Guatemalan fried chicken: 5 best variations

Guatemalan fried chicken is a popular dish in Latin America. The preparation of fried chicken is unique to Guatemala and is often marinated and spiced with Thai herbs such as lemongrass, ginger, garlic, cumin, and black pepper. Garlic cloves are also added before frying the chicken pieces in peanut oil.

Fried chicken can be served cold or at room temperature with a sweet-and-sour dipping sauce. This Guatemalan dish is highly spicy and hot, which may overwhelm some people without much heat tolerance, but it is an essential part of authentic cuisine.

What is Guatemalan fried chicken?

Guatemalan fried chicken is one of the most popular Latin American dishes. The story behind the preparation of this dish goes back to the pre-Colombian era when the ancient Mayan people first made it.

They used chili peppers to heat the chicken before frying it in peanut oil. Fried chicken can be served cold or at room temperature with a sweet-and-sour dipping sauce (or gravy).

Guatemalan fried chicken
Guatemalan fried chicken

How Long Will It Take to Prepare?

  • Prepare time: 30 minutes
  • Cook time: 20 minutes
  • Total time: 50 minutes
  • Servings: 1

How to make Guatemalan fried chicken?


  • Chicken pieces
  • Onion, minced
  • Garlic, minced
  • 5-6 Thai green and red chilies, chopped fine
  • ½ tablespoon salt (or to taste)
  • Bouillon powder
  • ½ tablespoon pepper (or to taste)
  • 1 tablespoon each: ginger, lemongrass, garlic
  • Lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons peanut oil



In a large bowl, mix the chicken pieces with salt, pepper, chicken bouillon powder, and two tablespoons of lemon juice. Marinate this for about 20 minutes in the fridge.


In a saucepan with ¼ cup of water, add Thai green chilies, garlic cloves, ginger, and lemongrass. Bring to a boil, add the peanut oil, and stir-fry for 15 seconds. Set aside this mixture to cool off at room temperature.


In a frying pan, fry the chicken pieces in peanut oil in batches until they are crispy golden. Place them on a rack lined with paper towels to drain the excess oil.


In a saucepan with 2 cups of water, add onion, Thai green and red chilies, garlic cloves, ginger, and lemongrass. Simmer for about 5 minutes. Set aside this mixture to cool off at room temperature.


Mix all three sauces in a bowl and set aside.


Serve the fried chicken with the three dipping sauces, which should be served hot. The chicken can be refrigerated for 3-4 hours after a couple of hours have passed from helping to ensure it is well-kept.

Nutrition Fact of Guatemalan fried chicken:

Calories from fat4.4g
Saturated fat0.6g
Total sugars1.7g
Guatemalan fried chicken

The 5 best variations of Guatemalan fried chicken-

1. Shredded Chicken Guatemalan Style:

This recipe is marinated and spiced with cumin, coriander, lemon, garlic, and hot sauce. It can be served with tortillas or jalapenos.

2. Fried Chicken Guatemalan Style:

A big difference from the recipe mentioned above is that this one uses chicken breasts for a less spicy version. The chicken breasts are marinated in dry oregano and lemon before frying in olive oil.

3. Fried Chicken Spicy Guatemalan Style:

This recipe is similar to the first one except for the ingredients used. The chicken is marinated with cumin, paprika, coriander, water, oregano, and salt before frying in olive oil.

4. Fried Chicken in a Garlic Chile Sauce with Cheese:

The two main ingredients of this dish are garlic and fresh chiles. The chicken pieces are marinated with garlic cloves, fresh chiles, lime juice, and salt before frying in olive oil.

5. Guacamole Fondue:

Served as an appetizer, guacamole is mixed with chillies powder and served with tortilla chips and fried chicken pieces.

What are the Healthy benefits of Guatemalan fried chicken?

  1. Guatemalan fried chicken is rich in protein because it contains chicken as the main ingredient.
  2. Guatemalan fried chicken has zero fat content and is considered to be a low-fat food.
  3. Chicken bones are high in calcium, making them great for bone health for children and adults.
  4. Chicken meat has a good amount of iron that helps build up red blood cells in the body, which produces enough oxygen for the body’s tissues and organs.
  5. Chicken meat is a good source of zinc, which helps develop the immune system. It also boosts the growth of new cells and repairs tissues in the body.
  6. As an essential amino acid, glutamine helps remove ammonia from the body’s bloodstream, which keeps the brain cells of the cerebral cortex clear from degeneration due to ammonia accumulation in the brain cells.
  7. Chicken is high in protein, which improves the body’s metabolic rate and helps in weight loss.

How should you prepare fried chicken to make it taste even better?

Get fresh, free-range chickens, and make sure they are not frozen before you prepare them for frying. Cheap cuts of meat are not suitable for frying since they may turn mushy when deep-fried. Cut off all the fat and skin from the chicken, then wash it well with cold water before marinating it in salt, pepper, bouillon powder, lemon juice, and chicken bouillon powder.

Guatemalan fried chicken
Guatemalan fried chicken

What are the precautions for Guatemalan fried chicken?

The best precaution to take when eating this dish is to avoid overeating it all at once because it can be quite rich in taste and fatty—meal Combinations for Guatemalan fried chicken.

How do you fry chicken?

The best way to fry chicken is by using medium-high or high heat. The oil should be heated to 350 degrees Fahrenheit or 175 degrees Celsius. The best oil for frying is peanut oil and canola oil. These oils take longer to burn, therefore providing a better-tasting fried chicken.

What can other types of foods be eaten with fried chicken?

Your fried chicken pairs well with hamburgers, fries, quesadillas, and sandwiches. Add wedges of lemon to the dish and serve it with coleslaw or your choice of salad.

Is fried chicken healthy?

Yes, this food is indeed healthy because of its protein content. You can add pineapple rings in between serving chicken pieces as a garnish to make this dish even better for your family.

How to store Guatemalan fried chicken?

Store the fried chicken in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. When you are about to eat it, take it out and fry it in peanut oil for a couple of minutes, then place it on a rack lined with paper towels to drain excess fat from it.

If you want to freeze the chicken, wrap it well with tin foil and place it in an airtight container before freezing.

Guatemalan fried chicken


You can prepare this dish with as many variations as you want and enjoy it as most people do. It is a mouthwatering dish for your family because it is rich in taste and nutrients. You can serve it hot or cold and with a variety of sauces.

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