This copycat Qdoba chicken recipe tastes just like the real thing. The chicken is rich, savory, a little smoky, and a whole 'lotta delicious. It pairs great with practically everything, but it's especially tasty in a burrito or served over some rice and veggies. Not to mention, it's incredibly easy to make - just 3 steps are all you need to follow to make it.
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My Take On Qdoba's Chicken
One of my favorite things to get at Qdoba is the chicken. In fact, pretty much every time I go there I order the Qdoba chicken protein bowl. It's loaded with black beans, fajita veggies, salsa verde, pico, guacamole, and of course, lots and lots of chicken!
Gah, it's good. If you've never ordered it before, I highly recommend trying it the next time you go.
With that said, it can be expensive to eat at Qdoba - especially if you order from Qdoba multiple times a week as I do - so I wanted to see if I could recreate their chicken recipe at home so I could save some dough.
And, spoiler alert, I think I did a pretty darn good job nailing it. It's inspired by the traditional tastes and flavors of South America and Mexico, and I think it will transform your understanding of what flavors chicken can take on.
Plus, it pairs great with - and in - a ton of different things. A couple of my favorite recipes to make with it though is this Spicy Southwest Salad and this Crunchwrap Supreme. However, you also can't go wrong making a Qdoba chicken protein bowl, burrito, or quesadilla out of it too.
One of my favorite things about this recipe is that you only need a handful or so of ingredients to make it. Yep, just a couple of spices and seasonings are all you need to create the one-of-a-kind taste of Qdoba's chicken at home.
Anyway, here's everything you'll need to make it:
- 2 lbs boneless skinless chicken tenderloins
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons adobo sauce from a small can of chipotle peppers
- ½ teaspoon oregano or Italian seasoning
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
Now, what makes the flavor of this recipe so unique is the adobo sauce. Adobo has a smoky, lightly spiced flavor with a touch of sweetness that goes incredible with the savoriness of the oregano or Italian seasoning. Since it's such a key component to the recipe I don't recommend subbing it out.
How to Make Qdoba Chicken
This recipe doesn't just have a simple and inexpensive ingredients list - it's beyond easy to make too!
And the versatility of the flavor is what makes this such a popular chicken recipe.
So, now that you have everything you need, let's get cooking!
Step 1: Marinating The Chicken
The first step to this delicious dish is to prepare the marinade.
If you have a specific taste preference, feel free to adjust the measurements to give it your own unique flavor. Or, you can just prepare the marinade as outlined.
Now, add the chicken, garlic, olive oil, adobo sauce, oregano (or Italian seasoning), salt, and pepper to a large bowl and mix to combine. If you want less clean-up, you can put everything directly in a Zip-Lock bag for ultimate ease and convenience.
Next, transfer the bag to the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. This works best if you want to cook the chicken immediately, but you can also keep it marinating in the fridge for up to 2 days. Keeping in the fridge deepens the flavors and makes it convenient to take the chicken out and cook if you're busy.
Step 2: Cooking The Chicken
Once your Qdoba Chicken has marinated sufficiently, you can start cooking.
First, take out a medium to large-sized skillet, cover the surface in olive oil, and put it over medium-high heat.
Then, add the marinated chicken to the pan, and cook it for about 6-7 minutes on each side. Oh, and you'll want to turn the chicken occasionally while cooking to ensure an even sear throughout.
With that said, you'll know the chicken is done when it reaches an internal temp of 165° Fahrenheit.
Step 3: Serving
Once the chicken is cooked, allow it to rest on a cutting board for about 5 minutes, then slice, chop, or leave whole.
Serve it with Instant Pot Spanish Rice and add in any toppings you want to make a Qdoba chicken protein bowl. Enjoy!
How I Recommend Storing The Qdoba Chicken
This Qdoba chicken recipe will make about 6 servings of chicken. While it's a great recipe to make for a big family dinner it's also a great recipe to make for meal prep as well.
Regardless of what you make it for you'll want to store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
The best part about storing the chicken after cooking it is that the flavors elevate even more. Also, just so you know, the chicken is delicious both cold and reheated.
My Recommendations For Reheating The Cooked Chicken
There are a few different ways that you can reheat the chicken.
One is to put it back in a skillet over medium heat. First, add some water to cover the bottom of the pan and heat it until the water simmers. Then add the chicken, lower the heat, and warm it until the chicken reaches your desired temp.
Another method is reheating chicken in an air fryer. To do this, preheat the air fryer to 375°F for a few minutes. Then add the chicken in a single layer in the air fryer basket and heat it for about 4 minutes. Just make sure to flip it halfway through.
My Final Thoughts
Well, that is how to make Qdoba chicken in the comfort of your own home. It's just as good - if not better - than getting it at the restaurant!
Seriously, this copycat recipe takes chicken up a notch, or three. It truly delivers on bringing that addicting savory, spicy, sweet, and smokey flavor combination that you'll find at the restaurant.
Anyway, I hope you enjoy this chicken recipe as much a my family and I do. If you make it leave a comment below and let me know what you think!
More Easy Dinner Recipes
If you're looking for some more easy dinner recipes, there are a bunch on the blog worth trying sometime.
Here are some of my favorites:
- Stuffed chicken breast
- Chicken tempura
- Huli Huli chicken
- Adobo pork
- Chipotle steak
- French onion pork chops
- Combine chicken garlic, olive oil, adobo sauce and seasoning in a large bowl (or ziplock bag). Refrigerate for 30 minutes or up to 2 days.
- Preheat about 1 tablespoon of 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 (internal temp 165°F).
- Remove the chicken from the pan and put on a cutting board. Allow it to rest for 5 minutes then slice or chop. Serve and enjoy!
Serving Size:1 serving
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 166Total Fat: 2.5gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 0mgCarbohydrates: 2gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 35g