Main dish

Roasted chicken with chipotle

Roasted chicken with chipotle DSC3200

It’s no secret that I love mayonnaise, much to my mustard-loving family’s dismay. But when I was going through my collection of Great-Grandma Blanche’s handwritten recipes, I came across a dish called chicken mayonnaise and realized that this love had just skipped a few generations.

Chicken mayonnaise, as my great-grandma made it, was a concoction that involved, of course, lots of mayonnaise. But it also called for gelatin, nuts and a whole mess of other ingredients that when combined could stretch one small chicken into a feast that could easily serve 20.

“Perfect for that Fourth of July party,” I bet you’re thinking! Perhaps. But I decided to make another type of chicken mayonnaise instead.

Roasted chicken with chipotle | Homesick Texan

Back in March, I had completely sworn off chicken after an encounter with a grocery-store rotisserie chicken left me in bed for three days. I wasn’t happy with this decision, as I adore chicken—be it fried, in tacos, in chicken and dumplings or in sour cream enchiladas. But, well, if you’ve ever suffered through the post-traumatic shock of a bad bout of food poisoning, you know how I felt.

A few weeks ago, however, I was forced to face my fear or go hungry. I was at a rooftop barbecue where a group of Texans were gathered around a smoker waiting for the day’s main event—a beautiful 12-pound slab of brisket. But brisket takes patience and so the host had thrown some chicken—which takes a lot less time to cook—into the pit to keep the guests satisfied as we waited for the brisket to finish.

The chicken came out fragrant with smoke and pepper. Everyone grabbed a piece and started gnawing away. And I decided to take the plunge and take a piece myself. I’m glad that I did—this chicken was a wonderful reintroduction to one of my favorite birds.

Now, about that chicken mayonnaise. While doing research for the book, I came across a recipe that called for a slather of mayonnaise on chicken breasts before baking or grilling as a means to both keep the chicken juicy and impart flavor. Intrigued by the concept, I blended mayonnaise with chipotle chiles, lime zest, cilantro and a pinch of cumin and then spread it on a mess of drumsticks. I baked them for a little under an hour, and they came out moist and spicy—I ate four in one sitting.

Roasted chicken with chipotle

So I admit that this chicken mayonnaise may not be my great-grandma’s dish, but it’s still a fine and simple way to serve chicken to lots of guests as the mayonnaise does most of the work. And don’t worry if you’re a mayonnaise hater, you don’t taste it at all, it simply keeps the chicken tender and moist.

Roasted chicken with chipotle DSC3200
5 from 1 vote

Roasted chicken with chipotle

Servings 4
Author Lisa Fain


  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon lime zest
  • 2-4 canned chipotle chiles
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • 4 chicken legs, thighs with drumsticks, skin on or off—your choice
  • Lime wedges for serving


  1. Preheat the oven to 425° F and line a 9×13 pan with foil.

  2. In a blender, mix together the mayonnaise, lime zest, chipotle chiles, cilantro, cumin, cayenne until smooth and slightly pink. Add salt and pepper to taste.

  3. Spread mayonnaise on each leg, place in the pan and cook uncovered for 50 minutes or until juices run clear and the chicken has an internal temperature of 165 degrees. Serve hot with lime wedges.

Recipe Notes

I prefer dark meat, but if you want to make this with breasts, I’d cook them for about 35 minutes instead or until an internal temperature of 165 degrees.

  1. I'm not a big fan of drumsticks, but put this on some chicken thighs and I can tell I'd love it!

  2. Print. Roast. Eat. Thanks!

  3. Little Black Car

    Very much like tandoori chicken, basted in lemon juice, spices, and yogurt.

  4. Sounds and looks delicious! I'm definitely going to try this at home. Thanks Lisa!

  5. We are the Guerra's!

    Yum! And yes, I knew *exactly* how you felt about chicken after your bout with food poisoning. I've been hospitalized a couple too many times for my liking (although it could also be that the food I'd consumed had mustard in it, of which the same reaction occurs since I'm allergic to it–much to the dismay of your mustard-loving family, ha!) I can't wait to try this technique and recipe on some chicken I have in the freezer!

  6. Georgia Pellegrini

    I can't say that I'm a huge mayonnaise fan, but these photos are drool-worthy. I've been wanting to make chipotle-roasted chicken for a while…you may have just convinced me to get my act together 🙂

  7. Tatersmama

    HA! That's my dinner tonight!! I have some thighs sitting in the freezer, so this is the perfect choice!
    I've never had food poisoning, (knock on wood) but it must be miserable!

  8. Monday Through Friday: Food & Photography

    Wow, such a great idea! I always do the yogurt thing, but mayo…that is excellent! Love the flavor pairing too

  9. I love chicken drumsticks, mayonnaise, and chipotle. I'm making this soon!

  10. That sounds truly delicious! Two of my favourite things… guess what I shall be cooking tomorrow? Thanks!

  11. Lisa Fain

    Kalyn–It's wonderful with thighs as well!

    Sara–You're very welcome!

    Little Black Car–Yes, it's very similar though I reckon using yogurt is probably a bit more healthy!

    We are the Guerras–Be careful with the mustard! And fortunately I didn't have to go to the hospital–I feel for you!

    Georgia Pellegrini–Trust me, you don't even know the mayonnaise was there.

    Tatersmama–Not fun, trust me! Yet another reason it's good to cook your own food!

    Monday though Friday–Mayo is a bit more decadent but it's good!

    Nicole–Glad you like it! Enjoy!

    Wendy–You're very welcome. Enjoy!

  12. Becky Mochaface

    Holy crap, I just found your site and am instantly wondering why have I not found this before! As a Texan who was once homesick but am now home, I can't wait to go through your entire index and try some of these amazing recipes. I will be back for more.

  13. heather @ chiknpastry

    what a great idea! i bet it works on any chicken part. looks like some good ingredient combos!

  14. Lisa Fain

    Becky–Welcome–it's great to meet you!

    Heather–I works on all parts, I'm just partial to legs.

  15. cowgirl Chef

    Love the souped up mayo chicken idea. And wouldn't that mayo w/ chipotle, cilantro, cumin, etc. be fab on a tomato sandwich, too?

  16. Anonymous

    Lisa, What a wonderful, delicious-sounding recipe. Do you use dried chipotle chiles or the ones in the can with adobo sauce? I want to try this tomorrow but not sure what kind of chipotle to get. Thanks. Kimba

  17. Alisha Bell

    This sound so good- I just might have to go straight to HEB after work and buy some drumsticks!

  18. Lisa Fain

    Cowgirl Chef–I almost didn't have enough mayo left over for the chicken I found it so darn tasty. And yes to the tomato sandwich. Heck, why not add some bacon and avocado to make your famous BLAT while you're at it? Yum!

    Anon–I use canned. Thanks for noticing–I've updated the ingredients list.

    Alisha Bell–Sounds like a plan–enjoy!

  19. Did you see the article on mayo in the Flavor section of the Houston Chronicle last week (6/23)? Can't wait to try your chicken and a recipe from the paper for Old Bay Mayonnaise. I'm a homesick MD girl living in TX:)

  20. Miss Meat and Potatoes

    Oh no! So sorry to hear about your bad chicken experience. Can you share where it came from to protect fellow New Yorkers…eek. This recipe sounds like a great cross between old and new. And you're so right – mayo haters need to chill. They have no idea how many scrumptious chocolate cakes they've eaten with it in there;)

  21. DessertForTwo

    I'm always looking for a new drumstick recipe because they're always on sale. Thanks a million!
    I can't wait to smear mayo onto cold chicken skin! But don't take your contacts out afterwards…chipotle burns!

  22. Michelle @ Turning Over a New Leaf

    Nice. May have to try soon! Roast chicken and chipotle?? Winner!

  23. simplysandi

    I might just have to try this for the 4th of July.

  24. Lea Ann

    I love this idea. I too have a recipe that calls for a slathering of mayonnaise before cooking, why not spice it up with some of my favorite flavors. This will be on my weekend grilling menu. On another note, I love those rotisserie chickens and have always wondered how long they've been sitting there "warm". I think I'll stick to buying them when I know they've just come out.

  25. Reminds me of tandoori, only with mayonnaise. And, the chipotle and spices sound great. Can't wait to try this!

  26. Anonymous

    Wait — where is Great-Grandma Blanche's Chicken Mayonnaise recipe?? Could we have that one, too? This one sounds great, though!

  27. Tasty Eats At Home

    What a great concept! Sounds delicious.

  28. the country cook

    Sounds absolutely delicious! I'm definitely trying this. –

  29. Lisa Fain

    Heidi–I did not–I'll have to check that ou!

    Miss Meat and Potatoes–You know, I've never made a mayo chocolate cake–hmmmm!

    DessertforTwo–Good tip!

    Michelle–Thank you!

    simplysandi–It's perfect for the Fourth!

    Lea Ann–That's a good idea.

    Lisa–It is very similar to tandoori.

    The Country Cook–Enjoy!

    Anon–I may put it in the book.

    Jessica–You're very welcome!

    Tasty Eats at Home–Thank you!

  30. Shelley

    Maybe it's because I write about folks who don't have enough to eat, but to me just that picture itself looks delicious enough to eat! Thanks (I think) for the lush visuals.



  31. Jessica

    Yummy! Mayo beats mustard hands down! Thanks for sharing this delicious recipe.

  32. Marjorie

    Lisa, You recipe sounds amazing. I can't wait to try it. I buy rotisserie chickens all the time because I love the convenience, but after hearing about your horrible experience I think I'll start cooking my own again.

  33. You can never have enough chicken recipes.

    Here in Toronto, chicken leg quarters are always on sale and you run out of ideas of how to cook them. This sounds like it will fit in nicely.

    Happy 4 th of July to all our US brethren.

  34. Anonymous

    Can we get your Grandmother's recipe?

  35. tasteofbeirut

    Love chicken too; swore off store roasted chicken too! but this one with chipotle wins my votes!

  36. SeattleDee

    Chicken aside, I love the idea of chipotle mayonnaise. Now just add some cream cheese and crispy bacon pieces; heat and eat with a spoon, on top of a tater, or as a chicken wing dip. Now on to cooking up some spicy roasted mayo chicken.

  37. Nichole

    In my family we have long slathered up our Thanksgiving turkey with mayonnaise. Last year I invited friends over and we each selected a dish or two to cook. I volunteered for the turkey as I had cooked it several times before and knew the secret…mayonnaise. I stuck my bird in a roasting bag, slathered it with mayonnaise, and sprinkled on some of my favorite spices (cumin, cayenne, and smoked paprika). All the while my guests were exclaiming GROSS! They changed their minds when they tasted my succulent turkey, yum! Thanks for sharing this mayonnaise revelation with the rest of the world!

  38. creeser

    I made this with boneless skinless thighs and breasts and it was WONDERFUL! I had some left over mayo and saved it to slather on the cooked chicken – YUMMY! This will definitely go in my book of favorite recipes!

  39. Anonymous

    As always–great stuff. Will the cookbook be out in the fall? Are you or any of booksellers taking advanced orders?

  40. Anonymous

    What a different idea, I'll have to give it a try.

    I too can understand how serious it can be dealing with food poisoning. My daughter was served a bad turkey burger at a restaurant, she became so ill, she had to go to the er.

    So, what was your grandma's recipe, was it some kind of terrine?


  41. I love reading your blog! But, of course, it really makes me homesick for Texas cooking.

  42. Anonymous

    I am making this week…with extra for leaftover chicken salad….BTW I'm a misplaced texan in ohio…

  43. Thank you, this site is exactly what I've been looking for! A Tex-Mex/Mex cooking blog! You wouldn't believe how few there are!

  44. Anonymous

    Hey Homesick Texan! I wanted to tell you that I made your roasted chicken dish and it was delicious! Everyone loved it!!Thanks for sharing!

    -Judy in the Big D

    P.S. I'm still waiting for a rajas recipe 🙂

  45. Made this for my 4th of July picnic. They disappeared in seconds!! Side note: I have so much mayonnaise left over I'm going to try to use it on my home fries tonight!

  46. Mayonnaise is an interesting ingredient – I will certainly try this, thanks!

  47. Maureen

    yum yum yum

  48. Anonymous

    Okay, since you've made the step to Mayonnaise Chicken, now you have to try Alabama White Barbeque Chicken, as popularized by Bob Gibson's BBQ. Amazing!! It's a sauce made of mayo, cider vinegar, cayenne, horseradish, black pepper, brushed on a chicken as it smokes, then extra sauce to dip. My mouth is watering as I think of it. I'll be making your drumsticks asap, but think I'll have to get me some wood chips and white bbq me up a bird.
    Thank you!!

  49. Lisa Fain

    Shelley–You're very welcome!

    Marjorie–They're convenient, but you never know how long they've been sitting out.

    Tommy–How fortunate they're always on sale!

    Anon–Maybe in the book!

    TasteofBeirut–So happy to hear it gets your vote!

    SeattleDee–I love the addition of cream cheese and bacon!

    Nichole–Excellent idea! I'll be trying that next time I roast a turkey!

    Creeser–Yay, so happy you liked it!

    Anon–It's out in Fall 2011 and I don't think advanced orders can be placed until probably next year.

    Mary–I have no idea! I need to make it and see.

    Pookie–Hope you get home soon!

    Anon–Good idea to have extra for salad!

    Raquel–Hope you enjoy it!

    Judy–Excellent news–so happy to hear!

    Ashley–Hooray–glad it wa s hit!

    Lynda–Hope you enjoy!

    Maureen–It is!

    Anon–I've actually had Alabama white sauce at the source in Decatur. Very good stuff!

  50. Anonymous

    Mayo, garlic and canned chipotles is also good for spreading on catfish for baking/grilling. I got the recipe out of a oaxacan cookbook.

  51. The Kitchen Table

    I made this for dinner the other night and it was a revelation! The recipe is greasy, but if we only eat chicken like this once in a while I can certainly justify it. We aren't big fans of chipotle, so instead I diced up two hot orange peppers from my garden(no idea what they are), added lime juice and some garlic to make up for the lack of cilantro, and roasted the chicken thighs for 35 minutes. We ate it with a rice side and Bittman's Orange Black beans. Yum! Thanks so much for sharing! Can't wait for the book!

  52. Thanks for this, Lisa. I have been trying spatchcocking (my new word of the week) whole birds and putting olive oil, garlic, lemon and herbs under the skin, tinfoiling bricks for flattening the fowl and grilling them over charcoal. This gives me a new blend of spices to try.

  53. Lisa – this has become my go to chicken recipe. HEB has the leg quarters for $1. I do these and breasts, but I slather the mayo over and under the skin. Then we do them on the BBQ. They are great! I usually have some mayo left over – it's great on burgers and mixed with pimento cheese if you tone it down a bit. We'd love to see you if you get to Burnet!

  54. A Little Yumminess

    Just made this and loved it. Found your blog recently and am loving it!

  55. Hi there! I just wanted to say thank you for the recipe! I made it the other day, and it was delicious!

  56. Rebekah Daphne

    What a great idea. I used the mayonnaise+seasoning concept and just whisked together 1/2 cup mayo, 1/4 cup chopped fresh mixed herbs (rosemary, oregano, and basil mostly), and 1 teaspoon lime juice. It was so moist and delicious! Thanks very much. I can see lots of variations on this in our future 🙂

  57. Loved this recipe! I made the chipotle mayo a few days later and mixed it with shredded chicken, sauteed onions, and diced green peppers. I let it chill for awhile and served it with freshly sliced avocado on a torta roll. Fabulous chipotle chicken salad!

  58. Kimberley Tucker

    I made this last night – Hubby and I could not stop eating it!!!!! It's a keeper and please put this in the regular rotation he said.

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