Poulet Yassa (Senegalese Chicken)

When I first heard about this chicken yassa recipe, I was really skeptical about the amount of onion called for in the marinade and sauce. I mean, seriously… four onions? Good grief!

I’m glad I took a leap of faith and tried it out, because this chicken is delicious and the onions totally make the dish.

Yassa Poulet Recipe, also called Senegalese Chicken Recipe

You’ll want to plan a head when you make this, because the yassa chicken needs to marinate in the onion-lemon-vinegar mixture at least 8 hours, or overnight. The lemon juice and vinegar totally take the bite out of the onions, then it all cooks down into a completely delectable sauce that is to-die-for.

Yassa Senegal Recipe, also called Senegalese Chicken Recipe

As if by magic, some of the onions just melt right into the yassa sauce, while other pieces remain intact to give the dish a bit of texture. It’s so, so good.

Poulet Yassa Recette, also called Senegalese Chicken Recipe

I served mine with fluffy Basmati rice, but a side of sauteed leafy greens (spinach, kale, etc.) would be lovely.

I wanted to make sweet potatoes to go with this poulet yassa recipe, but it turns out that the husband hates sweet potatoes. He also let me know that he’s told me that several times, yet I keep making them…. so evidently I just haven’t been listening to him. Whoops.

Poulet Yassa Senegal Recipe, also called Senegalese Chicken Recipe

The best way to cut your chicken breasts into two thin pieces is to place your hand on the top of the breast, then use your other hand to cut through the breast while keeping the blade parallel to your work surface. Alternatively, you could pound out the chicken breast into one large flat piece, then cut that in half down the middle.

Either way, the point is to get the chicken breasts to be in two thin pieces, rather than one large piece. It will cook faster and more evenly this way.

Poulet Yassa (Senegalese Chicken)

Here’s the Poulet Yassa Recipe!

Poulet Yassa (Senegalese Chicken)

Poulet Yassa (Senegalese Chicken)

A popular, Senegalese dish, this tender chicken is marinated in an onion-lemon-vinegar mixture that then cooks down into a completely delectable sauce that is amazing.

Yield: 6
Prep Time: 8 hours
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 9 hours


  • 1/2 cup peanut oil (or vegetable oil)
  • 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut in half horizontally to make two thin fillets
  • 4 large yellow onions, roughly chopped
  • 8 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 8 Tbsp. cider vinegar
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp. Dijon or stone-ground mustard
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 Tbsp. peanut or vegetable oil


  1. Combine all of the ingredients except for the last 2 Tbsp. of oil in a large zip-close bag and allow chicken to marinate in the refrigerator 8 hours, or overnight. When ready to cook, remove the chicken from the bag, but save the marinade.
  2. Heat a large saute pan over medium-high heat and add 2 Tbsp. peanut or vegetable oil once hot. Sauté chicken for two minutes on each side. Remove, and set aside on a plate.
  3. Use a slotted spoon to scoop the onions out of the marinade bag, add to the hot pan and cook for 5 minutes. Add the remaining marinade and bring to a boil. Cook at a boil for ten minutes.
  4. Continue to cook the marinade until it becomes a sauce (about 20 minutes). Reduce heat to medium, then return the chicken and drippings to the sauce, cover and simmer until chicken is cooked through (about another 10-15 minutes). Serve with rice.




Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 351|Total Fat: 24g|Saturated Fat: 4g|Trans Fat: 0g|Unsaturated Fat: 19g|Cholesterol: 51mg|Sodium: 588mg|Carbohydrates: 12g|Fiber: 2g|Sugar: 5g|Protein: 21g|

Nutrition information has been auto-calculated for your convenience.

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December 13, 2013 | Last Updated on December 10, 2020 by Linda

29 thoughts on “Poulet Yassa (Senegalese Chicken)”

  1. I am looking forward to trying this recipe this weekend. Would it be a sin if I cut up chicken thighs in chunks instead? Also, I am thinking of adding chick peas as a starch as I try and stay away from rice as much as possible. Thanks again and looking forward to this.

  2. Anetta,

    I tried this recipe tonight. It came out way too tart. I think the 8 tbsp of cider vinegar might be a tad too much.


    • Hi Arnab – I haven’t had that problem with this recipe, perhaps your vinegar is stronger than mine. What brand are you using? I’m using Braggs.


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