This easy Mexican chicken marinade is hands down one of the best chicken marinades you can make. You will be guaranteed a delicious, flavorful, juicy chicken the whole family will love.
Whether you fancy healthy and delicious burrito bowls, flautas, or taco bowls for dinner, this marinade will sort you well. It even makes a delightful fajita, too.
Easy Mexican chicken marinade recipe
This Mexican chicken marinade is easy to make and comes together in just minutes. Combining lime, chili powder, cumin, garlic, and oregano will give your chicken a bold and flavorful taste. Marinating the chicken before cooking helps to lock in moisture and boosts the flavor.
Why you will love this recipe
- It's super quick to make with just 8 main simple ingredients you may already have in your pantry.
- It is delicious and flavorful. A Perfect marinade for summer days and all year round
- It is a delicious way to add flavor and moisture to chicken. This Mexican marinade will give an instant boost of flavor to your poultry or meat generally.
- Great for a meal prep option such as burrito bowl, taco bowl, or last-minute chicken fajita dinner. This marinade will surely hit the spot.
- I used boneless skinless chicken breast for this recipe, but you can use it with any chicken cut. Whole chicken, spatchcocked chicken, chicken, wings, drumsticks, and many more.
- This recipe is freezer-friendly.
- Customizable, fancy a spicy Mexican chicken marinade, then add more chili powder or jalapeno. Prefer a sweeter taste? Add honey or maple syrup to the marinade.
What you will need
You will need the ingredients below to make the best Mexican chicken marinade.
Chicken breast: I used boneless skinless chicken breasts, substitute with boneless chicken thighs or any other chicken cut you choose.
Brown sugar: This is optional but highly recommended as it adds a touch a sweetness to the chicken which balance out the tartness from the lime juice.
Salt and black pepper: Substitute with avocado oil or any other flavorless oil you choose.
You can add garlic powder, onion powder, chipotle pepper (dried or fresh) to the marinade.
How to make Mexican chicken marinade
Make the marinade: Into a bowl, add chili powder, cumin, smoked paprika, oregano, brown sugar, cilantro leaves, lime juice, olive oil, salt and black pepper. Mix all to combine.
Marinate the kitchen: Place the chicken breast or thighs in a shallow dish or a ziploc bag ( plastic bag ) and pour the marinade over the chicken. Mix it to combine. Cover the chicken with clingfilm and let it sit for at least 30 minutes or up to 24 hours in the fridge for the chicken to be well-infused.
Cook: You can bake, grill, air fry, or pan-fry the chicken as desired.
Preheat the oven to 220C/425F.
Place the marinated chicken in an oven-safe dish and bake in the oven for 15-25 minutes, depending on the size and thickness of the chicken.
The internal temperature of cooked chicken should register 165F/74C at the thickest part
Grilling instructions (Assuming you are cooking chicken cutlets)
Preheat the grill to medium-high heat.
Place the chicken on a greased grill and cook for 4-6 minutes per side, or until the internal temperature registers 165F/ 74C and the chicken is thoroughly cooked.
It is best to grill the chicken over direct heat for maximum flavor and if time is of the essence. Make sure the chicken is cooked to perfection.
If you want the chicken slow-cooked, then cook over indirect heat.
Air fryer instructions
Preheat the air fryer to 385F/195C for 3-5 minutes
Spray the air fryer basket lightly with oil.
Arrange the chicken in the air fryer basket in a single layer, then cook for 15-20 minutes, flipping the chicken halfway through the cooking time.
How to serve
How to store
Cooked chicken can be stored in the fridge for up to 4 days in an airtight container. The marinade can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. It can be frozen for up to 6 months.
Watch how to make it
Can I marinate the chicken for up to 2 days
No, 2 days will be too long to marinate this chicken because of the lime juice. While the lime juice helps tenderize the chicken. However, if the chicken is left too long, the lime juice can start cooking and breaking down the chicken fiber, resulting in a tough texture. Therefore, it is better to marinate for up to 24 hours only.
Can I freeze this chicken marinade
Yes! This marinade freezes very well. To freeze: Pour the prepared marinade into an airtight container or zip lock bag along with any chicken cut and freeze for up to 3 months. When ready to use, thaw the marinade overnight in the fridge. You can also cook from frozen if you use chicken cutlets, wings, drumsticks, or chicken thighs.
How do you quickly marinate chicken breasts
The best way to add an instant flavor boost to chicken breast before cooking is to cut it into cutlets or steaks. That way, the marinade can easily penetrate the chicken faster. You can also pound the chicken breast thin with a meat mallet before you season or marinate it.
Alternatively, If time is not of the essence and you want to use a whole chicken breast. Poke holes all over the chicken with a kebab skewer. That way the marinade or seasoning mix can infuse the chicken quickly.
How long should you marinate chicken
The time needed depends on what kind of cut you are using and how much flavor you want infused in your chicken. Generally, you can marinate chicken for up to 24 hours for maximum flavor. That said, marinades made with acidic ingredients such as lime, lemon, or other citrus juice should be marinated for a shorter period.
More marinade recipes you should try next
Easy Mexican Chicken Marinade
- 500 g boneless chicken breast
Mexican marinade ingredients
- ½ Tablespoon Chili powder
- 1 teaspoon Cumin
- ½ Tablespoon Smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1 Tablespoon fresh cilantro finely chopped
- 2 Tablespoons Lime juice
- ½ teaspoon Brown sugar
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- Salt and black pepper
- Make the marinade: Into a bowl, add chili powder, cumin, smoked paprika, oregano, brown sugar, cilantro leaves, lime juice, olive oil, salt and black pepper. Mix all to combine.
- Marinate the kitchen: Place the chicken breast or thighs in a shallow dish or a ziploc bag ( plastic bag ) and pour the marinade over the chicken. Mix it to combine. Cover the chicken with clingfilm and let it sit for at least 30 minutes or up to 24 hours in the fridge for the chicken to be well-infused.
- Cook: You can bake, grill, air fry, or pan-fry the chicken as desired.The internal temperature of cooked chicken should register at least 165F/74C with an instant read thermometer.
Nutritional data: Please note that the nutrition label provided is an estimate based on an online nutrition calculator. It will vary based on the specific ingredients and brands you use. Under no circumstances will thedinnerbite.com be responsible for any loss or damage resulting for your reliance on nutritional information.
And there you have it, a simple and delicious chicken breast marinade you can make at home in 5 minutes. As always, if you made this recipe, I would love to hear from you! Kindly rate the recipe 5 stars and leave me feedback in the comment section below. Tag me @thedinnerbite on Instagram and save it to your Pinterest. Please subscribe to the blog if you haven’t for free new recipes in your inbox.