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Pollo Tropical Chicken Recipe [Copycat] | Tropic Pollo Marinade

By Lori Walker | Fact checked by Jamie Feit, MS, RD | Updated on September 17, 2022

A quick and easy delicious recipe for Pollo tropical chicken that is less than an hour to make and is full of flavor. If you’re looking for a dish to transport your taste buds to the tropics, look no further than this chicken recipe. It is another source of delicious protein.

This tropic pollo dish is perfect for those summer evenings, grilling the chicken and giving it a lovely smoky taste. The added bonus of extra fat helps keep the meat moist, meaning no one will be left disappointed or hungry. So if you are lucky enough to have an outdoor grill, get cooking!

What is Pollo tropical chicken?

Pollo Tropical is a Caribbean fast food restaurant in the United States. It is a Miami-based company specializing in various crispy or grilled chicken dishes served with delicious sides and desserts.

They also offer a variety of sandwiches, desserts, side dishes, drinks, and breakfast items.

When I moved to Florida back in the mid-2000s, Pollo Tropical was one of the first places I tried, and loved it!

I was new to Florida and just moved down from up north. It was hot, and I was starving. I didn’t know where to go, or what to do. Then I saw it: Pollo Tropical. The sign said “Caribbean Fast Food.” I didn’t know what that was, but it sounded good. And it looked good, too. The colors were bright and happy, the building cheerful.

I went in and took a look at the menu. There were all sorts of chicken dishes: crispy chicken, grilled chicken, chicken bowls, and chicken sandwiches. And then there were the sides: rice, beans, plantains, and more. I didn’t know what to choose! But in the end, I decided on the Pollo Tropical Platter. It had everything: crispy chicken, grilled chicken, rice, beans, and plantains.

It was amazing. The flavors were so different from anything I’d ever had before. The chicken was flavorful and juicy, the rice perfectly cooked, the beans hearty and filling. And the plantains…well, plantains are plantains. They’re always good!

I was in love with Pollo Tropical from that day forward. It quickly became one of my favorite places to eat. Whenever I’m in Florida I have to stop by a Pollo Tropical for at least one meal. If you’re ever in Miami or one of the other cities where Pollo Tropical is located, be sure to check it out! You won’t regret it.

However, I am going to provide you with the Pollo Tropical Chicken Copycat Recipe below that I got from my friend. If you want to get the same taste and flavor at home, try making this Pollo Tropical Copycat recipe. It’s the closest thing to the real thing!

Learn how to make tender, juicy Pollo Tropical chicken at home in just a few easy steps!

Pollo tropical chicken recipe

Pollo tropical chicken is a perfect year-round meal! This dish is perfect whether you’re looking for an easy meal or something ridiculously delicious.

A combination of all the ingredients creates a wonderfully exotic atmosphere. The citrusy combination of orange, pineapple, and lemon juices transports you to a sunny beach. For fans of Latin-Caribbean cuisine, this is an ideal Tropical Chicken dish!

Pollo Tropical chicken is a great dish to make at home, and I enjoy eating it. This is a nutritious and delectable dish you may serve guests at your place. For the best results, use boneless skinless chicken breasts. If you’re serving a group or want leftovers, whole chicken breasts will work just as well.

Pollo tropical chicken is one of my favorite dishes. After trying it several times, all my family members love it!

Here are the ingredients for the Pollo Tropical Chicken Recipe

  • 2 pounds cut up Chicken Pieces (boneless will be better)
  • 1 tsp mashed fresh Garlic
  • 1 tsp Cumin
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1  Freshly ground Black Pepper (to taste)
  • White Pepper (to taste)
  • 1 tsp Dried Oregano
  • 2 cups Sour Orange Juice
  • 1 cup of Pineapple Juice
  • 1/3 cup Lemon Juice
  • 1 Jalapeño Pepper (seeded and minced)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh Cilantro Leaves (chopped)

All of the ingredients are available in your nearby stores or super shops.

Tropic Pollo Marination

As usual, I used fresh orange, pineapple, and lemon or lime juice instead of water. Then, I added all ingredients to the juice mixer. Once all these things were mixed properly, I poured the juice over the chicken and mixed everything around to ensure each chicken piece was coated.

I set this in the fridge for a couple of hours to allow the Poll Tropric chicken to marinate. (You can marinate for 30 minutes if you are in a hurry, but I think 2 hours is really the minimum amount of time to allow the flavors to penetrate the chicken).

Instruction Step by Step

Pollo tropical chicken recipe

Step-1: First, thoroughly clean the chicken with fresh water. Then, remove the chicken skin and bones. After that, slice them for your own preference.

Step-2: Take a small mixing dish. Now, add all the dry ingredients. Mixed them until well combined. 

Step-3: Now, take each chicken piece, sprinkle, and thoroughly rub the spices all over it. You have to make sure each chicken piece is well coated with spices.

Step-4: After that, take a large dish and pour the orange and pineapple juices onto it. Then, add the chicken pieces to the mix.

Step-5: Make sure each chicken piece is coated with the juice mixture. Then, cover the dish and place it in the fridge for at least 2 hours. You can also marinate the chicken overnight for even more flavor.

Step-6: Take the chicken out of the fridge and drain any excess marinade. You have to store the excess marinade in a separate container for brush-on later.

Step-7: Preheat your grill to medium-high heat. Then, place the chicken on the grill and cook for about 5 minutes per side.

Step-8: Brush the reserved marinade on the chicken while grilling. And grill until the chicken is cooked through and slightly charred around the edges.

Step-9: Remove the chicken from the grill and serve immediately. Enjoy!

You can use bell peppers to enhance the taste as your own preference. But this is optional!

What to Serve With

It’s a simple supper or a substantial meal that can be served alone or with rice, tortillas, or other accompaniments. This meal is delicious and versatile whether you want it as your main course or side dish.

The following are some ideas of what to serve with Pollo Tropical Chicken:

Black Beans and Rice:

One of the most popular sides served with Pollo Tropical chicken is black beans and rice. This dish is a great source of protein and fiber, and it is also hearty and filling. In Columbia, It is made with yellow rice and chicken.

Corn Casserole

Corn casserole is another side dish that goes well with Pollo Tropical chicken. This dish is made with corn, cheese, sour cream, and other ingredients and is baked until it is hot and bubbly.

Salad

A salad is always a good option when you are looking for something to serve with Pollo Tropical chicken. You can choose a simple green salad or something more elaborate, such as a salad with fruit and nuts. You can also try this with chicago mild sauce, bloves butter sauce, long john silver’s cole slaw and so on!

Fruit

Fresh fruit is a great way to add a bit of sweetness to your meal, and it is also a healthy option. Some good fruits to serve with Pollo Tropical chicken include grapes, strawberries, and oranges.

Dessert

If you want to finish your meal on a sweet note, there are several dessert options that go well with this delicious chicken. Chocolate cake, cookies, or even ice cream are all good choices.

In addition, you can grill some garlic cloves with marinade and serve it with this tropical flavor dish!

How to store the leftovers

If you have any Pollo Tropical chicken leftovers, it is best to store them in an airtight container in the fridge. They will last for up to three days. When you are ready to eat them, simply reheat them in the microwave or oven until they are hot all the way through.

Pollo tropical chicken recipe

Pollo tropical chicken recipe

Pollo tropical chicken is a perfect dish for those summer evenings, grilling the chicken and giving it a lovely smoky taste. The added bonus of extra fat helps keep the meat moist, meaning no one will be left disappointed or hungry. Here, I've shared the Pollo Tropical Chicken Copycat Recipe below that I got from my friend. If you want to get the same taste and flavor at home, try making this Pollo Tropical Copycat recipe. It’s the closest thing to the real thing!
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Marinate Time 3 hrs
Total Time 3 hrs 20 mins
Course Appetizer
Cuisine Caribbean
Servings 4 people
Calories 240 kcal

Equipment

  • 1 small dish
  • 1 large dish
  • 1 juicer
  • 1 grill

Ingredients
  

  • 2 pounds cut up Chicken Pieces (boneless will be better)
  • 1 tsp mashed fresh Garlic
  • 1 tsp Cumin
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1 Freshly ground Black Pepper (to taste)
  • 1 pinch White Pepper (to taste)
  • 1 tsp Dried Oregano
  • 2 cups Sour Orange Juice
  • 1 cup Pineapple Juice
  • 1/3 cup Lemon Juice
  • 1 pc Jalapeño Pepper Optional
  • 1 tbsp fresh Cilantro Leaves (chopped)

Instructions
 

  • First, thoroughly clean the chicken with fresh water. Then, remove the chicken skin and bones. After that, slice them for your own preference.
  • Take a small mixing dish. Now, add all the dry ingredients. Mixed them until well combined. 
  • Now, take each chicken piece, sprinkle, and thoroughly rub the spices all over it. You have to make sure each chicken piece is well coated with spices.
  • After that, take a large dish and pour the orange and pineapple juices onto it. Then, add the chicken pieces to the mix.
  • Make sure each chicken piece is coated with the juice mixture. Then, cover the dish and place it in the fridge for at least 2 hours. You can also marinate the chicken overnight for even more flavor.
  • Take the chicken out of the fridge and drain any excess marinade. You have to store the excess marinade in a separate container for brush-on later.
  • Preheat your grill to medium-high heat. Then, place the chicken on the grill and cook for about 5 minutes per side.
  • Brush the reserved marinade on the chicken while grilling. And grill until the chicken is cooked through and slightly charred around the edges.
  • Remove the chicken from the grill and serve immediately. 

Video

Notes

You can marinate for 30 minutes if you are in a hurry.
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Wrapping up

Pollo Tropical chicken is a delicious and easy meal to make. It is perfect for a weeknight supper or a weekend BBQ. The next time you are looking for something different to grill, give this recipe a try. You won’t be disappointed!

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