have a large amount of green sauce left. I’ve been using it on all things, most recently eggs. How long will the sauce keep? Thanks for helping me create tasty meals for my family!

    • — MrsDLA on April 3, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi, So glad the chicken was a hit! The sauce will keep in the fridge for 4 to 5 days.

      • — Jenn on April 4, 2022
      • Reply
    • I freeze any leftover sauce in small serving size containers. Works great.

      • — Evita on July 30, 2022
      • Reply
  • Hi Jenn
    That sauce is to die for! Can the leftover sauce be frozen?

    • — Susan on March 30, 2022
    • Reply
    • Glad you like the sauce; unfortunately, I don’t think it would freeze well – sorry!

      • — Jenn on March 31, 2022
      • Reply
  • Hi Jenn,
    I love both of your cookbooks. The recipes are always a hit! My favorite company recipe is this one. I’m hoping you can give me a professional hint. When I cook the chicken at the 450 temp for 30 minutes, it smokes like crazy and I have to open doors and windows. When I then turn it down to 375, it’s much better. Can I bake the chicken only at the 375 temp for 45-50 minutes (I just use chicken breasts/bone and skin on)? Thanks!

    • — Rose on March 28, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Rose, So glad you like the cookbooks! Yes, I think what you’re suggesting should be fine (and sorry that the recipe, as written, has smoked up your kitchen)!

      • — Jenn on March 31, 2022
      • Reply
    • Thanks Jenn, I’m going to give it a try next week. Even if it smokes, it’s worth it! 🙂

      One more question, as far as oven temperatures….do you trust the temp you set on the oven or the separate thermometer (I bought a new one) that is placed in the oven? I’m finding that at certain temps they aren’t the same. I’ve been going with the one in the oven. Thanks again!

      • — Rose on April 6, 2022
      • Reply
      • I’d go with the one that you’ve placed in the oven. 🙂

        • — Jenn on April 6, 2022
        • Reply
  • Made this last night along with your recommended Mexican rice. With the unique sauce drizzled over, it was SO flavorful!! Had leftovers so I went ahead and removed the meat from the bone and (along with most of the skin) and mixed it in with the rice.
    Loving also that all the preparation can really be done the day before (marinating chicken, sauce and even the rice).

    • — Barbara on March 28, 2022
    • Reply
  • I love the recipe. It is a hit with my family. I bought your cookbook and all the recipes are amazing. I was wondering if I use skinless chicken breast, what would be the temperature and for how many minutes in the oven?

    • — Mimi on March 19, 2022
    • Reply
    • So glad you like it Mimi (and thanks for your support of the cookbook)! If you want to use boneless skinless breasts, I suggest using this marinade (and cooking method) instead. It will go beautifully with the green sauce here.

      • — Jenn on March 21, 2022
      • Reply
  • Oops! I accidentally marinated the chicken in the green sauce! Should I go with it or rinse it or what would you recommend?

    • — Cody Ukich on March 15, 2022
    • Reply
    • Oops! I’ve never marinated the chicken in the green sauce but at this point, I’d probably just go ahead with it. I’d love to hear how it turned out!

      • — Jenn on March 17, 2022
      • Reply

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