Sinaloa Chicken


Sinaloa Chicken

Sinaloa Chicken

Sinaloa chicken is a popular Mexican street food chicken marinated in citrus and chilis, then grilled over a live flame. Traditionally, the chicken is spatchcocked, grilled, then cut in half lengthwise and sold. We are using a whole cut-up chicken for this recipe, but you can certainly use the traditional method.
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
Total Time 1 hr
Course Main Course
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 4 people


  • 1 whole chicken cut up (about 3-3 ½ pounds)
  • For Marinade:
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1/3 cup white vinegar
  • Juice of 2 small limes
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 small onion roughly chopped
  • 3 dried guajillo chiles
  • 2 cloves garlic peeled
  • 2 teaspoons oregano Mexican oregano is even better, but not necessary
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon


  • Place dried guajillo chiles into a glass dish. Pour hot water over top, cover, and let stand for 20 minutes. Doing this will rehydrate the chiles and make them easier to blend.
  • Once the chiles have rehydrated, add them along with the remaining marinade ingredients to a blender. Blend until all contents are well combined.
  • Place chicken pieces into a large glass baking dish. Pour marinade over the top, making sure all parts are well coated. Cover the dish tightly with plastic wrap, and place into the refrigerator for 6-8 hours.
  • Ready the charcoal grill for an indirect cook.
  • While the grill is heating up, remove chicken from the fridge and let it stand at room temperature for 15-20 minutes.
  • Remove chicken from marinade and place the pieces onto the hottest part of the grill. Brush any excess marinade onto the chicken. Get a nice sear on the skins (about 3-5 minutes), turn , and do the same to the other side. Move chicken to the cooler part of the grill and finish cooking indirectly.
  • Once the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F., it’s good to go. Make sure to test several pieces.
  • Remove chicken from the grill, place pieces onto a serving platter, and serve with your favorite side dishes.


Photo by: myviewpoint/Depositphotos
Things to keep in mind for this recipe:
Cooking Equipment: While I recommend cooking this dish over charcoal, you can certainly use a gas or pellet unit. In fact, you can cook this chicken right in your oven at 350 degrees F. Just keep an eye on it and check temps a little earlier in the cooking process. Each method works a little differently, so always consult the manufacturer’s recommendations before cooking on a specific unit.
Chicken: You have many choices with how you prep the chicken and what parts you use. As mentioned above, you can spatchcock or butterfly the chicken (which means to remove the backbone with kitchen shears and lay the chicken out flat), or use a whole cut-up chicken. If you are a fan of chicken thighs or drumsticks and want to use those, I say go for it.
Chiles: This recipe calls for dried guajillo peppers, but you can also use chile de Arbol or various smoky/spicy chili powders of your choice.
Vinegar: This recipe calls for white vinegar, but you can use rice wine vinegar and apple cider vinegar as well. Some folks swear by the citrus acid and just amp up the lime juice. Avoid more assertive acids like balsamic.
Accompaniments: What should I serve with Sinaloa chicken? You can pair this chicken with grilled corn, black beans, charro beans, quinoa, rice, or warmed tortillas.
Keyword Grilled Chicken Breasts

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