Like to try the Cochinita but don’t eat pork? Chicken Pibil is the answer!

Pollo pibil is made the same way as cochinita pibil — but using chicken instead of pork. Some places offer Pollo pibil to accommodate those who don’t eat pork.


  • 3 to 4 pounds chicken shoulder
  • 1 cup orange juice, freshly squeezed if possible
  • 1/2 cup lime juice, juice of 4 to 5 limes
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 ounces red (rojo) achiote paste, available in Latin markets
  • Garlic, onion, oregano, thyme, salt & pepper
  • Pickled red onions (optional), for garnish
  • Dry Mexican cheese (queso seco), for garnish
  • Chopped cilantro, for garnish
  • Lime wedges, for garnish


  1. Marinate chicken in achiote paste with orange juice, lime juice, salt:
  2. The night before or the morning of that you plan to serve this, mix the orange and lime juice with the achiote paste and salt in a blender until combined. Be sure to rinse the blender soon afterward, as the achiote stains.
  3. Cut the chicken into chunks of about 2 inches square. Don’t trim the fat, as you will need it in the braising to come. You can always pick it out later. Put the chicken in a non-reactive (glass, stainless steel or plastic) container, then pour over the marinade mixture.
  4. Mix well, cover and keep in the fridge for at least 6 hours and up to 24 hours.
  5. Bake in oven 3 to 4 hours:
  6. Cooking this takes 3-4 hours, so plan ahead. Preheat the oven to 325°F.
  7. Line a large casserole with a double layer of heavy-duty foil, or a triple layer of regular foil – you want a good seal. (Traditionally, cochinita pibil is wrapped in banana leaves, which add a wonderful flavor to the pibil. So, if banana leaves are available—you may be able to get them at the same store as the achiote paste, or at an Asian market—consider using them. Just heat the leaves first to make them more pliable.)
  8. Pour in the chicken and the marinade and close the foil tightly. Put the casserole in the oven and bake at 325°F for at least 3 hours.

When the chicken is tender, take it out of the oven and open the foil. Remove the meat with a slotted spoon to a bowl, then shred it with two forks. You don’t have to shred the chicken, but I like it this way. Pour enough sauce over the meat to make it wet.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

  • 990 Calories
  • 70g Fat
  • 16g Carbs
  • 74g Protein

Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. The first listed is calculated for nutrition in cases where multiple ingredient alternatives are given. Garnishes and optional ingredients are not included.

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