Pollo Encebollado

"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."
photo by diner524 photo by diner524
photo by diner524
photo by Chef Jean photo by Chef Jean
photo by IngridH photo by IngridH
photo by Baby Kato photo by Baby Kato
photo by Baby Kato photo by Baby Kato
Ready In:


  • 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


  • Season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a large sauté pan or pot over medium-high flame.
  • Working in batches, brown the chicken pieces in the hot oil and remove to a plate.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Adjust seasoning and serve with rice.

Questions & Replies

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  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. This was a very tasty dish. The combination of browning, then basically steaming the chicken made it very moist and tender, my only complaint is that I wished for more sauce. I used whole, bone in breasts this time, but will likely use thighs (my preferred piece) next time. Made for ZWT7- Emerald City Shakers
  5. My picky dh & I both enjoyed this tasty dish. What a treat it was, tender, moist chicken, sweet fried onions, and a beautiful white wine & stock sauce that was so velevety. All the elements of this dish work perfectly together. I served this with Rice With Onions, Garlic and Herbs for a truly memorable meal. I certainly understand why it is such a popular dish. Thank you so much for sharing a recipe that will be a repeat at my house. Made for ZWT-7 (Witchin Kitchen)



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