Cuban Fried Chicken – Dad’s Recipe

by Cristina | Last Updated: July 9, 2018

Cuban Fried Chicken. Is that a thing? Absolutely! This recipe means a lot to me for many reasons.

I have shared this before, but my family is kind of large and very cuban. Sunday lunches were a regular thing. Every Sunday, the entire family would get together. Church and then lunch. That is what we did on Sundays. My dad is one of 9 children. All of the cousins would run around and all of the adults would catch up.

This cuban fried chicken recipe is dedicated to my Abuela, Yaya.  July 6 was her birthday, and since she passed they also made it National Fried Chicken Day.  When Yaya was alive, my parents typically hosted a lunch for the entire family (think around 50 people) to celebrate both 4th of July and her birthday and they always made it Pollo Frito (fried chicken). 

The great thing about this cuban fried chicken recipe is that it is pretty easy to make. It had to be when you are cooking for that many people without a professional kitchen and staff.

My dad always substituted the egg for some Mojo, and just thinking about it makes my mouth water a little. This swap is what brings the cuban flavor to the fried chicken. As an extra bonus, let it marinate for a while and this will be some of the juiciest cuban fried chicken you have ever tasted. 

If you’re ready to shake up your usual recipe, this one packs a big flavor punch. 


12 Chicken Drumsticks or a broiler chicken cut up into pieces up to 4 lbs*

2 cups of mojo

2 cups all-purpose flour, divided

2 tablespoons garlic powder

1 tablespoon paprika

3 teaspoons pepper, divided (but it will be to your taste)

2 tablespoons salt (kosher preferred) 

1 bottle of Mojo 

1 tablespoons onion powder

½ teaspoon cumin

Smart Balance Oil Blend (half canola half olive oil)

*or you can get a pack of drumsticks, wings, or just bone in chicken breasts- whatever your preference

Cuban Fried Chicken Preparation

  1. 12- 24 hours before you plan on making the chicken. place it all in big zip lock bags and cover it in Mojo marinade. 
  2. Begin heating oil until it gets to 375 degrees
  3. Bring the chicken out of the marinade, and allow it to air dry.  Then season it with half the salt, pepper, onion and garlic powder. 
  4. In another large zip lock bag place the flour, remaining salt, pepper, garlic and onion powder cumin and paprika. 
  5. Remove the chicken from the flour mixture.  Dust it off and begin to fry for about 5-7 minutes (on medium heat) on each side or until golden brown and juices run clear. Drain on paper towels.
  6. Sprinkle with a little kosher salt, and some lime on the side.

Notes: When frying the chicken, the first round will always take a little longer as the oil heats up.  You do not want to overcrowd the pan, that will slow down the cooking.  Take your time, as you do your batches, the heat will only get hotter so you will have to lower it or adjust it as you go.  You do not want to burn the outside and leave the inside uncooked. 

What sides go well with our cuban fried chicken?

Thinking about a dessert?

Check out this recipe for cuban natilla.