3-Ingredient Mexican Chicken Marinade

at a glance
Prep Time 5 minutes
Marinating Time 1 hour
Servings 6 servings
5 from 1 vote

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This 3-ingredient marinade is coming to the rescue when you can’t take one more bite of bland, boring chicken. Before that chicken goes on the skillet, the grill, or in the oven, douse it in this mega flavor (and still really healthy) marinade and your taste buds will be so happy.

Chicken breast in a glass container with marinade.

Why You’ll Love This Mexican Marinade for Chicken

I love this Mexican chicken marinade so much. I’ve made it dozens of times and it always makes me so happy. What I love most is the flavor and also the accessibility! Unlike some marinades, this one calls for ingredients I always have on hand: lime juice, chili powder, and sat. That’s it, my friends!

Pan-sear, bake, grill, or even air-fryer that chicken to perfect doneness and use it to top your next zesty salad, stuffed potato, sandwich, or eat it with crackers. Enjoy!

Ingredients in Mexican Chicken Marinade

This super simple list makes for the most flavorful Mexican chicken marinade. Here’s everything you’ll need:

Mexican chicken marinade ingredients on a grey and white marble surface.
  • Juice of 3 limes
  • 1 tablespoon of chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon of sea salt

Ingredient Variations and Modifications

This marinade is super simple as-is, so there isn’t a ton that can be done in the way of ingredient modifications. Here are our best ideas for easy swaps, adds, and tweaks:

  • Make it spicy – add a little bit of paprika or cayenne pepper to the marinade for a kick of spice.

How To Make Mexican Chicken Marinade

Making a marinade is incredibly simple! All you’ll need to do is combine the ingredients in a large bowl or bag and stir or shake to mix. That’s it – marinade done!

Hand squeezing lemon juice over a chicken breast in a glass container lined with blue checkered silicone.
Hand pouring salt over top of a chicken breast with chili powder and lime juice in a glass container with blue netted silicone.
Hand holding a small white bowl pouring chili powder over a chicken breast with lime juice in a glass container with blue netted silicone.
Chicken breast in a glass container with marinade.

How do you cook Mexican chicken? You have some options! Here are our tried and true ways to cook perfect buffalo chicken every time:

Cooking Mexican Chicken on the Grill

  1. Preheat the grill to medium-high heat, about 450°F.
  2. Place the chicken on the grill, then cook for 5-6 minutes per side, until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the chicken breast registers 165°F.
  3. Let the chicken rest for at least 10 minutes, then slice and serve.

THIS is my favorite grill-safe meat thermometer! Learn more about how to grill chicken in my unabridged article HERE.

Cooking Mexican Chicken in the InstantPot

  1. Place the chicken and 1/2 cup water in the Instant Pot, then secure the lid until you hear it beep.
  2. Close the lid and make sure the steam release valve is sealed, then set the pot to cook on high pressure for 20 minutes.
  3. Let the pressure naturally release for at least 15 minutes, then turn the steam release valve to release any additional pressure. Once it is fully released, remove the lid and transfer the chicken to a bowl.
  4. Shred the chicken in your stand mixer using the paddle attachment, with an electric hand mixer, or with two forks, then serve or store for later.

THIS is my favorite InstantPot! I love the size and versatility. Learn more about how to cook chicken in the Instant Pot in my unabridged article HERE.

Cooking Mexican Chicken in the AirFryer

  1. Preheat the AirFryer to 400F.
  2. Place the chicken breast in the AirFryer basket and cook for 10 minutes.
  3. Flip the chicken and cook for an additional 8 minutes.
  4. Let it rest for 5 to 10 minutes (this helps the juices settle), then slice, chop, or shred.

My favorite AirFryer is (hands down) the Cosori AirFryer. Make it a full meal and follow my guide for a complete chicken dinner in the air fryer HERE.

Cooking Mexican Chicken in a Sous Vide

  1. Preheat the water to 150°F.
  2. Place the marinated chicken in the bag, making sure not to get any of the mixture on the top 2 inches of the bag so that you have enough room to seal it.
  3. Sous vide the chicken breasts for for 1½ hours, then remove from the water.
  4. Let the chicken rest in the sealed bag for 10 minutes, then remove it from the bag, slice, and enjoy.

My favorite Sous Vide is the Anova Sous Vide. You can learn more about how to Sous Vide your chicken HERE!

Cooking Mexican Chicken on the Stove

  1. Place a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  2. Add 1 tablespoon of your preferred cooking fat (olive oil, ghee, butter, or coconut oil will all work). Once the oil is melted and running thin, place the chicken on the skillet.
  3. Cook for 5-6 minutes per side, until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the chicken breast registers 165°F.
  4. Let the chicken rest for at least 10 minutes, then slice and serve.

THIS is my favorite meat thermometer.

Cooking Mexican Chicken in the Oven

  1. Preheat the oven to 450°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Place the chicken on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 18 minutes, or until the chicken registers 165 F on a thermometer at the thickest part of the breast and the juices run clear and the chicken just begins to brown.
  3. Let rest for 10 minutes before slicing.

THIS is my favorite oven-safe meat thermometer. Find my unabridged “how to cook chicken in the oven” article HERE!

What to Serve with Mexican Chicken

This Mexican marinated chicken is delicious in tacos or burrito bowls. It’s also really yummy next to a simple protein and veggie side. Find our best simple side accompaniments below:

Starchy Sides

Veggie Sides

Salad Sides

Seared chicken breast on a round plate on a white and grey marble surface.
Q Is this marinade spicy?
A

This marinade is not spicy. The chili powder used here is a really mild blend, so the marinade has all of the delicious Mexican flavors without the spice. As written, this recipe is super family friendly.

Q What kind of chicken should I use?
A

Chicken thighs and chicken breasts would both be really delicious choices for this Mexican chicken marinade.

Q Should you poke holes in chicken to marinate?
A

You don’t need to poke holes in your chicken – submerging the chicken in the marinade will ensure that it gets nice and tender and packed with flavor.

Q How long should you marinate chicken?
A

For best results, marinate your chicken for 1-2 hours. Because this marinade includes lime juice, you’ll want to avoid marinating the chicken for any longer than that.

Q Can I marinate chicken too long?
A

You can marinate chicken for too long! Because this marinade includes lime juice, you’ll want to take your chicken out after 2 hours. Anything more than 2 hours will cause the chicken to break down and become mushy.

Q Can I make this recipe ahead of time?
A

You can absolutely mix together the marinade ingredients ahead of time! If you’re going this route, simply pour the marinade into a jar and store it in the fridge (for up to a week) until you’re ready to use it.

Glass containers with curried chicken salad topped with slices of jalapeños and a side of crackers on a grey and white marble surface. There is also a glass of grape Ollipop soda and the can on the surface.

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Chicken breast in a glass container with marinade.

Mexican Chicken Marinade Recipe

By: Cassy Joy Garcia
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Marinating Time 1 hour
Servings: 6 servings
This 3-ingredient marinade is coming to the rescue when you can’t take one more bite of bland, boring chicken. Before that chicken goes on the skillet, the grill, or in the oven, douse it in this mega flavor (and still really healthy) marinade and your taste buds will be so happy.

Ingredients  

  • Juice of 3 limes
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • pounds chicken breasts or thighs

Instructions

  • Add all of the ingredients to a large bag or bowl (big enough to fit your chicken in).
  • Stir (or shake, if you’re using a bag) the marinade until it’s well mixed.
  • Submerge the chicken in the marinade and let it sit for at least an hour, or up to overnight.

Nutrition Information

Nutrition Facts
Mexican Chicken Marinade Recipe
Amount per Serving
Calories
139
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
3
g
5
%
Saturated Fat
 
1
g
6
%
Trans Fat
 
0.01
g
Polyunsaturated Fat
 
1
g
Monounsaturated Fat
 
1
g
Cholesterol
 
73
mg
24
%
Sodium
 
541
mg
24
%
Potassium
 
471
mg
13
%
Carbohydrates
 
3
g
1
%
Fiber
 
1
g
4
%
Sugar
 
0.5
g
1
%
Protein
 
24
g
48
%
Vitamin A
 
440
IU
9
%
Vitamin C
 
8
mg
10
%
Calcium
 
13
mg
1
%
Iron
 
1
mg
6
%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Recipe Notes

For best results, marinate your chicken for 1-2 hours. Because this marinade includes lime juice, you’ll want to avoid marinating the chicken for any longer than that.
Meet the Author
Cassy Headshot

Cassy Joy Garcia

HOWDY! I’m Cassy Joy and I am just so happy you’re here. I’m the founder, Editor-in-Chief, and Nutrition Consultant here at Fed and Fit. What started as a food blog back in 2011 has evolved now into so much more.
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