Juicy and flavorful chicken is one of my favorite family meals to serve. It doesn’t matter what type of cooking style you want to use, this Mexican Chicken Marinade is full of Tex-Mex zest and keeps your chicken moist. The end result is outrageously delicious and there are tons of meal ideas for this chicken!
Easy marinade recipes are a staple in our home. It’s cheaper to make your own homemade marinade than to buy store-bought and they’re so easy to throw together. Literally, you’re just dumping the ingredients into a freezer bag, adding the chicken, and letting it marinate!
Transform chicken breasts (or any other cut of chicken) from plain to fiesta-style flavor. On the first night we enjoy the chicken as it comes, with side dishes. The next night, we mix it up by slicing the chicken for quesadillas, tacos or fajitas. The possibilities are endless with this Mexican Chicken Marinade!
Grilling tonight? Check out some of these other great grilling ideas that you’re going to love:
How To Make Mexican Chicken Marinade
I keep chicken on hand in my kitchen because it’s so versatile. It’s so easy to defrost overnight, throw the chicken into a marinade and then dinner is just minutes away. If you live in an area where it’s hot, grilling dinner is an essential skill.
I’ll share several ways you can use this Mexican Chicken Marinade. I prefer my chicken from the grill (love those grill marks), but it’s also great for baking in the oven.
I used bone-in chicken breasts, but feel free to use your favorite cuts. Boneless skinless, tenderloins and drumsticks are great with this marinade! It really works with any type of chicken. I’ve also had reader say they’ve thrown this marinade on pork and beef too, because they love the flavor so much.
What To Serve With Grilled Mexican Chicken
I love throwing some vegetables on the grill to cook alongside the chicken. Another great side dish option is Authentic Mexican Rice and Homemade Tortillas. I’ve also served it with corn casserole and my kids go nuts for it. It’s such a versatile dish. I like sticking to the Mexican theme.
Craving a cocktail to accompany your meal? Whip up my Frozen Margarita With Agave Syrup while the chicken is cooking!
How To Make Your Mexican Marinade For Chicken Ahead of Time
The beauty of making a marinade is making it ahead of time. The chicken needs to marinade for ideally 4-5 hours before cooking – for best flavor. However, you can prep the marinade long before that. The chicken can marinate for up to 24 hours before cooking.
I like to make my marinade at night, throw the chicken into the freezer bag with the marinade, and keep it in the refrigerator. You’ll get a super juicy and flavorful chicken as it sits longer in the marinade.
Mexican Chicken Marinade Ingredients
What I love about making homemade marinades is that you know exactly what goes into it. There’s no artificial flavor enhancers or MSG. This marinade is simple ingredients that will give you a juicy and moist chicken every time. Here’s what you’ll need:
- Olive Oil: This is the base of the marinade and helps to keep the chicken juicy.
- Red Wine Vinegar: This is a key ingredient and the acidity really helps with the tenderness of the chicken.
- Minced Garlic: I love to mince my own fresh garlic.
- Crushed Dried Oregano: An herb to boost flavor
- Chili Powder: This is where you get that amazing Mexican flavor. Use A Chipotle Chili Powder if you want more of a smoky flavor.
- Ground Cumin: Cumin accompanies chili powder in many recipes and helps to bring out the flavor.
- Salt: I add salt, but it’s optional if you want to avoid added sodium. It helps the other flavors pack a punch.
How To Store Leftover Marinaded Chicken & Reheat
After the chicken has cooked and cooled, add the leftovers to an airtight food storage container. Keep the chicken refrigerated. For best freshness, enjoy the chicken within 4-5 days of cooking. After that, either freeze the leftovers or discard.
The chicken can be frozen, after cooking, for up to 3 months. Keep the chicken in the back of the freezer, where the temperature is more stable. Let it thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Reheat leftovers in 1 minute increments in the microwave.
Different Ways To Cook With Mexican Chicken Marinade
My preferred method is to grill the chicken. I love that my kitchen doesn’t heat up and the grill marks look beautiful with the marinade. However, you can bake the chicken too. Here’s the instructions for either way:
- Grilling With Mexican Chicken Marinade: On medium high heat (350ºF), grill the chicken 9-10 minutes flipping during the half way point. Grill until the internal temperature of your chicken reaches 165ºF. Feel free to pour extra marinade over the time (from the freezer bag) while cooking.
- Baking With Mexican Chicken Marinade: Cover a baking pan with aluminum foil. Add a baking rack on the top of the aluminum-covered pan. Spray with non-stick cooking spray. Arrange your chicken pieces on top. Bake at 350ºF for 20-25 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 165ºF.
Step-By-Step Directions To Make Mexican Chicken Marinade
Combine the marinade ingredients in a freezer bag.
Add meat or poultry. Seal the bag and turn to coat.
Set the bag in a shallow dish. Marinate for 4-6 hours, turning the bag occasionally.
Drain and discard marinade. Cook as desired.
- 1/4 Cup Red Wine Vinegar
- 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- 1 Tablespoon Minced Garlic
- 1 1/2 Teaspoon Crushed Dried Oregano
- 1 Teaspoon Chili Powder
- 1/2 Teaspoon Ground Cumin
- 1/4 Teaspoon Salt
- Use any cut of chicken (2-3 lbs): drumsticks, breasts, boneless or bone-in
1. Combine the marinade ingredients in a freezer bag. Add meat or poultry. Seal the bag and turn to coat.
2. Set the bag in a shallow dish. Marinate for 4-6 hours, turning the bag occasionally. Drain and discard marinade. Cook as desired.
3. For Grilling: On medium high heat (350ºF), grill the chicken 9-10 minutes flipping during the half way point. Grill until the internal temperature of your chicken reaches 165ºF. Feel free to pour extra marinade over the time (from the freezer bag) while cooking.
4. For Baking: Cover a baking pan with aluminum foil. Add a baking rack on the top of the aluminum-covered pan. Spray with non-stick cooking spray. Arrange your chicken pieces on top. Bake at 350ºF for 20-25 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 165ºF.
- Use gallon size freezer bags to marinate the chicken.
- Refrigerate any leftovers. For best freshness, enjoy the chicken within 4-5 days of cooking.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 56Total Fat: 5gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 14mgSodium: 88mgCarbohydrates: 1gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 3g
**Nutrition is calculated by a third party. Actual values may vary.