Pollo Tropical is a fast food restaurant chain based in Miami, Florida. It’s famous for well, you guessed it, their tropical flavored chicken! People love it not only because of the tropical taste, but it also happens to taste the closest to homemade chicken.

If you’ve ever had it and enjoyed it, you can now make it at home anytime! The preparation for the chicken also happens to be very simple. All you have to do is make the marinade for the chicken and put it on the grill.

Whether you’re a Miami, Florida native who moved away, and is missing the taste of Pollo Tropical’s chicken or you’re looking for something new to make for your family, whatever your reason, you’ve come to the right place!

You could have it anytime, especially since you have the option to put it in the oven! Once you know how to make Pollo Tropical’s chicken, I’m sure it’ll be a recipe you keep until it becomes a recipe you’ve memorized to the last word. What is nice about these recipes is that they have a somewhat quick preparation time, which is a plus.

Now let’s get to know how to make this iconic recipe.

How to Make Pollo Tropical Chicken

A very quick note before we start, however. There are two recipes that I will be sharing, in case you want to try different ways of making this. With that out of the way, I’m not going to keep you from making this delicious chicken any longer!


You will need the following ingredients:

  • 3 Cornish Hens
  • ¼ cup Sour Orange Juice
  • 1 Tbs Pineapple Juice
  • 2 packets Goya Coriander and Annatto seasoning
  • 1 Tbs Salt
  • ½ tsp Black pepper
  • ½ tsp Garlic powder
  • ½ tsp Cumin
  • ½ tsp Oregano leaves


Now that you have all of your ingredients set out, follow these directions.

Step 1: Grab a large bowl. Pour the orange juice, the pineapple juice, and the spices into it. Mix thoroughly. This is the marinade that will go onto the chicken, and ultimately, it is what gives it its tropical flavor!

Step 2: When the marinade is mixed thoroughly, place the chicken in the mixture.

Step 3: After you coated the chicken with the marinade, place them in your shallow dish of choice.

Step 4: Once you’ve placed all of the chicken pieces in the dish, cover the dish with plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator. Let it sit in the fridge for 4 hours. This is so the marinade can settle into the chicken.

Step 5: Now that the four hours is up, it’s time to grill! Put it on your grill for 45 minutes, at a 185-degree temperature. Turn the chicken occasionally.

A couple of important notes for this recipe: Make sure the Cornish Hens are de-skinned and cut into halves. Also, make sure the chicken is lined up in a single layer. This applies to both the dish and the grill!

Another Variation of Pollo Tropical Chicken Recipe

The recipe you just saw is only one of many recipes you could use. One of those many recipes also happens to be the other one I’m going to be sharing with you!


For THIS recipe, you’ll need the following:

  • 2 lbs. Chicken pieces
  • 4 cups Bitter/sour orange juice
  • ¼ tsp Black pepper
  • 1 tsp Dried oregano leaves
  • 1 Tbs Cumin
  • ½ tsp Salt
  • 1 Tbs Fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1 cup Pineapple juice
  • 1 Jalapeno pepper (minced)
  • ¼ tsp White pepper


Now with all ingredients set out, here are the instructions:

Step 1: Grab a shallow dish, then pour in both the pineapple juice and orange juice.

Step 2: Once the pineapple and orange juices are in the bowl, measure out all the spices and rub them on the chicken pieces.

Step 3: Place them into the pineapple and orange juice mixture that you just poured into the shallow dish.

Step 4: Cover the dish, and then let the chicken sit for 4 hours or overnight.

Step 5: Once it gets close to the 4 hours being up, fire up the grill! This way, when the four hours actually is up, you can place them on the grill, and let them sit and cook.

Step 6: While the chicken is cooking, baste with the marinade. Do this every so often, as well as the turning of the chicken.

Step 7: When the chicken is all grilled, plate it, and enjoy!

A few quick and essential notes for THIS recipe: Make sure you cook your side of choice and anything else you may want, like corn, while the chicken is on the grill. It will make for an even quicker plating process. It’s also important to remind you that the jalapeno pepper needs to be minced.

What to Serve With

While I’m only giving recipes for the Pollo Tropical chicken in this article, I wanted to shed a little light on some quick options you can pair with the tropical chicken! One of the most popular things served with the tropical chicken is the signature sauces: fresh salsa, cilantro garlic, curry mustard, and more! However, this just one of the many options of things you can have with it.

One of the other options you can have with the tropical chicken is one of the various sides, whether you follow the copycat recipe of a Pollo Tropical side or create your own!

It doesn’t go without saying, though, that many people think that black beans and rice are absolutely the best sides to have with the tropical chicken. While you certainly can make the black beans and rice to have with it, I also strongly encourage you to make your own choice.


Before I let you go, I wanted to refer back to the first recipe really quickly. Did you know that every time you decide to make it, you don’t have to make it on the grill? Yes, I said it! It can also go in the oven whenever it isn’t exactly grilling weather. Just put it in the oven at 375 degrees for 45 minutes to 1 hour, and you’re all good!

Like I mentioned earlier, these recipes are great for any Miami natives who moved away and are missing the taste of Pollo Tropical’s chicken, for those who are looking for something completely different for their chicken, or those who are simply looking for a dinner they think their family might like!

The only thing that takes any time is letting the chicken sit in the marinade, as well as the cooking time on the grill or in the oven. I hope you and your family enjoy this recipe!


Peter's path through the culinary world has taken a number of unexpected turns. After starting out as a waiter at the age of 16, he was inspired to go to culinary school and learn the tricks of the trade. As he delved deeper, however, his career took a sudden turn when a family friend needed someone to help manage his business. Peter now scratches his culinary itch on the internet by blogging, sharing recipes, and socializing with food enthusiasts worldwide.

1 Comment

  1. Well, I made this and it is nowhere near the flavor of Tropical Polo Chicken. Very disappointed..

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