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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.

Peruvian-Style Roast Chicken with 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 doubles as 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

  • What’s the best way to prepare/cook this recipe using boneless breasts? Help!! Lol I am vegan and am cooking a plant based saltaldo but adding chicken for a love interest and I need to make sure it turns out amazing 🤣 i feel like i always mess up when I try to cook meat

    • — Elizabeth on February 24, 2024
    • Reply
    • Hi Elizabeth, 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. Hope your love interest enjoys! 😊

      • — Jenn on February 26, 2024
      • Reply
  • Delicious! This does make a good amount of sauce, especially for 2 people, but i will use it on shrimp or fish next. would also be great on boiled potatoes or rice.

    • — charrington on February 15, 2024
    • Reply
  • I made this recipe last night – the chicken and the green sauce were both so tasty. I have lots of extra green sauce that I’d hate to waste. Can it be frozen?

    • — Bea on February 15, 2024
    • Reply
    • Hi Bea, Glad you enjoyed it; unfortunately, I don’t think it would freeze well – sorry!

      • — Jenn on February 15, 2024
      • Reply
      • Then we’ll just keep enjoying it this week!
        I’ve also made your blueberry muffin recipe and mandel bread with my granddaughter – together on zoom – as we live in different states. She also loves your recipes.

        • — Bea on February 15, 2024
        • Reply
        • How sweet that you did that with your granddaughter over Zoom! ❣️

          • — Jenn on February 16, 2024
          • Reply
  • This dish is simply amazing and we’ve made it many times for guests and I still marvel. I want to make it again but not have the carving time at the end, hence the question: I was wondering what Jenn would think about cutting up the chicken in advance, marinating it the same, and then cooking it (adjusting for cooking time). Would she recommend this approach or should we just stay with our tried and true following-the-recipe as is approach?

    • — Alexis on February 12, 2024
    • Reply
    • Alexis, so glad you like it and it’s perfectly fine to cut up the chicken into pieces. I’d follow the cooking instructions from this recipe.

      • — Jenn on February 13, 2024
      • Reply
  • Amazing every time! So flavorful (the chicken and the sauce), so juicy…this recipe has become a family favorite. Thanks Jen!

    • — Dee on January 19, 2024
    • Reply
  • Amazing recipe. We use boneless chicken thighs since whole chickens are expensive, faster cook time too! I use exactly the same amount of marinade for 4-5 lbs of thighs, adding a bit more olive oil if needed to coat everything. Flavors delightful as written however I only make half the amount of green sauce specified. First few times we had way too much leftover. Thanks Jenn!

    • — Emily on January 10, 2024
    • Reply
  • Love your recipes! I would like to make for a larger group-8 people. What would you recommend?

    • — Anisha on January 9, 2024
    • Reply
    • Hi Anisha, so glad you like the recipes! I’d double everything to serve eight. The cook time for the chickens may be a touch longer b/c your oven will be more crowded. (You’ll know they’re done when the juices run clear when you cut between the thigh and leg.) Hope everyone enjoys!

      • — Jenn on January 9, 2024
      • Reply
      • Great! Will be trying this weekend. Thank so much for the reply.

        • — Anisha on January 9, 2024
        • Reply
  • I don’t know I’ve ever eaten a better roast chicken. The rub alone is wonderful, but the sauce??? Oh man, puts it over the top.
    I did spatchcock the bird and rested it on onion slices. Resulted in onions basically braised in the juices and rub- free side!

    This recipe is as good as it gets! Well done!!!!

    • — Kevin Maloy on January 7, 2024
    • Reply
  • Delicious! I made this today and it was absolutely delicious. I made a few modifications. First, I didn’t have a proper rack so I grabbed the little oven rack from my toaster and placed it vertically on the oven rack so that the grills were perpendicular. Second, the thought of doing a whole chicken overwhelmed me. So, I did a half chicken with the skin on. I cut the ingredients to my liking, keeping the full quantities for spices. Third, I added some mint, cumin, extra garlic and a green chili to the green sauce. The cumin kicked it up a little in flavor, though I know some folks might find what I did overpowering. I just love garlic and cumin.

    Another delight!

    • — Priya on January 7, 2024
    • Reply
  • This is absolutely divine! The sauce is so versatile as well. We’ve made it so many times now it’s a staple of our house

    • — Zeee on January 6, 2024
    • Reply
  • Hello,
    Would it be okay to cook the chicken in a roasting pan without a rack?

    • — Jessica on January 3, 2024
    • Reply
    • Sure — you just won’t have crispy skin on the bottom.

      • — Jenn on January 4, 2024
      • Reply
      • Thanks!
        Your recipes are always delicious 😋

        • — Jessica on January 4, 2024
        • Reply
  • This recipe is so so good. The chicken is so juicy and delicious. We loved it!

    • — Kay on December 2, 2023
    • Reply
  • This looks amazing! Question is about the mayo. Can I omit that? Add more sour cream or yogurt?
    Thanks Jenn!

    • — Chowlover on November 17, 2023
    • Reply
    • Yes, I think you could get away with subbing sour cream Greek yogurt for it. You’ll want to cut back on the lime juice a bit though, as that adds additional tang. Hope that helps!

      • — Jenn on November 17, 2023
      • Reply
      • We had this for Thanksgiving and it was amazing!! Didn’t have sour cream so used Greek yogurt, otherwise made it exactly how it was written. Will do again and again…

        • — Whwu on November 24, 2023
        • Reply
    • I’m not Jenn, and I’m sure you’ve made this long-ago now, but if anyone comes across this recipe with the same question – YES, it 100% works great with plain Greek yogurt in place of sour cream. I’ve done it with both whole milk and the low-fat/5% Greek yogurt – I prefer the whole milk, but the 5% is pretty good too. I’d probably avoid the fat-free kind, though I haven’t tried that myself.

      I don’t do as Jenn recommends and scale back the lime juice, and I haven’t noticed it being too tangy but I tend to like tangy foods so if you’re more sensitive to that, probably a good idea to scale back a bit.

      • — Heather on January 1, 2024
      • Reply
  • I’m not much of a chicken lover, but this was A+. Thanks Jen.

    • — Jean Manos on November 11, 2023
    • Reply
  • Hi Jenn -I’m a BIG fan of your wonderful recipes and when I saw this one I thought I would love to make it for my family, but our son-in-law is severely allergic to dairy. Thought I was home free until I saw the 1/4 C of sour cream – 🙁 – is it possible to make the sauce without it??

    • — Bonnie S. on November 9, 2023
    • Reply
    • Bonnie, so glad you like the recipes! I wouldn’t omit it, but you can replace the sour cream with a non-dairy version or non-dairy yogurt.

      • — Jenn on November 10, 2023
      • Reply
  • My friend and her family have been RAVING about this dish. Knowing my passion for cooking, and love of all things Jenn Siegel recipes, FINALLY made the time to prepare this. It was NO exaggeration to say this is one of the most jaw dropping good recipes I’ve ever made. Thanks, AGAIN, Jenn!!!

    • — Debbie Van Blaricom on November 6, 2023
    • Reply
  • I followed the recipe exactly with the exception of a half the jalapeño for the sauce and it was delicious! I also served it with the Mexican rice. My family loved it and we will definitely make again! Thank you Jenn!

    • — Jeanne on November 6, 2023
    • Reply
  • This was absolutely delish. Used bone in skin on chicken thighs but otherwise followed the recipe step by step. A new favourite as it can be prepared the night before!

    • — andrea mann on November 4, 2023
    • Reply
  • love this recipe and many on the site. you have a great range of essential recipes across different cuisines and flavors, always accessible but delicious. great place to start a search for classic or new recipes. thanks!

    • — evan on November 2, 2023
    • Reply
  • It’s so amazing that something so simple to make can pack such a flavor punch. Jen, this recipe is fabulous! I’ve made it at least a dozen times, and the sauce itself more times than I can count and use it as a condiment 🙂

    • — Lauri P on November 2, 2023
    • Reply
  • Hi Jenn,

    Sounds delicious! Can I substitute yogurt for the sour cream?
    Thanks!

    • — SF Ana on October 29, 2023
    • Reply
    • Yep – enjoy!

      • — Jenn on October 30, 2023
      • Reply
  • Hi Jenn!
    I’ve been a fan of your website for a while and love using many of your recipes. I have 2 questions please. I bought an almost 8 pound chicken and thought I should double the marinade. However, I made a mistake copying the ingredients and added 4 tbsps of paprika instead of tsps! Luckily it is sweet paprika but I’m not sure of what to do in case it’s too spicy. I was thinking of adding sore olive oil before I roast it just to cut down the amount… do you have any other ideas as I’m cooking it for company tomorrow..
    Also, how long should I cook this larger chicken?
    Thanks for sharing such delicious recipes!
    PS.. I didn’t rate it yet as we haven’t tasted it yet… but the sauce is delicious!

    • — Elyse on October 28, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Elyse, Thanks for your nice words about the recipes – so glad you like them! I may be weighing in too late to help, but the added paprika shouldn’t make the chicken spicy (assuming you used sweet paprika). As you suggested, I think your best option is to add more olive oil. And it’s hard to say for sure how long the chicken will take to cook, I guesstimate it will be about two hours but, to take out any guesswork, I’d use an instant read thermometer to be sure. (You’re looking for it to reach 165°.)

      • — Jenn on October 31, 2023
      • Reply
  • I made this tonight and we LOVED it! I had skinless, boneless chicken thighs available so I put them in the marinade yesterday and grilled them on my stove top on a cast iron griddle. The green sauce was delicious and you will want to slather it on everything! We served with the chicken with cilantro, scallion rice and green beans. My family really enjoyed this meal. Thank you for sharing the recipe.

    • — Karen H on October 12, 2023
    • Reply
  • This was the second recipe I’ve tried of yours (newbie here!) and it was outstanding! Super easy to make and easy clean up too. I followed the recipe to a tee but was only able to get a 5lb chicken so just cooked it a bit longer. The chicken and sauce tasted exactly like it does at the famous Pio Pio in NYC! Thank you!

    • — Wendy Wels on October 12, 2023
    • Reply
  • I used the marinade recipe only for soft chicken tacos, definitely a keeper

    • — Sherry on October 7, 2023
    • Reply
  • This was delicious!! The chicken was soo tender and full of flavor. Definitely will make this again!!

    • — Felicia on September 25, 2023
    • Reply
  • Loved this recipe. I altered the cook time because I could only find a 5.3 lb whole chicken. I used the bottom rack of the oven at 450 degrees for 1 hr then wrapped it in foil for 30 minutes. Amazing!

    • — Sarah Shadix on September 17, 2023
    • Reply

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