Best Ever Margarita Chicken + Video

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Margarita Chicken has all the fantastic flavor of the popular cocktail cooked right into the chicken, plus a little kick from jalapeno peppers. The gang is all here in this flavor profile! Tequila, lime, and orange all come together to create the best ever margarita grill chicken. This is one recipe you have to try!

titled: Margarita Grilled Chicken Best Ever


Margarita Chicken

I have tried the recipes that called for margarita mix, but I promise that our homemade margarita marinade for chicken is so much better!!

The fantastic flavor of tequila is cooked right into the chicken with subtle hints of sweetness from the agave.

Plus, a little kick from the jalapeno adds the perfect amount of heat to this flavorful dish.

Why not make a theme out of dinner? Pair your meal with a frosty blended cocktail and finish it off with boozy cupcakes!

boneless chicken breasts in gallon storage bag

Ingredient Notes and Substitutions

  • Chicken – Boneless, skinless breasts are best for this margarita chicken recipe. Trim off any excess fat and slice into cutlets if they’re extra thick.

    Boneless thighs will work too — just increase the cooking time by a few minutes on each side.
  • Tequila – Use what you love or whatever you have on hand. I prefer Jose Cuervo Gold, but silver tequila works too!
  • Jalapenos – Wear gloves so you don’t transfer the irritating oils to other surfaces — or your skin!

    Also, remove the ribs and seeds unless you like your grilled margarita chicken extra spicy.
  • Spices – Ground cumin and coriander are found in a lot of Mexican recipes.

    I think they add a nice warmth to margarita grill chicken, but feel free to leave them out if you prefer.
finely chopping jalapeno peppers

Tips for Making Grilled Margarita Chicken

  • Don’t marinate too long!

Any longer than 24 hours, and the citrus will start to break down the chicken — in a very unpleasant way.

I find that marinating margarita chicken overnight gives the best results in terms of texture and flavor.

  • Add some sweetness.

Honey or agave nectar would be a great addition to the marinade, especially if you find the bite from tequila a bit too strong.

The extra sugar will also create a nice char on the outside of your margarita chicken!

  • Let it rest.

Once the grilled margarita chicken reaches an internal temperature of about 162°F, transfer it to a platter and tent with foil.

Let it rest for about 10 minutes before slicing, which allows the juices to redistribute and the center to continue cooking to a perfect 165°F.

pouring tequila into bowl with other marinade ingredients

Margarita Chicken Recipe FAQ

What’s in margarita marinade for chicken?

Obviously, tequila and lime are the base ingredients. We also include freshly squeeze orange juice, minced garlic and jalapeno, and olive oil to bring it all together.

There’s also ground cumin and coriander, plus salt and pepper to really make the flavors pop!

Can I make this margarita chicken recipe in the oven instead?

You sure can! Preheat your oven to 350°F and pour half of the margarita marinade for chicken into a 9×13 pan.

Place the boneless breasts in the pan, then pour the remaining marinade over the top. Bake for 45-60 minutes, until cooked through with an internal temperature of 165°F.

You can also make margarita chicken with a stovetop grill pan, on an indoor grill, or in the air fryer!

What do you serve with tequila chicken?

Margarita grill chicken is delicious with cilantro lime rice or restaurant-style Mexican rice.

You could also add a side of Street Corn Salad or top with some copycat Chipotle corn salsa!

Storing and Reheating Leftovers

Once cooled, transfer leftover margarita chicken to an airtight container. Refrigerate for 3 to 4 days.

Reheat in the oven at 325°F until warmed through, about 15 minutes. Or, microwave if you just can’t wait.

You can also warm grilled margarita chicken on the stovetop — add leftovers to a skillet with a splash of water, then cover with a lid and heat on medium-low.

slicing off a piece of grilled margarita chicken

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close up: grilled chicken with lime and jalapeno slices

closeup of margarita grilled chicken

Best Ever Grilled Margarita Chicken Recipe + Video

Donna Elick
Margarita Chicken is infused with tequila and citrus, then grilled to perfection. You'll love our homemade margarita marinade for chicken!
5 stars from 1 review
Tried this recipe?Please comment and review!
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Marinate Time 1 day
Total Time 1 day 15 minutes
Course Main
Cuisine American
Method Grill
Servings 6 – 8


  • 3-5 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast, washed and trimmed
  • zest of 1 lime, about 1 tablespoon
  • juice of 3 limes, about ½ cup
  • juice of 1 orange, about ¼ cup
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, minced (seeded and deveined to reduce heat)
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced or grated
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander seed
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 2 ounces Cuervo Gold tequila
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil


  • Place chicken in a resealable gallon size plastic bag. Set aside.
  • Combine all ingredients, except chicken, in a small bowl or measuring cup. Whisk to combine. Pour the marinade over the chicken, seal and place in the refrigerator to marinate for 3-24 hours. Turn chicken occasionally.
  • Preheat grill to medium-high. Place chicken on the counter to take the chill off, about 30 minutes.
  • Grill chicken about 4-5 minutes on each side, turning half way to get great grill marks.
  • Serve and enjoy.


Donna’s Notes

You can also cook this in the oven. Preheat oven to 350 degree F. Pour off 1/2 of marinade, add the chicken and remaining marinade to a 9×13 baking dish and bake for 45-60 minutes, until cooked through.


Serving: 1 | Calories: 346cal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 49g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 145mg | Sodium: 653mg | Sugar: 1g | Fiber: 1g | Calcium: 26mg | Iron: 1mg

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!
titled image (and shown): Margarita Grilled Chicken Best Ever

Originally published April 2013, updated and republished August 2023

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  1. Yum! What a great grilled chicken recipe! Can't wait to fire up the grill for this one! Pinning! Thanks for all the great shares…love you on FB, now following you here and on Pinterest!

  2. HOLY CRAP how big was that jalapeno you used? Those rings are almost as big as the limes! I mean, the recipe sounds great but that chile is HUGE.

    1. Believe that jalapeño slice in the photos is a picturesque garnish, not a listed ingredient. The ingredient is minced or chopped. Eat or set aside the large slice according to you Scoville tolerance. 🙂

  3. Mmmmmm I am so going to try the Margarita Chicken. My mouth is salivating already. Your recipes are so fantastic. Thank you!! 🙂

  4. Have to have to have to try this! Chicken breasts are on sale at Kroger this week, and this will be one of the first recipes that I try with them next weekend. 🙂

  5. This is the best "natural" recipe – no margarita mix – I don't use mix for my margaritas and I certainly won't use it on my chicken. Thanks for sharing! I also used this for wings and they were fabulous too!

    1. Yay! That makes me so happy. We prefer margaritas from scratch too. I am so happy that you loved these and I LOVE LOVE LOVE the wing idea. I am going to give that a try! Thanks for stopping by.

  6. Can't wait to try this recipe! I don't want to purchase Tequila for 2oz. Is there a substitute that would taste close? Thank you so much!

  7. I have read from some blogs that chicken marinated in lime juice for more than an hour or 2 can be very chewy and soggy. Have you had any experiene with that? Thank you for your reply.

    1. I have not had that experience. I have marinated in citrus overnight with good results. I have also marinated and gotten that effect you are speaking of. This one has a nice balance with the other ingredients in the marinade. If you are concerned marinate for 2 hours and proceed with recipe. Enjoy and let us know how it goes.

    1. You can purchase small bottles of tequila and other liquors at most liquor stores. They are the size you would find on an airplane.

    1. I don't see honey mentioned at all for this recipe. Thy3e agave I am referring to is one of the flavors from the tequila. Hope that helps!

  8. I make this a lot but I use a blender to mix the ingredients and then marinate the chicken, best to marinate for 12+ hours.

  9. I want to try your recipe but I’m concerned how spice it will be with the jalapeños, I’m making your recipe for my grandchildren please help me, I’ll love to try it thanks

  10. 5 stars
    I love this recipe, and like to add more jalapenos for added heat. I make this at least once a week because it’s so good.

  11. This recipe is fantastic! Everyone I have made it for loves it, and asks for the recipe. The chicken is great hot or cold. I leave the jalapeno seeds in the marinade. It gives it a nice kick.

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