Peruvian Roast Chicken

This Peruvian roast chicken borrows its Latin American accent from a marinade of paprika, cumin, lemon, and garlic, creating an amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat color and a really quite spectacular taste.

Chicken roasted red with paprika in a casserole dish and plate of lime wedges on a wooden table

Peruvian Roast Chicken

  • Quick Glance
  • (8)
  • 30 M
  • 1 H, 45 M
  • Serves 4
5/5 - 8 reviews
Print RecipeBuy the A Bird in the Oven and Then Some cookbook

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  • For the Peruvian roast chicken
  • For the salad (optional)


Make the Peruvian roast chicken

Using the flat side of a knife blade, mash the garlic and 1/2 teaspoon of salt together into a paste.

Rinse and pat the chicken dry, inside and out, and put the chicken on a plate. Rub the chicken all over with the lemon quarters.

Slip your fingers underneath the skin to loosen it. Slide the garlic paste between the skin and chicken, being careful not to tear the skin. Then smooth the skin to evenly distribute the paste.

In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, 2 tablespoons wine, the oil, paprika, cumin, black pepper, and oregano.

Place the chicken in a baking dish and slather it with the marinade. Turn the bird several times to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 5 to 8 hours, turning the chicken once or twice.

Preheat the oven to 425ºF (220°C). Adjust the oven rack to the middle position.

Transfer the chicken to a small roasting pan or 12- to 14-inch cast iron skillet. Don’t toss out the marinade.

Squeeze the lemon quarters into the cavity of the hen and then toss them in. If desired, tie the legs together with kitchen string. Season the chicken all over with 1 teaspoon salt.

Roast the bird for 15 minutes. Reduce the heat to 375ºF (190°C). Dump the marinade over the bird and roast, basting occasionally with the pan juices, until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thigh reads 165ºF (74°C), about 75 minutes more.

Make the salad

Halve each avocado and dice. Toss the avocados with everything else in a bowl.

Get the food on the table

Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and let it rest a few minutes.

Skim the fat floating on the juices in the roasting pan. Place the pan over medium-high heat and bring to a simmer. Add the remaining 1/4 cup wine and simmer, stirring and scraping the pan, for 3 minutes.

Carve the bird, toss the avocado salad again, and pass the pan sauce on the side. Graciously accept all applause, kudos, and marriage proposals. Originally published January 24, 2011.

Print RecipeBuy the A Bird in the Oven and Then Some cookbook

Want it? Click it.

Recipe Testers' Reviews

We loved this chicken dish and served it with roasted green beans. It was easy to prepare, and the flavor was wonderful. The chicken had a beautiful color. It did take my chicken about 20 minutes longer to cook than stated in the recipe. Next time, I’ll either cut up the chicken or cook it breast side down so the thighs can get more heat. The avocado salad was a nice combination of flavors to serve with this chicken, and very easy to prepare. I just felt it called for too much olive oil, so I’ll reduce the amount next time. As for my concerns, I personally would never baste a chicken using the same marinade without boiling it first. I brought mine to a boil before I started basting the chicken.

I was a little worried when I started to make this dish because I wondered if the chicken would have a strong garlic taste. I followed the recipe exactly, and cooked the bird in a cast-iron skillet. The chicken was as moist and juicy as any I have ever had, and the flavor combination was unusual but wonderful. Making the sauce in the same pan also worked great to get all the little bits. We didn’t love the avocado salad quite as much as the chicken, however. I did soak the onions as suggested, and I only added a tablespoon of the cilantro leaves, but the flavor combination was just OK. I’ll make the chicken again, just not the salad.


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  1. Without question, hands down, unbelievable, ridiculously delicious. Only change I added was to place chicken in a brine overnight. PERFECT in every way! It’s a KEEPER!

    1. Hah, magnificent to hear you had the exact same response as us when we first tried this, Jordan! Love hearing it. Thanks so much for letting us know and good call on the brine!

  2. This is a flavorful alternative to the usual roast chicken that we’re fond of in our home. We prepared the marinade the night before, so the chicken was marinating in the roasting pot (I didn’t use a bag) for about 24 hours. Even though I cooked the chicken about 10 degrees higher than the recipe called for (by accident), it still was very tender. We served this with roasted acorn squash in a chile-lime vinaigrette, and it paired so well with the avocado salad and chicken—all the flavors and textures were fantastically balanced. Overall, this was a simple and straightforward recipe with clear instructions throughout.

  3. This is a simple and very delicious roast chicken that appeals to everyone. Most of the ingredients you already have in your pantry. I recommend, as the recipe says, using a large sealable plastic bag for the marinating. The marinade really permeated the chicken, rendering it moist and flavorful. I served the avocado salad in a ramekin next to the chicken, and a friend brought those wonderful Peruvian potatoes (Papas a la Huancaina). Two caveats: don’t expect a crisp skin out of this recipe if that’s what you love about roasting a chicken. Also, I used a slightly larger chicken, and it was done in much less time than the recipe suggests. I left off the last 20 minutes of cooking and basting time.

  4. I thought this recipe had an interesting amalgamation of seasonings, with the added salad providing an extra kick of flavor. This is a very nice weekday meal that can also be served for weekend guests, as it’s a new take on a dish anyone can prepare with very little trouble. The ingredients are readily available, and the skill level to prepare this is suited for any level of expertise. If I were to change the dish, I might add some peppers to the avocado salad to add a little heat, or maybe add some diced mango.

    1. Thanks Cleo. Those are excellent suggestions on ways to elevate the salad. Let us know how it turns out the next time!

  5. Among ingredients I see “1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons white wine”. I see 2 tablespoons white wine used in step 4. The 1/4 cup? Nowhere to see.

    How much confidence can I still have in the recipe or the testers’ comments?

    1. Zalman, you can have a complete and utter confidence. If you check in step 9, you’ll see that it says to use the rest of the wine. So all of it is accounted for. I hope you enjoy the recipe.

      1. Step 9. Step 9? I was already elsewhere by step 7. There’s no end to this. I was disappointed that I couldn’t understand and try the recipe.
        I must leave now, have to go to step 11. Thank your for your help.

        1. Zalman, I always remember what Julie Child said repeated, “Read the recipe first!” Thanks for bringing this to our attention, and we’ll work to make it clearer, if you chose to come back.

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