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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 4 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: 298kcal
Author: Neriz


  • Chopping Board
  • Kitchen Knife
  • Pyrex Measuring Cups
  • Measuring Spoons
  • Cast Iron Skillet (10.25 inch)
  • Rubber Spatula


  • 1.5 to 2 pounds chicken (3/4 to 1 kg), chopped
  • 10 to 12 cloves garlic, peeled and 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.  
    (Note: 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, 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 garlic 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 your pollo al ajillo off the heat, garnish with some fresh parsley (if preferred), and serve.



  • Cook's Tip #1:  Fresh herbs are great if you have them, but the dried ones are an excellent option for this garlic chicken recipe.
  • Cook's Tip #2:  Chop the chicken into smaller bits, but keep the bones there.  Boneless chicken is not great for making Spanish garlic chicken.
  • Cook's Tip #3:  You can use Madeira, white or red wine as a substitute for sherry.
  • Cook's Tip #4:  Smash the garlic, do not chop them finely.  Instead, try picking up pieces of them later when they've been flavored by sherry and herbs.  Delicious!
  • Cook's Tip #5:  If you want a deeper color to your garlic chicken, place the skillet in the oven (set at your usual broiler temperature) for about 10 minutes.  Do not keep it longer; you might end up drying the chicken.


Calories: 298kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 16g | Fat: 23g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 13g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 61mg | Sodium: 60mg | Potassium: 203mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 156IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 34mg | Iron: 2mg