clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon
Grilled al Pastor chicken thighs shown on a white speckled plate atop a light blue surface. The chicken is garnished with finely chopped herbs & grilled pineapple.

Easy 10-Minute Al Pastor Marinade

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 2 reviews
  • Author: Jess Larson
  • Prep Time: 10 Minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 Minutes
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 2 cups 1x
  • Category: Sauces & Condiments
  • Method: No-Cook, Blender
  • Cuisine: Mexican & Tex-Mex
  • Diet: Gluten Free


This easy homemade Al Pastor Marinade recipe hits all the right notes – it’s earthy, citrusy, and subtly sweet thanks to flavor-forward ingredients, like orange juice, smoky chiles, and achiote. Prepped in a blender in 10 minutes or less, homemade al pastor has never been so easy – use it to make tacos al pastor and more!


  • 2 pounds meat or veggies of choice
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 23 chipotle peppers, from a can packed in adobo sauce
  • ½ cup orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar (or honey, or agave)
  • 1 tablespoon achiote paste (see Recipe Notes)
  • 1 tablespoon ancho chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • kosher salt and ground black pepper, to season

Garlic, chipotle peppers, orange juice, apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, achiote paste, ancho chile powder, ground cumin, dried oregano, and salt arranged on a light blue surface.


  1. Blend the al pastor marinade: Add all listed marinade ingredients to a blender. Season with 2 teaspoons kosher salt and ground black pepper as desired. Blend until combined; the marinade should be thick and smooth. Use immediately, or transfer to a jar or airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.Al Pastor marinade shown in a small ball jar, sitting atop a light blue surface with an orange slice resting on the surface in the foreground & the background.
  2. Marinate: Pour the marinade over your meat or veggies of choice. Marinate for at least 8 hours & up to 3 days. Chicken thighs in a large glass mixing bowl, marinating in Al Pastor marinade. The bowl sits atop a light blue surface.
  3. Grill as desired. Enjoy!Grilled al Pastor chicken thighs shown on a white speckled plate atop a light blue surface. The chicken is garnished with finely chopped herbs & grilled pineapple.


  • What is Achiote paste? Achiote is a seasoning commonly used in Mexican and Central American cuisine. Achiote is made with ground annatto seed, which is earthy and bitter in flavor and gives traditional al pastor (in my experience) its signature flavor and color. You’ll most commonly find achiote available as a ground seasoning or as a paste, both of which you can easily find at your local Mexican market. It’s also readily available online. If you’re in a pinch, you can easily make a quick achiote substitute using pantry ingredients, but if you’re serious about replicating the signature flavor of al pastor, I highly suggest stocking up on some achiote. 
  • 10-Minute Meal Prep: If you’d like to marinate something later in the week, I suggest making the marinade in advance, whenever you’re meal prepping for the week. Store it in a jar or an airtight container for up to 5 days – the flavors meld together even more as the marinade sits. At least 8 hours before you’re ready to hit the grill, simply pour the marinade over whatever meat or veggies you’re using it on – easy!
  • Note: This recipe has been updated since its original publish in May 2019. If you are looking for the original recipe, with slightly different ingredients and flavor profile, click here to download a printable version!