El Pollo Loco Chicken

"El Pollo Loco knock-off recipe. This is it, from Nancy Berry from the Orange County Register newspaper. The company used to sell a dry seasoning packet that you just added the juice too, but I cant find it anymore. This is as close as you will get to the origianal"
photo by Gillian Spence photo by Gillian Spence
photo by Gillian Spence
Ready In:
24hrs 48mins
1 chicken dinner


  • 6 ounces pineapple juice
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 12 teaspoon salt
  • 12 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled
  • 18 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 14 teaspoon mild chili pepper, remove stem and seeds from chiles, finely minced (Anaheim or California)
  • 8 drops yellow food coloring (but accurate) (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 4 lbs frying chicken, cut up


  • Marinate chicken in zip-lock bag over-nite.
  • Reserve 1/4 cup marinade to baste while cooking, making sure the chicken cooks on both sides minutes AFTER basting the final time--we don't want our Italian friend Sal Monilla to show up :-).
  • Grill over indirect heat, turning 4 times, 12 minutes each time.
  • Serve with your favorite tortillas, rice and Borracho beans.

Questions & Replies

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  1. I doubt El Pollo Loco adds yellow food coloring! I'm going to try tumeric.
  2. This is the TRUE recipe that El Pollo uses; I think it's funny one reviewer said "didn't taste anything like it." Hahahah :) Just goes to show you that you can't believe all reviewers.
  3. This was great, it really does taste like EPL. With the overnight marinating time, the flavors fully permeate the chicken for a juicy flavorful result.
  4. This is an absolutely wonderful marinade for chicken that you must try. I found this recipe in the same newspaper several years ago and have made it many times over. It is one that I always go back to and it smells/tastes great. I use dried California mild chili peppers with fine results. Definitely a keeper!
  5. I tried this recipe as written and was disappointed. The flavor was not even close to the restaurant's chicken. It is in need of some major overhaul. It lacked flavor. I am going to try again with more spices and more lime flavor. I will let you know later if I have cured the flavor problem



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