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Chipotle’s Grilled Chicken Recipe – My money saving hack

I saved hundreds of dollars and made my own Chipotle chicken burrito bowls using this recipe for Chipotle’s grilled chicken for my daughter’s 16th birthday. The chicken was amazing, plus the chipotle chicken marinade was super easy to make. I’ll be using this chicken recipe again for sure. I will outline the steps to make the chipotle grilled chicken only. You can add white rice or brown rice, black beans or pinto beans, lettuce, cheese, guacamole, veggies, sour cream, and salsa to make the Chipotle burrito bowls on your own.


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By Brent Doud


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Chipotle’s Grilled Chicken Recipe.

I asked my daughter what foods she wanted to serve at her 16th birthday party to 16 of her closest friends and she immediately said “Grilled Chicken Burrito Bowls from Chipotle”. So then I started to think about actually placing that order. 16 grilled chicken burrito bowls each with a different combination of toppings & salsas. What a nightmare that would cost upwards of $300 once everyone added on guacamole. And everyone loves guacamole. So I decided to make these myself. This is when I took to the internet to find Chipotle’s grilled chicken recipe and found a former Chipotle employee who gave us this chipotle chicken marinade in a quick video. The video has over 2 million views and everyone in the comments seems to love the chipotle chicken recipe, so I figured I would give it a try.

Chipotle’s Grilled Chipotle Chicken Copycat Recipe

Chipotle’s Grilled Chicken Ingredients and Seasonings

I was making about 16-18 boneless skinless chicken thighs, so I doubled the chipotle chicken recipe that the Chipotle employee showed in the video. I also thought the marinade was just a little too salty the first time I made it, so I did not double the salt in the recipe that you will see below. Also, I had some fresh limes from my neighbor’s tree, that I had to use, so I added the juice of 1/2 lime to the recipe. Please note the salt and lime variation from the recipe the Chipotle employee told us about.

  • 2 7oz cans of chipotle peppers (One without the chipotle peppers only the adobo sauce)

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil

  • 8 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped

  • 2 tablespoons ancho chile powder

  • 2 teaspoons salt

  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin

  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano

  • 2 teaspoons black pepper

  • Fresh Lime Juice from 1/2 Lime

  • 1.5 cups water

Chipotle Peppers in Abodo Sauce

When you purchase the chipotle peppers, make sure they come in an adobo sauce. In this recipe, I used 1 whole can of the chipotle peppers and then I removed the actual chipotle peppers and only used the adobo sauce in the second can.

Blend The Ingredients

Toss all the ingredients into a blender and turn it on for about a minute. I told you this recipe was easy. Once everything is blended, you will have a nice orange/red colored chipotle chicken marinade that smells amazing.

Marinate the Chicken Thighs

I split my boneless skinless chicken thighs into 2 ziplock bags and dumped half the chipotle chicken marinade into each. I made this chipotle marinade the morning of the event, so the chicken was marinating for about 6 hours. You can leave the chicken marinating in the fridge overnight if you have time.

Grill the Chipotle Chicken

You can cook this chipotle chicken in a couple of different ways. You can cook it in a cast iron pan on your stove over high heat, or grill the chipotle chicken outside on the BBQ. I turned my BBQ on high heat and grilled it outside. It took about 12-14 minutes to grill and I rotated and shifted the chicken thighs around the hot spots on my grill. I wanted to get these fully cooked with just a bit of char on them for added flavor.

What Temperature Are Chicken Thighs Done?

165 degrees is the minimum temperature to cook chicken. I used my Thermaworks ThermaPen ONE to check the temperature of several pieces of chicken to make sure the temp was over 165 degrees.

Let The Chipotle Chicken Rest

Once the chicken thighs were at 165 degrees I placed them into a bowl and sealed it with aluminum foil. I let the chicken rest for about 20 minutes before cutting it up.

Cutting Chipotle Grilled Chicken.

I cut the chicken into 1/2″ pieces. This chipotle grilled chicken is VERY juicy and smells delicious. If you made it this far in the recipe without trying a piece of chipotle chicken, you are way better than I am. On a side note, I am glad I had the obnoxiously large juice groove on the End Grain Cutting Board because it was needed after cutting up 16 juicy chicken thighs.

Copycat Chipotle Chicken Recipe

Sure, I made a couple of small tweaks to this copycat chipotle chicken recipe, but isn’t that what cooking is all about? Each dish might start with an exact recipe, but I always try to make it my own or use certain ingredients that I have on hand to add my unique flare.

Would I make this Chipotle Chicken Recipe Again?

Yes, the grilled chicken was juicy and delicious and tasted very similar to Chipotle’s Grilled Chicken at the restaurant. We set up a buffet station and allowed the girls to build their own chicken burrito bowls adding whatever they wanted from the many toppings like cilantro lime rice, black beans, pico de gallo, lettuce, cheese, sour cream, salsa, and of course guacamole.

Chipotle's Chipotle Grilled Chicken Recipe

Chipotle’s Grilled Chicken Marinade Recipe

5 from 1 vote
Author: Brent Doud
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: BBQ,Mexican
Keywords: bbq chicken,bbq chicken marinade,chipotle grilled chicken
Servings: 16 people
I saved hundreds of dollars and made my own Chipotle chicken burrito bowls using this recipe for Chipotle’s grilled chicken for my daughter’s 16th birthday. The chicken was amazing, plus the chipotle chicken marinade was super easy to make. I’ll be using this chicken recipe again for sure. I will outline the steps to make the chipotle grilled chicken only.
Prep Time: 6 hours
Cook Time: 15 minutes


  • 8 lbs Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs
  • 2 7oz Cans Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
  • 4 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 8 Cloves Garlic
  • 2 tbsp Ancho Chili Powder
  • 2 tsp Salt
  • 2 tsp Ground Cumin
  • 2 tsp Dried Oregano
  • 2 tsp Black Pepper
  • 2 tbsp Fresh Lime Juice
  • 1.5 Cups Water


  • Add all the chicken marinade ingredients to the blender. I used 1 whole can of Chipotle Peppers and 1 can of just the adobo sauce. I removed the chipotle peppers from 1 can.
    Chipotle Grilled Chicken Ingredients in a Blender
  • Blend everything for about 1 minute
    Chipotle Grilled Chicken Ingredients Blended
  • I separated the chicken into 2 ziplock bags and poured half the chipotle chicken marinade into each bag.
    Chipotle Chicken Marinade
  • Grill the chicken thighs on high heat until they reach at least 165 degrees. Alternatively, you can cook the chicken on a cast iron pan over high heat.
    Chipotle Marinaded Chicken On The Grill
  • Let the chipotle grilled chicken rest for at least 15-20 minutes
  • Chop the chipotle grilled chicken into half-inch pieces.
    Cutting into half inch pieces - Copycat Chipotle Grilled Chicken Recipe
  • Serve the Chipotle grilled chicken in a burrito bowl, or make tacos from the chicken. This moist and tasty chipotle marinated chicken will be the star of any Mexican food dish.


Serving: 4ozCalories: 309kcalCarbohydrates: 2gProtein: 44gFat: 13gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 3gMonounsaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0.04gCholesterol: 215mgSodium: 511mgPotassium: 594mgFiber: 1gSugar: 0.1gVitamin A: 361IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 35mgIron: 2mg

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