Peruvian Roasted Chicken With Spicy Cilantro Sauce


Chicken is the new beef, and this Peruvian Roasted Chicken With spicy Cilantro Sauce recipe combines tender chicken with a crunchy exterior and a creamy spicy sauce. Top it off with fresh cilantro, chopped onions, and sliced radishes for a gorgeous presentation.

The next time you are in the mood for Peruvian food, or just want to try something new in general, try my recipe for Peruvian Roasted Chicken With Spicy Cilantro Sauce. Everyone will love this recipe!

Garlic Roasted Chicken with Spicy Cilantro Sauce

This mouthwatering fall-off-the-bone roasted chicken is transformed by a bright green sauce made from cilantro, jalapenos, cheese, vinegar and garlic. Inspired by Peruvian pollo a la brasa con aji verde, this is the kind of dish you’ll find yourself making over and over again.Save Recipe

  • Total: 1 hr 45 min
  • Prep: 30 min
  • Cook: 1 hr 15 min



  • 1 head garlic
  • 1 3 to 4-pound chicken, excess fat trimmed and giblets removed
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar, plus 1/2 teaspoon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil

Aji Verde:

  • 3/4 cup fresh cilantro
  • 1/3 cup Cotija cheese
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 2 to 3 jalapenos, stemmed, seeded, and diced
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher saltAdd to Shopping List


  1. For Chicken: Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Remove 5 cloves from garlic head; halve remaining head horizontally. Season chicken cavity with salt and pepper; stuff with halved garlic head. Crush garlic cloves, sprinkle with 2 teaspoons salt, and, mash with flat side of a large knife to a coarse paste. Transfer to a small bowl and stir in 1 tablespoon vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, and cumin. Rub garlic mixture over chicken. Whisk soy sauce and sugar together and brush over bird. Tuck wings under back, cross and tie legs with kitchen twine. Brush chicken with oil and place, breast side down on a rack set in a roasting pan.
  2. Roast chicken until back is golden brown, 35 to 40 minutes. Remove pan from oven and turn chicken, breast side up. Remove kitchen twine and slightly open legs. Baste bird with pan drippings, return to oven, and roast until breast is golden brown and a meat thermometer inserted in thigh registers 170 degrees F, 20 to 25 minutes more. Transfer chicken to a carving board; let rest for 10 minutes before carving.
  3. For Aji Verde: Puree cilantro, cheese, olive oil, water, jalapenos, garlic, vinegar, and salt in a blender until smooth. Carve chicken and serve drizzled with sauce.

Peruvian Roasted Chicken with Spicy Cilantro Sauce

I have a lot of kitchen gadgets- a LOT- but until recently, I didn’t have a good pair of kitchen shears. I was thrilled to be able to halve this chicken with my new shears. Just like all of the chefs on television. 

This recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Melissa Clark. I used ancho chile powder instead of pasilla chile powder, used dried aji amarillo powder instead of paste, increased the amount of garlic in the marinade, and lowered the roasting temperature.

I incorporated my CSA cilantro into the incredible creamy green sauce. I served the chicken on a bed of sautéed CSA leeks and greens (collard and turnip) with roasted CSA potatoes on the side. It was a celebration of my vegetable share.  Spectacular.

Yield: 4 servings

For the Chicken:

  • 10 garlic cloves, finely grated or minced
  • 3 tablespoons light soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon aji amarillo paste or another chile paste such as sriracha or sambal
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice (from 1/2 of a lime)
  • 1 teaspoon aji panca paste or 1 teaspoon pasilla or ancho chile powder
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 (3 1/2- to 4 1/2-pound) chicken, halved (see Note) or 4 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken parts
  • extra-virgin olive oil, as needed

For the Sauce:

  • 1 cup cilantro leaves and tender stems
  • 3 to 4 jalapeños, seeded and diced
  • ¼ cup/1 ounce crumbled feta cheese (I used sheep’s milk feta)
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 1 ½ tablespoons lime juice, more to taste
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano or basil
  • ¾ teaspoon fine sea salt, more to taste
  • ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • ½ tablespoon aji amarillo or other chile paste (I used aji amarillo powder)
  • ½ teaspoon honey
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • lime wedges, for garnish
  1. For the marinade: In a large bowl, whisk together garlic, soy sauce, aji amarillo paste, lime juice, aji panca paste, mustard, cumin, pepper and salt.
  2. Add chicken halves, turning to coat them all over with marinade. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours and up to 12 hours. (I marinated the chicken for 10 hours.)
  3. Heat the oven to 425 degrees, preferably on convection roast. Remove chicken from marinade and pat dry with paper towels. Arrange skin-side up on a parchment paper-lined rimmed baking sheet and drizzle with oil.
  4. Roast until skin is golden and chicken is cooked through, tenting with foil after 30 minutes, for 35 to 45 minutes (if using chicken parts, remove the breasts after 25 to 35 minutes), or until the internal temperature is 145 degrees. Remove from oven and let sit, loosely covered with foil, for 10 minutes before serving.
  5. While chicken is roasting, make the sauce. In a blender, blend cilantro, jalapeños, feta, garlic, lime juice, oregano, salt, mustard, aji amarillo paste, honey, and cumin until smooth. With the motor running, slowly drizzle in oil until mixture is emulsified. Taste and adjust the seasonings with salt or lime juice or both.
  6. Carve the chicken and serve with the sauce and lime wedges on the side.

Note: To cut a chicken in half, use a sturdy pair of poultry shears to cut lengthwise through the breastbone. Turn over and cut again, along the backbone. If desired, cut along the other side of the backbone and remove it.


This Peruvian style roasted chicken uses robust flavors in the marinade to deeply flavor the chicken. The marinated spatchcocked chicken roasts in the oven and once it is done, you have crispy spiced skin and juicy tender chicken. This Peruvian style roast chicken is served with a bright Aji verde (spicy green) style sauce. This spatchcocked chicken will be your favorite way to roast a chicken and wow your tastebuds. 

Peruvian roasted spatchcock chicken in a cast iron skillet with aji verde green sauce and cilantro on the side


Peruvian chicken is a rotisserie chicken, also known as pollo la brasa, originating in Lima, Peru. The chicken would be marinated and then cooked over hot coals, while rotating. The pollo a la brasa became so popular it was given it’s own day of celebration on July 21st. This recipe adapts the traditional pollo a la brasa to be roasted in the oven.


When cooking a whole chicken, different parts of the chicken cook at different rates. You are typically left with a dry overcooked breast, waiting for the legs to be fully cooked through. Spatchcocking a chicken allows the chicken to lay flat with the breast even with the legs. This allows the chicken to cook evenly. The best part about spatchcocking a chicken is the crispy skin. Since the surface area of the spatchcocked chicken is even, the skin is evenly exposed to the heat, resulting in mouthwatering crispy skin.


whole chicken in a bowl in the sink

When handling chicken, I like to wear gloves and also set up a sanitary station with a bowl, sheet pan, and a gallon ziplock bag for discard.To prep the chicken, first you need to remove the bag from the cavity and the pouch that is usually located on top of the neck. I typically place in a ziplock, then freeze until it’s garbage day. I place colander inside of a bowl to catch all the juices while I dry the chicken with paper towels. You want the entire chicken dried, inside the cavity and out. (I add the paper towels to my discard ziplock, ensuring not to touch anything else without gloves or washing my hands).


Once the chicken is prepped, transfer it to the sheet pan, breast side down.

  1. Locate the back bone of the chicken.
  2. Using sharp poultry shears (or strong scissors), begin cutting to one side of the back bone. There are small bones you will be cutting though, so ensure the scissors are strong enough. 
  3. Repeat on the other side of the back bone and then place the back bone in the ziplock discard bag.
  4. Next, locate the inside of the breast bone. Careful to not cut the skin, cut through the cartilage of the breast bone. This will assist you in flattening the breast, if you are strong enough, you can skip this step.
  5. Flip the chicken over and place the heel of your hand in the middle of the breast. Press down hard until the breast is fully flattened.
  6. Rotate the legs inward. You can also tuck the wings into the armpits, so the tips do not burn when roasting. 


For the marinade I used: dark brown sugar, chili powder, smoked paprika, ground cumin, minced garlic cloves, ground ginger, soy sauce, lime juice, lime zest, olive oil, and kosher salt. 

spatchcocked chicken with Peruvian marinade brushed on skin

Using a marinade brush, brush whole surface of the chicken, ensuring to get the nooks and crannies. Place in refrigerator and allow to marinate overnight for maximum flavor.


pre-cooked marinated spatchcock chicken in a cast iron skillet with 2 heads garlic

You can roast the chicken on a sheet pan, but I prefer roasting in my cast iron pan to keep the heat even throughout the skillet. Take two heads of garlic and cut the top ¼ off to expose the bulbs. Tuck these cut side down next to the legs. A thermometer will be your best friend in this recipe, you are looking for an internal temperature of 165F, test the thickest part of the breast and also the leg before removing from the oven.


Aji verde is a spicy Peruvian green sauce with notable ingredients of aji chile peppers, huacatay leaves (black mint), and cheese. Since aji chiles are hard to find, you can substitute Serrano or jalapeño peppers. Huacatay also can be hard to find, so cilantro is used instead. 

Using a food processor or an immersion blender, blend cilantro, peppers, lime juice, garlic, cotija cheese, mayo, and salt. The cotija is salty, so it’s best to blend and adjust salt after tasting. This aji verde sauce is served alongside pollo a la brasa, but is amazing on fish, steak, potatoes, everything. A sauce that you will want to put-on everything!


overhead shot of roasted peruvian spatchcocked chicken in a cast iron with roasted garlic

Once the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165F, remove it from the oven. I love using oven safe thermometer probes, so you don’t have to keep pulling the chicken out to check on the temperature. I typically eat the chicken wing first, as my reward for cooking such a beautiful looking chicken. 

close up roasted spatchcock peruvian chicken in a cast iron skillet

To remove the legs from the chicken, lift by the bone to expose where the leg meats the breast and cut through where thigh meets the breast. To separate leg from thigh, cut through joint. Slice breast down the middle and you can additionally cut into slices to serve. Rest of bones can be discarded in ziplock bag and frozen until trash day.

roasted spatchcock chicken in cast iron skillet with aji verde sauce in bowl and loose cilantro leaves

Serve chicken with green sauce on the side and roasted caramelized garlic (use a knife or fork to remove bulbs out of the skin) on the side. 

I hope you enjoy my take on a Peruvian style roast chicken with aji verde sauce.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

TheSuperHealthyFood © Copyright 2022. All rights reserved.