Grilled Tequila Lime Chicken

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Tequila Lime Chicken is savory and citrusy, exactly what you’re summertime barbecue needs! Jose Cuervo Gold and fresh lime are the stars of our simple tequila lime chicken marinade. After marinating overnight, each bite of succulent chicken will be bursting with flavor!

titled: Grilled Tequila Lime Chicken


Tequila Lime Chicken

When warm weather hits, I get in a boozy kind of grilling groove! Of course, tequila is a favorite — and it’s perfect for grilled chicken with lime.

The sweetness of the blue agave and the hint of vanilla in the tequila really give the chicken a flavor you will not forget.

Garlic, jalapeno peppers, and coriander really round out the tequila marinade for chicken, creating a spicy, savory, and citrusy meal the whole family will love!

If you love the citrus but not the alcohol, try Coconut Lime Chicken Nuggets instead!

You can make a whole batch in the oven — enough for party appetizers or a bunch of hungry kids.

measured ingredients for tequila lime chicken

Ingredient Notes and Substitutions

  • Chicken – Use boneless, skinless breasts for this tequila lime chicken recipe.

    Thighs will also work if you prefer dark meat, but you will need to increase the cooking time by a few minutes.
  • Tequila – You can’t make tequila marinade for chicken without it! Grab what you like to drink or have on hand.

    I prefer Jose Cuervo Gold, but Silver works just as well.
  • Lime – The other key component for tequila lime chicken — you’ll need both the juice and the zest.

    Get the most of both by ensuring your limes are at room temperature first.
  • Jalapenos – Since these are only in the marinade, they add a lovely heat to grilled chicken with lime.

    Toss the ribs and seeds in there for a spicier kick, or feel free to leave the peppers out entirely.
chicken in ziploc next to bowl of tequila marinade

How to Make Tequila Marinade for Chicken

The process couldn’t be simpler — whisk together all of the ingredients, then pour the mixture into a large Ziploc bag with the boneless breasts.

Refrigerate for at least a few hours, but I think overnight gets you the best flavor. Just don’t go past the 24-hour mark, or the citrus will start to break down the poultry.

There are also a few tips to ensure that your tequila lime chicken comes out as juicy as possible!

  • Each piece should be even in thickness. If some breasts are much thicker than others, slice them into two thinner cutlets.

    This way, they all cook at the same rate.
  • Discard leftover tequila lime chicken marinade. Since it’s been in contact with raw poultry, it cannot be reused.
  • Check the internal temp. Chicken is safe to eat when it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F.

    However, it’s best to pull tequila lime chicken off the grill a few degrees early — it will continue cooking a bit as it rests.
  • Let it rest! Speaking of resting, wait about 5 minutes to slice. This gives the juices a chance to redistribute through the chicken.
large ziploc of chicken breasts in tequila lime marinade

Serving Suggestions for Grilled Chicken with Lime

We love to pair this tequila lime chicken recipe with cilantro lime rice and corn on the cob.

For extra flavor, ditch the ears and make Mexican Street Corn Salad instead!

Slice up grilled chicken with lime to use for salads, tacos, and even nachos.

Or, toss it into a pasta salad for extra protein. The possibilities are endless!

grilling chicken breasts

Tequila Lime Chicken Recipe FAQ

How long do chicken breasts take to grill?

Depending on the thickness, it typically takes about 8 to 10 minutes to grill boneless, skinless chicken breasts.

Be sure to flip them halfway so they cook evenly, and always check doneness with a digital meat thermometer. Poultry is safe to eat when it reaches 165°F in the center.

What is the best way to reheat grilled chicken?

Avoid tough, dry chicken breasts by reheating them in the oven or on the stove. If already sliced, you could also use the microwave at half power until warmed through.

Oven: Preheat to 325°F, then wrap each breast in foil with a few tablespoons of water or chicken broth. Bake for 10-15 minutes, then unwrap and broil for a minute or two to get the outside crispy again.

Stovetop: Add enough water or broth to cover about half of the bottom of a skillet. Heat over medium until it starts to simmer, then add the chicken and cover with a lid. Warm for 4-6 minutes, flipping the breast halfway.

Do I have to use tequila?

No — but then it wouldn’t be tequila lime chicken, would it? The alcohol not only flavors the meat, but it works with the lime juice to tenderize it as well.

If you still prefer a booze-free recipe, swap with chicken broth and some extra fresh squeezed lime juice.

grilled tequila lime chicken on plate

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pile of grilled chicken breasts with lime wedge

Closeup of grilled tequila lime chicken

Grilled Tequila Lime Chicken

Donna Elick
Tequila Lime Chicken is the perfect summertime meal. Sweetness from agave and heat from jalapenos make grilled chicken with lime extra tasty!
5 stars from 1 review
Tried this recipe?Please comment and review!
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Marinate Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Course Main
Cuisine American
Method Grill
Servings 4


  • 3-5 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, washed and trimmed
  • 2 large limes, zested and juiced
  • 1/2 cup Jose Cuervo Gold tequila
  • 2 jalapenos, seeded and deveined (minced)
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander


  • Add chicken breasts to a gallon size resealable bag. Combine remaining ingredients in a medium bowl. Whisk to combine. Pour into bag and seal bag. Flip bag back and forth to combine and fully coat chicken.
  • Place in refrigerator and marinate chicken for 30 minutes-overnight. If marinating for hours, remember to flip the bag over a few times to keep the chicken coated and moist.
  • Preheat grill to medium-high. Place chicken on the counter to come to room temp while grill is heating.
  • Grill chicken about 4-5 minutes on each side.
  • Serve and enjoy.


Serving: 1 | Calories: 503cal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 73g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 218mg | Sodium: 687mg | Sugar: 1g | Fiber: 1g | Calcium: 33mg | Iron: 2mg

All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe’s nutritional value will vary depending on the ingredients used, measuring methods, and portion sizes.

Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Originally published May 2013, updated and republished August 2023

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  1. Dusting off the grill right now…this has got my mouth watering, Donna.

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