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An overhead shot of a skillet of Spanish Garlic Chicken, straight out of the oven.
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5 from 3 votes

Spanish Garlic Chicken (Pollo Al Ajillo)

Excellent as an appetizer or as a main dish, Spanish Garlic Chicken (Pollo Al Ajillo) will surely make you a fan of garlic! An authentic tapa recipe that never disappoints! (VIDEO ABOVE)
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Total Time1 hr
Course: Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine: Spanish
Servings: 4
Calories: 324kcal
Author: Neriz


  • 3/4 to 1 kg chicken, chopped
  • 10 to 12 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp dried rosemary
  • 2 to 3 pcs dried bay leaves
  • 1/3 cup sherry (or any of the substitutes mentioned)
  • salt and pepper, to season
  • parsley, to garnish (optional)


  • Season the chopped chicken with salt and pepper.
  • Set a medium to large skillet on medium-high heat and add olive oil.
  • Once the oil is ready, start browning the chicken.  Do not place the chicken pieces too close to each other.  
  • Once all the chicken is browned, put everything back in the skillet and add garlic, salt, and pepper, dried thyme, dried rosemary, and bay leaves.
  • Mix everything to combine.  Put a lid on the skillet, adjust the heat to medium and cook for 15 to 20 minutes while mixing occasionally.
  • Remove the lid and adjust the heat back to medium-high.  Pour the sherry on the chicken and do not touch for about 3 minutes.
  • Start mixing, and if bits are sticking in the bottom of the pan, the sherry should have deglazed them so that everything would be combined.
  • Continue cooking uncovered (mixing occasionally) until the sherry has completely evaporated. It usually takes about 10 minutes.
  • Take the skillet off the heat, garnish with some fresh parsley (if preferred), and serve.



  • You can use Madeira, white or red wine as a substitute for sherry.
  • Chop the chicken into smaller bits, but keep the bones in there. Boneless chicken is not great with this dish.
  • Fresh herbs are great if you have them, but the dried ones are an excellent option.
  • Smash the garlic, do not chop them finely. Try picking up pieces of them later when they've been flavored by sherry and herbs.  Delicious!
  • If you want a deeper color to the chicken, place the skillet in the oven (set in your usual broiler temperature) for about 10 minutes. Do not keep it longer; you might end up drying the chicken.


Calories: 324kcal