Crispy Paleo Latin American Chicken

For me, watching America’s Test Kitchen and reading Cook’s Illustrated are similar to flipping through a copy of Vogue and drooling over the fashions: I can enjoy looking at the tempting things, and I might even imagine them in my life, but—to my chagrin—there’s no way I will ever eat the Cook’s Illustrated fried chicken nor will I wear the Alexander McQueen gown.

That doesn’t mean I can’t DIY my own version.

This recipe was inspired by CI. It combines Latin-inspired spices in a quick arrowroot “breading,” then uses the transformative power of the grill to make it crispy, light, and irresistible. It’s got all the attitude of fried chicken without the pesky downsides of deep frying — not unlike the happy discovery that a killer outfit is actually comfortable, too.

This recipe is part of my Paleo Latin American Dinner Party menu!

Crispy Latin American Chicken

Serves 6-8 | Prep 10 minutes | Marinate 1 hour | Cook 15 minutes | Whole30 compliant

  • 1/4 cup lime juice (2 limes) plus 2 teaspoons grated lime zest

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • 2 teaspoons salt

  • 6 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped coarse

  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin

  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika

  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano leaves

  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper

  • 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs and/or breasts

Crispy Coating:
  • 1 cup arrowroot powder

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper

  • 1 teaspoon coarse (granulated) garlic powder

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin

  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

  • 1 large egg


Combine lime juice, lime zest, olive oil, salt, garlic, cumin, paprika, oregano, and pepper in a large bowl. Add the chicken and turn it in the marinade to coat thoroughly. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 2 hours (but not longer; the lime juice will make the chicken weird).


When you’re ready to grill the chicken, preheat a gas grill on high with the lid closed until very hot, 10-15 minutes. Whisk the arrowroot, baking soda, pepper, granulated garlic, salt, cumin, and cayenne together in a shallow bowl. In another bowl, beat the egg.


Set a wire rack on a rimmed baking sheet. Remove chicken from the marinade and shake off excess marinade. Working with 1 piece at a time, dunk chicken in egg, then dredge in the arrowroot, pressing to adhere. Set on the wire rack.


Place the chicken on the grill and cook, 6-7 minutes per side, with the lid closed, until it’s brown on the outside and cooked through on the inside.

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