She pounds the chicken thinly and marinates it with sour orange garlic marinade aka mojo criollo.
From there, she sears the chicken for a few minutes on each side until it’s browned and juicy.
It’s perfect every time. Every! Time!
Pollo a la Plancha [pronounced poh-yoh ah lah plahn-chah] translates to grilled chicken.
The word plancha translates to “iron”. In this context, however, the word refers to a “griddle” which is essentially where the chicken breast is cooked when you order this dish at a Cuban restaurant.
What makes this recipe so special?
You often hear how chicken breast is hard to cook, it’s dry, boring, flavorless… well, I’m happy to report, that’s not the case with this recipe!
This Cuban grilled chicken breast:
- Only needs to marinate for 20 minutes
- Has a citrusy-garlic flavor
- Results in a tender, juicy texture and,
- Has a golden brown sear
Say goodbye to boring, dry chicken breasts forever!
Let me show you how to make it.
Ingredients You’ll Need
- Chicken breasts. This recipe is specifically for boneless, skinless chicken breasts that are pounded thin. I order mine from Butcher Box!
Butcher Box is a service that curates boxes of grass-fed, no-hormone-added, humanely raised beef, chicken, pork, salmon + sustainable seafood and, they deliver it right to your door. I love getting my box delivered directly to me. There are always specials – like free bacon or free ground beef – you gotta check them out! Click here to find out more info on Butcher Box!
- Mojo marinade. A delicious citrus-garlic marinade that is popular in Cuban cuisine. I have all the details on how to make this mojo criollo at home however you can use storebought if you prefer.
- Complete seasoning.
- Neutral oil. Mom uses a blend of both oil and unsalted butter to pan fry the chicken. You can use one or the other, or both. Either way, it will be delicious!
How To Make Pollo a la Plancha
- Tenderize the chicken. On a cutting board, place chicken between two pieces of plastic wrap. Using a meat mallet or rolling pin, slightly pound the chicken breasts until they’re 1/4-inch thin.
- Don’t skip this step! Pounding chicken breasts tenderizes the meat which helps it cook evenly and results in a juicier texture.
- Marinate the chicken breasts. In a large shallow dish, add the thin chicken breasts. Pour the mojo marinade and season with complete seasoning on both sides. Marinate at room temperature for 20 minutes.
- Cook the chicken. In a griddle, grill pan or large skillet, heat oil at medium heat. Working in batches, remove chicken breasts from the marinade, shaking off any excess, and place them on the pan. Cook for 2-3 minutes per side until golden brown.
What To Serve with Pollo a la Plancha
- Arroz Blanco (Easy White Rice Recipe)
- Cuban Rice and Beans Recipe (Arroz con Frijoles Negro)
- Sweet Plantains (Platanos Maduros)
- Moros y Cristianos/Arroz Congri (Cuban Black Beans & Rice)
- Easy Arroz Amarillo (Spanish Yellow Rice)
You can keep cooked chicken breasts in the fridge for up to 3 days in an airtight container or up to 3 months in the freezer.
You may also like:
- Pollo Asado (Cuban-Style Grilled Chicken)
- Vaca Frita de Pollo (Cuban Shredded Chicken Recipe)
- Crispy Baked Mojo Chicken Wings
- Cuban Mojo Criollo (Mojo Marinade Recipe)
Pollo a la Plancha (Cuban Grilled Chicken Breast)
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 1/3 cup mojo marinade (or use storebought)
- 2 teaspoons complete seasoning
- 2-3 tablespoons neutral oil or unsalted butter for pan frying
- Sliced sauteed onions optional
- On a cutting board, place chicken between two pieces of plastic wrap. Using a meat mallet or rolling pin, slightly pound the chicken breasts until they're 1/4-inch thin. Don't skip this step! Pounding chicken breasts tenderizes the meat which helps it cook evenly and results in a juicier texture.
- In a shallow dish, add the chicken breasts. Pour the mojo marinade and season with complete seasoning on both sides. Marinate at room temperature for 20 minutes.
- In a griddle, grill pan or large skillet, heat oil at medium heat. Working in batches, remove chicken breasts from the marinade, shaking off any excess, and place them on the pan. Cook them for 2-3 minutes per side until golden brown. Serve with white rice, black beans, and/or maduros. Enjoy!
Originally posted in January 2018. Updated March 2022.