Pollo Loco – Mexican Chicken and Rice with Queso

Indulge in the rich and vibrant flavors of Mexico with our tantalizing Pollo Loco recipe. Bursting with juicy chicken, aromatic saffron rice, and creamy queso, this dish is a celebration of delicious simplicity. Whether you’re cooking for a family dinner or entertaining guests, this recipe is guaranteed to impress. Let’s dive into the culinary journey of Pollo Loco!


  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1.5 lbs uncooked boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into small bite-size pieces
  • 1 tsp Goya Adobo Seasoning
  • 1 10 oz package Vigo Saffron Yellow Rice (Arroz Amarillo)
  • 1 cube Knorr Tomato Bouillon (optional)
  • 2½ cups water
  • 3 oz White Queso Dip
  • 2 tbsp milk (skim, 1%, 2%, or whole all work)
  • Cooking spray


  1. Begin by patting dry the chicken pieces with a paper towel to remove excess moisture. Sprinkle the adobo seasoning evenly over the chicken, rubbing it in for maximum flavor infusion.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven or non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add the seasoned chicken pieces and cook for about 3 minutes on one side until browned. Flip the chicken and continue cooking until golden and cooked through.
  3. Once the chicken is cooked, add the saffron yellow rice, crushed tomato bouillon cube (if using), and water to the pot. Stir well to combine, then bring the mixture to a boil for one minute.
  4. Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid, and let it cook for at least 20 minutes. Check the rice for doneness between 20-25 minutes; it should be tender and fully cooked.
  5. Once the rice is cooked, stir in the white queso dip and milk, combining everything until creamy and well incorporated. Fluff the mixture with a fork to ensure the flavors are evenly distributed.
  6. Serve the Pollo Loco warm, garnished with your favorite toppings such as diced tomatoes, sliced jalapeños, or creamy avocado for an extra burst of flavor and texture.


  • Customize your Pollo Loco according to your preferences by adding your favorite toppings.
  • Prep Time: 5 mins
  • Cook Time: 25 mins

Serving and Storage Tips:

1. Serving Suggestions:

  • Serve Pollo Loco hot, straight from the pot, for the ultimate comfort meal experience.
  • Garnish with fresh cilantro leaves or a squeeze of lime juice for a burst of freshness.
  • Accompany with warm tortillas or crusty bread to soak up the delicious sauce.
  • Pair with a crisp side salad or steamed vegetables for a balanced meal.

2. Storage Guidelines:

  • Store any leftover Pollo Loco in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
  • Reheat gently on the stovetop or in the microwave until warmed through before serving.
  • If freezing, cool the dish completely before transferring to freezer-safe containers. Freeze for up to 1 month.
  • Thaw frozen Pollo Loco overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.


1. Spicy Kick:

  • Add diced green chilies or a pinch of cayenne pepper to the chicken for an extra kick of heat.
  • Substitute the white queso dip with pepper jack cheese for a spicier flavor profile.

2. Veggie Delight:

  • Incorporate diced bell peppers, onions, or corn kernels to the dish for added color and texture.
  • For a vegetarian version, replace the chicken with tofu or your favorite plant-based protein.

3. Protein Swap:

  • Experiment with different proteins such as shrimp, beef, or pork for a unique twist on this classic dish.
  • Adjust cooking times accordingly based on the protein used.

4. Cheese Lover’s Dream:

  • Use a blend of your favorite cheeses like cheddar, Monterey Jack, or Mexican cheese blend instead of white queso for a richer, cheesier flavor.
  • Add an extra layer of cheese on top before serving and broil until golden and bubbly for a decadent finish.

5. Fresh Herb Infusion:

  • Enhance the flavor profile with a medley of fresh herbs like parsley, oregano, or basil.
  • Stir in chopped herbs just before serving for a burst of freshness.

6. Gluten-Free Option:

  • Opt for gluten-free rice varieties and double-check ingredient labels to ensure all components are gluten-free.
  • Serve with gluten-free tortillas or corn chips for a satisfying gluten-free meal.

7. Mediterranean Twist:

  • Infuse the dish with Mediterranean flavors by adding olives, sun-dried tomatoes, and artichoke hearts. Serve with a dollop of tzatziki sauce on the side for a refreshing contrast.

8. Smoky Chipotle Flavor:

  • Replace the adobo seasoning with chipotle chili powder for a smoky, spicy kick. Pair with a chipotle lime crema drizzle for added flavor complexity.

9. One-Pot Tex-Mex Delight:

  • Transform Pollo Loco into a hearty Tex-Mex casserole by layering the chicken and rice mixture with black beans, corn, and diced tomatoes. Top with crushed tortilla chips and shredded cheese before baking until bubbly.

10. Asian Fusion Fusion:

  • Give Pollo Loco an Asian-inspired twist by marinating the chicken in a mixture of soy sauce, ginger, and garlic. Serve over steamed jasmine rice and garnish with sliced green onions and sesame seeds.

Get creative and tailor Pollo Loco to suit your taste preferences and dietary needs. Whether you prefer it spicy, loaded with veggies, or bursting with cheesy goodness, there’s a variation of this recipe to delight every palate. Enjoy exploring the endless possibilities of Pollo Loco!


1. Can I use bone-in chicken for this recipe?

  • While boneless, skinless chicken breast is recommended for quicker cooking, you can certainly use bone-in chicken. Adjust the cooking time accordingly to ensure the chicken is fully cooked through.

2. Is it necessary to use saffron yellow rice, or can I use regular rice?

  • Saffron yellow rice adds a distinct flavor and vibrant color to Pollo Loco. However, you can substitute it with regular rice if preferred. Just adjust the seasoning and add a pinch of turmeric for color.

3. Can I make Pollo Loco ahead of time?

  • Yes, you can prepare Pollo Loco ahead of time and reheat it when ready to serve. Store the cooked dish in the refrigerator and reheat gently on the stove or in the microwave.

4. How spicy is Pollo Loco?

  • The spice level of Pollo Loco can be adjusted to your liking by adding more or less seasoning, such as adobo or jalapeños. It can range from mild to spicy, depending on your preference.

5. Can I freeze Pollo Loco?

  • Yes, Pollo Loco can be frozen for future meals. Allow it to cool completely before transferring it to freezer-safe containers. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.

6. What can I substitute for white queso dip?

  • If you don’t have white queso dip on hand, you can substitute it with shredded cheese or a cheese sauce of your choice. Adjust the quantity according to your taste preference.

7. Can I make Pollo Loco without dairy?

  • Yes, you can make a dairy-free version of Pollo Loco by omitting the queso and milk. The dish will still be flavorful and delicious.

8. How can I make Pollo Loco spicier?

  • To add more heat to Pollo Loco, consider incorporating additional spicy ingredients such as diced jalapeños, chili powder, or hot sauce.

9. What sides pair well with Pollo Loco?

  • Pollo Loco pairs well with a variety of sides including Mexican rice, refried beans, roasted vegetables, or a simple side salad.

10. Can I use pre-cooked chicken in this recipe?

  • While it’s best to use uncooked chicken for optimal flavor and texture, you can use pre-cooked chicken if desired. Simply add it to the dish towards the end of the cooking process to heat through.

Experience the ultimate fusion of flavors with our Pollo Loco recipe. From tender chicken to fragrant saffron rice, every bite is a journey to Mexico’s culinary heart. Whether you’re a seasoned chef or a novice cook, this dish is perfect for creating unforgettable meals with ease. Give it a try and watch as your taste buds dance with delight!