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Tex-Mex Marinated Grilled Chicken Breasts

Lucy Vaserfirer

Servings: 8 (enough marinade for 14 to 24 servings)

This versatile marinade is as easy as throwing a few ingredients into a blender, and is terrific on not only chicken breasts, but also skirt steaks (marinated 2 hours to overnight) or fish fillets, shrimp or sea scallops (marinated 20 to 45 minutes) It makes a very large batch of marinade so that there’s always some on hand in case of emergency Tex-Mex cravings. The marinade can be portioned into zip-top bags and frozen for a few weeks.

This recipe is excerpted from Marinades. Read our review.


For the marinade

  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 2 Tbs. distilled white vinegar
  • 2 Tbs.  freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro, stem ends trimmed
  • 1 yellow onion, cut into eighths
  • 3 jalapeños, stemmed
  • 1/4 cup pickled jalapeño slices
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

For the chicken

  • 8 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 8 oz. each), pounded to an even thickness of 1/2 to 3/4 inch


Make the marinade

  • Combine the oil, vinegar, lime juice, cilantro, onion, jalapeños, pickled jalapeños, and cumin in a blender and blend until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Marinate and grill the chicken

  • In a zip-top bag, combine the chicken breasts with about one-third of the All-Purpose Tex-Mex Marinade and turn to coat. Seal the bag, letting out all the air. Marinate for at least 2 hours and up to overnight in the refrigerator. (Divide the remaining marinade between two 1-gallon zip-top bags and freeze for future use.)
  • Set the bag aside at room temperature for about half an hour. Remove the chicken from the marinade, pat dry with paper towels, then grill on an oiled grill grate over direct high heat until just cooked through, 10 to 12 minutes, turning once. The chicken will be firm to the touch and the juices will run clear when it is just cooked through. Tent the chicken with foil and let rest for 5 to 10 minutes before carving and serving.

Serving suggestions: Dice the chicken breasts and use in any Tex-Mex favorites—from fajitas and burritos to nachos and quesadillas to tortilla soup. Slice and serve on a Caesar salad. For a particularly satisfying sandwich, stack marinated and grilled chicken breasts, bacon, Swiss or cheddar cheese, garlicky guacamole, lettuce, and tomato on artisan-style hamburger buns. Or simply serve the chicken breasts with refried beans and Mexican rice.


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