Spicy copycat grilled chicken is charred, tender and is great on burrito bowls, burritos, or salads. This home-made version tastes 1000x better for a fraction of the price! Qdoba Copycat ChickenI made this delicious Qdoba style chicken in preparation for my Qdoba chicken burrito bowls yesterday and we LOVED it. It’s very similar to chipotle’s grilled chicken but a bit spicier. To make the chicken super flavorful, I suggest allowing it to marinate in the fridge for up to 24 hours but if you’re in a rush, cooking it right away will also work. To get the nice charred outside, heat the pan for at least 2-3 minutes. This will char the outside quickly and seal the chicken from the outside in order to keep the juice from leaking out which results in tender chicken.

I like to have a batch of chicken marinating in the fridge or freezer and cook as needed. It’s great on rice alone, in sandwiches, salads, burrito bowls,  or in a tortilla as a burrito! The full burrito bowl recipe please hop over to this post.
Qdoba Copycat Chicken

4.81 from 36 votes

Qdoba Copycat Chicken Breasts

By: Layla
Spicy copycat grilled chicken is charred, tender and is great on burrito bowls, burritos, or salads. This home-made version tastes 1000x better for a fraction of the price! 
Prep30 minutes
Cook10 minutes
Total40 minutes
Servings 4

Ingredients 

Instructions 

  • Combine chicken garlic, olive oil, adobo sauce and seasoning in a large bowl (or ziplock bag), cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or up to 2 days.
  • Preheat about 1 tablespoon oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add the chicken to the pan and cook, turning occasionally, until completely cooked through, about 6-7 minutes per side.
  • Remove the chicken ontop large cutting board and allow to rest for at least 5-10 minutes then Slice or chop. Serve in a burrito, in a salad, or on its own!

Notes

This recipe was updated on Oct, 20 2018. For the older version, please follow the recipe below. 
2 lbs. chicken breasts
Juice from one fresh orange and one fresh lime
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. oregano
2 tsp. chili powder
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 clove garlic minced
 

Additional Info

Course: Mexican
Keyword: adobo, chicken, chipotle,, grilled,, mexican,, qdoba,, recipe
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Qdoba Copycat Chicken at home so good and tastes 1000x better!



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35 Comments

  1. Needed tortilla soup and this recipe for the chicken is spot on to put into tortilla soup. Thank you!

  2. My family likes flavorful food and this is our new favorite chicken recipe!

  3. Amazing!!! Great flavor! We grilled the chicken and it turned out great. Give it a try!!

    1. I’m so glad you enjoyed it!! Thanks for reporting back!

  4. very amazing recipe really nice and yummy……. 🙂

  5. Had a bunch of chicken thigh I needed to cook so doubled the recipe. Removed the skin and bbqd. I marinated for 6 hours and it was delicious, saved to my favorites

  6. I love what Shawna M did. I however, do not have a grill only a cast-iron pan. I need to make 10 pounds of this chicken for a birthday party for my Pastor’s wife this coming Sunday October 17th.

    The question I have for Layla is if I marinate the chicken on Thursday and cook the chicken on the stove top in a cast-iron skillet on Saturday, then put it in the fridge overnight. Take the cooked chicken out of the fridge on Sunday, set in a crock pot on warm for 3 hours will it still be tender and juicy?

    1. Refrigerating it over night will dry it out. I would just put in on a baking sheet and cook it under the broiler on the day you want to serve it

  7. LOVE this recipe! Made burritos bowls last week for dinner, and this week I’m marinating chicken breasts for grilled chicken sandwiches. Will be making a bunch of the chicken for my daughter, who is living in her own place now. I’ll be the hit mom with her roommates! 😉

  8. “The bomb”. Those were my husband’s first words when trying this. Yum! I read the positive reviews so thought I’d give it a try. We are now trying to figure out all the ways we can use it! No idea how qdoba chicken tastes but this chicken in general is just AMAZING!
    We followed the recipe to a “T” except grilled it on a gas grill. YUM!

  9. Amazing recipe that is very accurate to Qdoba’s grilled chicken. I just made 25 lbs of chicken with this recipe for a birthday party and they raved over it. (I marinaded the chicken overnight.)

    Thank you! It’s a keeper!

    1. And I also will say that I GRILLED the chicken instead of on the stovetop in a skillet. 🙌🏻

      1. I love what Shawna did. I however do not have a grill only a cast-iron pan. I need to make 10 pounds of this chicken for a birthday party for my Pastor’s wife. The question I have for Layla is if I marinate the chicken next Saturday and cook at the church in a cadt-iron pan than put it in a crock pot for 3 hours will it still be tender and juicy?

        1. Also, did Shawna use the updated recipe or the older version? I want to do a great job for my church family and wondering how to keep the chicken moist in a crock pot for 3 hours.

          Again, to clarify marinating chicken on Saturday. Cooking chicken on Sunday morning and serving after church. That’s 3 hours in a crock pot.

          1. Wondering if you figured how to keep the chicken moist in crock pot??

    2. How did you keep the grilled chicken moist in a crockpot? Add broth?

      1. We have made this many times for large groups of 25 – 50 people. We use 50 – 75% boneless skinless thighs and 25 – 50% boneless skinless breasts. Thighs help keep it juicy. We cook it on a charcoal grill and refrigerate the whole pieces overnight. Before we serve it we cut it into bite-sized pieces and reheat on a Blackstone griddle but it could be done in a pan instead. Each time we make it we make more thinking there will be leftovers but there never are any!

  10. I want to make this ahead to be served at my sons graduation open house. Do you have any tips for freezing the cooked chicken and reheating it?

    1. You want to use fresh chicken not frozen. (freezing chicken twice tends to affect it’s texture. You can freeze in whole fillets and chop after thawed, or put approximately 3 cups in a quart freezer bag, flatten it out and freeze multiple bags. You can thaw them in a couple hours on the morning of or the night before. Reheat in a dutch oven, slow cooker or ninja foodi. with a cup or so of chicken broth with lime juice and fruit juice (apple/pineapple/citrus). it’ll give a nice bit of brightness in the background as it cooks off.

  11. This was terrific! I made my own version of adobo. Added this tasty, easy chicken to salad bowls. Yum!

  12. I used to operate a Qdoba and this is pretty darn close to the original. All of the flavors are there! If you want to make it exactly like Qdoba, swap out the chicken breasts for chicken thighs and throw them on the grill. Once I did that, it was the exact same.

    1. Excellent! I just made a bulk purchase of chicken thighs. Looking for new ways to use them, and being a huge Qdoba fan, I decided to look for their adobo chicken recipe. I was going to ask whether thighs could be used instead of breasts. Thank you very much. I’m really looking forward to trying this.

    2. Any clue what cheese they use at qudoba for the shredded cheese.

  13. Love the old recipe. Made it for 2 grad parties. Received many compliments on it.

  14. I have used this recipe several times and never have adobo sauce, but use about a TB of Chipotle powder instead. Oh my goodness, it is sooo good! (And spiiiicy) FAMILY favorite and I can’t wait to share it with friends tonight! Thank you!

    1. Oh and I only use about 3/4 tsp salt instead of full tsp.

    2. Thanks for the feedback, so happy you and your family like the recipe!

  15. I just made this tonight for dinner and my god! This was so good and I think it’s a little qdoba chicken. I will be making this again for sure!

  16. Where Is the oLder recipe that called for the Juice of one lime, one tange and a tablespoon of tomato paste? I loved that one, but cant seem to find it now. Could you please post it in a link ot i the comments below? Thank you! Ill have to try this oNe out too though!

    1. I’m sorry about that Yvette, We re-tested the recipe and updated it this week based on user’s feedback. Here is the older recipe, I will also add it to the recipe note as well for future reference.

      2 lbs. chicken breasts
      Juice from one fresh orange and one fresh lime
      1/4 cup olive oil
      1 tsp. cumin
      1 tsp. oregano
      2 tsp. chili powder
      1 tablespoon tomato paste
      2 clove garlic minced

      Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl or ziplock bag and marinate in the fridge for at least 30 minutes or up to 48 hours. Heat a heavy-duty pan (you can also grill the chicken) on medium/high heat. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil to the pan. Place chicken in pan and cook for 4-5 minutes per side. [br][br]Turn off the heat and allow the chicken to rest in the pan before cutting. After the chicken has rested for at least 5 minutes dice into bite-size pieces. Use in burrito bowls or tortilla.

      1. No woRries!! I actually was able to remember iT based off of your new recipe. Thank you for putting it Im the recipe notes too though! Its still my favorIte way to marinate chicken. Ill be truing the new MariNade next time!