Many of the same ingredients that make margaritas so delicious combine to make an incredible marinade for this Margarita Chicken.
Most of the recipes out there for Margarita Chicken include bottled margarita mix. Why? I suppose it seems like a time-saver, but since we don’t use the stuff to make our margaritas in this house, I definitely wasn’t going to use it in my marinade.
To me, those bottled mixes impart a “chemical” taste and that’s not what I was after here. I wanted clean, fresh flavor and my friends, that is precisely what you’ll get by going with the fresh, simple ingredients that I’ve used here. Since we think it is vitally important to keep a good stock of margarita ingredients on hand at all times, I can pretty much throw this recipe together on a whim.
Of course, we need some tequila…or….TEQUILA! There, that’s better. You’ll also need a little olive oil, salt, pepper, chili powder, oregano, cumin, minced garlic, a fresh orange, a couple of fresh limes and for a hint of sweetness, a little agave nectar.
Ingredient note: Agave nectar is a sweetener with a very mild flavor and a consistency that is a bit thinner than honey. Just like tequila, it is harvested from the agave plant. Because it adds sweetness but not much flavor, it is perfect for mixing up cocktails without interfering with the flavor of the other ingredients. Another benefit is that it dissolves easily, making it great for marinades, cocktails, or sweetening iced tea or hot beverages. Although seemingly “natural”, there are arguments on both sides as far as the health benefits are concerned so please do your research if this is a concern to you. If you don’t have any on hand, you can absolutely substitute honey in this recipe.
We are going to use both the zest and the juice of two limes. It may look like a lot of zest, but trust me, it’s perfect.
Combine all those tasty marinade ingredients…
…and pour it over your boneless chicken breasts in a gallon-size plastic storage bag. If your chicken pieces are ginormous, which they usually are, I’d recommend cutting them in half before marinating. Let the chicken marinate in the fridge for at least 3 hours or for up to 8 hours if you want to get it started before heading out the door in the morning.
I don’t recommend marinating boneless breast overnight. It doesn’t need it. And, with all that citrus juice in there, you could run the risk of damaging the texture of the chicken. I usually go between 6 to 8 hours max with fabulous results.
Grill the chicken until it is cooked well throughout. This marinade truly tenderizes the meat and the flavor is out of this world!
I like to slice the chicken and sprinkle it with a little cilantro for serving. It’s fabulous served with tortillas and a variety of toppings.
It’s also perfect for burrito bowls, one of my go-to dinners in the summer months. Cook some rice and veggies and you are good to go.
Easy, versatile, and delicious!
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- 3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast
- 1/2 cup tequila
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 limes zested and juiced
- 1 large orange, juiced
- 2 tablespoons agave nectar or honey
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Fresh ground pepper, to taste
- 3 or 4 tablespoons chopped cilantro, optional
- Cut boneless breasts in half and place in a gallon-size resealable plastic food storage bag.
- Combine remaining ingredients, except cilantro, and pour over the chicken. Seal bag and refrigerate for 3 to 8 hours.
- Grill chicken over medium heat until cooked well throughout, approximately 6 to 8 minutes per side.
- Slice chicken and sprinkle with cilantro to serve. Serve with tortillas or in burrito bowls.