Copycat Chipotle Chicken

By Jeri Mobley-Arias
October 12, 2022 | Updated on May 22, 2024

Copycat Chipotle Chicken is marinated chicken thighs, grilled then chopped into tender, juicy bite-size pieces. Add this smoky, spicy chicken to tortillas, rice bowls, salads, and more!

If you’re looking for more copycat Chipotle recipes, check out my Copycat Chipotle Steak Recipe and DIY Chipotle Steak Bowl.

close up view of chopped chicken pieces on a plate with a side of salsa and veggies

This copycat Chipotle chicken recipe is inspired by the popular fast-food chain but it tastes even better! These flavorful chunks of chicken are incredibly delicious. Now you’ll know how to make Chipotle chicken at home, quickly and easily, whenever you want!

Why This Recipe Works

  • Easy to make. We go out to eat for convenience but making this recipe is a breeze. Simply marinade, grill, and chop!
  • Affordable. I love Chipotle’s chicken but my wallet does not. Going to any restaurant on a regular basis can become costly so why not make Chipotle chicken at home? It’s a cost-effective way to enjoy your favorite fast food.
  • Perfect for Meal Prep. Use this healthy protein for meal prep. You can cook a batch, store it in the fridge, then add it to your meals throughout the week.
a tray of chipotle chicken thighs, tortillas, and salsa

Ingredients You Will Need

  • Chicken –  I recommend using dark meat rather than white meat because chicken breasts tend to be dry. Chicken thighs are fattier so they have a richer flavor.
  • Avocado oil – This oil has a higher smoking point than olive oil which makes it perfect for grilling.
  • Chipotle in adobo sauce – This is the base of that bold flavor. It gives the chipotle chicken that spicy kick everyone loves. It is dried, smoked jalapeño chiles soaked in tangy, spicy tomato sauce. For spicier chicken, add one additional chili.
  • Ancho chili pepper – This pepper has mild to medium heat with a smoky flavor.
  • Spices & Seasoning – I used a delicious blend of ground cumin, dried oregano, black pepper, and kosher salt.
  • Aromatics – Finely grate the garlic and a small yellow onion for the marinade.
a can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce beside a clear bowl of the same

How to Make Copycat Chipotle Chicken

  1. Make the marinade: Add all ingredients to a medium-sized mixing bowl. Mix until chicken is completely coated in marinade. Marinate for at least 2 hours, best if overnight.
  2. Grill Chicken: Preheat grill (or grill pan) on medium high heat. Brush grill or grill pan with oil and add chicken once surface is hot.
  3. Grill chicken in batches, flipping once, until internal temperature reaches 165°F, about 10-15 minutes.
  4. Rest and Serve: Once chicken is cooked, place on a platter and cover with foil. Leave for 5 minutes to allow chicken to rest, then chop into cubed pieces and serve with tortillas, rice or salad bowls.

Other Ways to Prepare Copycat Chipotle Chicken

No grill? No problem! Here are some other methods to make the best copycat Chipotle chicken:

  • Stove – Pan-fry the marinated chicken until it’s cooked through.
  • Oven – Place the chicken thighs on a baking tray and roast at 400°F for about 20 minutes.
  • Air Fryer – Set the air fryer to 380°F for 20 minutes, flipping halfway through.
chipotle-chicken-marinating

What to Serve it With

Chipotle chicken is so versatile, it can go with almost anything. Here are some suggestions:

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I have to marinate Chipotle chicken?

The chicken needs to marinate for at least two hours although I recommend marinating it overnight. The longer the oil, chiles, and spices mingle with the chicken, the more tender and flavorful your meat will be.

What type of chipotle peppers should I use?

Refer to the photo above for the brand of chipotle peppers I use–this brand is my go-to.

Does Chipotle use chicken breasts or thighs?

Chipotle uses boneless, skinless chicken thighs.

What oil does Chipotle use for chicken?

The restaurant uses rice bran oil but that’s not as easily accessible as some other oils. I found that avocado oil was a good substitute because it possesses similar qualities; a neutral taste and a high smoking point.

copycat chipotle chicken closeup

Looking for More Copycat Recipes?

copycat-chipotle-chicken

Copycat Chipotle Chicken

5 from 1 vote
Copycat Chipotle Chicken is marinated chicken thighs, grilled then chopped into tender, juicy bite-size pieces. Add this smoky, spicy chicken to tortillas, rice bowls, salads, and more!
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Mariante 2 hours
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 3 people
Course Dinner, Lunch

Ingredients

  • pounds chicken thigh, boneless, skinless
  • 3 tablespoons avocado oil, plus more for grilling
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon chipotle in adobo sauce, plus one chili
  • ½ tablespoon ancho chili pepper, ground
  • teaspoons cumin, ground
  • teaspoons oregano, dried
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • teaspoons kosher salt, or to taste
  • 4 cloves garlic, grated
  • ¼ small yellow onion, grated

Instructions

  • Make the marinade: Add all ingredients to a medium-sized mixing bowl. Mix until chicken is completely coated in marinade. Marinate for at least 2 hours, best if overnight.
  • Grill Chicken: Preheat grill (or grill pan) on medium high heat. Brush grill (or grill pan) with oil and add chicken once surface is hot.
  • Grill chicken in batches, flipping once, until internal temperature reaches 165°F, about 10-15 minutes.
  • Rest and Serve: Once chicken is cooked, place on a platter and cover with foil. Leave for 5 minutes to allow chicken to rest, then chop into cubed pieces and serve with tortillas, rice or salad bowls.
Keywords best copycat chipotle chicken, chipotle chicken, copycat chipotle chicken, copycat chipotle chicken ingredients, copycat chipotle chicken marinade, copycat chipotle chicken thighs, how to make copycat chipotle chicken
Did you make this recipe?Leave a comment below and tag @whisperofyum on Instagram and hashtag it #whisperofyum!
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2 Comments

  1. Melinda says...

    5 stars
    The seasoning was perfect. I’ve tried other recipes but they were not as good as yours! My new go-to recipe. Thanks.

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jeri-mobley

Hey, I'm Jeri!

At Whisper of Yum, we explore ALL cuisines - comfort foods, classics, elevated originals. If you love food like me, I invite you to settle in to this place, where swoon-worthy food is attainable + inspo for your next meal awaits.

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