This Peruvian chicken is a whole chicken marinated in a zesty variety of herbs and spices, then roasted to golden brown perfection. Serve your chicken with a creamy green sauce on the side, and watch the rave reviews come in!
We have a local Peruvian restaurant that has the absolute best food, every time I go I order the rotisserie chicken and a ceviche sampler. I decided it was time to learn how to make Peruvian chicken at home, and the results are nothing short of spectacular.
Peruvian Chicken ingredients
This recipe calls for a marinade which contains an assortment of ingredients, many of which you may already have in the pantry.
- Lime Juice: Freshly squeezed juice is best here. In a pinch, you can substitute a different citrus juice such as lemon or orange.
- Soy Sauce: If you’re sensitive to salt, you can use low sodium soy sauce. Try tamari sauce if you’re avoiding gluten.
- Garlic: You’ll want the garlic pieces to be tiny so they blend well in the marinade. Use a microplane or garlic press for best results.
- Cumin: Ground cumin adds a smoky, complex flavor to the chicken.
- Oregano: Look for Mexican dried oregano if possible.
- Aji Amarillo Paste: This paste can be found in jars online or in the international foods aisle of some larger grocery stores. It is a Peruvian staple made with spicy yellow peppers. If you can’t locate this paste, you can use cayenne pepper or a chili paste such as sambal oelek or sriracha.
- Aji Panca Paste: Aji panca paste is made with a dried red pepper that has a smoky flavor and a mild heat level. If you can’t locate this paste, you can use smoked paprika instead.
- Honey: The honey adds the slightest touch of sweetness, and is meant to accentuate and balance the other flavors in the marinade.
How do you make Peruvian chicken?
Stir together all the marinade ingredients, then pour the marinade all over the chicken. Make sure to get the marinade under the skin of the chicken and into the cavity for maximum flavor. Let the chicken sit in the marinade for at least 2 hours, or up to 18 hours. Roast the chicken in the oven until brown and tender, basting periodically. While the chicken is cooking, make the green sauce by blending together cilantro with sour cream, mayonnaise, jalapeno, lime juice and seasonings. Carve the chicken, then serve immediately with the sauce.
Tips for the perfect chicken
- You can double the marinade amount, and marinate one chicken for now, then place a second chicken in a bag of marinade and freeze for later use.
- This chicken will stay fresh in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
- Don’t worry if you’re unable to locate the aji amarillo and aji panca pastes. The chicken will still be great with the substitutions!
- This recipe also works with chicken piecs such as drumsticks, bone-in chicken thighs or bone-in chicken breasts.
- While I use the oven because it’s a great cooking method year round, Peruvian chicken is also great on the grill.
How do you know when chicken is done?
I use a digital probe thermometer to gauge when my chicken is done. Insert the probe into the thickest part of the chicken, which is typically in the lower part of the thigh. Be sure the thermometer is not touching bone. The chicken is ready to eat when the thermometer registers at least 165 degrees F.
This Peruvian chicken is so good that you’ll find yourself making it on a regular basis! It’s the perfect blend of smoky and savory flavors, and the cilantro sauce just takes the whole dish over the top.
More chicken recipes you’ll enjoy
Peruvian Chicken Video
For the chicken
- 5 pound whole chicken
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon garlic finely minced
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 1 tablespoon aji amarillo paste can substitute 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper or equal amount of sambal oelek or sriracha
- 2 teaspoons aji panca paste can substitute equal amount of smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon honey
For the sauce
- 1/3 cup sour cream
- 1/3 cup mayonnaise
- 1 jalapeno stem and seeds removed, coarsely chopped
- 1 cup cilantro leaves
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon aji amarillo paste
- 2 teaspoons lime juice
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic chopped
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon honey
For the chicken
- Place the olive oil, soy sauce, garlic, lime juice, aji amarillo paste, aji panca paste, cumin, oregano, salt, pepper and honey in a bowl. Stir until well combined.
- Place the chicken on a rimmed baking sheet. Pour the marinade over the chicken, and rub the marinade under the skin of the chicken and in the cavity.
- Cover the chicken and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Uncover the chicken and tie the legs together with kitchen twine.
- Tuck the wing tips underneath the chicken.
- Place in the oven. Bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes or until the temperature in the thickest part of the chicken registers 165 degrees F.
- If the chicken looks like it is browning too quickly you can cover it with foil.
- Remove the chicken from the oven and let it rest for at least 5 minutes.
For the sauce
- Place all the sauce ingredients in the bowl of a food processor. Process until sauce is smooth.
- Carve the chicken, then serve with the sauce.