Tequila Marinated Grilled Chicken


March 22, 2010 by Flora Dawn

I don’t drink alcohol, it’s not really my thing. But cooking with it is a whole different story. When used correctly, alcohol can really elevate an ordinary dish like chicken into something truly special. You don’t have to appreciate tequila, bourbon or any other alcohol to enjoy the flavor it imparts to cooked dishes.

And don’t feel embarrassed about going to the liquor store clueless, I just ask the salespeople what inexpensive brand they would recommend for cooking. Sometimes they will try to suggest something expensive, but more times than not they give me an idea of what lower-priced bottle will do, and often have smaller bottles that better fit my needs. I don’t need a huge top-shelf liquor at home just to make a marinade or cake occasionally.

One of my favorite grilled chicken recipes  is tequila-lime chicken. I have a couple different marinades that use tequila, but this one is my favorite.

We like to eat it over brown or wild rice but it would be equally good in a salad. You are supposed to serve it with a pineapple-citrus salsa, but my kids just prefer eating it with some fresh pineapple, either way it is very good.  You reserve some of the marinade to serve with the grilled chicken; the tequila does not get cooked out of this, so I would not serve this sauce to children.

The Tequila Marinated Grilled Chicken.

The Tequila Chicken with Pineapple-Citrus Salsa served over wild rice.

This recipe can easily be halved.

Tequila Marinated Grilled Chicken Breasts

  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1/4 cup tequila
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 bunch cilantro, I cut the stems off close to the top of the bunch
  • 1 Tb peeled and freshly chopped ginger
  • 1/2 a jalapeno pepper, seeded
  • 1 Tb white vinegar
  • 1 Tb sugar
  • 1 Tb Kosher salt
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 6 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
  1. To prepare the marinade, in a food processor, combine the lime juice, tequila, garlic, cilantro, ginger, jalapeno, vinegar, sugar and salt. Pulse about 10 times. With motor running, add oil in steady stream until emulsified. (I have made this in a blender,  but it doesn’t work quite as well)
  2. Reserve 1/4 of the marinade and set aside to serve with cooked chicken.
  3. Place chicken breasts in a non-reactive bowl or a resealable plastic bag. Pour marinade over chicken and refrigerate 1-3 hours.
  4. Grill over medium heat, turning once, until meat is done, about 7 minutes per side (I always use an instant read thermometer to check)
  5. Serve cooked chicken with reserved marinade and fresh pineapple or Pineapple-Citrus Salsa.

Pineapple-Citrus Salsa

  • 1 Ruby Red grapefruit
  • 1 orange
  • 1 cup diced fresh pineapple
  • 1 small red onion, diced or small bunch of green onions, diced
  • 2 Tb chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 jalapeno, seeded and diced
  • 2 tsp raspberry vinegar (or another fruit vinegar)
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • salt to taste, optional
  1. To prepare orange and grapefruit, using a knife, cut off the peel, removing as much white pith as possible (this part is bitter). Slice into segments, catching the juice and fruit into a bowl.
  2. Add remaining salsa ingredients to bowl and stir to combine.
  3. Refrigerate until ready to use.

4 thoughts on “Tequila Marinated Grilled Chicken

  1. Lindsey says:

    Yep, I thought this looked good on the menu plan! I’ve bookmarked it to make very soon, thanks for the recipe!

  2. Meenakshi says:

    Tried this recipe on the weekend. Cannot find a fault in it! It is now on my regular BBQ foods list.
    Thanks 🙂

  3. Darlene says:

    Had to post and I don’t normally do that! Made this tonight and it was absolutely amazing and my kids loved it! Thanks so much for sharing!

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