Pollo al Ajillo (Chicken with Garlic)

This Chicken dish needs no elaboration. Chicken with Garlic, you can already imagine how flavorful it would be….add to the mix, extra-virgin olive oil and some dry sherry…how can you go wrong?

If you are a fan of Chicken Adobo, you would truly love this. You may ask but this doesn’t have any vinegar. That’s right, no vinegar, but some Adobo are cooked without vinegar – but you know why it tastes a little similar – it’s the garlic!!! Besides, another commonality is the sheer simplicity. Slow-cook it in oil (frying…yes, but done slowly and surely!), take your time, don’t rush, much like when you cook Adobo….let it be and then you’ll see afterwards how lovely the flavor is. Let the garlic, chicken, olive oil and sherry do their magic and then go ahead and savor its deliciousness. Serve with rice and don’t throw away the sauce – esp. the brown garlicky bits – drizzle them on your rice or on the chicken pieces themselves and I tell you, it even brings the taste to the next level. Enjoy this tender and flavorful chicken dish!


2.2 lbs./1 kg. Chicken pieces (or 1 whole chicken cut-up)
4 Garlic cloves, chopped (a little bigger than minced)
Half a head of garlic (or about 8 cloves), unpeeled
3/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/3 cup Dry Sherry
Salt, to taste

Useful Tool/Equipment – Deep Dutch Oven like the one below. Doesn’t have to be Le Creuset, just a similar one. It just cooks the meat evenly and perfectly based on my experience.


Rub the chicken pieces with the chopped garlic and season generously with salt, according to your taste. Place the oil in a deep Dutch Oven. Heat it between low to medium just until it’s warmed up. This is the key to cooking the chicken perfectly, don’t let the heat go above medium. We are using extra-virgin olive oil and this would smoke and burn if heated at a higher temp and will also cause the chicken to brown easily on the outside without it cooking properly in the inside.

When the oil is just warm enough, place the chicken pieces and the unpeeled garlic cloves in the pan. Let it fry until golden, tender and fully cooked inside. This may take awhile because the heat doesn’t go above medium but it will allow the chicken to cook properly inside and out.

When the chicken is fully cooked, add the wine and allow to boil until it has reduced to about half.

Transfer the chicken to a serving platter. Either drizzle the remaining sauce on it, or pour a little on your rice! Or, if you wish, add a little flour or cornstarch, season as needed, and use all or part of the sauce as gravy!!! Enjoy!

Don’t these chicken pieces look gloriously moist and tender? They are!!!

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Last updated on October 1st, 2019 at 12:58 pm



  1. July 28, 2013 / 2:02 am

    Is there something I can use besides wine

    • July 28, 2013 / 3:27 am

      Am afraid, dry sherry is essential for this. I tried it with white wine but dry sherry was better in my opinion. Sorry. Perhaps it's possible not to use it, so why not give it a try…but am not so sure about that because I have used wine for this.

    • July 28, 2013 / 3:43 pm

      Abby, I don't or use any alcohol in my cooking. You might want to let your reader know that he/she can substitute chicken broth for the sherry. The flavor won't be the same, but it will impart some richness from the broth.

    • July 28, 2013 / 3:44 pm

      This looks like a perfect Sunday dinner! Absolute comfort food at its best. Thanks for the great recipe, Abby!

    • July 29, 2013 / 2:26 am

      Thanks Becca dear for that suggestion. That never crossed my mind…I have used broth before as wine substitute but usually in pasta sauces or soup but didn't think it was possible here but surely worth a try so I hope the one who asked comes back and reads this. Glad you stopped by with a great suggestion.

  2. Anonymous
    July 28, 2013 / 1:20 pm

    Wondering why the garlic is left unpeeled?

    • August 15, 2013 / 1:54 am

      Great question! Here's a quote from Nigella Lawson – "Garlic cloves cooked encased in their skins grow sweet and caramelly as they cook, like savory bonbons in their sticky wrappers." So, they do add more flavor cooked that way, in fact it adds sweetness to the dish as you would taste in this delicious chicken recipe.

    • August 13, 2013 / 1:20 am

      Sure, Bintu! Thanks for stopping by. 🙂

  3. KarenB
    August 11, 2013 / 11:08 am

    Abby, I also was surprised to not see vinegar in here along with just how beautiful the chicken looks! My mother in law is Filipino and my hsb half. I am learning to experiment to get the authentic tastes! Lol. However, if I habe 5 plump skin on, bone in, chicken thighs, approximately how long do you think until gorgeous, juicy and as yummy as yours? Lol. And do you frequently turn the chicken? Or just once?

    • August 13, 2013 / 1:23 am

      Hi Karen, this is not Adobo that's why it doesn't have the vinegar though it kind of tastes similar. I don't frequently turn the chicken to ensure even cooking. Just prick it to check and if no more blood comes out and that's when you know it's cooked.

  4. March 17, 2014 / 6:07 am

    Does it have to be "extra" virgin olive oil? Will the regular olive oil be good enough? Thank you 🙂

    • April 3, 2014 / 2:11 pm

      Hi Per, you can use light olive oil or another oil. I recommend the extra virgin because of the delicious flavor it imparts.

  5. April 8, 2015 / 4:09 am

    This chicken sounds fantastic! The more garlic the better in my opinion. Pinning for later.


  6. December 17, 2016 / 4:18 pm

    I bet this would work in a slow cooker. Cook on LOW until done. Switch to HIGH and add sherry.

    • December 17, 2016 / 5:57 pm

      Indeed Dan!!! I was thinking of doing that and you just motivated me. Thanks!

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