Pollo Al Ajillo (Classic Spanish Garlic Chicken)

Garlicky chicken in a bowl

martinturzak / Getty Images

Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 35 mins
Marinate: 2 hrs
Total: 2 hrs 55 mins
Servings: 6 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
928 Calories
72g Fat
28g Carbs
39g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6
Amount per serving
Calories 928
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 72g 93%
Saturated Fat 13g 63%
Cholesterol 121mg 40%
Sodium 299mg 13%
Total Carbohydrate 28g 10%
Dietary Fiber 3g 11%
Total Sugars 2g
Protein 39g
Vitamin C 25mg 125%
Calcium 53mg 4%
Iron 4mg 21%
Potassium 977mg 21%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Garlic chicken, or pollo al ajillo, is a classic Spanish recipe. Even though it hails from the Andalusian region, it is enjoyed all over Spain. This version is cooked on the stove rather than roasted in the oven.

As the name suggests, garlic is the main player in this recipe. It is combined with white wine to make the base for the sauce. Like all popular and classic recipes in Spanish cuisine, every family has their own version. Some cooks include a hot pepper, paprika, and vinegar—as this recipe does—to add a bit of spice as well as a tangy bite.

While the recipe calls for a whole chicken and cutting it up yourself, you can always purchase pre-cut chicken to save time and make it even easier. Marinating the chicken for an hour or two before browning it assures a moist result, so it's best not to skip that step.


  • 1 (2 1/2-pound) whole chicken

  • 1 medium lemon

  • 6 cloves garlic

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 1/2 cups extra-virgin olive oil, divided

  • 1/2 cup white wine

  • 1 bay leaf

  • 1 1/2 pounds potatoes, about 4 medium, peeled, sliced, or cubed

  • 1 cup chicken broth, optional

  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped flat leaf parsley

  • 1 pepper hot pepper, optional

  • 1 teaspoon Spanish sweet paprika

  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Cut chicken into 10 to 12 pieces. Rinse and pat dry. Place the chicken in a large glass dish and squeeze lemon juice over it.

  3. Peel 2 garlic cloves and chop finely. Rub the garlic, salt, and pepper into the chicken. Marinate for 1 to 2 hours.

  4. In a large, heavy-bottomed frying pan, pour 3/4 cup of the olive oil and heat over medium heat.

  5. Remove the chicken from the marinade and drain well. Place the chicken in the hot oil and brown on both sides.

  6. Remove the chicken from the frying pan and place in a Dutch oven or a covered, deep frying pan. Add the white wine and bay leaf. Cover and simmer on low until the wine is reduced.

  7. While the chicken simmers, peel and cut the potatoes into thin round slices or small cubes.

  8. In a small frying pan, heat the remaining 3/4 cup olive oil on medium high and fry the potatoes. Remove potatoes and add them to the chicken. If more sauce is desired, add the cup of broth now. Reduce the heat to low and continue to simmer, covered.

  9. Finely chop the parsley and sprinkle over chicken.

  10. Peel the remaining 4 cloves of garlic and cut into thin slices. In the same pan used to brown the chicken, lightly sauté the garlic, and add the hot pepper, if using. Add Spanish paprika, vinegar, and sugar.

  11. Stir, scraping the bottom of the pan. Pour over the chicken. Adjust the seasoning to taste and serve.

  12. Enjoy.