How to make Pollo al Ajillo

On a captivating journey through the heart and soul of Spanish gastronomy, I was fortunate enough to encounter Pollo al Ajillo, a dish that dances gracefully between simplicity and decadence. Nestled within the vibrant energy of a local Spanish tavern, this culinary masterpiece, known for its tender chicken bathed in a rich sauce made from chicken stock and red wine vinegar, tantalized my taste buds. The main ingredients – succulent pieces of chicken melding harmoniously with the acidity of the red wine vinegar and the depth of the chicken stock – create an aromatic symphony of flavors, both bold and inviting. Intrigued by this blend of simplicity and complex flavors, I embarked on a quest to recreate Pollo al Ajillo in my own kitchen. After numerous trials, adjusting and perfecting each element, I mastered the recipe. Now, with great excitement and pride, I am thrilled to share this piece of Spanish culinary tradition with you, inviting you to experience the rich tapestry of flavors that Pollo al Ajillo has to offer.

Pollo al Ajillo

Pollo al Ajillo is a quintessential Spanish dish showcasing the rich and aromatic flavors of garlic chicken, simmered to perfection in a sauce of chicken stock and red wine vinegar. This dish embodies the simplicity yet depth of Spanish cooking, with its tender chicken pieces becoming the star of the meal, absorbing the vibrant blend of acidity from the vinegar and the warmth of the garlic. The venture into recreating Pollo al Ajillo began after an inspiring encounter with this delectable dish during travels in Spain, where it stood out for its bold yet harmonious flavors. Through experimentation and a dedication to capturing the essence of the original taste, the recipe was perfected at home. Sharing this successfully crafted recipe aims to bring a piece of Spanish culinary tradition into kitchens worldwide, inviting all to savor the distinct and comforting taste of Pollo al Ajillo.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Course Main Course
Cuisine Spanish
Servings 4
Calories 2341 kcal


  • 1 oven


  • 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons parsley
  • 2/3 cup dry white wine
  • 1/3 cup chicken stock
  • 10 peeled garlic cloves
  • 1/2 dried small red chili
  • 1 chicken cut into pieces
  • 1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
  • 12 unpeeled garlic cloves
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • Sea salt


  • Salt the chicken breasts in a mixing dish. Allow for thirty minutes of resting time.
  • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit (220 degrees Celsius).
  • Using a little dusting of flour, lightly coat the chicken breasts and brush off the excess.
  • Cook the 12 peeled and cut cloves of garlic in the pan for two minutes, turning to coat them in the canola oil.
  • Garlic cloves should be discarded.
  • Cook the sliced garlic cloves in the same pan over low heat for approximately two minutes. Stir in the chili powder.
  • Stir in 1 teaspoon flour for 20 seconds. Heat the wine and poultry stock to a simmer.
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste, then pour boiling water over the chicken.
  • Bake for 15 minutes or until the poultry is well done.
  • Combine the vinegar and herbs in a mixing bowl.
  • With a few spoonfuls of garlicky wine sauce, serve the chicken.
Keyword chicken stock, white wine

Cooking tips about Pollo al Ajillo

Pollo al Ajillo - Spanish Garlic Chicken Recipe

  • Selecting the Right Chicken: Opt for bone-in, skin-on chicken pieces for maximum flavor. Thighs, drumsticks, or a mix provide richness and tenderness that breast pieces might lack.
  • Marinating for Depth: If time allows, marinate your chicken in a mixture of olive oil, minced garlic, a dash of red wine vinegar, and your chosen seasonings for a few hours or overnight. This not only tenderizes the meat but also infuses it deeply with the traditional garlic flavor.
  • The Importance of Garlic: Pollo al Ajillo is celebrated for its prominent garlic flavor. Use plenty of garlic, and don’t be shy about it—thinly sliced or minced, depending on your preference for the intensity of the garlic presence in the dish. Browning the garlic in the oil before adding the chicken imbues the oil—and thus the entire dish—with a rich, aromatic base.
  • Browning the Chicken: Ensure your pan is hot enough before adding the chicken. You’re looking for a beautifully golden-brown sear, which seals in the juices and provides texture contrast as well as flavor complexity. Do this in batches if necessary to avoid overcrowding the pan and steaming the chicken instead of searing it.
  • Simmering: Once the chicken is browned and the garlic is aromatic, add the chicken stock and red wine vinegar to deglaze the pan, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom. These fonds are flavor goldmines. Let the chicken simmer in this liquid on low heat until it’s cooked through and the sauce has thickened slightly into a more cohesive and flavorful gravy.
  • Herbs for Freshness: Incorporating herbs such as rosemary or thyme either during the cooking process or sprinkled freshly at the end can add layers of flavor. Parsley is a traditional choice for a fresh, bright finish.
  • Adjusting Acidity: The red wine vinegar provides a vibrant acidity that balances the richness of the dish, but it’s important to taste as you go. Adjusting the level of vinegar can ensure the right balance between tangy and savory, matching your personal preference.
  • Serving Suggestions: Pollo al Ajillo is best served hot, straight from the stove to the table. It pairs wonderfully with rustic bread to soak up the delicious sauce, a simple side salad dressed with vinaigrette, or even some lightly sautéed greens. A glass of smooth, fruity Spanish red wine can complement the rich flavors of the dish beautifully.

Serving suggestions about Pollo al Ajillo

Pollo al ajillo, receta de pollo fácil

  • With Rustic Bread: Serve Pollo al Ajillo with slices of rustic or crusty bread to soak up the rich, flavorful sauce. The bread acts as the perfect vehicle for ensuring not a drop of the delicious sauce goes to waste.
  • Over Rice or Pasta: For a heartier meal, Pollo al Ajillo can be served over a bed of steamed rice or al dente pasta. These starches complement the flavors of the dish and make for a satisfying main course.
  • Alongside Spanish Sides: Pair it with other Spanish sides for a full-fledged Spanish feast. Think of sautéed greens like spinach or Swiss chard, or a refreshing salad dressed in a light vinaigrette to balance the richness of the garlic chicken.
  • With Roasted Vegetables: Roasted vegetables such as bell peppers, zucchini, or asparagus make an excellent accompaniment to Pollo al Ajillo, adding color, nutrition, and texture contrast to the meal.
  • Tapas Style: Embrace the Spanish tradition of tapas by serving Pollo al Ajillo as part of a tapas spread. Include other dishes like Patatas Bravas, chorizo in red wine, and marinated olives for a diverse and engaging dining experience.
  • Pairing with Wine: A glass of medium-bodied Spanish red wine, such as a Rioja or Tempranillo, complements the dish beautifully. The wine’s fruitiness and slight acidity pair well with the richness and depth of flavors in Pollo al Ajillo.
  • Finish with Herbs: A sprinkle of fresh parsley or cilantro before serving can add a fresh, herbaceous note that elevates the dish.

Top 5 FAQs about Pollo al Ajillo

Pollo al ajillo (Spanish garlic chicken) recipe

  • What is Pollo al Ajillo? Pollo al Ajillo is a classic Spanish dish that features tender pieces of chicken cooked in a flavorful sauce made from garlic, chicken stock, and red wine vinegar. It’s renowned for its rich aroma and the perfect balance of acidity and warmth from the vinegar and garlic, respectively.
  • What are the key ingredients in Pollo al Ajillo? The primary ingredients that define Pollo al Ajillo include chicken (preferably bone-in, skin-on pieces for added flavor), a generous amount of garlic, chicken stock, and red wine vinegar. These elements come together to create the dish’s signature taste profile—the acidity of the vinegar complementing the depth of the garlic-infused chicken stock.
  • How can I ensure the chicken is tender and flavorful? Marinating the chicken in olive oil, minced garlic, a dash of red wine vinegar, and your chosen seasonings for a few hours or overnight prior to cooking can help tenderize the meat and infuse it with the traditional garlic flavor. Additionally, selecting the right cut of chicken—such as thighs or drumsticks—can also contribute to a more tender and flavorful outcome.
  • What makes the garlic flavor in Pollo al Ajillo stand out? Pollo al Ajillo is celebrated for its pronounced garlic flavor, achieved by using plenty of thinly sliced or minced garlic. Browning the garlic in oil before adding the chicken ensures that the oil, and thus the entire dish, is imbued with a rich, aromatic garlic essence.
  • Are there any specific serving suggestions for Pollo al Ajillo? Pollo al Ajillo is best enjoyed hot, directly from the stove. It pairs beautifully with rustic or crusty bread to soak up the delicious sauce, a simple side salad dressed with vinaigrette, or lightly sautéed greens. Serving it alongside a glass of smooth, fruity Spanish red wine can further enhance the dining experience, complementing the rich flavors of the dish.

In conclusion, Pollo al Ajillo emerges as an indispensable gem within the pantheon of Spanish cuisine, epitomizing the elegance of simplicity met with the profound savoriness of tradition. This dish, with its succulent chicken pieces richly steeped in a garlic-infused sauce accented by chicken stock and red wine vinegar, offers an experience that resonates deeply with the essence of Spain’s culinary heritage. From its humble beginnings discovered on a journey through the vibrant cultural landscape of Spain to its recreation in home kitchens around the world, Pollo al Ajillo stands as a testament to the connective power of food. By adhering to the detailed cooking tips and embracing the varied serving suggestions laid out from its discovery to perfection, anyone can bring to life this piece of Spanish culinary artistry. The adventure of crafting Pollo al Ajillo does not merely end with a delicious meal; it extends an invitation to explore, savor, and share a rich tapestry of flavors that have been cherished across generations. Whether enjoyed in the coziness of a family dinner or shared among friends, Pollo al Ajillo promises to deliver both a taste of Spain and a slice of joy into every dining experience.


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