Pollo Campero Style Air Fryer Fried Chicken
Pollo Campero Style Air Fryer Fried Chicken

Cooked in an air fryer, this copycat recipe of Pollo Campero’s popular fried chicken uses a blend of citrus and spices to create a hearty, herbaceous and tart dish.

In this recipe

  • Origins of Central American Fried Chicken
  • The differences between air frying and deep frying
  • Why We Salt Chicken (Even Air Fry)
  • Opt for skin-on-bone chicken
  • You need a little oil for air frying
  • Exchange and substitution of ingredients
  • What do you serve with Pollo Campero Fried Chicken?
  • Save and warm up

Nothing screams home cooking like fried chicken. The popularity of fried chicken spans the globe and even conquers Latin America. In recent decades, fried chicken restaurant chains have experienced a tremendous boom in South and Central America thanks to popular Latin American fried chicken spot Pollo Campero. I grew up eating it after it opened in America (my typical order includes rice and beans, yuca fries, and tortillas).

There are now countless imitation recipes for Pollo Campero’s fried chicken. These recipes often use a mix of citrus and spices to mimic the popular grocery chain’s version.

It’s perfect for a weeknight dinner, a picnic, or trying a new way of cooking a classic.

Origins of Central American Fried Chicken

Said to have originated in Guatemala in the 1970s, this tropical chicken with Latin American spices was made famous by the Latin American fried chicken chain Pollo Campero. Pollo Campero also now has multiple locations across the United States.

The differences between air frying and deep frying

How does an air fryer create that crispy crunch? An air fryer works like a small convection oven, creating the effect of frying – without excess oil. Air fryers have become a popular kitchen appliance of choice for those who want to go without oil.

Technically, an air fryer (despite its name) doesn’t fry. It’s actually a small convection oven that uses circulating hot air from a fan to create a crunchy texture via the Maillard reaction (which turns food brown and crunchy as a product of heating sugar and proteins).

I’m not sure where the name came from, but an air fryer has a much nicer and tighter sound than a “mini convection oven”.

Why We Salt Chicken (Even Air Fry)

This brine is a combination of fresh lime juice, fresh garlic, and Latin spices like sazón (a blend of cumin, coriander, garlic powder, achiote, salt, pepper, and oregano). Lime juice acts like an acid – it breaks down chicken fiber and helps absorb the flavor of citrus and spices and retain moisture.

While some lime marinades for chicken say you can marinate for up to 12 hours, I don’t recommend marinating longer than two hours; Otherwise, the acidity of the lime will make the chicken too tough. An accidental 4 hour marinade resulted in tougher, tougher (but still delicious) air fried chicken.

Opt for skin-on-bone chicken

For the crispiest, juiciest air fried chicken, do yourself a favor and opt for skin and bones. The skin gives the marinade and coating a better surface to stick to. Shaking off excess marinade before coating gives better results (the drier the chicken skin, the crispier it will be when cooked).

Another thing to keep in mind to achieve crispy skin in the air fryer is to make sure the chicken skin is flat when you dredge it and are ready to place it in the air fryer. You can also use kitchen scissors to trim off excess skin if needed.

You need a little oil for air frying

It’s important that the coated chicken is sprayed thoroughly with non-stick cooking spray – any dry flour stains during the heat circulating process will burn rather than crisp. If you discover dry spots of flour while cooking, simply spray the spot.

Exchange and substitution of ingredients

Don’t feel like a certain spice? If you don’t like the fiery heat of cayenne pepper, omit it or swap it out for a milder chili like chili powder or a little more paprika. If you don’t have adobo handy (despite its popularity!), you can make your own at home or swap it out for garlic or onion powder.

Lemons can also work for limes in a pinch.

I prefer to use drumsticks and thighs for this recipe, but you can use wings too.

What do you serve with Pollo Campero Fried Chicken?

Southern-style fried chicken is usually eaten with sides like coleslaw and biscuits, but popular sides among Latin Americans include yuca fries, tortillas, or beans. Any side dish you choose makes a great accompaniment to this crispy citrus fried chicken recipe.

Save and warm up

Air fryers are wonderful not only for their crisping abilities, but also for reheating leftovers. Cooked roast chicken can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 5 days and reheated in the air fryer at 375°F for 4 minutes.

Alternatively, reheat in the oven at 300°F on a baking sheet until heated through, about 8 to 10 minutes.

More fantastic fried chicken recipes

  • Fried chicken from the air fryer
  • Sweet tea fried chicken
  • Spicy fried chicken
  • Spicy chicken nuggets

Pollo Campero Style Air Fryer Fried Chicken

preparation time
10 mins

cooking time
30 minutes

total time
40 minutes

4 servings

8 pieces of chicken

You will need to air fry the chicken in batches. The cooking time is between 25 and 30 minutes per serving of chicken.


For the marinade:

  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt

  • 4 cloves garlicchopped

  • 1/2 tablespoon freshly cracked black pepper

  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin

  • 2 teaspoon sazon (homemade or bought)

  • 2 teaspoon dried oregano

  • 4 fresh limesjuiced

  • 8th pieces Chicken with skin and bones (4 clubs, 4 clubs)

For the flour excavator:

  • 2 cups all purpose flour

  • 1 tablespoon freshly cracked black pepper

  • 1 tablespoon Adobe (homemade or bought)

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin

  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

For cooking chicken:

  • Nonstick Cooking Spray


  1. Prepare and marinate the chicken:

    In a small bowl, whisk together the salt, garlic, pepper, cumin, sazón, oregano, and lime juice. Pour into a gallon-sized, ziplock plastic bag. Add chicken and rub in thoroughly. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 2 hours.

  2. Prepare flour dredger:

    In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, pepper, adobo, salt, cumin, and cayenne pepper.

  3. Coat the chicken with the flour shovel:

    Take the chicken out of the fridge. Shake off excess marinade and scrape off any solids like large garlic granules. Dip the chicken pieces in the flour dredger and brush well.

  4. Let the chicken rest:

    Transfer the coated chicken pieces to a clean plate or wire rack lined with a baking sheet to rest for at least 10-15 minutes.

  5. Chicken air fry:

    Spray the basket of an air fryer with nonstick cooking spray. Depending on the size of the air fryer, place portions of chicken in the air fryer basket (it doesn’t matter if the chicken is skin-side up or skin-side down). Be careful not to stack or overlap the chicken pieces and make sure the chicken pieces are not touching.

    Lightly spray the chicken pieces with non-stick cooking spray, being careful not to leave any dry stains of flour.

    Place the basket in the air fryer and turn the air fryer to 400°F. Cook 20 minutes, then turn the fried chicken with tongs, spray lightly with nonstick cooking spray and cook an additional 10 to 15 minutes, or until a meat thermometer inserted into the center of the chicken reads 165°F.

  6. Surcharge:

    Let the chicken rest on a plate for a few minutes before serving.

    Serve with coleslaw, fried yuca, beans, tortillas, or biscuits. Cooked rotisserie chicken can be kept in the refrigerator for 5 days and reheated in a 300°F oven for 8 to 10 minutes.

nutritional information (per serving)
565 calories
22g Fat
31g carbohydrates
59g protein
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Hello everybody, Even if you're limited on time and money, I believe you can prepare wonderful food with everyday products. All you have to do is cook cleverly and creatively!