This Margarita Chicken starts with a simple marinade and is grilled OR cooked stove top making it the perfect easy dinner idea! Great served over rice or shredded in tacos.
This post was originally published July 12, 2016. It has since been updated to include helpful information and recipe updates.
- Amazing Chicken Marinade: This marinade is out of this world delicious! We use it almost every time we grill chicken, even when we aren’t making this recipe.
- Freezer Friendly: Freeze the cooked chicken for up to 4 months.
- Grilled or Stove Top: I’ve included instructions for the grill and a stove top version.
Summer is here which means we are grilling EVERYTHING. This margarita chicken recipe is perfect because you can prep it the night before and it delivers in flavor! Rated five stars from the entire family and regularly on our dinner rotation throughout the year.
The easy chicken marinade mimic a margarita and give the chicken the most incredibly flavor. Top things off with some fresh pico and a squeeze of lime for the ultimate grilled OR baked chicken!
Margarita Chicken Ingredients:
Chicken marinades are ideal for preventing the meat from drying out during the cooking process and becoming too chewy. It also helps to tenderise the chicken and reduce the cooking time! Here is what you need to get started:
- Olive Oil: I like a robust olive oil for my marinades. It helps to add moisture and lock in the flavor.
- Cilantro: Not too much, but just enough to give a fresh finish.
- Seasonings: Pepper, Garlic Powder, Onion Powder all work together to take this from good to great.
- Margarita Mix: Use your favorite mix! Here are a few of our favorites: you can’t go wrong with the classic flavor of Tres Agaves, if you want a spicy finish try Hella Cocktail Co Habanero Mix, and for a lighter less calorie version go with Stirrings 5 Calorie.
- Lime Juice: I always suggest fresh lime juice for a more bold fresh flavor, but jarred will work in a pinch.
- Orange Juice: We use simply orange juice or fresh squeezed.
- Tequila: Optional, but delicious addition that helps tenderize the chicken. If you aren’t a fan of alcohol, or don’t want to buy a bottle just for this recipe, you can leave it out completely.
- Garlic: Measure with your heart.
- Apricot Preserves: The sugar in preserves helps tenderize the meat and give you a delicious finish.
- Chicken: I have made this with both chicken breast and chicken thighs with great success.
How To Make Margarita Marinade:
- PREP: Combine olive oil, cilantro, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, liquid margarita mix, lime juice, orange juice, tequila, garlic, and apricot preserves in a large zip top bag or shallow dish. Mix to combine.
- MARINADE: Add 2-4 chicken breasts to the container. Be sure to coat the chicken evenly. Lay the bag, or place the container, flat in the refrigerator and chill for at least 4 hours and up to 24 hours.
- GRILL: Follow the instructions in the recipe card to finish cooking the chicken when ready to enjoy.
1. Follow the instructions above for the marinade.
2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
3. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a cast iron or oven safe pan over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook 2 minutes on each side or until just browned.
4. Transfer to the oven and cook 15-20 minutes or until the chicken reaches 165 degrees.
5. Let rest 10 minutes before serving.
Yes! For bone in chicken thighs cook 30 to 40 minutes. For boneless skinless thighs cook 7 to 8 minutes per side
This recipe should never be dry. If you’re finding that pieces of your chicken are drier than others, you may want to consider slicing the chicken breast in half lengthwise, or pounding to an even thickness.
If stored properly, in an airtight container inside the refrigerator, leftovers should last three to four days.
- 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon Pompeian Olive Oil divided
- 1/3 cup cilantro chopped
- 1 tablespoon ground pepper
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/4 cup margarita mix
- 1/4 cup lime juice
- 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
- 2 tablespoons tequila
- 1 teaspoon garlic
- 1 tablespoon apricot preserves
- 4 Chicken Breast Halves
How To Make Margarita Marinade:
- Combine olive oil, cilantro, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, liquid margarita mix, lime juice, orange juice, tequila, garlic, and apricot preserves in a large zip top bag or shallow dish. Mix to combine.
- Add 2-4 chicken breasts to the container. Be sure to coat the chicken evenly.
- Lay the bag, or place the container, flat in the refrigerator and chill for at least 4 hours and up to 24 hours.
Margarita Grilled Chicken Recipe:
- Follow the marinade instructions.
- When ready to cook, preheat grill to medium high heat for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Grill chicken for 4-5 minutes on each side, or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees.
How To Make This On The Stove
- Follow the instructions above for the marinade.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a cast iron or oven safe pan over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook 2 minutes on each side or until just browned
- Transfer to the oven and cook 15-20 minutes or until the chicken reaches 165 degrees.
- Let rest 10 minutes before serving.
- It’s always best to pound the chicken to an even thickness or slice breasts in half lengthwise. This gives you even cooking.
- Prep the grill- make sure it’s clean and you have enough pellet chips or propane.
- Always close the lid to your grill. This helps retain the heat and cook your chicken more evenly.
- Invest in a food thermometer to double check it reaches the right temperature and also to make sure you don’t overcook the chicken.
- Try this recipe with chicken thighs! It’s equally as delicious.