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Pollo Pibili tacos on a decorative clay plate topped with red pickled onions.
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5 from 11 votes

Pollo Pibil

Pollo Pibil (or Yucatan-Style Chicken) consists of tender and tasty meat. Slow cooked for hours, developing deep and delicious flavors. Top with pickled onions and enjoy!
Prep Time4 hrs 25 mins
Cook Time1 d
Total Time1 d 4 hrs 25 mins
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Mexican
Servings: 12 people
Calories: 185kcal


  • Slow Cooker


For the Marinade

For the Chicken

  • 4 lbs chicken any cut
  • 9 feet banana leaves cut into 3-feet pieces
  • 1/2 cup water

To Serve


For the Marinade

  • Add all the marinade ingredients into a blender.
  • Blend until smooth. Set aside until ready to use.

For the Chicken

  • Rinse the chicken well.
  • In a large container, pour some of the marinade over the chicken pieces.
  • Individually marinate the chicken. Use only the sauce necessary to coat the chicken.
  • Cover the chicken, and place inside the fridge overnight. Minimum 4 hours.

How to Arrange Chicken in Slow Cooker

  • When ready, heat the banana leaves over a gas stove or over a hot griddle.
  • Carefully move the banana leaf over the flame. As soon as it turns dark green, it is ready.
  • Rinse the banana leaves.
  • Place a banana leaf in the slow cooker lengthwise.
  • Place another banana leaf, over the other leaf criss cross. Making an X.
  • The banana leaves will overflow out of the slow cooker.
  • Add the marinated chicken into the center of the banana leaves.
  • Cover the chicken with the overflowing banana leaves, wrapping the chicken into a packet.
  • Add water around the banana leaves. Not directly inside the packet.
  • Cover with the lid and set the slow cooker on low for 6 hours, or high for 4 hours.
  • Once ready, remove the lid from the slow cooker. Open the banana leaves.
  • Carefully remove the chicken and shred the meat.
  • Discard any bones and banana leaves.
  • Serve as tacos on corn tortillas and top with pickled red onions.



If you have extra sauce, be sure to freeze for a later date. The sauce can freeze for up to 6 months in a sealable plastic bag.
You can make the Pollo Pibil using any cut of chicken. Be sure to remove any chicken once it is fully cooked.
You only need 2-3 banana leaves. Store the rest in the freezer for later use.
You can buy banana leaves fresh or frozen at Latin and Asian supermarkets. Look for them in the freezer section or the produce aisle.
Any dish made Yucatán Style means that is was either cooked in one of two ways, or both.
  1. The combination of lime and orange juice resembles the flavors of Seville oranges which are commonly found and used in the Yucatán.
  2. Wrapping and cooking meat in banana leaves is also something very common in the Yucatán.
Banana Leaves collect dust and bugs. Be sure to rinse them well. 
Do not put frozen chicken in the slow cooker. 
  • In the fridge, it lasts up to 5 days.
  • In the freezer, it lasts up to 3 months.
Dutch Oven and Instant Pot versions for this recipe are in the blog post. 


Calories: 185kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 32g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 97mg | Sodium: 242mg | Potassium: 605mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 71IU | Vitamin C: 11mg | Calcium: 15mg | Iron: 1mg