Chipotle Chicken is marinated chicken thighs that are pan-fried and diced into bite-sized pieces to serve with a tortilla and all your favorite fixings. The best part about this recipe? The time! I tested and tested until I found a recipe that tasted exactly like Chipotle® but does not require overnight marinating or super special hard-to-find ingredients! Be sure to make Cilantro Rice for the perfect bowl!
Copycat Chipotle Chicken
If you have ever eaten at a Chipotle restaurant, you will love this recipe. Instead of waiting in line (they are popular around here), make your own chipotle flavored chicken to use in a burrito. Or, add some rice to a bowl, add the chicken, and top it with all your favorite fixings, from fajita veggies, fresh pico de gallo to cheese to sour cream. And, don’t forget the guacamole!
Chipotle Chicken Ingredients
Chicken Thighs: Just like at the popular chain restaurant, I used chicken thighs for this recipe. Go for boneless, skinless thighs. Thighs are dark meat and more flavorful than chicken breasts. However, for a healthier option, you could use boneless, skinless chicken breasts.
Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce: These sauced peppers give the chicken the flavor and a little bit of a kick. You can find cans of peppers in the Latin foods section at your local grocery store.
Marinating the Chicken
All you need for this marinade is a few simple ingredients. Simply add the coriander, cumin, a can of chipotle peppers in adobo suace, garlic, salt, and olive oil to a medium bowl and mix.
Place the boneless, skinless chicken thighs into a sealable plastic bag. Pour the marinade over the chicken, shake it up (carefully) to coat, and seal the bag shut. Place the coated chicken in the refrigerator to marinate for an hour. Now would be a great time to get all the fixings ready, including the cilantro rice, if you need to prepare any from scratch.
How to Make Chipotle Chicken
Once the chicken has had time to marinate for about an hour, it’s time to get it cooked and ready to enjoy! Add the chicken thighs into a large skillet and cook over medium heat. Each side should cook for 5-7 minutes. You know the chicken is cooked through when the internal temperature reaches 165°F.
After the chicken has been cooked, dice it into bite-sized pieces. Serve it warm in a tortilla with all your favorite toppings. Or, make it into a chipotle chicken ‘bowl’ by topping rice with the chicken, followed by all your favorite veggies, cheeses, and fixings.
Storing the Cooked Chicken
If you are into meal planning, this will probably be a go-to recipe for you. The cooked chicken will last 3-4 days in the refrigerator, in a sealed container. So, you can enjoy the bite-sized chicken for a few lunches and in a few different ways. Just heat up the chicken in the microwave when ready to eat.
How to Make Chipotle Chicken Spicy
If you like a little more heat in your chipotle chicken, add the marinade ingredients to the bowl of a blender. Puree until smooth and then pour over chicken thighs. Chopping up the chipotle peppers will add extra heat, making the marinade even spicier.
Do you want more heat? You daredevil! 😉 The longer the marinade sits on the chicken, the spicier it will be. You can marinade this dish for up to 24 hours, but be warned, it will be hot!
Another heat disclaimer — We tested this recipe in many different ways and with many different products. We found that certain brands of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce packed a little more heat than others. The Embasa brand was one of our favorites, but be warned, it was on the spicy side! (Affiliate link to adobo sauce)
Can I Cut Up the Chicken Before Cooking It?
In this recipe, I do recommend marinating and cooking the whole chicken thighs; then, cutting them up into bite-sized pieces. Yes, cutting up the chicken before cooking does save some time; however, it won’t be as juicy and as full of flavor.
When we tested this recipe, we tried it both ways–cooking, then cutting and cutting the chicken before cooking. Both will satisfy your tastebuds, but if you want the juiciest and most flavorful chipotle chicken, cook the thighs before cutting.
Looking for More Mexican Inspired Recipes?
Chipotle Chicken is marinated chicken thighs that are pan-fried and diced into bite-sized pieces to serve with a tortilla and all your favorite fixings.
- 1½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- 2 teaspoons ground coriander
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 1 can (7 ounces) chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
- 4 teaspoons garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
To a medium bowl, add the coriander, cumin, chipotle peppers in adobo, garlic, kosher salt, and olive oil.
Add the chicken thighs to a zippered plastic bag and pour the chipotle mixture over the top.
Shake the bag to coat all of the chicken. Remove any excess air and zip shut.
Place in the refrigerator to marinate for 1 hour.
When ready, add the chicken thighs to a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the thighs on each side for 3-5 minutes, or until slightly charred. Switch heat to medium-low and continue cooking (about 10-15 minutes) until the internal temperature is 165°F.
Dice the cooked chicken into bite-sized pieces.
Serve with tortillas, rice, fresh pico, sour cream, cheese, and all of your other favorite fixings (i.e., lettuce, guacamole, caramelized onions).