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

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.

Virginia D. May 20, 2014

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.

diner524 June 07, 2011

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.

Chef Jean June 04, 2011