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Spicy Mexican Marinade

Scott Phillips

Yield: Yields about 2-1/2 cups, enough to marinate 2-1/2 lb. food

Mayonnaise is the perfect base for a marinade. Here, it takes the place of oil and keeps the marinade ingredients suspended. The lime juice cuts through the richness of the smoky chipotle marinade, and the beer adds depth of flavor. Use for steak, pork, chicken, or fish (especially tuna or halibut steaks).


  • 1 7-oz. can chipotles en adobo
  • 1/2 medium white onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup dark beer (such as Negra Modelo)
  • 1/4 cup packed fresh cilantro
  • 2 Tbs. fresh lime juice (from 1 medium lime)
  • Fine sea salt
  • 1 cup mayonnaise; more as needed

Nutritional Information

  • Nutritional Sample Size per 1 Tbs.
  • Calories (kcal) : 45
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 40
  • Fat (g): 4.5
  • Saturated Fat (g): 0.5
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 2.5
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 1
  • Cholesterol (mg): 0
  • Sodium (mg): 90
  • Carbohydrates (g): 1
  • Fiber (g): 0
  • Protein (g): 0


  • In a blender, purée the chipotles and the adobo sauce until smooth. Transfer to a small bowl. In the blender, purée the onion, beer, cilantro, lime juice, and a large pinch of salt. Transfer the mixture to a large nonreactive bowl. Fold in the mayonnaise and 1/4 to 1/3 cup of the chipotle purée, to taste. (Refrigerate the remaining purée for another use; it will keep in an airtight container for at least 1 month.)

Make Ahead Tips

The marinade will keep, tightly covered, in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

For a complete south-of-the-border meal, serve with our Mexican Grilled Corn on the Cob.


Rate or Review

Reviews (4 reviews)

  • bwen1133 | 08/31/2017

    LOVE this recipe! It is definitely spicy, but we love spicy so perfect for us.

    I used boneless skinless chicken breasts, marinated for ~9-10 hours (from breakfast until I cooked dinner), and baked in the oven in a glass Pyrex dish for ~30-ish minutes - since another reviewer said the flavor disappeared/burned otherwise - and it turned out delicious! Served with rice and elotes (grilled Mexican street corn). Spoon some extra sauce on your plate to mix with the rice :)

    This has become a regular staple for summer dinners at our lakehouse, since it is so easy to throw in the marinade in the morning and then just stick in the oven - the easier dinner prep is, the better! My teenage niece and nephew have specifically requested for me to make this for our Labor Day weekend at the lake, and if they request it, that means it's pretty darn good!

  • Twinally | 05/11/2013

    Good flavor, but I really couldn't tasted it on the cooked chicken. Don't recommend BBQ because the marinade burns. Leftover mayo is good as a sandwich spread.

  • jc0730 | 08/07/2012

    This is easy and outstanding and has so many uses. I love spicy but I know some don't. Make sure you know, this is spicy! Leftovers would be great in tacos so make extras!

  • Julswanso | 07/30/2012

    The recipe was fast and easy. Just the right amount of kick to this recipe. We used boneless skinless chicken breast. We finished the beer while the chicken marinated! Served it with black beans, corn and rice.

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