Chicken Inasal

The Philippines have a lot of ways of grilling their chicken from simple char grilled chicken, lechon manok to the sweet barbecue style you see in restaurants like Aristocrats but during the late 90’s a new way of preparing grilled chicken become popular in Manila and it’s called the Chicken Inasal. This dish is a chargrilled chicken dish marinated in coconut vinegar with garlic, lemongrass and ginger. Cooking this dish calls for constant basting of lemon butter sauce with annatto which gives it a unique flavour and colour.

When I see this chicken dish it reminds me of one of my close friends who have an Inasal restaurant in Mindanao, I loved their recipe and I always had requested for this when I had dinner at their place that is why during my wedding he said that this would be his gift to me, Chicken Inasal quarter chickens for all of the 500 guests (that’s 125 chickens) in addition to the good set of menu that we already had, I initially thought he was joking until the day I got married and saw them unload the chicken. A really good way to char grill your chicken as long as you have the patience, its flavourful and tender thanks to the butter that keeps it moist while cooking.

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Chicken Inasal 3

Chicken Inasal

  • Author: Raymund
  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 30 mins
  • Total Time: 45 mins
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Category: Main Course
  • Cuisine: Filipino


The Philippines have a lot of ways of grilling their chicken from simple char grilled chicken, lechon manok to the sweet barbecue style you see in restaurants like Aristocrats but during the late 90’s a new way of preparing grilled chicken become popular in Manila and it’s called the Chicken Inasal.




  • 4 chicken thighs with legs


  • 1/2 thumb sized ginger, peeled
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 4 stalks lemongrass, white part
  • 1 1/2 cups coconut vinegar
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup fish sauce
  • 3 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • freshly ground black pepper

Basting Sauce

  • 2 tsp annatto powder
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • juice from 2 lemons
  • 1/2 tsp salt


  1. In a food processor mix all marinade ingredients except for the baking soda.
  2. Pierce chicken pieces with fork then place in an airtight container. Pour over the marinade and the baking soda in the chicken while massaging the meat. Cover container then marinate for at least 6 hours.
  3. In a sauce pan mix together all basting ingredients and simmer in low heat for 2 minutes. Set aside.
  4. Prepare a charcoal grill then cook chicken while occasionally basting it with the butter sauce until cooked.



41 Responses

  1. peachkins says:

    This is my one of my daughter’s favorite ulams!

  2. Hey cool 🙂 Question from a noob: Qhat does the baking soda contribute to the marinade, and can the coconut vinegar be replaced with other kinds of vinegar such as apple cider?

    • rsmacaalay says:

      Baking soda acts as a tenderizer and commonly used in Chinese cuisine thats why their beef is jelly like in consistency. Similar effect with 7up or Sprite in Pinoy Pork Barbecue. And for the coconut vinegar you can use the normal white one, the coconut vinegar gives only a slight hint of coconut.

  3. Villy says:

    This sounds so delicious! I’ve never heard of coconut vinegar before!

  4. nors says:

    Paborito ko pre… Basta manok!

  5. Whoa! That chicken looks good!

  6. It looks and sounds amazing. Coconut vinegar is new to me. And what a wonderful friend to make that for you and all your guests!

  7. Marianne says:

    Yummy, it looks really good! 🙂

  8. I was a bit taken aback when I read that baking soda was needed but before I read the comment thread I realized that it must be a tenderizer. This is good to know! And the chicken looks mouthwatering!

  9. Judy says:

    Okay, coconut vinegar, that’s a new one for me. Grilled chicken for 500 guests — what a generous gift!

  10. This sounds delicious, but I once read that baking soda had to be washed off or it tastes disgusting, I gues not judging by your recipe.

    • rsmacaalay says:

      Actually 1 tsp per kg of meat wont give it that awful taste, just dont go beyond that ratio according to my experience. Also the marinade would mask the taste if there is any.

  11. Kristy says:

    What a fabulous wedding gift! I’m sure that your guests enjoyed this because it looks quite fabulous. And the ingredients sound amazing. Looks like a great way to eat chicken! 🙂

  12. PolaM says:

    This chicken looks perfectly charred and delicious! I bet your guests loved it!

  13. Purely.. Kay says:

    Okay Raymund, I am conviced you posted this to tease me because you knew I wanted to make chicken tonight. Now I have to stop by the store and get some of these ingredients hehe

  14. Lovely chicken! What a labor of love to make this for your wedding! This is something I will have to try this summer on the grill. Came to you via Nami’s Just One Cookbook- like your blog a lot!

  15. Elodie Amora says:

    I really miss Chicken Inasal. I hope I can find all the ingredients needed to make this here!

  16. The golden skin looks perfect on that chicken- wow!

  17. Wow, 500 guests??? Your friend was very brave! The chicken looks great, but isn’t Annato a food colouring that’s not really good for you…. Aside from that I have no objections!

  18. I would totally love these as a wedding gift. I love char-grilled chickens. I used to go to a restaurant that sells them, and I miss them now since I can’t seem to make them as good at home.

  19. Tessa says:

    The char on your chicken looks perfect! I am going to try the baking soda technique… I never heard of using it as a tenderizer before.

  20. those grill marks look so pretty!

  21. Aileen says:

    Homemade inasal! Aaaaaah, I’m craving so much now!

  22. Tita Beng says:

    Have copied this recipe. Bagay na pang-outing. Thanks.

  23. Hazel says:

    You’re a lucky groom 🙂 Sarap ng inasal!

  24. My husband and I are packing are bags and are ready to come to your bed and breakfast. Can we order this chicken for our first dinner please?

  25. Continued basting of lemon butter sauce with annatto…oh ya that sounds perfect.

  26. OMG. Thanks for sharing this inasal recipe!!!! When I was in University, I lived on Chicken Inasal! This is definitely my fave and I’m adding this to my (very limited) Filipino food repertoire!

  27. What a beautiful chicken and the prep isn’t nearly as difficult as I was imagining when I first saw the photo… I love the color and crispiness of that skin – I’m drooling. I am featuring this post in today’s Friday Food Fetish roundup (with a link-back and attribution), but please let me know if you have any objections. I’m new to your blog, but it’s a pleasure to be following your creations…

  28. samology says:

    I really love Chicken Inasal! Tastes especially good with GARLIC rice!! hehe.. 😀

  29. Carolyn Chan says:

    Ohhhh that looks soooo good Ray !

  30. peasepudding says:

    Wow look at your fancy blog, it looks great and so does the chicken dish.

  31. foodjaunts says:

    Chicken inasal = super tasty deliciousness 🙂 Yours looks cooked so well. PS – Like the new blog theme!

  32. Jeremy says:

    This one is on my project list. The baking soda is new to me as well. Beautifully done!

  33. bakunawa says:

    INASAL is a KARAY-A word from Panay island that means “tinuhog” or “skewered” using bamboo skewers prior to grilling. The picture above is not CHICKEN INASAL but SINUGBA or inihaw or simply grilled chicken…. To be considered INASAL you must use the bamboo skewer when grilling your chicken or pork… INASAL is the PROCESS prior to grilling while BARBECUE refers to the flavor or taste. INASAL is not synonymous to BARBECUED or GRILLED but TINUHOG/ SKEWERED.

  34. thank you for sharing the recipe
    certainly tastes delicious

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