The Best Food from El Pollo Loco’s Menu

Try the most popular El Pollo Loco food with these Mexican favorites

El Pollo Loco is a restaurant chain serving mainly Mexican-style grilled chicken and other specialty items. The El Pollo Loco menu has a variety of exciting options to offer.

Mexican Fast Casual Restaurant Known as El Pollo Loco

As of January 2019, more than 500 locations were operating in the Southwestern United States.

The restaurant began in Mexico in the 1970s and expanded in the 1980s by opening locations in Los Angeles, California, and Santa Ana, California.

The popularity of the fast-casual restaurant spread across the county, and its 400th location was opened in Chelsea, Massachusetts. 

Our Favorite El Pollo Loco Menu Items

El Pollo Loco has a variety of tasty menu items. The family-friendly eatery is known for its fire-grilled chicken and classic Mexican entrees.

Check out my list of the best El Pollo Loco menu items below!

Original Pollo Bowl

The Original Pollo Bowl at El Pollo Loco is the most often ordered menu item.

The bowl includes rice, pinto beans, diced onion, cilantro, pico de gallo, and chopped chicken breast. It is straightforward and fresh, making it a perfect option for lunch or dinner on the go. 

The Original Pollo Bowl contains 550 calories and about 38 grams of protein, making it an excellent choice for a sustainable diet.

When I order the Original Pollo Bowl, I like adding a small side of corn to my bowl for a touch of sweet and fire-roasted flavor. If you like it spicier, try adding the jalapeno hot sauce to your bowl! 

Double Chicken Avocado Salad

One of my favorite menu items is the Double Chicken Avocado Salad at El Pollo Loco.

The salad is keto-friendly, so those with particular dietary needs can still enjoy a meal at the eatery.

The Double Chicken Avocado Salad contains lettuce, organic super greens, corn, cotija cheese, pico de gallo, grilled chicken breast, and avocado. 

The salad can be customized by adding a Mexican vinaigrette or a creamy cilantro dressing. The salad is about 350 calories and offers 51 grams of protein.

I enjoy the Double Chicken Avocado Salad because it is a lighter option that keeps me full for hours. It is ideal for a workday lunch.

Baja Shrimp Tostada

A tostada is a crispy flat tortilla with various toppings.

The Baja Shrimp Tostada at El Pollo Loco is one of the tastiest tostadas I have ever eaten.

The tostada holds rice, pico de gallo, Monterey Jack cheese, pinto beans, sour cream, shredded lettuce, and Baja Shrimp. The fried tostada shell contains all of the delicious toppings. 

The Baja Shrimp Tostada originated as part of a menu expansion. The restaurant added four new shrimp dishes, including the Garlic Butter Shrimp Bowl, Shrimp Tostada, Shrimp Avocado Baja Tacos, and Shrimp Wrap.

The addition was successful, and the shrimp tostada is one of the most popular resulting dishes. 

Chipotle Chicken Avocado Burrito

The Chipotle Chicken Avocado Burrito at El Pollo Loco is a delicious option for lunch or dinner.

The fillings are wrapped in a twelve-inch flour tortilla and include grilled chicken, avocado, sour cream, Monterey jack cheese, pinto beans, cabbage, rice, and salad rojo.

Guests can customize the burrito by adding Baja shrimp. 

As prepared, the burrito has more than 60 grams of protein! When I order a burrito from El Pollo Loco, I enjoy adding a side of chips and guacamole and a bit of the jalapeno hot sauce.

The burrito is the perfect dish for a person with a hearty appetite! 

Cinnamon Churros

The Cinnamon Churros at El Pollo Loco satisfy my sweet tooth!

A churro is a bit of fried dough tossed in a mixture of cinnamon and sugar. The churros taste like a cinnamon donut, but with the extra benefit of crispier edges for an added textural component.

The portion side at El Pollo Loco is perfect because you can enjoy your meal, then add a churro for dessert without feeling like you have had too much sugar! 

I enjoy the churros because they are sweet, crispy, and a fun end to any meal. You can even enjoy churros with a cup of coffee for an afternoon pick-me-up! 

Macaroni and Cheese

While macaroni and cheese might not be a typical side dish you see at a Mexican-style restaurant, the Macaroni and Cheese at El Pollo Loco is a perfect pairing with the fire-grilled chicken that the restaurant is known for serving.

The creamy and cheesy pasta is a fan favorite that keeps people coming back for more. 

I was pleasantly surprised to discover that El Pollo Loco serves macaroni and cheese. It is perfect for kids and a tasty addition to any meal for adults.

I ordered the macaroni and cheese as a side dish with the Original Pollo Bowl. The next time you visit, definitely add a small side of the pasta and give it a try! 

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Chicken Tortilla Soup is a classic comfort meal, and El Pollo Loco has perfected the homey and satisfying taste.

El Pollo Loco’s  Chicken Tortilla Soup is sold in two sizes: small, which serves one, and large, for three to four people.

The soup includes the famous grilled chicken in a chicken broth with carrots, celery, and roasted corn. The Chicken Tortilla Soup is topped with tortilla strips, fresh cilantro, and Cotija cheese.

When I ordered the Chicken Tortilla Soup, I added sliced avocado on top for an extra flavor of freshness.

The soup is the perfect menu selection for a cold day when you are looking for a warm and hearty meal. 

Classic Tostada Salad

The tostadas at El Pollo Loco are built to be filled with various toppings, and the Classic Tostada Salad is no different.

The salad includes grilled chicken shredded lettuce, pinto beans, pico de gallo, Monterey Jack cheese, rice, and sour cream.

Notably, the Classic Tostada Salad is one of the most easily customizable menu options at the eatery. 

You can exchange the grilled chicken for Baja Shrimp, but I recommend adding the creamy cilantro dressing to your salad no matter your protein selection.

The bowl as prepared has about 800 calories and 40 grams of protein. 

Ranchero Burrito

The Ranchero Burrito at El Pollo Loco is a twelve-inch flour tortilla stuffed with chicken and other delicious fillings like sour cream, rice, and a special sauce.

The Ranchero Burrito is one of the spicier options on the menu, so it is perfect if you enjoy a bit of heat. 

I recommend pairing the burrito with a side of chips and guacamole because the avocado pairs nicely with the subtle heat of the ranchero burrito.

A burrito is one of the more portable menu options, so it is a perfect choice if you visit El Pollo Loco via the drive-through on a road trip! 

Mashed Potatoes & Gravy

I enjoyed the Mashed Potatoes & Gravy at El Pollo Loco.

The creamy mashed potatoes are served with brown gravy and are an excellent complement to the fire-grilled and marinated chicken. The mashed potatoes and gravy are available in two sizes, small and large. 

The Mashed Potatoes & Gravy at El Pollo Loco are great for family events or younger kids visiting the restaurant. I recommend ordering the mashed potatoes as a side dish if you are taking advantage of the catering options via the restaurant.

The most popular family meal is a three-course, twenty-four pieces of chicken meal, which comes with various sides, like mashed potatoes. 

Chips & Queso

The Chips & Queso at El Pollo Loco is a must-have pairing with any entree.

The creamy queso blanco at El Pollo Loco is a delight to your taste buds. It is the perfect appetizer, snack, or side dish that everyone in the family can enjoy. 

If you are visiting in search of chips and queso, I also recommend trying the chicken nachos, which are covered in the queso and other toppings like smashed pinto beans, sour cream, and pico de gallo!

I believe that there is truly never a bad time for chips and queso! 

BRC Burrito

The BRC Burrito is a perfect option for people visiting the restaurant for the first time and it is an excellent choice for vegetarians.

The BRC burrito is straightforward, and that simplicity equals deliciousness. The letters “BRC” stand for beans, rice, and cheese, all three of which are wrapped tightly in a ten-inch flour tortilla. 

The BRC Burrito lends itself to being dipped in sauces. I enjoy the burrito with both the jalapeno hot sauce and the creamy cilantro dressing, but don’t forget that a side of queso or guacamole could also be an excellent addition to the BRC burrito at El Pollo Loco!

The burrito is about 400 calories and offers 13 grams of protein. 

Our Favorite El Pollo Loco Menu Items

  1. Original Pollo Bowl
  2. Double Chicken Avocado Salad
  3. Baja Shrimp Tostada
  4. Chipotle Chicken Avocado Burrito
  5. Cinnamon Churros
  6. Macaroni and Cheese 
  7. Chicken Tortilla Soup
  8. Classic Tostada Salad 
  9. Ranchero Burrito
  10. Mashed Potatoes & Gravy
  11. Chips & Queso
  12. BRC Burrito

Final Thoughts

El Pollo Loco is a fast-casual chain restaurant located primarily in the Southwestern United States. From the filled tostadas to the hearty burritos to the various keto-friendly bowls and salads, the menu is diverse and offers something tasty for everyone. On your next visit, try something new like the macaroni and cheese or the cinnamon churros. 

Which of the best El Pollo Loco menu items listed above is your favorite? Let us know by leaving a comment below. If you want more information about great chicken dishes, check out A Ranking of the Top Fast Food Chicken Tenders

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Written by Rocco Smith

Rocco is a recent graduate of Florida State University with a Bachelor’s in Editing, Writing, and Media. With seven years’ experience in the restaurant industry as a cook, server, bartender, and more, he is deeply passionate about intertwining his fondness for food with his love of language.