Acapulco Chicken Recipe: A Taste of Mexico

Acapulco Chicken

Acapulco Chicken Recipe: A Taste of Mexico
Region / culture: Mexico | Preparation time: 20 minutes | Cooking time: 10 minutes | Servings: 4


Acapulco Chicken
Acapulco Chicken

Acapulco Chicken is a vibrant and flavorful dish that brings a taste of Mexico to your dinner table. This recipe combines the sweetness of orange and raisins with the warmth of cinnamon and ginger, all complemented by the richness of coconut. It's a perfect blend of flavors that makes for a delightful and satisfying meal. Whether you're looking to spice up your weeknight dinners or impress guests at a gathering, Acapulco Chicken is sure to be a hit.


The origins of Acapulco Chicken can be traced back to the coastal city of Acapulco, Mexico, known for its stunning beaches and rich culinary traditions. This dish reflects the fusion of local ingredients and flavors, showcasing the creativity and diversity of Mexican cuisine. Over time, it has traveled beyond Mexico's borders, gaining popularity in various forms around the world. Today, Acapulco Chicken is enjoyed by many as a delicious example of Mexican-inspired cooking.


How to prepare

  1. In a saucepan, heat the orange juice, raisins, and marmalade until the marmalade melts.
  2. Remove from heat and stir in the brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, and rice; set aside.
  3. Heat the olive oil in a pressure cooker and add the chicken chunks.
  4. Lightly brown the chicken.
  5. Pour in the orange juice mixture.
  6. Lock the lid and bring it to full pressure.
  7. Adjust the heat, maintaining the pressure, and cook for 10 minutes.
  8. Quick-release the pressure.
  9. Stir in the coconut and season to taste with salt and pepper.


  • For a vegetarian version, substitute chicken with tofu or chickpeas. You can also experiment with different fruits, such as pineapple or mango, for a unique twist on the original recipe.
  • For a twist on the traditional recipe, try substituting pineapple juice for orange juice, adding a tropical flair. You can also add chopped bell peppers or onions to the mix for added texture and flavor. For those who prefer a bit of heat, a sprinkle of chili flakes or a dash of hot sauce can elevate the dish.

Cooking Tips & Tricks

To ensure the best results when preparing Acapulco Chicken, consider the following tips:

- Use fresh orange juice for a brighter flavor.

- Brown the chicken well before adding the liquid to lock in moisture and flavor.

- Adjust the amount of brown sugar based on your preference for sweetness.

- Be careful not to overcook the rice; it should be fluffy and tender.

- Let the dish rest for a few minutes after cooking to allow the flavors to meld together.

Serving Suggestions

Acapulco Chicken can be served on its own or accompanied by a side of steamed vegetables or a fresh salad to round out the meal. For a more filling option, consider serving it with a side of black beans or a slice of crusty bread.

Cooking Techniques

This recipe utilizes a pressure cooker to cook the chicken and rice, ensuring they are tender and flavorful. If you don't have a pressure cooker, the dish can also be prepared in a regular pot, though cooking times may need to be adjusted.

Ingredient Substitutions

If you don't have orange marmalade on hand, apricot jam can be used as a substitute. Similarly, if you're out of fresh ginger, a half teaspoon of ground ginger can work in a pinch. For a lower-fat option, you can use a light olive oil or another cooking oil of your choice.

Make Ahead Tips

Acapulco Chicken can be prepared in advance and stored in the refrigerator for up to two days. Simply reheat on the stove or in the microwave when ready to serve. The flavors often meld and deepen when the dish is allowed to sit, making it even more delicious the next day.

Presentation Ideas

Serve Acapulco Chicken in a colorful bowl or platter, garnished with fresh orange slices and a sprinkle of chopped cilantro or parsley for a pop of color and freshness. A side of lime wedges allows guests to add a zesty finish to their dish.

Pairing Recommendations

A light, crisp white wine such as Sauvignon Blanc or a citrusy IPA beer pairs beautifully with the sweet and savory flavors of Acapulco Chicken. For a non-alcoholic option, a sparkling water with a squeeze of lime complements the dish well.

Storage and Reheating Instructions

Leftover Acapulco Chicken should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator and consumed within 2-3 days. To reheat, simply warm in a saucepan over medium heat, adding a splash of water or orange juice if the dish seems dry.

Nutrition Information

Calories per serving

A serving of Acapulco Chicken contains approximately 350 calories. This makes it a moderately calorie-dense meal, suitable for those managing their calorie intake or looking for a satisfying yet not overly heavy dish.


A serving of Acapulco Chicken provides approximately 45 grams of carbohydrates. The main sources of carbohydrates in this dish are the rice and orange juice, which offer energy and are essential for proper body function. The raisins and orange marmalade also contribute natural sugars, adding to the dish's overall carbohydrate content.


This recipe contains about 10 grams of fat per serving, primarily from the olive oil used for cooking the chicken. Olive oil is a healthy fat, rich in monounsaturated fatty acids, which are beneficial for heart health. The flaked coconut also adds a small amount of saturated fat, contributing to the dish's richness and flavor.


Acapulco Chicken is a good source of protein, providing about 25 grams per serving. The protein comes from the chicken breast, which is a lean and healthy source of this essential nutrient. Protein is crucial for building and repairing tissues, making this dish a great option for a post-workout meal or for those looking to increase their protein intake.

Vitamins and minerals

This dish is rich in vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C from the orange juice, iron from the raisins, and potassium from the chicken. These nutrients support various bodily functions, including immune system health, oxygen transport, and muscle function.


Acapulco Chicken is free from common allergens such as gluten, dairy, and nuts. However, it does contain coconut, which some individuals may be allergic to. Always check with guests for any dietary restrictions before serving.


Overall, Acapulco Chicken is a nutritious and balanced meal, offering a good mix of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats, along with essential vitamins and minerals. It's a flavorful option that can fit into various dietary preferences and needs.


Acapulco Chicken is a delightful and nutritious meal that combines the sweet and savory flavors of Mexico. With its rich history and versatile recipe, it's a dish that can be enjoyed in various ways, making it a perfect addition to any meal plan. Whether you're cooking for a weeknight dinner or a special occasion, Acapulco Chicken is sure to impress.

How did I get this recipe?

I have a clear memory of the first time I saw this recipe for Acapulco Chicken. It was a warm summer evening, and I was visiting my dear friend Maria in her cozy kitchen. Maria was a wonderful cook, and she always had a new recipe up her sleeve to share with me.

As we chatted and sipped on some refreshing agua fresca, Maria pulled out a well-worn recipe card from her collection. The card had a faded picture of a colorful chicken dish topped with an array of fresh vegetables and a tangy sauce. "This is my favorite recipe for Acapulco Chicken," Maria said with a smile. "I learned it from my grandmother, who learned it from her mother before her. It's a family tradition."

Intrigued by the history behind the recipe, I eagerly watched as Maria began to gather the ingredients and explain the steps to me. The recipe involved marinating the chicken in a blend of citrus juices, garlic, and spices before grilling it to perfection. The chicken was then topped with a vibrant salsa made from tomatoes, onions, peppers, and cilantro.

As Maria cooked, the kitchen filled with the enticing aromas of garlic and spices. The sizzle of the chicken on the grill was music to my ears, and I couldn't wait to taste the finished dish. When it was finally ready, Maria plated the Acapulco Chicken with a side of fluffy rice and a dollop of creamy guacamole.

I took my first bite and was instantly transported to a sunny beach in Acapulco. The flavors were bold and bright, with the perfect balance of citrus, spice, and freshness. I savored each mouthful, feeling grateful for Maria's generosity in sharing this treasured family recipe with me.

From that day on, Acapulco Chicken became a staple in my own kitchen. I would often make it for family gatherings and special occasions, sharing the story of how I learned the recipe from Maria. Each time I cooked the dish, I felt a connection to the generations of women who had passed it down through the years.

Over time, I added my own twists to the recipe, experimenting with different herbs and seasonings to make it my own. I would sometimes serve the Acapulco Chicken with a side of grilled pineapple or a drizzle of chipotle sauce for an extra kick. No matter how I prepared it, the dish always brought joy and warmth to those who shared it with me.

As the years passed, I continued to collect recipes from friends, family, and even strangers I met on my travels. Each recipe was a piece of someone's story, a taste of their culture and traditions. I cherished these recipes as much as I cherished the memories they brought with them.

Now, as I sit in my own kitchen, surrounded by recipe cards and cookbooks, I can't help but feel grateful for the culinary journey that has brought me here. Acapulco Chicken will always hold a special place in my heart, not just for its delicious flavors, but for the friendships and stories that it represents.

So, if you ever find yourself in need of a taste of Acapulco, come sit at my table and let me share this recipe with you. I promise it will transport you to sunnier shores and warmer days, just as it has done for me. And who knows, maybe one day you'll pass it down to the next generation, adding your own twist to the tale of Acapulco Chicken. Bon appétit!


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