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Mexican Chicken Marinade Recipe

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Mexican Chicken Marinade Recipe

A good marinade can transform a simple chicken dish into a flavorful masterpiece. If you’re looking to add a zesty, tangy, and slightly spicy kick to your chicken, then a Mexican chicken marinade is the way to go. This marinade is perfect for grilling, baking, or even pan-frying, and it brings authentic Mexican flavors right to your kitchen.

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What is a Mexican Chicken Marinade?

A Mexican chicken marinade is a blend of citrus juices, spices, herbs, and other flavorful ingredients used to infuse chicken with delicious, vibrant flavors. This marinade typically includes a combination of lime and orange juices, olive oil, garlic, cumin, and chili powder, among other ingredients, to create a balanced and aromatic profile that complements the natural taste of chicken.

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Key Ingredients

Citrus Juices

  • Lime Juice: Adds a bright, tangy flavor and helps tenderize the chicken.
  • Orange Juice: Provides sweetness and balances the acidity of the lime juice.

Olive Oil

  • Olive Oil: Helps the marinade adhere to the chicken and adds a rich, smooth flavor.

Spices and Herbs

  • Chili Powder: Adds heat and a deep, earthy flavor.
  • Cumin: Brings a warm, nutty, and slightly smoky taste.
  • Paprika: Adds color and a mild, sweet pepper flavor.
  • Oregano: Offers a slightly bitter, aromatic taste typical in Mexican cuisine.
  • Salt and Pepper: Essential for seasoning and enhancing all other flavors.

Aromatics

  • Garlic: Adds a pungent, savory depth.
  • Onion: Provides sweetness and a slight crunch.

Optional Add-Ins

  • Cilantro: Fresh, bright, and citrusy herb flavor.
  • Jalapeños: For added heat.
  • Honey: Adds sweetness and helps caramelize the chicken during cooking.

Essential Kitchen Tools

  1. Mixing Bowl: For combining the marinade ingredients.
  2. Whisk: To blend the ingredients smoothly.
  3. Ziplock Bag or Shallow Dish: For marinating the chicken.
  4. Tongs: For handling the chicken.
  5. Measuring Cups and Spoons: For accuracy in the recipe.

Step-by-Step Preparation

Preparing the Marinade

  1. Combine the Ingredients: In a mixing bowl, whisk together 1/4 cup of lime juice, 1/4 cup of orange juice, 1/4 cup of olive oil, 2 teaspoons of chili powder, 1 teaspoon of cumin, 1 teaspoon of paprika, 1 teaspoon of dried oregano, 3 minced garlic cloves, and 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and black pepper. For extra flavor, you can add 1/4 cup of chopped cilantro and a finely chopped jalapeño if desired.

Marinating the Chicken

  1. Prepare the Chicken: Use 1.5 to 2 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels to ensure the marinade adheres well.
  2. Marinate: Place the chicken in a ziplock bag or shallow dish and pour the marinade over it. Seal the bag or cover the dish and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or overnight for maximum flavor. Turn the chicken occasionally to ensure even marination.

Cooking the Chicken

  1. Preheat the Grill or Oven: If grilling, preheat your grill to medium-high heat. If baking, preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C).
  2. Cook the Chicken: Remove the chicken from the marinade, letting excess marinade drip off. Grill the chicken for about 6-7 minutes per side or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F (75°C). If baking, place the chicken on a lined baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until cooked through.
  3. Rest and Serve: Let the chicken rest for 5 minutes before slicing and serving to retain its juices.

Tips for the Perfect Marinade

  • Fresh Ingredients: Use fresh lime and orange juice for the best flavor.
  • Balanced Flavor: Adjust the seasoning to your taste, adding more salt, pepper, or spices as needed.
  • Time to Marinate: The longer the chicken marinates, the more flavorful it will be. Overnight marination is ideal.

Serving Suggestions

Mexican chicken pairs wonderfully with a variety of side dishes. Serve it with:

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  • Rice: Cilantro lime rice or Mexican rice.
  • Beans: Refried beans or black beans.
  • Tortillas: As a filling for tacos, burritos, or enchiladas.
  • Salad: A fresh side salad with avocado and tomatoes.
  • Salsa: Top with your favorite salsa, guacamole, or a dollop of sour cream.

Variations and Substitutions

  • Different Proteins: Use the marinade for shrimp, pork, or beef.
  • Vegetarian Option: Marinate tofu or vegetables for a delicious vegetarian meal.
  • Spice Level: Adjust the heat by adding more or fewer jalapeños or using a milder chili powder.

Storing and Reusing Marinade

  • Storage: Store unused marinade in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Do not reuse marinade that has been in contact with raw chicken.
  • Freezing: You can freeze the chicken in the marinade in a ziplock bag for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before cooking.

Nutritional Information

Each serving of Mexican chicken marinade (based on 4 servings) has approximately:

  • Calories: 210
  • Protein: 25g
  • Fat: 10g
  • Carbohydrates: 5g
  • Fiber: 1g
  • Sugar: 2g

Conclusion

This Mexican chicken marinade is a quick and easy way to add vibrant, authentic flavors to your chicken. Whether you’re grilling, baking, or pan-frying, this marinade will infuse your chicken with a delicious mix of citrus, spices, and herbs that will make your meal unforgettable. Give it a try, and elevate your next dinner with this tasty recipe.

FAQs

1. Can I use this marinade for other meats? Yes, this marinade works great with pork, beef, and shrimp. Adjust the marinating time based on the type of meat.

2. How long can I marinate the chicken? For the best flavor, marinate the chicken for at least 2 hours. However, you can marinate it overnight for maximum flavor.

3. Can I make the marinade ahead of time? Yes, you can prepare the marinade up to 3 days in advance and store it in the refrigerator until ready to use.

4. What can I do if I don’t have fresh citrus juices? You can use bottled lime and orange juice, but fresh juice is recommended for the best flavor.

5. How can I reduce the spiciness? To reduce the heat, use fewer jalapeños or a milder chili powder. You can also omit the cayenne pepper if included.

Source: maricruzavalos.com

Yield: 1

Mexican Chicken Marinade Recipe

Mexican Chicken Marinade Recipe

A good marinade can transform a simple chicken dish into a flavorful masterpiece. If you're looking to add a zesty, tangy, and slightly spicy kick to your chicken, then a Mexican chicken marinade is the way to go. This marinade is perfect for grilling, baking, or even pan-frying, and it brings authentic Mexican flavors right to your kitchen.

Ingredients

  • 2 limes (juice)
  • ⅓ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 Tbsp chipotle paste (read notes)
  • 1 tsp chili powder or flakes
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika
  • ½ cup cilantro (chopped)
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 ½ Tbsp onion powder
  • 1 ½ Tbsp oregano
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • 1 ½ tsp salt

Instructions

  • Add all ingredients to a resealable bag, jar, or container.

  • Shake/whisk vigorously so the seasonings dissolve well and combine.

  • Add chicken to the bag or container and shake/turn to coat on all sides.

  • Refrigerate or freeze until ready to cook.

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