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Grilled Peruvian Chicken With Green Sauce



Marinated grilled chicken breast sliced on a plate with slices of red onions and cilantro with a yogurty green sauce...
Photo by Travis Rainey, Food Styling by Tiffany Schleigh

Peruvian chicken, or pollo alla brasa, gets its bold flavor and vibrant color from two sauces: a garlicky, spiced marinade that coats the meat in a brick-red paste, and a creamy, herbaceous green sauce served on the side for drizzling and dipping. While traditional recipes call for a whole chicken or skin-on, bone-in parts, this weeknight-friendly take prioritizes speed and ease with skinless, boneless chicken breasts, which need only about 20 minutes to marinate and even less time to cook.

This recipe makes more than enough green sauce for four chicken breasts, but you won’t be mad at the leftovers. The remnant sauce is great with roasted vegetables, pork, fish, or even drizzled over a grain bowl. Stirring the yogurt in at the end (rather than blitzing it with everything else in the blender) keeps the consistency velvety and not too thin.

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What you’ll need

Recipe information

  • Total Time

    1 hour and 5 minutes

  • Yield

    4 servings


4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts (about 2 lb.)
2 tsp. Diamond Crystal or 1 tsp. Morton kosher salt, divided, plus more
5 garlic cloves, 4 finely grated, 1 whole
3 Tbsp. plus ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 Tbsp. red wine vinegar or sherry vinegar
2 Tbsp. ground cumin
2 Tbsp. smoked paprika
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
Freshly ground pepper
2 medium scallions, coarsely chopped
1 large jalapeño, halved, ribs and seeds removed
2 cups coarsely chopped cilantro, plus cilantro leaves with tender stems for serving
¼ cup fresh lime juice
¼ cup mayonnaise
¼ cup plain whole-milk yogurt
Vegetable oil (for grill)
Thinly sliced red onion (for serving)


  1. Step 1

    Pat 4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts (about 2 lb.) dry with paper towels and season with kosher salt. Whisk 4 garlic cloves, finely grated, 3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, 3 Tbsp. red wine vinegar or sherry vinegar, 2 Tbsp. ground cumin, 2 Tbsp. smoked paprika, 2 Tbsp. soy sauce, 1 tsp. Diamond Crystal or ½ tsp. Morton kosher salt, and ¼ tsp. cayenne pepper in a large bowl to combine; season with freshly ground pepper. Add chicken and turn to coat. Let sit at least 20 minutes and up to 1 hour.

    Step 2

    Meanwhile, blend 2 medium scallions, coarsely chopped, 1 large jalapeño, halved, ribs and seeds removed, 2 cups coarsely chopped cilantro, ¼ cup fresh lime juice, ¼ cup mayonnaise, remaining 1 garlic clove, and remaining 1 tsp. Diamond Crystal or ½ tsp. Morton kosher salt in a blender until combined (some herb flecks are okay). Transfer purée to a small bowl and stir in ¼ cup plain whole-milk yogurt. Set sauce aside.

    Step 3

    Prepare a grill for medium heat; oil grate with vegetable oil. Arrange chicken on grate, cover, and grill, turning halfway through, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of breasts registers 160°, 13–15 minutes. Transfer chicken to a cutting board and let rest 5 minutes before slicing.

    Step 4

    Arrange chicken on a platter and top with thinly sliced red onion and cilantro leaves with tender stems. Serve with reserved sauce on the side.

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