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Grilled chicken on a platter prepared with a Mexican citrus marinade.

Mexican Citrus Chicken Marinade

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

5 from 4 reviews

  • Author: Denay DeGuzman
  • Total Time: 50 Minutes
  • Yield: 1 2/3 cups Marinade 1x


This Mexican citrus chicken marinade is bright and flavorful. It’s made with simple ingredients. The perfect choice for grilling tantalizing, juicy chicken breasts and tender chicken thigh fillets.


Units Scale


  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thigh fillets

Mexican Chicken Marinade

  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 cup pineapple juice
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh oregano
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and finely minced or crushed
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground annotto or ground turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 pinch red pepper flakes (optional)


Assemble the Marinade

RECIPE PREP: Butterfly or pound the boneless, skinless chicken breasts so they’re no thicker than 1/2 inch. [For thigh fillets – gently pound them flat to an even thickness.] Pat the poultry dry between paper towels. Put the pieces into a large zip-top bag.

  1. Add all marinade ingredients to a small bowl. Stir or whisk to combine.
  2. Pour the marinade over the chicken. Remove excess air from the bag and zip it shut. Massage the bag to evenly distribute the marinade.
  3. Put the chicken in the fridge to marinate for 30 minutes to 1 hour. 

Instructions for Outdoor Grilling

  1. Preheat the grill on high for 10 to 15 minutes. Scrape old remnants off the grates with a grill brush. Adjust the temperature to medium heat (425-450°F).
  2. Transfer the chicken to the grill, placing the pieces over direct heat. Discard the marinade – don’t use it for basting. Grill chicken for about 9 to 10 minutes, flipping the pieces halfway through. For food safety, use a food thermometer to check the internal temperature. When it reaches 165°F it’s done.
  3. Remove chicken from the grill. Transfer it to a platter and cover with foil. Let it rest for 5 to 10 minutes before cutting or serving.

Instructions for Stovetop Grilling

  1. Preheat a heavy grill pan over high heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Lower heat to medium-high. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil to the pan. Tilt the pan back and forth to evenly coat the entire surface.
  2. Arrange the chicken pieces on the grill pan. [Discard the marinade. Don’t use it for basting.] Cook for 5 to 6 minutes. With kitchen tongs, flip the pieces over and cook 5 to 6 minutes more. For food safety, use a food thermometer to check the internal temperature of the meat. When it reaches 165°F it’s done.
  3. Remove pan from heat. Let the chicken rest for 5 to 10 minutes before cutting or serving so the meat will be tender and juicy.


🧑🏼‍🍳  It’s important to let the chicken rest after grilling. The 5 to 10 minute rest period gives the collagen time to thicken the juices, and for the juices to redistribute throughout the meat. If you cut into the chicken right away, the juices will drip out and leave the meat dry.

  • Prep Time: 10 Minutes
  • Marinade Time: 30 Minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 Minutes
  • Category: Marinades
  • Method: Grilling
  • Cuisine: Mexican