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Spice Up Dinner with this Mexican Chicken Marinade Recipe

With just a few minutes of prep time, you can create a delicious and effortless meal with this easy Mexican Chicken marinade recipe. This marinade with bold Southwest flavors not only infuses the meat with vibrant spices but also tenderizes it, ensuring every bite is juicy and flavorful.

A plate of cooked, sliced Mexican chicken breasts.
This Mexican Chicken marinade is perfect for barbecue season. Just throw them on the grill and they’ll be done in minutes!

Why You’ll Love this Easy Mexican Chicken Marinade Recipe

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Now that I’m cooking for just the two of us, I’m constantly on the lookout for yummy dinner ideas that I can meal prep quickly. Since the weather is warmer now and it’s fun to go out on our backyard patio, I decided to try out some new chicken marinade recipes.

I recently shared a super yummy greek chicken marinade recipe. We’ve been using a teriyaki chicken marinade recipe for years, too. But, this time, I wanted to try something different.

This Mexican chicken marinade was a hit! It is so full of flavor and can be used in a variety of ways for dinner time – think chicken tacos, burrito bowls, or just as is with a side of rice and salad.

You can save money on groceries by purchasing fresh chicken breasts on sale and putting marinade on them before you put them in the freezer. In fact, I’ve seen chicken breasts sold at the store with marinade already on them – for an outlandish price! With just a few minutes of prep, you can make your own and save some money.

Mexican chicken marinade ingredients stirred together in a bowl.
It only takes a few minutes to whisk together this easy Mexican chicken marinade.

Ingredients for Mexican Chicken Marinade

Please note there is a printable recipe card at the bottom of this post for your convenience.

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregeno
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • black pepper to taste
  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts

Step by Step Instructions for this Mexican Chicken Marinade Recipe

  1. If the chicken breasts you’ve purchased are quite thick, cut them in half length-wise to make a thinner cut. This will help them to cook quicker as well as make the chicken go a little farther!
Slicing a chicken breast in half to make it thinner.
  1. In a small bowl or measuring cup, whisk together all the marinade ingredients until well combined.
Mexican chicken marinade in a bowl.
  1. Place the chicken breasts in a large one gallon zip-loc bag** (see note below) and pour the marinade ingredients over the top. Gently “squish” the chicken and marinade around with your fingers so that the marinade covers all the chicken pieces well. Seal up the zip-loc bag after pushing out the air.
  1. Place the chicken and marinade in the fridge for at least 30 minutes or up to 24 hours. The longer it is left to marinate, the better! Or, you can place the marinaded chicken in the freezer to have ready for a busy day in the future. When you are ready to use frozen marinaded chicken, remove from the freezer and let thaw in the fridge all night and the next day before cooking. As it thaws, it will be marinading the flavor into the chicken.

How to Cook Chicken that Has Been in this Mexican Marinade Recipe

  • On the Barbecue: Heat the grill to high heat and lightly oil the grill. Remove the chicken from the marinade and discard marinade. Grill the chicken pieces on each side 3-5 minutes, or until the juices run clear and the internal temperature is 165 degrees farenheit. To measure the internal temperature of chicken, use a food thermometer and stick it into the thickest part of the chicken breast. Cooking times will differ based on the thickness of the chicken.
  • On the stovetop: Add about 1-2 tablespoons oil to a large skillet and heat to medium high heat. When the oil is hot, place the chicken breasts in the pan, making sure they are not overlapping in the pan. Cook the chicken breasts (without moving them in the pan) for about 5 minutes and then flip them over. If the pan seems a bit dry, add a pat of butter or some more oil and cook on the other side for 5-7 minutes, or until the juices run clear and the internal temperature is 165 degrees. Another way to check to see if it is cooked through is to slice it in the middle. You should see no pink at all when it is cooked through. Cooking times will always vary depending on the thickness of the chicken breast and the type of pan you are using.
  • In the oven: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. I prefer to bake chicken in my stoneware baking pan without any parchment paper. However, if you don’t have a stoneware pan, you can line a shallow baking dish with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Remove the chicken from the marinade (discard remaining marinade) and place on the baking pan. Bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes (baking times will vary based on the thickness of the chicken). The juices should be running clear and the internal temperature should 165 degrees farenheit. If you want to have crispier chicken, you can place it under the broiler for a few minutes to crisp it up.

A general rule for chicken of any kind it to let it “rest” under a tent of aluminum foil after it is cooked through for about 5 minutes before serving.

Mexican Chicken can be used for chicken tacos, burrito bowls, or served with side-dishes like rice and refried beans.

What do you serve with Mexican Chicken?

Here are some yummy side dishes that pare well with this flavorful greek chicken marinade recipe:

  • Make burrito bowls with rice on the bottom (here’s how to bake rice in the oven), top with Mexican chicken and toppings like salsa, cheese, and avocado.
  • Turn it into a yummy chicken taco salad by serving it over greens, add your favorite toppings and dressing, and top with baked tortilla strips.
  • Use this flavor-filled cooked chicken in your favorite casseroles and soups.
  • Put Mexican chicken breasts in a bun for a super yummy chicken sandwich.

**What container do I use to marinate meat in?

One of the most convenient ways to marinate meat is in a large zipper topped bag (like a Zip-loc one). You can even purchase re-usable zip-loc bags that can be washed. However, if you don’t happen to have one, no problem! Here are some other options:

  • A bowl– Just place the chicken covered in marinade in a bowl and cover it with plastic wrap before placing it in the fridge. A glass or ceramic bowl works best. It might help to move the chicken around a few times during the marinating process to make sure it all gets covered and soaked well.
  • A marinating container– I got a specific marinating container from Tupperware when I was married (34 years ago!), and it works great. Mine is a “mini” one and is just like this. It has a tight seal and I can flip the container over during the marinating process to make sure all the meat is covered well.
  • Avoid aluminum containers-Since marinade is acidic, the aluminum can react with the marinade causing it to affect the flavor and color.

Other Chicken Marinade Recipes

Pin this recipe to remember for later!

A collage of pictures of mexican chicken marinade and cooked mexican chicken breasts.
Mexican Chicken breasts that have been marinaded in Mexican Chicken marinade. They've been grilled and sliced and placed on a plate.

Mexican Chicken Marinade Recipe

Yield: 4
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Additional Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes

With just a few minutes of prep time, you can create a delicious and effortless meal with this easy Mexican Chicken marinade recipe. This marinade with bold Southwest flavors not only infuses the meat with vibrant spices but also tenderizes it, ensuring every bite is juicy and flavorful.

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregeno
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • black pepper to taste
  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts

Instructions

  1. If the chicken breasts you’ve purchased are quite thick, cut them in half length-wise to make a thinner cut. This will help them to cook quicker as well as make the chicken go a little farther.
  2. In a small bowl or measuring cup, whisk together all the marinade ingredients until well combined.
  3. Place the chicken breasts in a large one gallon zip-loc bag** (see note below) and pour the marinade ingredients over the top. Gently “squish” the chicken and marinade around with your fingers so that the marinade covers all the chicken pieces well. Seal up the zip-loc bag after pushing out the air.
  4. Place the chicken and marinade in the fridge for at least 30 minutes or up to 24 hours. The longer it is left to marinate, the better! Or, you can place the marinaded chicken in the freezer to have ready for a busy day in the future. When you are ready to use frozen marinaded chicken, remove from the freezer and let thaw in the fridge all night and the next day before cooking. As it thaws, it will be marinading the flavor into the chicken.

How to Cook Chicken that Has Been in this Mexican Marinade Recipe

  • On the Barbecue: Heat the grill to high heat and lightly oil the grill. Remove the chicken from the marinade and discard marinade. Grill the chicken pieces on each side 3-5 minutes, or until the juices run clear and the internal temperature is 165 degrees farenheit. To measure the internal temperature of chicken, use a food thermometer and stick it into the thickest part of the chicken breast. Cooking times will differ based on the thickness of the chicken.
  • On the stovetop: Add about 1-2 tablespoons oil to a large skillet and heat to medium high heat. When the oil is hot, place the chicken breasts in the pan, making sure they are not overlapping in the pan. Cook the chicken breasts (without moving them in the pan) for about 5 minutes and then flip them over. If the pan seems a bit dry, add a pat of butter or some more oil and cook on the other side for 5-7 minutes, or until the juices run clear and the internal temperature is 165 degrees. Another way to check to see if it is cooked through is to slice it in the middle. You should see no pink at all when it is cooked through. Cooking times will always vary depending on the thickness of the chicken breast and the type of pan you are using.
  • In the oven: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. I prefer to bake chicken in my stoneware baking pan without any parchment paper. However, if you don’t have a stoneware pan, you can line a shallow baking dish with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Remove the chicken from the marinade (discard remaining marinade) and place on the baking pan. Bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes (baking times will vary based on the thickness of the chicken). The juices should be running clear and the internal temperature should 165 degrees farenheit. If you want to have crispier chicken, you can place it under the broiler for a few minutes to crisp it up.

Notes

**What container do I use to marinate meat in?

One of the most convenient ways to marinate meat is in a large zipper topped bag (like a Zip-loc one). You can even purchase re-usable zip-loc bags that can be washed. However, if you don’t happen to have one, no problem! Here are some other options:

  • A bowl– Just place the chicken covered in marinade in a bowl and cover it with plastic wrap before placing it in the fridge. A glass or ceramic bowl works best. It might help to move the chicken around a few times during the marinating process to make sure it all gets covered and soaked well.
  • A marinating container– I got a specific marinating container from Tupperware when I was married (34 years ago!), and it works great. Mine is a “mini” one and is just like this. It has a tight seal and I can flip the container over during the marinating process to make sure all the meat is covered well.
  • Avoid aluminum containers-Since marinade is acidic, the aluminum can react with the marinade causing it to affect the flavor and color.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 293Total Fat: 15gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 96mgSodium: 656mgCarbohydrates: 4gFiber: 1gSugar: 0gProtein: 36g

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