This simple Fajita Chicken Marinade combines olive oil, lime juice, cumin, chili powder, paprika, garlic, onion powder, and cilantro for a vibrant, flavorful addition to plain chicken! Mix and add to your chicken breasts, thighs, strips, tenderloins, or even turkey cutlets for amazingly tasty dinners!
Fajita Chicken Marinade Recipe
My super easy chicken fajita marinade makes one of our family-favorite dinners even more satisfying with a real punch of fajita flavor! Marinated chicken is definitely where it's at with this classic Mexican meal, whether you're searing off your chicken or using this sheet pan style fajita chicken!
If you're already a fan of fajitas, I know you'll love the way this yummy lime marinade will add flavor and superb juiciness to your fajita night! Don't just limit this marinade to fajitas! Zesty fajita chicken is perfect in tacos, burritos, wraps, enchiladas, enchilada bowls, salads, and so much more!!
Ingredients You'll Need
These simple pantry staple ingredients really do combine to make a marinade that takes your fajitas to the next level! Use fresh ingredients where you can for an OMG level of deliciousness!
- Olive Oil - helps the marinade coat the chicken, keeps your chicken delightfully tender, and adds that great EVOO flavor! You can always use your favorite cooking oil, but do use a flavorless option that has the needed smoke point for your planned cooking method.
- Lime Juice - is a delicious addition that adds Mexican-inspired flavors to this marinade! Zest your lime right into the marinade for a tasty citrus boost! Bottled lime will work in the case of marinades, with only a minor effect on the overall flavor.
- Cumin - the use of cumin adds that familiar flavor that we all know and love in taco seasoning! Earthy and warm tones add a rich depth of flavor to the marinade!
- Chili Powder - is used to add just the right amount of heat for the perfect warm, spicy fajita flavor without being too 'hot'!
- Paprika - is one of my favorite all-around spices! Use smoked paprika if you have it, it's a huge upgrade to your marinade flavor!
- Garlic Powder - adds that unique, earthy garlic flavor! If you want to use ½ tablespoon of minced garlic, either fresh or jarred, they both work but I simply prefer garlic powder in this case.
- Onion Powder - is an easy, pantry staple to add to this super simple marinade for another classic fajita flavor!
- Cilantro - is an important part of any great Mexican chicken marinade! It's the perfect flavor to really pull together the fajita flavors! Use fresh cilantro generously, same holds true for a heaping teaspoon of dried cilantro too!
- Salt & Pepper - are your usual base to seasoning, and they work to highlight all of your great ingredient flavors!
How To Make Fajita Chicken Marinade
In addition to all of our tasty marinade ingredients above, I recommend using the ziploc or zip-top style plastic storage bags. This keeps the marinade in constant contact with your chicken, helping it to cling in place and fully marinate best!
- In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, lime juice, cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, cilantro, salt, and pepper. Whisk or mix until well combined.
- Place both the chicken and the marinade into the ziploc plastic storage bag, then seal securely while squeezing out any excess air.
- Massage the marinade into the chicken by squishing the marinade contents around the bag. Make sure that the chicken is thoroughly coated.
- Refrigerate and marinate for at least 4 hours. Freeze for up to 3 months.
If you will be grilling whole boneless, skinless chicken breasts, it is best to flatten the chicken for quick and even cooking. Place your chicken breasts between two sheets of plastic cling film and pound with a meat mallet or tenderizer ( the flat side ).
Start at the center of the chicken breast and work your way toward the edges. Continue until each chicken piece is even in thickness.
Marinating the Chicken
Your chicken should marinate for at least 15 - 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, or overnight ( 8 - 24 hours ) for optimal marinating. However, you can marinate the chicken for up to 2 days refrigerated. This is the maximum amount of time that I would marinate the chicken in a citrus-based marinade.
While frozen chicken can be stored in the freezer for up to 6 months or more, I recommend freezing your marinated chicken for no more three months. Allow the frozen marinated chicken to thaw while refrigerated overnight.
The marinade will slowly seep into your chicken while it thaws, making it tender, flavorful, and delicious!
Check out all of my fabulously tasty and incredibly easy chicken marinades in one place! The marinades are absolutely perfect for grilled, pan-fried, or roasted chicken breasts, thighs, wings, skewers, and more!
Fajita Chicken Marinade
- ¼ cup olive oil (extra virgin)
- 2 Tbsp lime juice
- 1 tsp chili powder
- ½ tsp cumin
- ½ tsp paprika
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 Tbsp cilantro (paste or chopped)
- ¼ tsp each, salt & pepper
- In a small bowl add the olive oil, lime juice, cilantro, cumin, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, salt, and pepper. Mix well.
- Place the marinade and chicken into a ziploc plastic storage bag, then seal securely while squeezing out any air.
- Massage the marinade into the chicken through the bag by squishing the marinade thoughout the bag. Make sure that th chicken is very well coated.
- Refrigerate for at least 4 hours before use. Freeze for up to 3 months.
If you will be grilling whole chicken breasts, it is best to flatten the chicken breasts for quick and even cooking. Place your chicken breasts between two sheets of plastic cling film and pound with a meat mallet or tenderizer ( the flat side ). Start at the center of the chicken breast and work your way toward the edges.
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!