Pollo (chicken) Pibil recipe

Mar 16, 2015 by Capt. John Wampler

Pollo Pibil is a Mexican chicken dish from the Yucatan in which chicken is smothered with achiote paste and sour orange juice and slow cooked in banana leaves over hot wood coals in a hole in the ground.

As we don’t have a hole to dig aboard, I slow roast the pibil in a crockpot.

Achiote paste is a dark red paste made of ground annatto seeds that has a soft, earthy flavor, similar to saffron. You can find it in Latin grocery stores, along with the sour orange juice needed for this dish.

For this spin on a traditional Pollo Pibil, I use split chicken breasts (though thighs can be used for the budget cook) and slow cooked them in a delicious achiote-spiced sauce.

Makes excellent tacos or burritos, or simply serve over yellow rice, Garnish with cilantro, cebolla morada (from last month’s recipe) or pico de gallo. Enjoy.

Chicken (Pollo) Pibil photo from John Wampler

Chicken (Pollo) Pibil photo from John Wampler


3 lbs skinless split chicken breasts

Salt and pepper

1 onion, quartered

1/2 cup sour orange juice

2 habaneros, seeded and diced

3 garlic cloves, diced

1 Tbsp coriander

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp dried oregano

4 Tbsp achiote paste

1/4 cup chicken broth

1/2 cup apple cider vinegar

Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Place chicken atop onion in crock pot.

In a blender, combine the remaining ingredients to form the sauce. Pour over the chicken. Slow cook on low heat for 4-5 hours until the chicken can be easily shredded from the rib with a fork. Shred the chicken (discard rib) and let everything cook for 30 minutes more with the crock pot lid off. Leaving the lid off will help some of the water evaporate so the sauce thickens up.