Delicious Pollo Encebollado: A Flavorful Latin Dish

Attention all food lovers! Are you looking for a flavorful and hearty chicken recipe that combines the best of Brazilian and Puerto Rican cuisine? Look no further than Pollo Encebollado, also known as Chicken in Onion Sauce. This dish is the perfect blend of savory and sweet, with tender chicken smothered in a rich onion sauce. Not only is this an easy recipe to follow, but it’s also versatile and can be adapted to suit different tastes and preferences.

As a chef specializing in Brazilian and American cuisine, I have learned that food isn’t just about sustenance; it’s about bringing people together, creating memories, and celebrating culture. The Pollo Encebollado recipe does just that – it combines the popular flavors of both Brazil and Puerto Rico into a delicious dish that will tantalize your taste buds. Whether you’re looking for a meal to impress your family or want to try something new for your next dinner party, this recipe is sure to please.

So why wait? Let’s get cooking!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Pollo Encebollado (Chicken in Onion Sauce)
Pollo Encebollado (Chicken in Onion Sauce)

Are you looking for a succulent and flavorful chicken recipe that will make your taste buds dance? Look no further, my friend! I present to you the Pollo Encebollado, also known as Chicken in Onion Sauce. This dish, originating from Puerto Rico, is a crowd favorite that is sure to satisfy even the pickiest of eaters.

One reason you’ll love this recipe is its dynamic flavor profile. The combination of red wine, Worcestershire sauce, cumin, garlic cloves, and fresh thyme sprigs creates a mouthwatering blend of savory spices that perfectly complement the onions and tender chicken. Each bite is a delight for your senses, and you’ll savor every last morsel.

Another aspect that sets this dish apart is its versatility. You can use bone-in chicken legs or switch it up with boneless skinless chicken thighs or breasts. You can serve it over rice, alongside mashed potatoes or with grilled veggies – the possibilities are endless! You can adjust the spice level to your liking by adding more or less ground cumin and red pepper flakes.

Furthermore, this recipe comes together quickly and easily. You only need a few basic ingredients that are likely already in your pantry – olive oil, butter, onions, tomato sauce – which makes it a perfect weekday meal option. Plus, the hands-on time required is minimal making it an excellent option for busy weeknights.

Lastly, this dish is suitable for meal prepping and leftovers. This recipe reheats beautifully so you can make it ahead of time or double-up on the batch and have extra portions for later in the week.

In short, whether you’re craving Puerto Rican cuisine or searching for a delectable chicken dish to add to your dinner rotation, Pollo Encebollado (Chicken in Onion Sauce) should be at the top of your list. Its bold flavors and versatile nature offer something for everyone’s taste buds. Trust me, once you try it, you’ll keep coming back for more.

Ingredient List

 Sizzling hot and juicy chicken in a sweet onion bath
Sizzling hot and juicy chicken in a sweet onion bath

Here are all the ingredients you’ll need to make Pollo Encebollado, the delicious chicken dish smothered in onion sauce. You might have some of these items like olive oil, tomato sauce and garlic cloves on hand. If not, everything else you can find at your local grocery store.

  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • 8 chicken legs, bone-in and skin-on
  • Salt and pepper to taste (ground cumin is optional)
  • 2lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs or breasts
  • 1 large white onion thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons of garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup of homemade tomato sauce
  • 2 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 1 cup of full-bodied red wine like Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot
  • Worcestershire sauce (optional)

Make sure to have all these ingredients measured and prepped before following the recipe’s next steps.

The Recipe How-To

 The perfect comfort food for a cozy night in
The perfect comfort food for a cozy night in

Getting Started: The Preparation and Cooking Process
Step 1: Prepare the Chicken Legs

Take 8 chicken legs, with bone and skin, and clean them under cold water. Pat dry with a paper towel, then season them generously with salt and pepper to taste.

Step 2: Make the Onion Sauce Recipe

In a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium heat, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 2 tablespoons of butter. When the butter is melted, add thinly sliced onions from 1 large white onion. Cook while stirring occasionally until the onions become soft and sweet.

Step 3: Enhance the Flavor of Your Dish

Add in 3 tablespoons of minced garlic cloves, 1 tablespoon of ground cumin, and 2-3 fresh thyme sprigs, mix well, then pour in a splash of red wine to deglaze the pan. After one minute or so, stir in 2 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce and the tomato sauce. Mix thoroughly until you have created a thick and rich onion sauce.

Step 4: Cook Your Chicken

If you’re looking for an authentic Salvadorian Pollo Encebollado, cook your chicken using “la plancha” (a grill). If not, heat up another skillet over medium-high heat with some oil. Once hot enough, carefully lay the chicken legs on one side to brown without moving them for at least 5-6 minutes. Then turn them over and let them brown on the other side for another 5-6 minutes.

Step 5: Combine Your Ingredients

Pour in your prepared onion tomato sauce over the chicken legs to evenly coat them with its beautiful flavor. Let it simmer for about ten minutes at low-medium heat until everything is cooked through.

Time to Wow Your Guests

Your beautiful Pollo Encebollado chicken with its smothered onions is now ready to be served! Enjoy with some toasted bread, steamed rice, or grilled vegetables as a side dish. Be sure to pair it with either a Puerto Rican or Cuban-style bistec encebollado, which would bring out more of the caramelized onion flavor in both dishes. Alternatively, it pairs well with a misoyaki roast chicken or roast chicken shoyu onion sauce. Check out [Sauce Page 3] for additional recipe ideas.


Creating the perfect pollo encebollado dish might take some practice but with these detailed instructions you should be able to please your guests or family any day of the week. Happy Cooking!

Substitutions and Variations

 A symphony of caramelized onions and succulent chicken
A symphony of caramelized onions and succulent chicken

Looking to add some personal flair to your Pollo Encebollado? There are plenty of substitutions and variations you can make to create a unique twist on this classic dish.

Firstly, if you’re not a fan of chicken legs or prefer boneless, skinless chicken, feel free to swap them out for chicken breasts or thighs. Either will work just as well in the onion sauce.

For those looking to put a different spin on things, consider adding some caramelized onions to the mix. These can be cooked up ahead of time and added in at the same time as the sauteed onions.

Want some extra heat in your encebollado? Try adding a pepper cuban or Salvadorian pollo guisado to the mix. Alternatively, sprinkle some ground cumin over the chicken for a smoky and earthy flavor.

If you’re entertaining and looking for something with a bit more flair, try serving up a bistec encebollado alongside your pollo encebollado. This Cuban-style steak features the same sauteed onion sauce as its poultry cousin and pairs perfectly with grilled chicken.

Looking for something sweet? Consider adding some red wine or Worcestershire sauce to your onion sauce recipe. The rich flavors go great with both meats and add a certain depth that just can’t be beat.

No matter how you choose to customize your pollo encebollado recipe, always be sure you have fresh thyme sprigs and garlic cloves on hand. These herbs are essential ingredients in creating an unforgettable onion sauce.

Serving and Pairing

 The ultimate crowd-pleaser for any dinner party
The ultimate crowd-pleaser for any dinner party

Now that you have mastered the art of making Pollo Encebollado, it’s time to talk about how to serve and pair it. This dish is versatile enough to be enjoyed with a wide range of accompaniments, from simple sides to complex dishes.

One classic option would be to serve Pollo Encebollado with arroz con gandules, a traditional Puerto Rican rice and pigeon pea dish. The sweetness and savory characteristics of this fragrant rice complement the chicken beautifully.

Another tasty option would be to serve this delicious chicken alongside some grilled vegetables such as bell peppers, zucchini or eggplant. Grilling these veggies adds a smoky depth to their flavors, and when paired with the saucy onions and chicken, creates a succulent main course that’s both healthy and satisfying.

If you’re looking for something more substantial, consider serving Pollo Encebollado with some crusty bread and a crisp green salad. The crunchy vegetables tossed with some citrusy vinaigrette can help offset the richness of the onion sauce while providing a delightful contrast of textures.

Finally, for an ultimate comfort food pairing, why not serve this sumptuous chicken alongside mashed potatoes or roasted root vegetables? The creaminess of these sides is perfect for soaking up all that flavorful onion sauce and juicy meat.

With its bold flavors and juicy tenderness, Pollo Encebollado is guaranteed to satisfy both your taste buds and appetite. Whether you decide to pair it with classic sides or get creative with your selection, this dish will undoubtedly add some Caribbean flair to any mealtime setting.

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 The aroma of this dish will transport you straight to a Brazilian kitchen
The aroma of this dish will transport you straight to a Brazilian kitchen

Who doesn’t like to save a couple of minutes in the kitchen? The good news is, you can make-ahead Pollo Encebollado! Just cook the chicken following the recipe until step 6 – adding the sauce. Don’t worry about reheating the chicken, we’ll get to that in a bit. Once it’s cooled down, transfer it to an airtight container and store it in the fridge for up to two days.

When you’re ready to eat, reheating is easy – you have two options. One is using the stovetop: gently warm up the chicken on medium-low heat, covered with a lid. Stir occasionally to ensure it’s evenly warmed. Option two is using an oven: preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (177 degrees Celsius), add the chicken with sauce into an ovenproof baking dish and bake for 20 minutes or until heated thoroughly.

In terms of storing leftovers, Pollo Encebollado stores well in an airtight container for up to five days in the refrigerator. To freeze leftovers, let it cool first and then transfer it into freezer-safe containers or zip-lock bags for up to three months.

Pollo Encebollado is an excellent meal prep option too! You can make a large batch of pollo encebollado on Sunday and have enough for lunch or dinner throughout the week. It’s an ideal way to save time but still enjoy a deliciously satisfying meal that only gets better with time.

Tips for Perfect Results

 A mouth-watering dish that will make your taste buds dance with joy
A mouth-watering dish that will make your taste buds dance with joy

To ensure the perfect outcome of your pollo encebollado, here are some tips to keep in mind while preparing this flavorful dish:

1. Do not overcook the chicken.

One of the biggest mistakes when making pollo encebollado is overcooking the meat, resulting in a dry and unpleasant texture. To avoid this, cook the chicken until it is tender and juicy, and pull it off the heat before it dries out.

2. Use fresh ingredients.

Using fresh onions, garlic cloves, and thyme sprigs will make a significant difference in the taste of the dish. Fresh produce enhances flavor and is much more fragrant than their dried counterparts.

3. Season generously with salt and pepper.

Seasoning is key to any recipe, but in this case, don’t hold back on salt and pepper. The seasoning adds depth to the flavors of your chicken while also elevating its natural taste.

4. Let the chicken rest.

After cooking, let the pollo encebollado rest for about 5 minutes to allow the juices to redistribute throughout the meat. This will also help you to cut into it without burning your fingers or cutting a dry piece of chicken.

5. Experiment with substitutions.

The beauty of cooking lies in experimenting. Substitute chicken legs with boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts for a lighter option. You could also try using caramelized onions instead of sautéed onions for an alternative twist.

6. Serve on a bed of rice

Pollo encebollado pairs well with rice or potatoes as they absorb all those savory flavors from the onion sauce.

Remember that practice makes perfect! By following these straightforward tips, you’ll be making amazing pollo encebollado in no time!

Bottom Line

In conclusion, Pollo Encebollado is a mouth-watering chicken dish that will leave your taste buds begging for more. This flavorful Puerto Rican classic is easy to make and can be customized to your liking with substitutions and variations. By following this recipe, you will create a dish that is both hearty and delicious, filled with tender chicken smothered in rich onion sauce.

Whether you are grilling, making bistec encebollado, or preparing a misoyaki roast chicken, the versatile onion tomato sauce on page 3 of this article can be used alongside any meat option. So why not add Pollo Encebollado to your cooking repertoire today? Trust me, it won’t disappoint!

So go ahead and grab some fresh ingredients like onions, Worcestershire sauce, red wine, fresh thyme sprigs and garlic cloves – and get cooking! Serve it up with steamed rice or grilled veggies, and enjoy this classic Puerto Rican dish as they would call it “pollo encebollado”.

Pollo Encebollado (Chicken in Onion Sauce)

Pollo Encebollado (Chicken in Onion Sauce) Recipe

Posting for ZWT 7. This recipe comes from The heading said "It’s popular in Colombia to cook meat or poultry in Onion or Tomato Sauce. It is the perfect weeknight meal, because it is cheap, easy, simple, fast and full of flavor. Serve it over white rice, pasta or just potatoes and vegetables on the side. This dish in particular can be made with beef or pork as well."
No ratings yet
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 40 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Spanish
Calories 789.2 kcal


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 8 chicken legs, bone in and skin on
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 onions, thinly sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 1/2 cup red wine (optional)
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce


  • In a deep sauté pan over medium heat, warm the olive oil and butter.
  • Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Add the chicken to the pan and brown on all sides, about 7 minutes. Transfer to a platter.
  • Add the onion to the pan and cook until tender and translucent, about 4 minutes. Add the chicken, garlic, thyme, wine, stock, cumin and Worcestershire and bring to a boil.
  • Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer until the juices run clear when the chicken is pierced with a knife, about 30 minutes. Serve immediately.

Add Your Own Notes


Serving: 503gCalories: 789.2kcalCarbohydrates: 9.7gProtein: 63gFat: 53.8gSaturated Fat: 16.2gCholesterol: 294.3mgSodium: 486.6mgFiber: 1gSugar: 4.2g
Keyword < 60 Mins, Chicken, Meat, Poultry, South American
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Recommended Recipes Just For You

None found



Dora is a chef well-versed in Brazilian and American cuisine. After a hard day's work in the kitchen of her restaurant, she finds the time to jot down recipes for her food blog. Her recipes are sure to delight foodies everywhere, as she strives to make each one unique and enjoyable to read.