This Qdoba chicken recipe is a copycat of the popular Mexican restaurant chain's chicken. It is an easy recipe to follow for any home cook and only requires a few ingredients that you probably already have in your kitchen.
🌟 Why this recipe works
This recipe works because it is simple, flavorful, and versatile. The delicious chicken is marinated in a smoky-sweet adobo sauce, which gives it a South American and Mexican delicious flavor.
The result is a flavorful and moist chicken that can be used in a variety of dishes like burritos, tortilla wraps, sandwiches, and salads.
What makes the chicken utterly delicious is the combination of the fiery spice from the adobo sauce and the strong herbaceous flavor from the oregano.
Additionally, the recipe is easy to follow for any home chef, with only a few spices and chicken breast required to make it. Plus, it can be easily adapted to your tastes for a sweeter or spicier flavor.
This Qdoba chicken recipe is a copycat version of the popular Mexican restaurant chain's flavorsome chicken, and it tastes so good your friends and family would never know it's homemade! Also check my copycat Longhorn parmesan crusted chichen recipe.
Whether you're looking for a new chicken recipe for your weekly meal prep or just want to try something different for dinner tonight, this Qdoba copycat chicken is a great option.
🍽 Key ingredients
The key ingredients in this recipe are chicken, adobo sauce, and oregano. The chicken is marinated in this smoky-sweet adobo sauce which gives it a delicious flavor, and the oregano adds a strong herbaceous flavor to the dish.
Skinless chicken tenderloins - The chicken is the key protein in this dish and should be a boneless, skinless variety for ease of cooking.
Garlic - The minced garlic adds a pungent flavor to the marinade.
Olive oil - Used as a marinade for the chicken, olive oil helps keep the chicken moist during cooking.
Adobo sauce - You can buy this in most grocery stores, and it's a smoky-sweet sauce made from chipotle peppers that give the chicken its delicious flavor.
Oregano or Italian seasoning - Either will work in this marinade, and we use a generous amount to give it a strong herbaceous flavor.
Cumin - \cumin is an earthy spice that adds depth of flavor to the marinade.
Instead of cumin, you could substitute it for half a teaspoon of chili powder.
To make your own Italian seasoning, mix 1 teaspoon each dried basil, oregano, marjoram, rosemary, sage, and thyme together.
🔪 How to make
This Qdoba chicken recipe is simple to make and only requires a few ingredients that you probably already have in your kitchen. All you need is a ziplock bag for the marinade and a skillet to cook the marinated chicken breasts.
Finely chop the garlic.
Combine the chicken, garlic, olive oil, adobo sauce, and seasoning in a large bowl (or ziplock bag), and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or up to 2 days.
Heat a skillet with a tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat and add the marinated chicken to the large pan. Cook for about 6 to 7 minutes per side, turning occasionally until completely cooked through and nicely charred.
Remove the chicken from the skillet and leave it to rest on a chopping board for 10 minutes.
Slice the chicken into strips or chop it into cubes and serve in a burrito bowl or over a salad bed. ENJOY!
💭 Cooking tips
Leave the chicken marinating for longer.
If you want a more intense flavor from the chicken, leave it to marinate in the fridge overnight to infuse the adobo sauce flavors thoroughly.
Make it even spicier.
While the adobo sauce on its own is hot enough, you can add one or two chopped chipotle peppers to the mixture to really turn the heat up.
Allow the chicken to rest before serving.
Allowing the chicken to rest after cooking will allow the juices to run clear and the meat to relax, which will make it easier to slice.
Although this Qdoba copycat chicken recipe is perfectly balanced with its ingredients, you could alter it to accommodate sweeter and spicier taste buds.
Make it spicier
Add one or two chopped chipotle peppers to the mixture to really turn the heat up for a spicier flavor.
You can add 1 tablespoon of honey or sugar to the marinade to make it sweeter.
Use different herbs
You can also use different herbs in the marinade, such as cilantro or thyme work well.
Make it creamy
If you want a creamier marinade, add half a cup of sour cream. The color of the marinade will become paler, and the overall heat level will become less intense. This variation works well when adding cheese to the char-grilled chicken after cooking.
🥗 What to serve with
This Qdoba chicken recipe is excellent served with a simple green salad and some rice on the side. You could also use the spicy chicken for some easy Mexican recipe pairings, like burrito bowls, a filling for tacos, or add the chicken to these dishes below!
Baked Chicken Caprese: This salad is a fun twist on the classic Caprese salad and is perfect for summer. It's light, refreshing, and full of Italian flavors - and this spicy marinated chicken is a great option instead of the pesto!
Shredded chicken nachos: This is the perfect dish for a fun and easy weeknight meal or a party appetizer! Use the marinated grilled chicken to place on top of corn tortillas, and place guacamole, pico de gallo, shredded cheese, and sour cream on top for delicious taco Tuesday!
🙋 Frequently asked questions
Can you cook Qdoba chicken in a crockpot?
The Qdoba copycat recipe can be cooked in a crockpot, but it will not have the same grilled flavor. If you are looking for a more intense flavor, it is best to cook the chicken on the stovetop or grill.
🧊 Storage and ♨️ reheating
You can easily store this Qdoba chicken recipe once it has cooled, and it tastes even better the next day once the flavors infuse into the chicken after reheating.
Fridge - Store the chicken in an airtight container, and it will last in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Freezer - Freeze the leftover grilled chicken in a freezer-safe container for up to 2 months.
Reheat - You can reheat the leftover Qdoba chicken on the stovetop, grill, or in the oven. If reheating on the stovetop or grill, cook until the chicken is heated through. If reheating in the oven, bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 10-15 minutes.
👪 Serving size
For 2lbs of boneless skinless chicken, this grilled chicken recipe will give you 4 to 5 servings, as long as you incorporate it with another dish, like salads, burritos, or tacos.
This Qdoba chicken recipe is the perfect weeknight meal to add some spice to your table that will leave your guests licking their lips. It's full of flavor and can be easily tailored to your taste buds, whether you like it sweeter or spicier, this Qdoba copycat chicken is just sublime!
Qdoba Chicken Recipe (Easy Copycat)
- 2 lbs boneless skinless chicken tenderloins
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons adobo sauce
- ½ teaspoon oregano
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- Finely chop the garlic.
- Combine the chicken, garlic, olive oil, adobo sauce, and seasoning in a large bowl (or ziplock bag), and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or up to 2 days.
- Heat a skillet with a tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat and add the marinated chicken to the large pan. Cook for about 6 to 7 minutes per side, turning occasionally until completely cooked through and nicely charred.
- Remove the chicken from the skillet and leave it to rest on a chopping board for 10 minutes.
- Slice the chicken into strips or chop it into cubes and serve in a burrito bowl or over a salad bed. ENJOY!