Copy Cat Recipe: Chipotle’s Adobo Marinated Chicken

The following is a post from Tiffany at Eat at Home:

We have been building Chipotle's Burrito Bowls from the bowl up.  So far we've covered, Cilantro-Lime Rice and Vegetarian Black Beans.  Today, we're adding Adobo Marinated Chicken.

Of the 5 recipes in this series, this one takes the longest.  However, it is still easy and fairly quick. You just need to plan ahead a little bit to have time to let the chicken marinate.  In my mind, I'm not going to spend time re-creating a restaurant dish if I can't do it easily.   I'm guessing you'd like to keep it quick and easy too.

If you can grill the chicken on an outdoor grill, it will be more like what they serve in Chipotle.  We had uncooperative weather the day I made this, so I used a skillet on the stove.

Chipotle's Adobo Marinated Chicken Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 – 2 lbs. boneless chicken breast
  • 1-2 tsp adobo sauce from a can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
  • 3 Tbs. lime juice
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1/2 tsp. chili powder

Cooking Directions

  1. Place all ingredients in plastic zip top bag and marinate in the refrigerator for at least an hour or up to 24 hours.
  2. Grill on outdoor grill or cut in bite sized pieces and cook in skillet with 1-2 Tbs. oil.  Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently till done.

You don't have to use this chicken for burrito bowls.  It would also make a good filling for tacos. You can also freeze the chicken in the marinade.  To use, just thaw and cook according to the previous directions.

Restaurant At-Home Comparison

The cost savings on this recipe is substantial.  Chipotle charges $2.50 per serving for their Adobo Marinated Chicken.  For 6 servings that's $15!

You can make 6-8 servings at home for around $4.  The boneless chicken breast will cost about $3.  You'll also need a can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce ($1.30), however you'll only need a bit of the adobo sauce. The other ingredients you'll need are pantry ingredients with minimal cost.

The rest of the peppers and sauce can be frozen to use in other recipes like Smokey Chipotle Chicken Tacos, Shrimp or Fish Tacos or Chipotle Lime Chicken Scampi.  The other ingredients you'll need are pantry ingredients with minimal cost.

Love the adobo chicken at Chipotle? You gotta try this copycat recipe. Tastes just like the restaurant!

Find MORE Recipes HERE

by Savings Lifestyle: Tiffany on March 21, 2012


  • Christie - March 21, 2012 @ 9:34 pm

    To be more authentic to Chipotle, use 1/2 breast and 1/2 chicken thighs. That’s closer to what they use there.

    • Tiffany - March 22, 2012 @ 10:24 am

      Great tip about using thighs as well!

  • Cheryl - March 21, 2012 @ 10:14 pm

    Yummy, Yummy! I’ve made the rice recipe & now that’s requested over here…..we’re hoping for the carnitas recipe. I’ve come close to replicating but can never do it twice in a row LOL
    Lot’s of recipes in my head that just turn into “Umm, that sounds good I can add that too”

  • Steven Monforte - July 22, 2012 @ 4:18 pm

    Coming from good sources I need to let you know that, for your numbers to be more authentic, you need to use antibiotic and hormone free chicken thighs only, no breast meat. It is more expensive which is why they charge more, plus they are a business…

    Also their chicken is marinated in soy oil, honey, and chipotle adobo. No lime juice. Let marinate for at least a day. It is the best.

  • Gabriel - October 16, 2012 @ 9:36 pm

    It’s clear from eating at Chipotle that they definitely do indeed use thighs exclusively. Definitely no breast meat, as the last poster said. I’m always disappointed in copycat recipes that use breasts without mentioning that Chipotle uses thighs.

  • breoni - March 20, 2014 @ 4:45 pm

    I used to work for them..its an adobo marinade mixed with honey and oil for chicken add salt for steak and yes they use chicken thigh which is less drying than breast

  • breoni - March 20, 2014 @ 4:48 pm

    And yes all ingredients are organic down to meet which is true to be hormone free we marinade by every 20lbs of chicken though a little marinade goes a long way please don’t make more marinade than chicken and just a smidge of honey

  • Peter - March 24, 2014 @ 10:48 pm

    Breoni, or anyone, what’s the approximate ratio of adobo marinade, oil and honey?
    Thank you!

  • Heidi - April 09, 2014 @ 12:54 pm

    Just wanted to let you know we made your Chipotle’s Adobo Marinated Chicken recipe for my daughters Mexican themed wedding reception and everyone was raving about it. My son-in-laws loved it and my grandson said it was the best chicken in the world!!! :) I used almost all breasts and added a bit of honey but other wise followed the directions exactly. Thanks for sharing!

  • Elisa - May 10, 2014 @ 11:14 pm

    I’ve seen in the precious comments that Chipotle marinade their chicken in soy oil, honey, and adobo sauce. How much would you add to the recipe? Trying to make some for my family…

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