Last Updated on July 24, 2023
My tequila lime chicken is always a crowd pleaser. Bursting with fresh flavors, the marinade takes just 5 minutes to prepare and it’s far healthier than anything you’ll get in a store bought marinade.
Grilled chicken is a summer staple in our house. We make it at least once a week because it’s easy to prepare, cooks fast, and can be served with dozens of different side dishes.
Whether you’re cooking for yourself or grilling for a party of guests, grilled chicken is a leaner and healthier alternative to the same old burgers and dogs.
My recipe for Tequila Lime Chicken uses only fresh ingredients. There’s no bottled marinade full of additives and preservatives. Just fresh lime juice, extra virgin olive oil, fresh garlic, some herbs and spices, and oh yea…tequila!
You’re gonna go nuts for this dish, so make sure you save the recipe card below or Pin it so you don’t lose it!
Making The Tequila Lime Marinade
You can easily pick up a bottle of tequila lime flavored marinade at the store for a couple bucks and call it a day. But trust me, your grilled chicken will be so much tastier (and healthier) if you make the marinade from scratch.
And it only takes a few minutes to whip everything up! So ditch the store bought bottle…you’ll thank me.
To make the marinade for our tequila lime chicken, just combine all of the ingredients below into a mixing bowl.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil – Extra virgin costs more than regular olive oil but in a marinade like this the extra flavor you get from EVOO is worth it.
Tequila – Any brand will do, just make sure it’s something you would drink. Same as with wine, if it’s not good enough to drink don’t cook with it.
Lime juice – Skip the bottled lime juice from the grocery store, it’s full of preservatives and doesn’t taste the same. Just pick up a couple of real limes and squeeze the juice yourself.
Lime zest – Hey, if you’re using real lime juice you might as well use some fresh lime zest too!
Garlic – I like to use fresh garlic cloves and a garlic press. A tube of garlic paste also works nicely.
Honey – Gives your grilled chicken just a hint of sweetness.
Paprika, cumin, and chili powder – Flavor, flavor, and more flavor.
Cilantro – I know cilantro is controversial and some people have a gene that makes them taste soap when they eat it. If you’re one of them you have my permission to skip the cilantro.
Prepping And Grilling The Chicken
Use a sharp knife to trim any fat from the chicken breast and then place each piece in a plastic bag. Use a meat mallet to gently pound the chicken until it is a uniform thickness of about 1/2 inch thick.
Don’t skip this step! When you take a chicken breast out of the package you’ll notice one end is always quite a bit thicker than the other and if you don’t pound it out it won’t cook evenly. By the time the thicker end is finished cooking the thinner end will be dry and overcooked.
Note – I usually use boneless skinless chicken breast, but this tequila lime chicken recipe works well with chicken thighs too.
Place the pounded out chicken in a zip top bag and pour in the marinade. Squeeze as much air out of the bag as possible before sealing, then massage the breasts until they’re all coated with the marinade. Place in the refrigerator for at least an hour so the chicken has time to absorb the marinade.
Fire up your grill and preheat to medium-high heat (about 350 F to 400 F). Make sure your grill grates are clean and place each piece of chicken on the grill. Cook for about 4 to 6 minutes per side or until they reach an internal temperature of 165 F.
What To Serve With Tequila Lime Chicken
Tequila lime chicken is super versatile and goes with almost any side dish including rice, pasta, and potatoes. They also go great in fajitas, street tacos, and quesadillas. Or slice into thin strips and add them to a salad. You can even cut the chicken into chunks before marinading and then cook them on skewers.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you omit the alcohol from tequila lime chicken?
If you can’t use alcohol, you can swap out the tequila and use some low sodium chicken broth in its place. It will not be the same flavor, but it will produce a serviceable variation.
How long will tequila lime chicken last in the fridge?
If stored properly in a zip top storage bag or airtight container, grilled chicken can last in the fridge for up to 3 to 4 days.
What to do with leftover grilled chicken?
One of my favorite things to make with leftover tequila lime chicken is quesadillas. Blackstone chicken quesadillas are my specialty but you can make them on your stove top too.
Other suggestions for leftovers:
- Add to pasta with a marinara or alfredo sauce
- Use as a pizza topping
- Make a sandwich with roasted red peppers and fresh mozzarella
- Use as a filling for stuffed bread
- Turn it into grilled nachos
- Turn it into a homemade chicken soup
- 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup tequila
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 2 cups lime juice
- zest of two limes
- 2 clove garlic (pressed or minced)
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
- 2 tablespoons cilantro (chopped)
In a mixing bowl, combine the tequila, olive oil, honey, lime juice, zest, garlic, paprika, cumin, chili powder and cilantro. Whisk until all the ingredients are thoroughly combined.
Use a cutting board and a sharp knife to trim any fat from the chicken, then use a mallet to pound the chicken so they are a uniform thickness of about 1/2 inch thick.
Place the chicken breasts in a zip top bag and add the marinade. Squeeze as much air out of the bag as possible before sealing, then massage the breasts until they're all coated with the marinade. Place in the refrigerator for at least an hour so the chicken has time to absorb the marinade.
Preheat your grill to medium-high heat, about 400 F.
Place each chicken breast on the grill and cook for about 4 to 6 minutes per side or until it reaches an internal temperature of 165 F.
Remove from the grill and serve while still warm.
Tequila Lime Chicken goes great with rice or salad, or inside fajitas or street tacos.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 547Total Fat: 32gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 25gCholesterol: 102mgSodium: 99mgCarbohydrates: 19gFiber: 2gSugar: 7gProtein: 38g