This super easy Cilantro Lime Chicken Marinade is packed with savory flavors that combine to make the very best tacos, salads, enchiladas, burritos, and much more! Simply mix and marinate the chicken, then serve either grilled, oven-baked, or pan-fried for a quick and flavorful Mexican dinner!
Cilantro Lime Chicken Marinade Recipe
It’s a wonderful thing when the whole family agrees on certain meals! Everyone in my household is absolutely crazy for all things Mexican food!
This simple chicken marinade will take your taco night to rave reviews. The marinated cilantro lime chicken makes burritos, enchiladas, quesadillas, taco salads, chimichangas, and basically everything THAT MUCH BETTER!!
Ingredients You’ll Need
- Lime Juice – absolutely cannot get enough of lime juice with anything Mexican-inspired! Zest your limes and pull out the pulp after squeezing. Add zest, pulp, and lime juice to the marinade for a wonderfully intense lime flavor!!
- Olive Oil – is my favorite cooking oil to use with this cilantro lime marinade. I have to suggest sticking with the olive oil unless you know which cooking method you will be using. Opt for your favorite cooking oil if you are sure that the smoke point of your oil will work for your desired cooking method.
- Cilantro – another absolutely perfect addition to a Mexican-flavored marinade! Use fresh chopped cilantro for best results. If you need to use dried cilantro, remember that herb conversion is generally 1 teaspoon of dried herbs for each tablespoon of fresh herbs. *8 tablespoons in 1/2 cup of fresh cilantro = 8 teaspoons OR 2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons of dried cilantro.
- Cumin – this is one of my all-time favorite spices to use in almost anything Mexican-ish. It’s always in my homemade taco seasoning and is a base flavor in this marinade as well.
- Cayenne Pepper – a small amount of cayenne pepper for a little ‘zing’! If you like spicier foods, the amount of your cayenne pepper can easily be doubled in this marinade recipe.
- Salt & Pepper – start with this base amount and adjust your salt and pepper seasoning to taste when cooking the chicken.
- Garlic – is an optional addition but adds to the savory deliciousness of this chicken marinade! Use 1 tablespoon fresh garlic, or 1 teaspoon garlic powder.
If you want to use an airtight storage container to mix your marinade ingredients in, this will save dishes 🙂 Alternatively, this is an exceptionally easy marinade to mix directly in the storage bag for easy freezing!
How To Make Cilantro Lime Chicken Marinade
This tangy, savory marinade comes together quickly and makes a marinade that’s perfect for cooking up the same day, within a few days, or freezing for later!
- In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil and lime juice ( plus lime zest and pulp for extra flavor ).
- Add the chopped fresh cilantro, seasoning ( including cumin, cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper ), plus optional garlic. Mix until well combined.
- Transfer the marinade into a plastic storage bag then add the chicken and squeeze out any excess air while sealing the bag.
- Massage your marinade into the chicken to evenly coat the chicken pieces.
- Refrigerate or freeze the bagged marinating chicken.
Your chicken should be allowed to marinate for at least 20 minutes before cooking. The longer you can let the chicken marinate, the more flavorful it will be!
I would usually recommend at least 4 hours for marinating. 24 hours is best, and you can marinate the chicken for up to 2 days refrigerated. This is the maximum amount of time that I would marinate chicken with any citrus-based marinade!
While frozen chicken pieces can usually be stored in the freezer for 6 months or more, I recommend a maximum of three months. Allow the frozen marinated chicken to thaw overnight.
Your chicken marinade will seep into the chicken while thawing. Your delicious cilantro-lime flavor is now set, enjoy!
Check out all of my flavorful chicken marinades in one place! The marinades are absolutely perfect for grilled, pan-fried, or oven-baked chicken breasts, thighs, wings, skewers, and more!
Cilantro Lime Chicken Marinade
- 4 Tbsp lime juice
- 1 Tbsp olive oil (extra virgin)
- 1/2 cup cilantro (fresh, chopped)
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1/8 tsp ground cayenne pepper
- 1/2 tsp each, salt & pepper
- 1 Tbsp garlic (optional - minced garlic, or use 1 teaspoon garlic powder)
- In a small bowl whisk to combine the lime juice, and olive oil.
- Add the chopped cilantro, ground cumin, cayenne powder, salt, and pepper (plus the optional garlic, if desired). Mix well.
- Transfer the marinade and chicken to your plastic storage or freezer bag. Squeeze out all of the excess air while sealing.
- Massage the marinade into the chicken meat through the bag.
- Refrigerate for a minimum of 4 hours prior to use, or 2 days maximum with a citrus-based marinade.
Angela is an at home chef that developed a passion for all things cooking and baking at a young age in her Grandma’s kitchen. After many years in the food service industry, she now enjoys sharing all of her family favorite recipes and creating tasty dinner and amazing dessert recipes here at Bake It With Love!