Mexican Chicken Marinade

I love tacos, enchiladas, burritos and fajitas! This Mexican Chicken Marinade is perfect for all of your favorite Mexican dishes. For years I would use a seasoning packet to season my chicken for anything Mexican, and the flavor was pretty good. Little did I know that I could make my own seasoning/marinade and it’s a million times better, super easy, and made with ingredients I had on hand!

I use this Mexican Chicken Marinade for chicken fajitas and chicken tacos all the time! But it can easily be rolled into an enchilada, burrito, tossed on a salad or eaten with a side of rice and beans. If you are needing chicken with the perfect Mexican flavors, this recipe will be your new go-to! I think the blend of Mexican flavors from the cumin, chili powder and garlic is matched perfectly with the punch of lemon and lime. It grills up perfectly or can be cooked stovetop in a skillet…either way you can’t go wrong!

For the Marinade I use canola oil, fresh lemon juice, fresh lime juice, and a bunch of seasonings: season salt, garlic salt, garlic powder (and yes, both), onion powder, chili powder, paprika, ground oregano, cumin, black pepper, crushed red peppers (the dried kind on the spice aisle), and white sugar. I use both garlic powder and garlic salt. They are very interchangeable and very close to the same thing. I love the salty garlic flavor the garlic salt adds and the garlic powder rounds out the marinade with a strong garlic flavor that is subtle, but needed. I think together they are the perfect balance.

Mix it all together. Don’t panic when it thickens up…..this is what you want so it will stick to the chicken! It makes a little over 1/2 cup, which is perfect for 1 1/2 lbs of chicken.

For easy marinating, I throw the chicken in a zip-top bag. I pour the marinade right in with it then squish it all around, making sure the chicken is fully covered with the marinade! I let the chicken marinade 2 hours, in the fridge, and it is perfect!

The chicken will cook up fast in a skillet or on the grill. If cut into strips, it will be easy to tell when the strips are done, just make sure they are no longer pink. For cooking/grilling full chicken breasts, cook until the inside temperature reaches 165 degrees. To get an accurate meat temperature read, digital read thermometers are my favorite. I love that it’s a quick poke in the thickest part of the breast and you will immediately know if it is done.

Use the chicken however you choose. Fajitas, enchiladas, tacos, burritos, salads, nachos or just chicken with a side of Mexican Rice and Refried Beans! This Mexican Chicken Marinade will be your new favorite seasoning!

Note: If I am making fajitas I usually throw in my peppers and onion right when all of the chicken is about done…I like mine with a crisp crunch, not to soft and mushy. I have a pic below of chicken fajitas and it’s always a hit!

The cooked chicken can be stored in the fridge for a few days. I think the flavor is actually better the next day (at least I think so!).

Hope you enjoy!

Try my Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas (this marinade is used and makes them delicious!).

Mexican Chicken Marinade

This marinade has perfectly blended Mexican flavors.  Use it for chicken fajitas, tacos, burritos, quesadillas, enchiladas and much more! 
Makes about 1/2 cup of marinade (see notes). I use about 1 1/2 lbs. of chicken with this marinade.
Prep Time 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 lbs. chicken, cut into strips or pieces (trimmed whole chicken breasts work too)
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 2 1/2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tsp fresh lime juice
  • 1 tsp season salt
  • 1/2 tsp garlic salt
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp ground oregano
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp dried red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp white sugar

Instructions

  • Mix the canola oil with the fresh lemon and lime juice.
  • Measure all the dry ingredients, adding them to the oil and juice.  Mix together, making sure it is mixed well.  It will thicken, which is what you want!
  • Put meat in a zip top bag or dish and cover fully with marinade. Refrigerate and let marinate for 2 hours.
  • Remove from the fridge and take meat out of the marinade.  Discard the extra marinade. Cook chicken on stovetop or on the grill.  Make sure meat is cooked until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. 
  • Cooked chicken can be stored in an airtight container for 3 days in the fridge. 

Notes

This marinade makes about 1/4 cup marinade and is perfect for 1 1/2 lbs of chicken strips or for 1 full chicken breast/2 halves. 
This marinade can also be used at the end of cooking to baste chicken on the grill.  DO NOT use marinade for basting that has already been used to marinate meat.

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