Chicken in Garlic Sauce (Pollo al Ajillo)

As popular as garlic might be in many of the worlds cuisines, it is quite possibly even more so in Spain. Along with olive oil, eggs, and paprika, these are the defining ingredients of Spanish cuisine. There are very few traditional dishes in the country where you won’t find garlic in some shape or form; pickled, marinated, rubbed on bread, whipped into aioli, fried, roasted, or stewed. It is believed that the Spanish conquistadors introduced garlic to the Americas in the 16th century.

Pollo al Ajillo comes from the south of Spain. It is a simple dish that has been cooked by Andalusian families for centuries. The amazingly mild and flavorful dish calls for more than one whole head of garlic. The braising sweetens and mellows the garlic.

There are endless dishes in various cuisines of the world featuring large amounts of garlic. France has its famous Poulet al `ail where chicken is roasted with 40 and up-to 100 cloves of garlic. Mexicans love chicken with tons of garlic and chile peppers, Moroccans with olives and lemon, etc. Why wouldn’t they, its delicious!

Spanish pollo al ajillo Chicken in Garlic Sauce

Pollo al Ajillo (Chicken in Garlic Sauce)

Modern food processors, cut-up chickens pieces, and pre-peeled garlic make this Spanish treasure exceptionally easy to make. Tasting it though, explains why it's been such a favorite in Spain and can still be found on most menus all over the country.
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Course: Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine: Spanish
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 6
Author: My Hungry Traveler


  • Food processor or mini-processor
  • Casserole with lid


  • 3 lb Kosher chicken pieces (SUB: regular cut-up chicken)
  • 4 tbsp Olive oil
  • 20 cloves Garlic, peeled Use 1 head garlic OK
  • ¼ tsp Freshly ground pepper
  • 3 tbsp Brandy, Spanish if possible
  • Kosher salt, to taste


  • Prep Chicken – Chop off the end of the chicken leg and tip of the wings. Chop breast halves in half and separate thighs from drumsticks. Dry pieces well.
  • Brown Chicken – Heat oil in a large shallow casserole over medium-high heat. Add chicken pieces and cook, flipping, until they are well browned on all sides.
  • Make Sauce – Put all the garlic in processor and mince. Separate out 1 tbsp and add the rest of the garlic to the chicken. Season with salt and pepper, and add brandy. Light the brandy (stand back at first!) and stir until flame subsides. Cover and cook 15 minutes longer.
  • To Serve – Remove cover, sprinkle with remaining tbsp minced garlic and season with a bit of salt. Put on plates, spoon sauce over and serve with baby peas or green beans and potatoes.


  • Get Kosher chicken if possible. It produces a moister chicken.
  • Already peeled garlic can be purchased from some markets.


Calories: 274kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 21g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 82mg | Sodium: 161mg | Potassium: 248mg | Fiber: 0.4g | Sugar: 0.1g | Vitamin A: 174IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 33mg | Iron: 1mg

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