AfricanChicken & PoultryHealthyMain Dish

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 Recipe (Senegalese Chicken Recipe)

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.
4.4 from 90 votes
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Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: African
Prep Time: 8 hrs
Cook Time: 1 hr
Total Time: 9 hrs
Servings: 6
Calories: 351kcal
Author: The Wanderlust Kitchen, adapted from The Africa Cookbook
Print Recipe


  • 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


  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
Nutrition Facts
Poulet Yassa Recipe (Senegalese Chicken Recipe)
Serving Size
1 serving
Amount per Serving
% Daily Value*
Saturated Fat
Polyunsaturated Fat
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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About the Author


Hi, I'm Anetta! Welcome to The Wanderlust Kitchen, where I share recipes and travel stories from all around the world. Here you'll find a world of recipes you can have confidence in. These recipes celebrate authentic food heritage as well as modern techniques and ingredients. I believe that food brings us together as much as it sets us apart. Be brave, try something new!

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  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. This is A. MAZ. ING. I used Jalapeno olive oil so it was a bit hotter which I really liked. Thank you for this recipe !

  3. 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.


    1. 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.

  4. is cider vinegar the same as apple cider vinegar? Also, does this dish taste primarily like mustard? I really dont like mustard but your recipe looks amazing!

    1. Yep, cider vinegar/apple cider vinegar… same thing as far as I’m concerned! If you’re sensitive about mustard, go with the stone-ground instead of dijon 🙂

  5. I grew up in Senegal and this is my go-to recipe for Yassa. I’ve looked at a lot of recipes on the internet and this comes the closest and easiest to the authentic dish! Every family has their own spin on classics, and in our family we always include olives and carrots in our yassa. Also, I add a few more onions and extra dijon. 🙂 I’ve got some marinating right now….dinner tomorrow night will be a treat!

  6. This is a favorite around our house using chicken thighs instead of breasts. I’ve been wondering lately if this could be cooked in a crock pot/slow cooker. Any thoughts on that?

  7. Hi! This looks great; I’m planning on making it this week. Could you give me an estimate of the amount of chicken needed in pounds? Thank you!

  8. Hello! This looks great and I plan on making it this week. Can you give me a rough estimate of the weight needed for the chicken (i.e. 2 lbs)? Since chicken breast size can vary a lot I want to make sure I have the right ratio of marinade. Thank you!!

  9. thanks for the recipe, I was a bit skeptical at first, but I made it and my friends loved it.In fact, I just made it today again and I added some cabbage to it, crunchy addition.Thanks

  10. At any point do you at water or chicken stock cause there is not enough liquid to simmer it for 35 minutes :|, either the chicken will absord it the marinade or the onions…..

    1. Hi, Yaro! When you marinate the chicken in the onion mixture, the onions sweat out their liquid and provide enough to cook the chicken.

  11. I have been trawling through the net to find a recipe that looks like the Yassa I had in Gambia – this looks spot on. Can’t wait to try it out!

  12. I spent every summer of my childhood in Senegal, and yassa was one of my favorite dishes. It’s a lot harder to find now that I’m living in Iowa (imagine that), but I made your recipe, tasted it, and started crying. Thank you.

  13. This was actually quite remarkable. How to put it… zesty spicy fresh at the core but a little savory rounding it out. I cut the oil with a little bit of unrefined sesame oil (1 tbsp. it’s what I had) for a nuttier kick since refined peanut or vegetable oils are rather neutral. I also used 2/3rds the total oil, deglazed after searing w/ white wine before adding the scooped onion and wilted some spinach in the last couple minutes while simmering. Also after serving on a bed of rice, a little salt went a long way.

    Thanks! That was fun.

  14. I lived in Senegal for a few months and I LOVED the yassa
    my host mom made. I’ve been looking for a way to make it again so I
    will definitely try this out!