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One of my favorite things is cooking my family’s Puerto Rican recipes to keep our food traditions going for my own family (see some of my other Puerto Rican recipes here). I’m excited to share another one today: a Puerto Rican pinchos recipe! “Pinchos,” which is derived from the Basque word “pintxos,” means “skewers” or “spikes.” In Spain, the word pintxo is used generally for tapas served on cocktail sticks. Puerto Rican pinchos specifically refer to marinated and barbecued meat kabobs which also happen to be a popular street food. If you’ve visited Puerto Rico, you’ve likely seen street vendors selling pork or chicken pinchos from roadside stands. If you want to relive your memories of Puerto Rico at home, I’m sharing a recipe for homemade grilled pinchos de pollo! This pinchos recipe is surprisingly easy, and a heart-healthy* choice for your family made with better-for-you Mazola® Corn Oil. Did you know? A clinical study showed Mazola® Corn Oil reduces cholesterol 2x more than extra virgin olive oil. To learn more about this claim, visit MAZOLA.com. I’ve found that Mazola® Corn Oil is ideal for marinades since its neutral taste allows the flavors of your food (like delicious Puerto Rican seasonings) to stand out. The chicken pinchos I am sharing today have a delicious marinade and are perfect for spring and summer grilling since we love to cook and eat outside more when the weather warms up! Here’s how to make Puerto Rican pinchos.
What you need to make Puerto Rican-style chicken pinchos
I’ve got the full pinchos recipe with ingredients listed at the end of this post, but here are some notes and tips about the ingredients to help you cook these chicken pinchos to perfection:
- Mazola® Corn Oil is my favorite oil for grilling recipes due to its high smoke point (450° F). In case you didn’t know, all cooking oils have a smoke point that you should be careful not to exceed or it may negatively affect your food’s flavor. For that reason alone, I always have a bottle of Mazola® Corn Oil in my pantry, but its neutral flavor makes it great for other types of recipes, too. It works really well for baking, sauteing, and stir-frying in addition to marinades and grilling.
- The Puerto Rican pinchos recipe calls for sazón con culantro y achiote (coriander and annatto) and adobo all-purpose seasoning. Both sazón and adobo can be found in the Latin/Hispanic section of the grocery store. The sazón is not only a great seasoning blend, it’s also what gives many Puerto Rican dishes their rich, reddish color. If you can’t find adobo seasoning, you can substitute a mix of garlic powder, cumin, salt, onion powder, ground oregano, and black pepper.
- You can use whatever barbecue sauce you prefer when making these Puerto Rican pinchos, but I think they taste great with an island-inspired sauce. Look for sauces labeled “Caribbean” or ones that include guava or mango. If you can’t find one, they are good no matter what, so just use your favorite BBQ sauce.
How to make Puerto Rican pinchos
To make these pinchos de pollo, you will start by soaking your bamboo skewers. Place the skewers in a dish of warm water to soak until you are ready to use them. Make sure the skewers are completely submerged in the water. I find it helpful to place a ramekin or coffee mug on top of them to keep them underwater (as they tend to float).
Place the chicken cubes, 2 tablespoons Mazola® Corn Oil, sazón, adobo, oregano, garlic powder, and cumin in a large container.
Mix until the seasoning is well blended, and the chicken pieces are completely coated. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour to marinate.
After an hour, remove the marinated chicken from the refrigerator. You can also remove the skewers from the water at this time, placing the skewers on paper towels to dry slightly. Slide chicken onto the skewers, leaving space on each end.
Continue threading the chicken on skewers until you have used all the chicken.
Heat a grill to medium heat, then add the chicken to the grill in a single layer. Grill the chicken for 5 minutes, then brush with barbecue sauce before flipping the chicken over and brushing barbecue sauce on the other side.
Cook for 5 more minutes, then check the chicken for doneness. Brush more barbecue sauce onto the chicken and cook for a few more minutes, or until the chicken has reached an internal temperature of 165° F.
Brush 1-inch pieces of baguette with the remaining Mazola® Corn Oil, then place them on the grill to toast.
Add a piece of toasted bread to the end of each pincho skewer and serve.
Ready to get cooking? Here’s the Puerto Rican pinchos recipe! Leave a rating and comment if you made it, and click here for more heart-healthy* recipes using Mazola® Corn Oil.
*very limited and preliminary scientific evidence suggests that eating about 1 tablespoon (16 grams) of Corn Oil daily may reduce the risk of heart disease due to the unsaturated fat content in Corn Oil. FDA concludes that there is little scientific evidence supporting this claim. To achieve this possible benefit, Corn Oil is to replace a similar amount of saturated fat and not increase the total number of calories you eat in a day. One serving of this product contains 14 grams of Corn Oil.
DISCLAIMER: Corn Oil is a cholesterol-free food that contains 14g of total fat per serving. See nutrition information on the product label or at mazola.com for fat and saturated fat content.
- Bamboo skewers
- 3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite-size cubes
- 3 tablespoons Mazola® Corn Oil, divided
- 2 packets sazón con culantro y achiote (from a box of multiple packets)
- 2 teaspoons adobo all-purpose seasoning
- 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/3 cup barbecue sauce
- Baguette, sliced into 1-inch rings
- Place the bamboo skewers in a dish of warm water to soak until you are ready to use them. Make sure the skewers are completely submerged in the water.
- Combine chicken cubes, 2 tablespoons Mazola® Corn Oil, sazón, adobo, oregano, garlic powder, and cumin in a large container until the seasoning is well blended and the chicken pieces are completely coated. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.
- Remove the marinated chicken from the refrigerator. Remove the skewers from the water and place on paper towels to dry slightly. Slide chicken onto the skewers, leaving space on each end, until you have used all the chicken.
- Heat a grill to medium heat, then add the chicken to the grill in a single layer. Grill the chicken for 5 minutes, then brush with barbecue sauce before flipping the chicken over and brushing barbecue sauce on the other side. Cook for 5 more minutes, then check chicken for doneness. Brush more barbecue sauce onto the chicken and cook for a few more minutes, or until chicken has reached an internal temperature of 165° F.
- Brush baguette pieces with the remaining Mazola® Corn Oil, then place them on the grill until toasted.
- Add a piece of toasted bread to the end of each pincho skewer and serve.
More Puerto Rican recipes like this:
- How to Make Homemade Puerto Rican Sofrito
- Arroz con Gandules (Rice with Pigeon Peas) recipe
- Habichuelas Guisadas, Puerto Rican-Style Beans recipe
- Instant Pot Puerto Rican Arroz con Pollo recipe (my family’s recipe – adapted for the pressure cooker!)
- Instant Pot Estofado de Pollo (or Pollo Guisado – Puerto Rican-style chicken stew)
- Instant Pot Asopao de Pollo (Puerto Rican-Style Chicken and Rice Stew)
- Shortcut Puerto Rican Picadillo Empanadas recipe
- Easy Vegetarian Empanada recipe
- Air Fryer Tostones (Fried Green Plantain Chips) recipe
- The best Coquito (Puerto Rican Eggnog) recipe
- Papa Cruz’s Flan de Coco (Puerto Rican Coconut Flan Recipe)
- Instant Pot Coconut Flan Recipe (Flan de Coco)
- Flan de Chocolate (Chocolate Flan Recipe)