Peruvian Chicken

Pieces of Peruvian chicken on a platter with a cup of aji verde in the background.

Every Peruvian restaurant that serves Peruvian roast chicken has its own secret recipe for the mysterious condiment known as aji verde. This Peruvian chicken recipe and the accompanying green sauce is the closest I could get. If you can’t find aji amarillo paste, which is sold in Latin grocery stores and some regular supermarkets in the international aisle, just increase the amount of jalapeños to three. This recipe was inspired by Pio Pio in Queens.–Andrea Lynn

LC How to Serve it Note

This roast chicken is as close as we’ve come to that terrific pollo a la brasa at your local Peruvian joint—you know, the place that has those enormous spits crammed full of chickens that they serve with the crazy addictive green sauce in those teensy plastic thimbles. Except this recipe comes minus the long wait in line. [Editor’s Note: One place where we’ll gladly wait in line is Edy’s on Leesburg Pike in northern Virginia.] But back to that green sauce. Each of our testers who tried this recipe raved about it, including Melissa Maedgen, who had this to say: “The sauce is so versatile, I’d recommend going ahead and making a double batch, as you’ll want to try it on everything.” We concur. We’re talking fries, rice, tacos, eggs, steak, potatoes—name it and you can pretty much rest assured that the green sauce will be spectacular with it. Our compliments to the brilliant and talented Andrea Lynn who devised this recipe.

Peruvian Chicken

  • Quick Glance
  • (7)
  • 30 M
  • 1 H
  • Serves 4
5/5 - 7 reviews
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  • For the chicken marinade
  • For the sauce


Make the chicken

In a large resealable plastic bag or container, add all the marinade ingredients and combine. Add the chicken. Seal and refrigerate for 12 to 24 hours.

Preheat the oven to 425°F.

Remove the chicken from the marinade, pat it dry with paper towels, and place it in a roasting pan. Discard the marinade. Roast the chicken until it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F, which will hover somewhere around 45 to 60 minutes, depending on the size of your hen.

Make the sauce

While the chicken is in the oven, combine the jalapeños, aji amarillo paste (or extra jalapeño), cilantro, cheese, garlic, oil, vinegar, and lime juice in a blender or food processor. Blend on high speed until a smooth paste forms. Add the mayonnaise, salt, and pepper and blend until combined.

Serve the chicken with the green sauce on the side. Unused green sauce can be stored in a covered container for up to 1 week (as if it will last that long).

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Recipe Testers' Reviews

This a fabulous all-season recipe. While the Peruvian chicken is good, the aji verde condiment is so, so, so great! I opted to marinate the chicken for 24 hours. The next day, the meat had a gorgeous garnet tint to it that will remind you somewhat of tandoori. My bird was 3 pounds, so the total roasting time was about 45 minutes. I suggest using a sheet pan rather then a roasting pan. This will produce a crisper skin, which is my personal preference. While the chicken was roasting, I threw all the condiment ingredients into the VitaMix and gave them a medium whirl. I tasted the sauce and made no adjustments. However, I was so smitten by how righteous this sauce was that I spent a ridiculous amount of time trying to capture every last drop out of the blender jar. Why? Because this aji verde is so good that I knew my husband was going to devour whatever I had just made. All I wanted was a little left over for Monday's office lunch. I served the chicken on a bed of butter lettuce with a side of crisp french fries.

I just loved this roast Peruvian chicken recipe and the aji verde that went with it. The chicken came out juicy and nicely seasoned. As I have to eat gluten-free, I used a gluten-free beer in the marinade. I chose New Planet Tread Lightly Ale, and I thought it worked nicely in this recipe. I marinated the chicken slightly less than 24 hours. The roasting time was about 50 minutes. The green sauce was served at the table to spoon over the chicken after the bird was carved. The green sauce has a nice kick to it and was fantastic on the chicken. It also made a nice dip for the French fries we had to go with the meal and was very good as a sauce with my morning breakfast taco the next day. The sauce is so versatile that I’d recommend going ahead and making a double batch, as you’ll want to try it on everything. I do think the cheese could be omitted.

I find aji amarillo paste at a local supermarket that caters to a Hispanic and Caribbean population and has a Peruvian section. If you can’t find it locally, you can order it on Amazon. Or you could devise a substitution by roasting and skinning a yellow bell pepper and a couple habañeros, and puréeing them together until perfectly smooth. But I do think the aji amarillo paste is worth seeking out, as it's an essential ingredient in many Peruvian dishes, such as causa, and it has a unique flavor that you just won’t get with a substitute.

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  1. Thank you for this recipe! I have Hungarian Sweet and Spanish Smoked Paprika. Which should I use for this recipe (I’m assuming the latter)?

    1. Tanya, you can use whatever you prefer, though I tend to agree with you that the Spanish smoked paprika will work nicely here.

  2. I’ve made this recipe three times already and my family loves it. The only trick for me is remembering to marinate the chicken the night before. The green sauce is good on everything!

  3. We use the marinade and cook it on the grill. The flavor profile is close to our favorite Peruvian chicken place in Louisville Kentucky called Yummy Pollo. If you are ever there you should go!

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