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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


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


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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  • Hi, Jen! Love, love, love your recipes! We needed to come up with a Peruvian appetizer for our wine club which is serving South American wine. I’d like to use this recipe in some way. Can I make these into wings with the dipping sauce or what would you suggest?

    • — Terri on February 2, 2023
    • Reply
    • Sounds like a great pairing with the wine! Wings would work here – I’d put them on a rack over a cookie sheet at 400° for approximately 50 minutes, flipping halfway through. I’d love to hear how they turn out!

      • — Jenn on February 3, 2023
      • Reply
  • Once again Jenn, you’ve outdone yourself. This was fantastic! So moist and that green sauce was to die for. The only change I made out of necessity was I had to use a mix of jalapeños and green Thai chilis. I swore I had more jalapeños in my freezer but alas…it still turned out fantastic!

    • — Judy on January 31, 2023
    • Reply
  • I have been using this recipe for years. ABSOLUTELY delicious!!!.

    • — judy on January 29, 2023
    • Reply
  • This was the most delicious dish! I followed the recipe because exactly. I almost omitted the jalapeño because our older tummies do not handle heat well anymore but I decided to follow your instructions and instead removedALL seeds and membrane and included them in the green sauce. I’m so glad I did. I’ve never tasted jalapeño without the “heat” before now and it’s quite delicious. All together the chicken is wonderful with and without the green sauce but for us, the two of them were memorable. Thanks!

    • — Brenda Moore on January 29, 2023
    • Reply
  • I’ve already posted about how fantastic this chicken is, and I’ve been putting the green sauce on all sorts of stuff this week. I still have a lot left, and so my question is, can the green sauce be frozen? I’m thinking maybe no, due to the mayo…

    • — Jody on January 26, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Jody, I agree that it may not freeze well. Sorry!

      • — Jenn on January 30, 2023
      • Reply
  • Flavors were good but the salt is WAY TO MUCH, even though it calls or Kosher. Will make it again and reduce salt to 1 TEASPOON, not tablespoon.

    • — Sharon Quintero on January 23, 2023
    • Reply
    • Thank you. Parsley it is.

      • — Mommo on January 28, 2023
      • Reply
    • I didn’t fund this to be true.

      • — Brenda Moore on January 29, 2023
      • Reply
  • Jenn,
    I’ve used more and more of your recipes, bought your books and can honestly say each has been 5-stars! This was absolutely fantastic and didn’t change a thing – other than deleting the jalapeño (no one else likes spicy!). Your recipes continue to impress and they are definitely perfect for the entire family!

    • — Christopher N. on January 22, 2023
    • Reply
  • My Peruvian husband and stepdaughters said this tastes exactly like the chicken at home — even the teenage picky eater had two servings. Thanks for making me look like the cool stepmom!

    • — Lis on January 22, 2023
    • Reply
    • I almost omitted the jalapeño for the same reason but I decided to try it and followed her instructions to remove all seeds and membrane to remove the heat (“spicy”). The green sauce was fabulous – absolutely no heat in it but the flavor of the jalapeño. This is the first time I’ve tasted the jalapeño in a dish without the unwanted (to me) burning heat. Consider trying it – im so glad I did!

      • — Brenda Moore on January 29, 2023
      • Reply
  • This is one of your best recipes ever! My husband is from Peru and he loves it just like the rest of my family. Thank you so much

    • — Olga on January 22, 2023
    • Reply
  • Hi Jenn, first of all, your recipes are absolutely amazing! For the green sauce, I would like to substitute parsley and cumin for the cilantro as I am one of those folk who really dislike cilantro. Do you have any recommendations?

    • — Mary W on January 22, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Mary, what you want to do is perfectly fine with no other modifications. Enjoy!

      • — Jenn on January 23, 2023
      • Reply
  • Is there a different accompanying sauce you could recommend? None of us can abide cilantro.

    • — Mommo on January 22, 2023
    • Reply
    • You can stick with the sauce – I’d just replace the cilantro with flat-leaf parsley. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on January 23, 2023
      • Reply
  • One of the best chicken dishes I’ve made, and the sauce is good on EVERYTHING. Definitely a keeper.

    • — Jody on January 22, 2023
    • Reply
  • I may have already reviewed this recipe as I first made it probably 10 years ago. I work with a large number of Hispanic coworkers and one day we got Peruvian chicken. It was years before it was so widely available. I was hooked and wanted to see if I could make it myself. I found this recipe. It was the very first Once Upon a Chef recipe I ever made. It is fabulous, and even cooked in an oven its pretty darned close to authentic. I haven’t tried the rotisserie on my grill but that is what I plan to do. A few years later I ran across Once Upon a Chef again and am now totally and completely devoted to Jenn and her recipes. I always look to her first if I am in need of a recipe.

    • — Ann on January 22, 2023
    • Reply
  • I love this recipe. It is just delicious and the sauce can have many uses.

    • — Marjie on January 22, 2023
    • Reply
  • I can’t wait to make this!! One question: since you wait 20 minutes to carve the chicken, and the green sauce is in the refrigerator prior to serving, is the chicken served room temperature in the green sauce served cold? Or do you warm up the green sauce before serving?

    • — Susan Harf on January 19, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Susan, No, the chicken will still be hot when you cut it and the green sauce can be cold or you can take it out of the fridge while the chicken is cooking to get it close to room temperature. Hope that clarifies and that you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on January 19, 2023
      • Reply
  • Great recipe with tasty results. I marinated it overnight and put it on a rotisserie the next day. It turned out moist and delicious. Adding the marinade under the skin really infuses the flavor into the bird. I also love the green sauce and used only half a jalapeno pepper to give it a kick without it being overly spicy.

    • — BLM on January 15, 2023
    • Reply
  • Made this last evening – totally luscious – possibly the BEST roast chicken we’ve ever done/had and we’ve had many. Because I didn’t follow the #1 rule of cooking to read the WHOLE recipe first, I missed the marinade for 6 to 24 hours part … and only had 4 hours to marinade. It was still divine! And the sauce? Other worldly!! What a delicious way to kick off 2023! Another amazing recipe, Jenn. Big thanks!

    • — Sally Wright on January 3, 2023
    • Reply

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