Chipotle's New Protein Is A Twist On An Old Favorite

Chipotle excels at chicken, and the new pollo asado is no exception.

Just like most restaurant chains, Chipotle's been on a regular limited-time-only cycle, where they've been bringing in new proteins to fill burritos, bowls, salads, quesadillas, and tacos. The most recent ones were brisket (which was only okay) and plant-based chorizo. As of today, however, there's a new limited-time-only protein on the menu, and that's pollo asado.

What is Chipotle’s pollo asado?

If you're not familiar with the dish, pollo asado literally just means "grilled chicken," which by default, pretty much could be anything, as long as it's grilled, and... chicken. Chipotle sent me a sample of their new pollo asado in a burrito bowl, and I have to say right away: it's good. I'd even go so far as to say it's great.


The press release for the product describes the chicken as:

Grilled fresh and prepared daily in small batches, Responsibly Raised® chicken is tumbled in a spice blend before being seared on the plancha. Pollo Asado is then hand-chopped into tender, juicy bites and is brought to life with a bright marinade, fresh squeezed lime, and cilantro.

So there's not a ton of specifics in terms of disclosed ingredients, though a PR rep did let me know that garlic and guajillo peppers are somewhere in the mix. Though it may be hard to pick out individual flavors in each bite of the chicken, its overall seasoning is bold and flavorful enough to stand out when you dig into a bite, with a twinge of heat added in. It's all dark meat like the chicken on the permanent menu, which means it's moist, too.


The pollo asado is Chipotle's first new chicken product in its 29 year history, and it's a safe bet, both in terms of its eating experience and likely in terms of sales. Chipotle's pollo adobo, which is its standard offering, is already its best seller. "Chicken is easily our most popular protein, with many of our most loyal Chipotle customers ordering it the majority of the time," said Chipotle's Chief Marketing Officer Chris Brandt in the press release for the pollo asado. "We're thrilled to introduce fans to another flavor of chicken that brings a whole new dimension to any Chipotle order and will certainly be a crowd pleaser."

Is the pollo asado adventurous? No, not at all. But it's executed well, and that's 90% of the battle, in my opinion. I've always considered Chipotle pretty bland, overall (is that just me?), so blitzing any protein offering with extra flavor— whether it's from spice, smoke, or char—is always welcome. If you were planning on ordering Chipotle's chicken anyway, it's worth switching over for a few burrito bowls before the limited-time-offering inevitably goes away.