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!
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.
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.
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.
Margarita Chicken Recipe FAQ
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!
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!
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.
With love, from our simple kitchen to yours.
Other Easy Chicken Recipes
Best Ever Margarita Chicken + Video
- 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.
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.
Originally published April 2013, updated and republished August 2023
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