Chipotle Chicken Copycat
Let’s learn how to make Chipotle’s chicken at home and even better! It’s packed with so much flavor and a great way to change up your meals if you’ve been needing some inspiration. Meal prep it ahead of time to throw together chipotle copycat bowls, salads, and tacos throughout the week.
The marinade is super simple that you probably already have everything on hand. The only ingredient you might be missing is the can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce.
- Olive Oil: You can use extra virgin or light olive oil. Feel free to use any oil you typically cook or marinade in.
- Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce: We will only use the adobo sauce, NOT the chipotle peppers. The peppers are spicy!
- Fresh Garlic: Make sure it’s finely minced. This can be swapped for garlic powder but fresh makes all the difference here especially if you have time to let it marinade overnight.
- Spices: Chili powder, salt, coriander, oregano, black pepper, and cumin. These are good spices to always have on hand.
To make it just like Chipotle, we’re using boneless & skinless chicken thighs. They’re super juicy because of their higher fat content! If you would like to make this with chicken breast, it’s totally possible too. But for the authentic Chipotle experience, use chicken thighs.
If you have the time, marinade the chicken the night before or morning of and keep it in the fridge covered. The flavors develop more if they have more time to sit together. This is completely optional though. I have made it without letting it sit and still SO GOOD.
What is Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce?
This is a secret weapon in the kitchen! It’s packed with sooo much flavor and it’s a really cheap ingredient to buy. You can find it in the international section of your grocery store, typically labeled as “Hispanic Foods.” They’re sold in cans or jars like this brand that can be found in Targets. Inside the can, there’s chipotle peppers and adobo sauce. We will only be using the adobo sauce in this recipe. You can use the chipotle peppers in a dish or sauce that you want to impart a spicy and smokey flavor in.
Besides marinading meat, I love using the adobo sauce to make a chipotle sauce. I just mix mayonnaise, sour cream, lime juice, adobo sauce, chili powder, and some honey. Try it out!
Tips & Notes
- Chicken thighs are a lot more juicy and the cut that Chipotle uses! However, you can also make this with breast meat.
- To save time on a busy day, marinade it the day before or the morning of so all you have to do is cook it when it’s time to eat.
- To store any leftovers for meal prep, just transfer it to an airtight container and keep in the fridge for 3 to 4 days.
How to Enjoy Chipotle Chicken
The possibilities are endless!
Homemade Chipotle Bowls: Make some cilantro lime rice or Spanish rice and add the chicken along with your favorite fixings. Some options are grilled bell peppers and onions like Chipotle fajitas, corn, lettuce, sour cream, avocado or guac, cheese, beans, pico de gallo, hot sauce, and salsa.
Salad: Add your favorite greens as the base and top it off with chicken and anything else you fancy in the perfect salad.
Tacos: This chicken is delicious for tacos! I added some shredded lettuce, tomatoes, and a cilantro sauce if you need some inspo.
If you have any questions about this recipe, let me know in the comments! If you make this, send me a picture on Instagram! I love seeing your remakes SO much.
Chipotle Chicken Copycat
- 2 pounds chicken thighs boneless and skinless
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 7 ounce can chipotle peppers in adobo paste remove the chipotle peppers
- 2 teaspoons fresh garlic or 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 1/2 to 2 teaspoon salt more to taste
- 1 teaspoon coriander
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- drizzle of vegetable oil for the pan
- chopped cilantro optional
- To a large bowl, add the chicken thighs, olive oil, chipotle adobo paste, chili powder, garlic, salt, coriander, oregano, black pepper, and cumin. Mix all together to coat the chicken evenly in the marinade.
- Heat a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Once it's hot, add a drizzle of oil to the pan. Add the chicken in, making sure not to crowd them. Cook in two batches if needed. Once golden brown on one side, about 5 to 6 minutes, flip over. Allow the other side to get golden brown, about 6 minutes. Add a splash of water to the pan (about 1/4 cup) and scrape the bottom of the pan to get all the crispy flavorful bits stuck at the bottom. Then drop the heat to low and cook for 1 to 2 more minutes or until the chicken is cooked through to the center.
- Take the chicken off the skillet and allow to cool slightly for 5 minutes. Then chop into small pieces. Add some juices from your pan back over the chicken for extra flavor. Also optional, add some chopped cilantro and mix.
- Enjoy over rice, in a taco, or in a salad!