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Achiote Chicken in black dish with cilantro

Marinated Achiote Chicken Recipe

This beautiful, Marinated Achiote Chicken Recipe, also called Pollo Pibil, is juicy, succulent, and full of rich, deep Mexican flavors.

Course Main Course
Cuisine Mexican
Keyword Marinated Achiote Chicken Recipe, unique chicken recipes
Prep Time 35 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Marinating Time 3 hours
Total Time 4 hours 20 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 601 kcal
Author Valentina K. Wein


  • 2 dried Guajillo chile peppers
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 ounces achiote paste
  • ¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
  • 3 small to medium-sized garlic cloves, peeled, roots trimmed (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 1 approximately (3½ pound) whole cut up chicken, skinless, bone-in


  1. Add the Guajillo peppers and water to a small pot and bring to a boil. Then reduce the heat to low and simmer for five minutes. Turn off the heat, cover the pot and let it stand for 20 minutes.

  2. Remove the stems and seeds from the hydrated peppers. (Leave some seeds is you prefer more heat.) Add both the peppers and water they hydrated in, to a blender.

  3. Add the achiote paste, orange juice and garlic to the blender and blend until smooth. Set aside.

  4. Add the skinless, bone-in chicken pieces to a large zip-lock bag and pour in the achiote marinade, which shouldn’t be hot because of the addition of the orange juice. Move the chicken pieces around to be sure they’re all well coated, remove the air from the bag and seal it. Then put this in another large zip-lock bag to ensure it doesn’t leak. Place in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours and ideally overnight.

  5. Preheat the oven to 375°F and once the chicken is done marinating, add it, and all of the marinade to a large enough baking dish to hold the everything snugly. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

  6. Bake in the preheated 375°F oven just until it’s cooked through, about 45 minutes. Flip the pieces over about halfway through the cooking time and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Once it’s cooked through, flip the chicken over once more, sprinkle sightly with a bit more salt, and serve.