Delicious Chicken Tocino Recipe: Authentic Filipino Flavor

Chicken Tocino, a staple in Filipino cuisine, is renowned for its sweet and savory flavors. Originating from the Spanish tradition of curing meats, this dish has become a beloved part of Filipino breakfasts. It’s not just a meal; it’s a cultural symbol, bringing families together with its comforting taste.

Ingredients for Chicken Tocino Recipe

Creating the perfect chicken tocino recipe involves a blend of simple yet flavorful ingredients. Here’s what you’ll need to bring this beloved recipe of chicken tocino to life:

  • Chicken: 2 pounds of boneless chicken thighs or legs. These cuts are preferred for their juiciness and flavor, essential for a good tocino chicken dish.
  • Pineapple Juice: 1 cup, for a tangy sweetness that’s a hallmark of chicken tocino.
  • Banana Ketchup: ¼ cup, to add a unique flavor and color to the recipe chicken tocino.
  • Sugar: ½ cup, which helps in creating the signature sweet taste.
  • Garlic Powder: 1 tablespoon, for that essential garlicky undertone.
  • Salt: 1 tablespoon, to enhance all the flavors.
  • Water: 1 cup, needed during the cooking process.
  • Canola Oil: 2 tablespoons, for frying the tocino to achieve a perfect caramelization.

These ingredients combine to create a chicken tocino recipe that’s both traditional and immensely satisfying. The key is in the balance of sweet, savory, and tangy flavors, all coming together to make a dish that’s truly representative of Filipino culinary artistry.

Variations of Chicken Tocino Recipe

Interestingly, the classic chicken tocino recipe offers room for creativity and adaptation. Here are some variations to the traditional recipe of chicken tocino that cater to different tastes and preferences:

  1. Spicy Chicken Tocino: For those who enjoy a bit of heat, add a teaspoon of chili flakes or a tablespoon of hot sauce to the marinade. This spicy twist will elevate the tocino chicken experience.
  2. Chicken Tocino Recipe Panlasang Pinoy Style: A popular variation in the Philippines, this version involves using a combination of soy sauce and calamansi juice in the marinade, offering a deeper umami flavor and a citrusy tang.
  3. Healthier Chicken Tocino: To make a healthier version of the recipe chicken tocino, substitute sugar with honey or agave syrup and use low-sodium soy sauce instead of salt. Opt for skinless chicken breasts for a leaner option.
  4. Vegetarian Tocino: For a vegetarian version, use firm tofu or tempeh as a substitute for chicken. Marinate and cook it in the same way as traditional chicken tocino.
  5. BBQ Chicken Tocino: After marinating, instead of pan-frying, grill the chicken over medium heat. This gives the chicken tocino a smoky flavor, perfect for outdoor barbecues.
  6. Pineapple Chicken Tocino: Add chunks of pineapple during the cooking process for an extra fruity flavor, complementing the sweet profile of the chicken tocino recipe.

Each of these variations brings a unique twist to the traditional chicken tocino recipe, allowing you to enjoy this Filipino favorite in new and exciting ways. Whether you’re looking for something spicy, healthier, or even vegetarian, there’s a version of chicken tocino for everyone.

The Marinating Process of Chicken Tocino

The marinating process is a crucial step in preparing chicken tocino, as it infuses the meat with its distinctive sweet and savory flavors. Here’s a detailed guide to marinate your chicken effectively:

Prepare the Marinade:

  • In a large mixing bowl, combine 1 cup of pineapple juice, ¼ cup of banana ketchup, ½ cup of sugar, 1 tablespoon of garlic powder, and 1 tablespoon of salt. Stir these ingredients until they are well mixed and the sugar is mostly dissolved.

Marinating the Chicken:

  • Subsequently, take 2 pounds of boneless chicken thighs or legs and place them in the bowl with the marinade. Ensure each piece is thoroughly coated with the marinade. For an even distribution of flavors, massage the marinade into the chicken using your hands.


  • Once the chicken is well-coated, transfer it to a sealable plastic bag or a container with a tight-fitting lid. Place it in the refrigerator. This step is crucial as it allows the flavors to penetrate deeply into the meat.

Duration of Marination:

  • Let the chicken marinate for at least 4 hours. However, for the best results, it is recommended to marinate overnight. This extended time allows the chicken to absorb all the sweet and tangy flavors, making it more tender and flavorful.

Avoid Over-Marinating:

  • It’s important not to marinate the chicken for too long. Over-marinating, especially in a marinade with acidic components like pineapple juice, can cause the meat to break down too much, leading to a mushy texture.

Ready to Cook:

  • After marinating, the chicken is ready to be cooked according to your preferred method, whether it’s pan-frying, grilling, or air frying.

By following these steps in the marinating process, your chicken will be perfectly seasoned and ready to deliver its delightful blend of flavors. Remember, the key to a great chicken tocino lies in the balance and penetration of its marinade.

Chicken Tocino Cooking Techniques

Once your chicken has been marinated, the next step is cooking it to perfection. Here are some effective techniques to ensure your chicken is both delicious and beautifully presented:


  • Heat a skillet or frying pan over medium heat. Add a tablespoon of oil, preferably canola or vegetable oil, for a healthier option.
  • Place the marinated chicken in the pan. Do not overcrowd the pan to ensure even cooking.
  • Cook the chicken for about 5 to 7 minutes on each side until it achieves a nice caramelization and is cooked through. The sugars in the marinade will give the chicken a beautiful glaze and a slightly charred exterior.


  • Preheat your grill to a medium-high setting.
  • Place the marinated chicken pieces on the grill. Grill them for about 6 to 8 minutes on each side, depending on the thickness.
  • Grilling imparts a smoky flavor to the chicken and provides a delightful char on the surface.

Air Frying:

  • Preheat the air fryer to 375°F (190°C).
  • Arrange the chicken pieces in a single layer in the air fryer basket. Make sure they are not touching to allow for even cooking.
  • Air fry for about 10 minutes, then flip the chicken and continue to air fry for another 8-10 minutes until the chicken is fully cooked and has a nice golden-brown exterior. Air frying is a healthier option as it requires less oil and still provides a satisfying texture.


  • Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C).
  • Arrange the marinated chicken in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  • Bake for about 25-30 minutes, turning halfway through the cooking time, until the chicken is thoroughly cooked and has a nice glaze.


  • Set your oven to broil and place the oven rack close to the top heating element.
  • Arrange the chicken on a broiler pan and broil for about 5-7 minutes on each side, watching carefully to prevent burning. Broiling gives a similar charred effect as grilling.

Slow Cooking:

  • For a tender, fall-apart texture, you can cook the chicken in a slow cooker.
  • Place the marinated chicken in the slow cooker and set it to low for 6-8 hours or high for 3-4 hours. This method is great for infusing the flavors deeply into the chicken.

Pressure Cooking:

  • If you’re short on time, use a pressure cooker or an Instant Pot.
  • Cook the marinated chicken on high pressure for about 10 minutes, followed by a natural release. This method ensures quick cooking while keeping the chicken moist and flavorful.

Each of these cooking techniques offers a different texture and flavor profile to your chicken tocino. Whether you prefer the traditional pan-frying method or a healthier alternative like air frying or baking, these methods will ensure your tocino chicken is cooked to perfection, highlighting the sweet and savory flavors of this beloved dish.

For more on healthy cooking methods, visit Innovative Healthy Cooking Methods.

Nutritional Information of Chicken Tocino

Caloric Content

  • Chicken tocino is moderately high in calories, mainly from sugars in the marinade and cooking oils. A serving can range from 250 to 400 calories.

Protein Value

  • As a chicken-based dish, it offers a good amount of protein, approximately 20-25 grams per serving, beneficial for muscle repair and growth.

Carbohydrate Count

  • The dish contains 20-30 grams of carbohydrates per serving, largely due to the sugar in the marinade.

Fat Composition

  • The fat content varies with the chicken cut and cooking method, ranging from 10-20 grams per serving.

Sodium Levels

  • High in sodium because of the salt and seasonings in the marinade, it should be consumed in moderation, especially by those on sodium-restricted diets.

Sugar Content

  • Notably sweet, chicken tocino can be high in added sugars, important for those monitoring their sugar intake.

Cholesterol Considerations

  • The cholesterol content depends on the chicken cut used; skinless cuts are a lower-cholesterol option.

Vitamins and Minerals

  • Chicken is a source of B vitamins and other minerals, although cooking methods can affect the overall nutrient content.

For a healthier chicken tocino, consider leaner chicken cuts, reduced sugar and salt in the marinade, and healthier cooking methods like grilling or air frying. As with any dish, moderation is key to a balanced diet.

Serving Suggestions for Chicken Tocino

Traditional Filipino Breakfast

  • Serve chicken as part of a classic Filipino breakfast, known as ‘silog’. Pair it with garlic fried rice (sinangag) and a sunny-side-up egg (itlog) for a hearty and satisfying meal.

Sandwiches and Wraps

  • Slice the cooked tocino and tuck it into sandwiches or wraps. Add lettuce, tomatoes, and a light spread of mayonnaise or aioli for a delicious lunch option.


  • Cut the chicken tocino into bite-sized pieces and toss it into a fresh green salad. Combine with mixed greens, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, and a light vinaigrette for a refreshing meal.

With Pandesal

  • Enjoy the tocino with warm, freshly-baked pandesal (Filipino bread rolls). This combination makes for a delightful snack or a light meal.


  • Skewer marinated tocino pieces and grill them. Serve these skewers at barbecues or as appetizers, accompanied by a tangy dipping sauce.

Fried Rice

  • Chop the tocino and stir fry it with cooked rice, vegetables, and soy sauce for a quick and flavorful fried rice dish.

With Stir-Fried Noodles

  • Incorporate sliced tocino into stir-fried noodles for a savory and sweet flavor twist. Add vegetables like bell peppers, carrots, and spring onions for a balanced dish.

These serving suggestions for chicken tocino offer a variety of ways to enjoy this versatile dish, whether you’re craving a traditional Filipino breakfast or looking for a quick and tasty meal option.

Pairing Chicken Tocino with Other Dishes

Complementing Filipino Favorites

  • Pair chicken tocino with other Filipino classics like adobo or sinigang for a diverse and flavorful meal. The sweet tocino balances well with the savory or sour notes of these dishes.

With Steamed Rice

  • Serve tocino alongside plain steamed rice. The simplicity of the rice complements the rich flavors of the tocino, making for a satisfying meal.

Vegetable Side Dishes

  • Balance the sweetness of tocino with vegetable sides like stir-fried bok choy, sautéed green beans, or a fresh cucumber salad. These provide a refreshing contrast to the dish’s richness.

Noodle Dishes

  • Combine chicken tocino with Filipino noodle dishes like pancit or bihon. The tocino adds a sweet and savory element to these noodle favorites.

With Eggs and Toast

  • For a hearty breakfast, serve tocino with scrambled or fried eggs and toast. This combination makes for a fulfilling start to the day.

Filipino Desserts

  • End the meal with a Filipino dessert like leche flan or halo-halo. These sweet treats are a perfect way to conclude a tocino-based meal.

Beverage Pairings

  • Pair chicken tocino with light and refreshing beverages like calamansi juice or a cold iced tea to balance its sweetness and richness.

Indeed, these pairing suggestions significantly enhance the enjoyment of chicken tocino, allowing for a full exploration of Filipino cuisine’s diverse flavors and textures.

Storage and Preservation for Chicken Tocino

Proper storage is key to enjoying this Chicken recipe at its best. Cooked Tocino can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or frozen for longer periods. For more on food preservation, check out Best Practices in Food Preservation.

If you’re in the mood for more comfort food classics after trying this recipe, be sure to check out our Velveeta Mac and Cheese for a creamy and satisfying meal.


How to Make Chicken Tocino

  • Marinate the Chicken: Combine pineapple juice, banana ketchup, sugar, garlic powder, and salt in a bowl. Add chicken pieces (preferably thighs or legs) and ensure they are well-coated. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.
  • Cook the Chicken: You can cook chicken tocino using various methods such as pan-frying, grilling, or air frying. For pan-frying, heat oil in a skillet and cook the chicken on medium heat until caramelized and cooked through.

What is Tocino Made Of?

  • Tocino is traditionally made from pork, but chicken tocino uses chicken as the primary ingredient. The meat is marinated in a mixture of pineapple juice, banana ketchup, sugar, garlic powder, and salt, giving it a unique sweet and savory flavor.

Can I Air Fry Chicken Tocino?

  • Yes, you can air fry chicken tocino. Preheat the air fryer to 375°F (190°C) and place the marinated chicken in the basket. Air fry for about 10-12 minutes, flipping halfway through, until the chicken is cooked through and has a slight caramelization.

Does Chicken Tocino Have Protein?

  • Yes, chicken tocino is a good source of protein. Chicken, its primary ingredient, is rich in protein, which is essential for muscle repair and growth. The exact protein content varies depending on the chicken cut used.

How to Cook Tocino Best?

  • The best way to cook tocino is subjective and depends on personal preference. However, pan-frying is a traditional and popular method. It involves cooking the marinated chicken in a bit of oil over medium heat until it’s caramelized and fully cooked. This method brings out the rich flavors and gives the tocino a desirable texture. Other methods like grilling or air frying are also great for achieving a slightly different flavor and texture profile.


Chicken Tocino is more than just a dish; it’s a celebration of Filipino culture and flavors. Whether enjoyed in its traditional form or with a modern twist, it remains a beloved part of the Filipino culinary landscape.

Explore a world of culinary delights and discover more mouth-watering recipes by visiting our YummyOlk homepage, your ultimate destination for diverse and tasty meal ideas.

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