Total Time
Prep 18 mins
Cook 30 mins

Chicken smothered with onions, or pollo encebollado, is a popular homestyle dish throughout Central America. It's an incredibly easy dish to make and full of flavor. This is found on most Central American restaurant menus.

Ingredients Nutrition

  • 2 12-3 lbs chicken, cut into serving pieces
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • 3 onions, sliced thinly
  • 1 cup water or 1 cup stock
  • 12 cup white wine
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt and pepper, as needed


  1. Season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a large sauté pan or pot over medium-high flame.
  2. Working in batches, brown the chicken pieces in the hot oil and remove to a plate.
  3. Pour off all but 2-3 tablespoons of oil and add the onions to the same pan. Reduce heat to medium-low and sauté until cooked down and just beginning to brown, 10-15 minutes.
  4. Increase heat to medium-high and return the chicken pieces to the pot. Add the water or stock, wine, bay leaf, salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for 25-35 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through and tender.
  5. Adjust seasoning and serve with rice.
Most Helpful

5 5

this recipe is delicious. I have ben cooking it since i was a kid, with my mom. this recipe is not from central america nor colombian solely. we are from Cuba. My mother says her grandmother use to do this all the time. I think its a Hispanic dish. Which the Spainird probably took it all over the Americas, when they went conquering.

5 5

Loved this chicken!!! I made this as written using a chicken quarter and served it with rice. The only thing I changed was to take the chicken out of the pan and then pour the sauce/onions into a bowl and then returned the chicken to pan to crisp up the skin a little again. Very simple with ingreidents I always have on hand. Thanks for sharing the recipe. Made for ZWT 7.

5 5

This was great! Not hard to make and it seemed to me like something everyone would like! My family sure did enjoy it :) I didn't serve this over rice, but that would have been a really great way to enjoy all the sauce. Made for ZWT 7.