Tequila Lime Chicken

Pretty often, I find that when I mention tequila to people, they make a face, relate a story about one night in college when they consumed too much of it (possibly even the worm), and tell me they’ll never touch the stuff again.  They relate to me some crazy stories, “I saw purple things! I was dancing with a lamp shade on my head! I drunk dialed my boss!”   While these are all pretty awesome reasons to never touch tequila again, I must say, I don’t think this is all tequila’s fault.  This is more likely bad tequila’s fault.  Tequila isn’t all bad, I promise.

In fact, good tequila has a nice balance of sweet and acidity, which makes it great for a marinade.  Now, you may be wondering what exactly is “good tequila.”  The best tequilas are made from 100 per cent blue agave.  Blanco or silver tequilas have a fruitier taste to them, and are aged for less than sixty days.  The next step up, aging-wise, is a reposado tequila.  Reposado tequilas have been aged for up to eleven months.  Either of these tequilas have a nice flavor balance and are perfect for this marinade.

Now, you can go ahead and use Cuervo Gold tequila to make this if that’s what you have hanging around.  Just be aware that Cuervo Gold is 51 per cent agave and 49 per cent sugar cane alcohol.  This means that there’s really not that delicate flavor balance that a blanco or reposado tequila lends to this.  It’s still going to taste good, and this would be a good way to use up some of that Cuervo Gold in order to make room on the shelf for a good tequila 😉 .

Tequila Lime Grilled Chicken


  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 3 Tbs olive oil
  • 5 Tbs tequila
  • 3 tsp. lime zest (3 limes)
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 tsp. dried oregano
  • 2 tsp. honey
  • 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. chili powder


Put the chicken between two pieces of waxed or parchment paper and, using a mallet, pound them out evenly to 1/2 inch thickness.

Place all ingredients except for the chicken into a 1 gallon Ziploc bag and squish the bag to combine the ingredients.

Place the chicken into the bag, seal it, and place the bag into a bowl.

Put the bowl in the refrigerator for at least six hours (can be left overnight), flipping the bag occasionally.

Heat a grill to high heat.

Place the chicken onto the grill and grill, covered, for 3 minutes per side until cooked through, turning only once.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: Adapted from Once Upon A Chef


2 thoughts on “Tequila Lime Chicken

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