One of the best Spanish chicken recipes

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Spanish chicken recipe served in a restaurant in Spain

Most authentic Spanish chicken recipes you must try


You love chicken and want to give a Spanish touch to your family menus. Or maybe are traveling soon to Spain and want to know what Spanish chicken dishes you shouldn’t miss. But then you go online and the search results are disappointing, confusing or even… wrong! Why are so many bloggers listing recipes that aren’t authentic at all? Tell a Spaniard you are planning to add chorizo to a paella (chicken paella or not) and you’ll see what happens… Jamie Oliver did and he got called many names, even the worst thing a (bad) paella can be called: “that’s not paella, it’s rice with things”.

Also, Spaniards don’t get why people throw in olives on tray bakes… In Spain, olives go on salads, maybe on pasta, and served as appetizers, but they are rarely a part of a cooked recipe. Chicken Marbella? Don’t get fooled by its name coming from a famous beach town near Malaga: This recipe was made up in New York City in the 1980’s. And don’t get me started on using brava sauce over chicken… A Spanish abuela would tell you that’s a “marranada” (gross): salsa brava goes only over potatoes.

So enough ranting! Let me share with you what I as a local consider the top 15 traditional Spanish chicken recipes that Spaniards grow up with and continue to cook for their families and to order when they eat out. I hope you enjoy them!


Pollo al chilindron, an authentic chicken dish from the North of Spain

Pollo al chilindron: learn this Spanish chicken dish name

In Aragon there's a cards game called "chilindron", and apparently in the old times the winner chose who of the other players paid for everyone's meal, "paid the chilindrón". So eventually the name started being used to call the typical way of making chicken in Aragon, La Rioja and the Basque Country.  The recipe main ingredients are sundried sweet red chilies, that give it its characteristic red color, garlic and onion, and often some tomato sauce or dices of Spanish ham. 

You can trust this pollo al chilindron recipe. Our you might want to check this video.


Pollo al ajillo, the most traditional spanish chicken recipe with garlic

This Spanish dish is commonly found in many local restaurants and bars, either as a main course or as a tapa. For this recipe the chicken chunks are goldened on olive oil, then the oil is used to brown lots of minced garlic and a small chili. Then the chicken is returned to the pan to finish cooking it on some white wine, lemon juice and occasionally broth to thicken the sauce. It is served with parsley leaves sprinkled on top of it.

I like this recipe in English, and here is a video, too.


Croquetas de pollo, a popular spanish chicken tapa

Spain chicken dishes: croquettes

Croquettes are one of my favorite tapas. Creamy and crunchy at the same time, the bechamel base allows for infinite flavorings and of course chicken is one of the most popular. Who in Spain doesn't have memories of grandma or mom reusing chicken leftovers to make thick croquettes for dinner? And now that people don't have much time to cook, we keep buying them frozen to whip up a quick comforting meal. And we keep ordering in bars, as it's one of the easiest croquette types to find in restaurant menus.

Check out this recipe of Spanish chicken croquettes, or watch this video recipe.


Paella de pollo, the real spanish chicken with rice

Although most people think about seafood when they hear the word "paella", the original paella from Valencia includes chicken rather than seafood. Well, and rabbit, beans - but to be honest this version is difficult to find outside the Valencia region. As an alternative, chicken paella (without the rabbit part) is commonly found in most restaurants along the Spanish mediterranean coast specializing in rice.

Here is an authentic chicken paella recipe, and here is a great youtube video. (ok, you can go gag at Jamie Oliver’s chorizo one here, but for the love of god, don’t make it!)

Learn more about Spanish paella >>
More Spanish rice dishes >>


Pollo en salsa, Spanish chicken with wine sauce

Chicken dishes from Spain: pollo con salsa

This old way of cooking chicken is found all over Europe with small variations. It's basically a base of sauté onion and garlic, to which is added white wine, bay leaf and Mediterranean herbs (rosemary, time, sage, a bouquet of Provençal herbs or whatever is available), optional saffron for color. The seared chicken is cooked on it, sometimes adding broth depending on the desired thickness. The sauce is blended before finishing to cook the chicken on it.
This pollo en salsa recipe makes an easy dinner.


Pollo en pepitoria, Spanish chicken with almonds and saffran

A classic Spanish chicken dish from Castilia, although also typically found in La Rioja, Asturias and even Catalonia, it could be considered the Spain version of Kormas. In this recipe the chicken is cooked with all its edible parts (including the offals). Hard boiled egg yolk and ground almondsor other nuts are added to the juices for texture. In Spain saffron and white wine are common additions, too. Apparently it was one of the favorite dishes of queen Isabel II of Spain.

This is a quite rich and festive version of Spanish pepitoria chicken. And that’s a convenient video of the recipe.


Milanesa de pollo, a Spanish chicken recipe kids love

Milanesa de pollo: Spanish chicken meal for kids

In Germany they call it schnitzel. In France it's escalope. In Spain, battered chicken is a milanesa and it's a children's favorite. Apparently, the origins of this dish date back from the defeat of Napoleon in the North of Italy (hence the name "milanesa", from Milano). BTW, unlike in South America, in Spain milanesas don't come topped with tomato sauce, ham or cheese. We do sometimes use ham or cheese to stuff the meat, and then we call it sanjacobo, or "llibrets" in Catalonia, or "cachopos" in Asturias (although cachopos are usually served in very large portions to share)

Find a recipe here.
More ideas for Spanish food for kids >>


Sopa de fideos con pollo, a winter Spanish chicken recipe

Nothing better than an earthy soup for a winter meal. In Spain, "fideos" is the name for short noodles that go great for a variety of dishes. One of them is the famous fideuà (a noodle version of paella), the other is this soup, where chicken is mainly used to flavor the broth, but it's sometimes also added afterwards to the noodles in small chunks to add color and richness to the dish. Same goes for the veggies and legumes used for the broth.

Here is a recipe of this Spanish chicken soup. And here is a video!
More ideas for Spanish soups >>


Pollastre amb escamarlans, the Spanish version of surf and turf

Best Spanish chicken recipe: pollastre amb escamarlans

Catalonia, the region around Barcelona, is famous for its reach traditional cuisine, and dishes mixing seafood and meat are quite common. Surf and turf would be the closest translation to English - in Catalan we call these dishes "mar i muntanya", sea and mountain. Spanish chicken with scampi is an elegant and now festive chicken dish, that started as a way to reuse chicken left overs with whatever crustaceous fishermen had caught that day. Chicken and scampi are goldened separately on the same pan, then the oil is reused to caramelize onion with some garlic, tomato and white wine.

After that, the chicken goes back to the pan to finish cooking in broth. On the last 10 minutes de scampi is added back to the pan, together with a “picada”, a traditional Catalan thick sauce made of minced garlic, ground almonds, parsley, a carquinyoli (the Catalan version of biscotti) and a piece of black chocolate.

This English recipe of Spanish chicken with scampi is close enough to the traditional recipe (not sure about the Pernod part, though, but you can skip it or use a Spanish anisette). I couldn’t find an English video of this Catalan dish, but you can check this video in Catalan that is quite easy to follow.


Pollo en escabeche, Spanish chicken in vinegar marinade

Escabeche is one of the most typical marinades in Spain, and it evolves from the Muslim and Persian cuisine. The technique was originally developped to preserve fish in an acidic environment;: vinegar. This preservative stopped putrefaction also in meats and poultry, and prevented bad smells... at the same time that it made food delicious! The chicken version of this dish incorporates veggies such as onion, garlic and carrot as well as herbs.

The veggies are sautéed before adding the herbs and spices, while the chicken is fried separately. After adding the chicken to the vegetables, some white wine and sherry are poured into the pan and once they have reduced, we add vinegar and water, enough so the chicken cooks in the liquid. This Spanish chicken dish can be served warm or at room temperature.

This is a quite accurate and authentic Spanish chicken in escabeche recipe


Pollo a la vasca con crestas de gallo, Spanish chicken for adventurous eaters

Spanish recipes for dinner: try basque chicken combs if you are adventurous!

Ok, I admit it: this Spanish chicken recipe doesn't compulsorily require chicken combs but... it makes it more interesting! What defines this Vasque recipe, though, is the use of peppers. Try it with green peppers, bell peppers or other sweet peppers. The chicken is first goldened on a pan with olive oil, then reserved so in the same oil can be caramelized some garlic and onions, and the peppers. For more flavor intensity, try roasting the peppers first. Then the chicken is added and covred with broth and tomato paste until it finishes cooking.

Here is the recipe of Vasque chicken by Anthony Bourdain, a famous chef. If you are interested in the recipe with chicken combs… you’ll have to use Google Translate but the recipe is here.


Pollo a la jardinera, Spanish chicken with veggies

In Spanish, "jardin" means "garden", so this Spanish dish is basically chicken with vegetables from the garden. Onion, garlic, carrots, potatoes, maybe some green peas... A seared chicken, some white wine, tomato, broth or water, a bay leave... It's again the same principle we've been discussing before for most other Spanish chicken recipes, jus the type of veggies changes. A recipe all Spaniards have grown up with.

This is an easy video recipe of Spanish chicken jardiniere. And here is a written version, if you don’t like videos.


Rostit de Nadal, the Christmas Spanish chicken dish from Barcelona

Rostit de Nadal, one of the best Christmas Spanish chicken recipes.

Turkey is not as popular in Spain as it is in the US. So chickens, roosters and fattened breeds such as poularde and capon, become the main dish of Christmas meals. In the area of Catalonia it's very common to serve the chicken roasted and stuffed with prunes, raisins, sundried apricots, pine nuts, almonds, chestnuts... As well as a variety of sausages and meatballs. Caramelized onions swimming on olive oil and chicken juices complete the picture. The stuffing is so rich, it's hard to decide if you prefer the chicken over it or the other way around! Sometimes it is also made as a chicken roll.

Watch a Catalan cook make it (in Catalan) here. Or follow the written instructions here.
BTW, here you’ll find more great Catalan traditional dishes >>
And here is another authentic Spanish Christmas meal idea >>


Pollo con tomate, an easy Spanish chicken meal

The base of this Spanish chicken recipe is a thick tomato sauce that is made in the oil where the chicken has been previously seared. To make the sauce you first caramelize some onion and garlic (of course! it couldn't be otherwise!), before adding the ripe tomatoes chopped in chunks. Bay leave and other herbs like oregano are optional but add a personal touch. The chicken can finish cooking on the sauce over the fire, or baked in the oven.

You can’t go wrong with this Spanish chicken with tomato recipe


Pollo con champiñones, chicken with mushrooms makes a lovely dinner

The mushrooms on this Spanish recipe are not just any mushrooms, but white button mushrooms - which are the easiest to find in the Spanish stores. They are cut in slices before adding them to a chicken that has been goldened in olive oil and caramelized onion and garlic (are you starting to see a pattern, yet?). Broth, white wine or sherry, maybe a tomato and bay leave... Mushrooms are only added at the end, so they don't overcook.

This video recipe uses Parmigian cheese for extra creaminess, but other than this is quiet accurate. Or you can go for the traditional recipe here.

Can you name your favorite Spanish chicken dishes?


Author Marta Laurent Veciana


Marta is the founder of ForeverBarcelona. She is a passionate tour guide that loves Barcelona and loves writing too. She is the main author of our Blog, and is committed to sharing her knowledge about Barcelona and her best tips with our readers.

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