Grilled Tequila Lime Chicken

Tested & Perfected Recipes

Also known as “margarita chicken,” this tequila lime chicken is loaded with bright Southwestern flavor.

Tequila Lime Chicken, a.k.a. Margarita Chicken, is one of those dishes that just screams fun. The marinade is a combination of tequila, lime, garlic and spices — and it’s loaded with bright Southwestern flavor.

Contrary to what you might think, this recipe is family friendly. The tequila is mild and the chicken isn’t too spicy. Pair it with my black bean salad with corn, avocado and lime vinaigrette, restaurant-style salsa, cornbread muffins, and margaritas.

What You’ll Need To Make Tequila Lime Chicken

ingredients for tequila lime chicken

How To Make Tequila Lime Chicken

Step 1: Pound the Chicken

pounding the chicken breasts

Place the chicken breasts in a 1-gallon freezer bag and pound to an even ½-inch thickness. This both tenderizes the meat and ensures even cooking. Left in their natural shape, the thin side of the fillet dries out while the thicker side finishes cooking.

Step 2: Make the Marinade

zesting limes for tequila lime chicken

Begin by zesting the limes with a fine or Microplane grater. Simply rub the lime in one direction against the blades, turning the fruit as you go. Be sure to remove only the green part; the white pith underneath is bitter.

I don’t use the juice of the limes in the marinade because, contrary to popular belief, acidic ingredients (such as vinegar or lemon juice) do not tenderize lean boneless chicken breasts. Just the opposite: they “cook” the exterior of the meat and give it a leathery texture. The zest is enough to give the chicken the essence of lime, while still maintaining its succulent texture.

marinade ingredients in freezer bag

Mix all of the ingredients except for the chicken together in a 1-gallon zip-lock bag (go ahead and use the same one you used for pounding if it is still in good shape). Add the chicken breasts to the bag and massage the marinade into the meat until evenly coated.

chicken in bag with marinade

Step 3: Marinate

chicken marinating in bowl

Seal the bag and place in a bowl in the refrigerator (the bowl protects against leakage); let the chicken marinate for at least 4 hours or overnight.

Step 4: Grill

chicken on the grillPreheat the grill to high heat and cook, covered, for 2 to 3 minutes per side. Be careful not to overcook; when pounded thin, chicken breasts cook very quickly.

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Grilled Tequila Lime Chicken

Also known as “margarita chicken,” this tequila lime chicken is loaded with bright Southwestern flavor.

Servings: 4
Prep Time: 15 Minutes
Cook Time: 4 Minutes
Total Time: 20 Minutes, plus at least 6 hours to marinate


  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons tequila
  • 1 tablespoon lime zest, from about 2 limes
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-1/4 teaspoons ground ancho chili pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1-1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (or about 2 pounds), pounded to an even 1/2-inch thickness
  • 1 lime, sliced into wedges, for serving (optional)


  1. Combine all of the ingredients except for the chicken breasts in a 1-gallon freezer bag. Close the bag and squish the marinade around to mix. Add the chicken breasts and massage the marinade into the meat until evenly coated. Seal the bag and place it in a bowl in the refrigerator (the bowl protects against leakage); marinate for at least 6 hours or overnight.
  2. Clean the grill and preheat to high. Lightly dip a wad of paper towels in vegetable oil and, using tongs, carefully rub over the grates several times until glossy and coated. (Alternatively, you can spray the grates with a non-flammable cooking spray.) Place the chicken breasts on the grill and spoon any remaining marinade from the bag over top. Grill, covered, for 2 to 3 minutes per side (turning only once). Serve immediately with lime wedges.

Pair with

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Per serving (4 servings)
  • Serving size: 1 chicken breast
  • Calories: 399
  • Fat: 16g
  • Saturated fat: 3g
  • Carbohydrates: 5g
  • Sugar: 3g
  • Fiber: 1g
  • Protein: 51g
  • Sodium: 1015mg
  • Cholesterol: 151mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

Gluten-Free Adaptable Note

To the best of my knowledge, all of the ingredients used in this recipe are gluten-free or widely available in gluten-free versions. There is hidden gluten in many foods; if you're following a gluten-free diet or cooking for someone with gluten allergies, always read the labels of your ingredients to verify that they are gluten-free.

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Reviews & Comments

  • This has become one of our dinner staples. Love this recipe and super simple to make. Always comes out super moist and very flavorful. Love it with the black bean, corn and avocado salad as well as the margaritas!

    • — Judy on September 27, 2020
    • Reply
  • This is fantastic. Going to make for family Labor Day get together.

    • — K Cohea on September 2, 2020
    • Reply
  • I’m a novice cook. One thing the pandemic has done is to give me the opportunity to lessen the load on my wife and begin to learn to cook. ( Prior to this it was just grilling. ) My son and I teamed up to make this recipe. I’m a lime lover – who doesn’t love a good margarita ?! ) This recipe is simple ( It HAS TO BE simple if I can handle it ! ) and delicious ! My wife’s first words after her first bite were “ Oh my goodness, this is delicious, “ said with mild surprise knowing my cooking prowess. Actually, she swears by your (/Jenn Segal’s ) recipes. The chicken was moist and super- flavorful. Thank you, thank you, thank you ! Masterful recipe if you’re able to make ME into a cook.

    • — Bruce ( and Gabe, my son, he deserves credit too ! ) Miller on July 30, 2020
    • Reply
  • Fourth time making this chicken! Everyone loves it. I followed directions exactly. In heavy rotation at my house 😋

    • — Sugaree on July 29, 2020
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  • I’ve always had good experience here so I’m not sure what went wrong. I followed the recipe and grilled the chicken as directed. Unfortunately, it was just really bland, which is surprising! Not sure what went wrong.

    • — Robbin Jeffries on July 23, 2020
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  • Will it be less tender if I use the thin breasts and thus don’t pound them? Thanks.

    • — Barbara on July 5, 2020
    • Reply
    • Thin breasts will work, but the pounding definitely helps to tenderize the meat. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on July 5, 2020
      • Reply
  • Hi Jenn. I make a lot of your recipes and you make me look good to my family so thanks for that!

    Sorry if this is a stupid question but I s there a trick to pounding chicken without fraying the edges? I hate to waste chicken and it looks ugly, too.


    • — Robin Fakler on July 2, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Robin, Do you put it in a zip-lock bag? Are the breasts really thick? If the breasts are larger than 8 oz each, sometimes it helps to slice them in half horizontally into thinner fillets, and then pound them.

      • — Jenn on July 2, 2020
      • Reply
  • Excellent and easy.

    • — Meredith on June 25, 2020
    • Reply
  • We love this chicken! My question is, can this chicken be frozen in the marinade for thawing and BBQ’g in the summer? Thanks in advance for answering. 😊

    • — Corinne on June 17, 2020
    • Reply
    • Sure, Corrine, that should work. 🙂

      • — Jenn on June 19, 2020
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      • This grilled chicken is just as wonderful as everyone says…moist, flavorful, delicious! I haven’t been able to find the ancho chili pepper yet, so have subbed chili powder. I’ll keep looking. I grill just as recipe states, except on a grill pan on my stove, with a pan lid over the chicken. I usually prefer some kind of sauce or dip with chicken breast, but not with this recipe. Perfect as is. Thanks!

        • — Judy on July 1, 2020
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  • So this totally ruined my BBQ party. We’d spent hours smoking ribs, basted them and threw them on with the chicken. The whole grill went up in flames 🙁
    Did I miss a step?

    • — Danielle on June 9, 2020
    • Reply
    • Oh no, that’s terrible! Aside from adding ribs to the grill along with the chicken, did you make any adjustments to the recipe? There are a number of different reasons for flare-ups on grills. This article outlines them nicely. Do any of them shed a light on what may have happened?

      • — Jenn on June 9, 2020
      • Reply
  • Yum, seriously. We had this for dinner last night, I didn’t change anything in the recipe and it was truly the best grilled chicken we’ve had. I’d share a photo of it but we ate it all…;-)

    • — Jean on June 5, 2020
    • Reply
  • Hi Jenn, we are not big drinkers so I don’t have tequilla on hand and don’t want to buy a bottle for one recipe. Ok to leave out? If so, anything else I should add in it’s place? Thanks!

    • — Elizabeth on May 27, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Elizabeth, You can just replace the tequila with more olive oil — it will still be delicious. enjoy!

      • — Jenn on May 27, 2020
      • Reply
  • This was, hands down, the best technique for grilling chicken. How did I live my whole life without figuring out that pounding chicken to the same thickness makes all the difference? The grilling time and method was spot on. I followed this recipe exactly and the results were amazing and taste was beautiful. Thank you, Jenn, for yet another perfect recipe!

    • — Carolyn on May 23, 2020
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  • When your recipes call for oregano, as in the Tequila Lime Chicken, do you prefer Mexican or Turkish oregano? I’m lucky enough to live near a Penzey’s store, so I have a little of everything. Thanks.

    • — Kay on May 21, 2020
    • Reply
    • Honestly, I don’t know! I just buy McCormick’s brand, so not sure which it is. Sorry!

      • — Jenn on May 21, 2020
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  • Hi Jenn
    We were making this recipe today for Mothers Day and all i have is chili powder, will that work instead of ancho chili pepper? Thanks so much and Happy Mothers Day!

    • — Melissa on May 10, 2020
    • Reply
    • Sure, Melissa – regular chili powder will work. Enjoy!

      • — Jenn on May 10, 2020
      • Reply
  • Since where I live I do not have access to ancho chili pepper I had to use chilli flakes.

    The recipe still turned out amazing. I will definitely make it again!

    • — Nika on May 10, 2020
    • Reply
  • Delicious! Managed to marinate for 4 hours +/- and grilled for dinner with some black beans and a southwestern salad on the side. We all thoroughly enjoyed this chicken recipe, including my 9 year old daughter. It is on the list of favorite dinners to make! Thank you so much!

    • — Patricia on May 5, 2020
    • Reply
  • Hi,
    The results from this recipe tasted a bit bitter when I made my chicken breasts… any pointers as to what I’m doing wrong?
    I did not grill but used an All-Clad non stick ridged griddle that I sprayed with PAM on the stove @ Medium High temp setting.
    Would appreciate your input.

    • — JooJoo on April 24, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi JooJoo, I think the bitter flavor could come from one of 2 things — the tequila or perhaps when you zested the lime you included a little of the pith (which is the white layer that is immediately under the green and tastes pretty bitter).

      • — Jenn on April 28, 2020
      • Reply
      • Hi Chef Jenn,
        Which Tequila brands would you say work best for this recipe?

        • — JooJoo on April 28, 2020
        • Reply
  • My husband and daughter said it was the best chicken they’ve ever had. Thank you for a fantastic recipe!

    • — Jody Spiro on April 21, 2020
    • Reply
  • Spectacular recipe — I’ve made it twice now and it will be come a regular at my house. I made a couple of modifications:
    Used garlic infused olive oil
    Used two premade spice mixes from the Global Fusion line made by Spice Hunter instead of the spice mix in the recipe: Mexican Spice mix (2 tsp) + Spicy Garlic (1/2 tsp). Pretty much the same mix as in the recipe, and I’m lazy. 🙂

    • — Roma on March 14, 2020
    • Reply
  • Hi,
    Can I use Margarita to marinate the chicken instead of Tequila?
    Thank you.

    • — Venka R on March 6, 2020
    • Reply
    • I wouldn’t recommend it — sorry!

      • — Jenn on March 6, 2020
      • Reply
      • Thank you.

        • — Venka R on March 6, 2020
        • Reply
  • Oh my goodness this was an absolutely wonderful recipe, spectacular in its simplicity! I marinaded it 2 hrs because that’s all the time that had but next time I will marinade it over night, dry pan fried it while reducing the marinade in a separate pan, served it with a cilantro lime rice and a side if roasted asparagus.
    There are so many other sites that are way more complicated, give reasons why their recipes work, but fail to deliver. I know that when I need a recipe, I now go to you! Thank-you!!!!

    • — diana hubbardreplyuk on February 1, 2020
    • Reply
    • ❤️

      • — Jenn on February 2, 2020
      • Reply
  • Can this be cooked indoors? It sounds amazing, but I don’t have access to a grill. Thanks!

    • — Sue on January 13, 2020
    • Reply
    • Sure — hope you enjoy! 🙂

      • — Jenn on January 13, 2020
      • Reply
  • Can this be made with boneless thighs and on a skewer?

    • — Go bears on September 1, 2019
    • Reply
    • Yep 🙂

      • — Jenn on September 1, 2019
      • Reply
  • Delicious marinade. I didn’t have four hours – two were fine. Will definitely make this again

    • — Carol Gart on July 6, 2019
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  • Absolutely scrumptious recipe!! Served this with Jenn’s Black bean/corn/red pepper salad with the Chipotle dressing (sooooo good!!) and her Cornbread muffins and it was so easy and tasty!! High recommend. 😊

    • — Corinne Forster on June 21, 2019
    • Reply
  • This was amazing! The chicken stayed juicy and tender and was so tasty (side note: this would be good with boneless skinless thighs as well). I didn’t have ancho chili powder on hand so subbed in chipotle powder and used Mexican oregano. Definitely worth it to marinate for 8 hours. Thanks as always Jenn, love your blog!

    • — pandion haliaetus on June 11, 2019
    • Reply
  • Do we use just the zest of the lime or do we us the juice from the lime as well?

    • — Tina on May 9, 2019
    • Reply
    • Just the zest 🙂

      • — Jenn on May 10, 2019
      • Reply
  • If using lime zest can I marinade some chicken in advance and freeze. Then defrost and grill another night? Thanks – enjoy your website and recipes tremendously!

    • — Karen on May 1, 2019
    • Reply
    • Sure, Karen. Glad you like the recipes!

      • — Jenn on May 3, 2019
      • Reply
  • This is hands down my family’s favorite summer grilling recipe. I get asked to make it a lot and typically serve alongside of your Black Bean Salad with Corn, Red Peppers & Avocado With Lime-Cilantro Vinaigrette. I make no changes to the marinade but typically double the recipe and add a few extra chicken breasts for leftovers, which I usually turn into burritos using both the chicken and the salad…so insanely good!!!

    • — Lisa on April 11, 2019
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  • I used all the ingredients but I browned the chicken then put in crockpot and added the rest of the ingredients and about half a cup of water. It was was excellent then made white rice and used the juice of the chicken and poured It over the rice. Great recipe thank you,

    • — Patty on October 28, 2018
    • Reply
  • The corn side dish looks delicious! I want to make this with the chicken recipe. What recipe is that? The corn and black bean? It doesn’t look like it.

    • Hi Sandy, I don’t have a specific recipe for that side, but I do think the black bean and corn salad that you referenced would be delicious with the chicken.

  • Could I use thin sliced chicken breasts or does pounding to 1/2” tenderize the chicken? Also, now that I have your cookbook, it would be nice to know if recipes in your weekly newsletter are in it so I can skip printing.

    • Hi Mary, It definitely tenderizes them. If you want to skip that step, you can use chicken tenderloins as is. Hope that helps!

    • Do we use just the zest of the lime or do we us the juice from the lime as well?

      • — Tina on May 9, 2019
      • Reply
      • Hi Tina, You only use the zest. Hope that helps!

        • — Jenn on May 10, 2019
        • Reply
  • My husband and I loved this recipe even though I only marinaded it four hours. I’m definitely going to make it again.

  • Forgot the stars – 5 for sure! I make no changes to the recipe as written.

    • — Holly J. Steinbach
    • Reply
  • This recipe is fantastic – we always make it for fajitas – with bell peppers, poblanos, and onion strips sauteed. Yummy!

    • — Holly J. Steinbach
    • Reply
  • Midway through making the marinade, I realized I had ancho chili pepper, not powder. I only added 1/2 tsp, but not sure if other adjustments are needed.

    • It should be fine, Suzie – they are the same.

  • This is a great base recipe. I do like to add to the marinade is fresh orange juice and a little sugar with jalepeno juice. (ie vinegar from pickled jalepenos)

  • I have been using your site for a few years and have loved everything i’ve made, but this one I completely messed up. I marinated it overnight but that meant almost a full 24 hours by the time I cooked it. I halved the recipe and it came out moist. However, my daughter took one bite and spit it out, asking me what I had put on it and when I tasted it, it had a really strong tequila taste. It was totally inedible. Not sure whether it was the long marinade time or if I somehow got the measurements wrong. 🙁

  • Has anyone made this recipe as kabobs? Just wondering if it would turn out too dry. Making shrimp kabobs and wanted to add other options.

    • It should work well, Debbie. Enjoy!

  • Very Tasty even with shorter marinating. Easy and delicious recipe.

  • This is a fantastic recipe! I’ve made it all winter

  • Could I use this marinade for fish, such as cod?

    • Sure, Betty, but I’d limit marinating time to a few hours.

      • Yes, or else with the citrus and tequila you’re likely to have ceviche rather than grilled fish.

  • I LOVE this chicken recipe! It has so much flavor and everyone I’ve served it to absolutely loves it. It’s great on it’s own or shredded up for tacos. I actually just cut up the chicken breast into strips to marinate and then cook on the stove top. This has become my go-to chicken recipe. SO YUMMY!

  • Our whole family liked this chicken. It was really good. I served it with your Mexican Rice Pilaf and fresh corn on the cob.

  • Outstanding! Just outstanding! Loved this so much! Thank you!

  • Will def try this chicken … looks fabulous. Could you give us the recipe for the corn and tomato salad as shown in the pic?

    Thank you

    • Sure Cindy, here’s a link to it. Enjoy!

  • this is the best chicken i have ever had. tastes just like qdoba chicken

  • Delicious!

  • I plan to make this with the black-bean-salad-with-corn-red-peppers-avocado-lime-cilantro-vinaigrette for 2 other couples. I want to make something else to go along with it. Would you suggest another vegetable or your Mexican Rice pilaf? Or any other suggestions? I absolutely love this by the way!!!

  • Deeelish! Omitted garlic due to an allergy, but it wasn’t missed. This recipe is definitely a keeper!

  • My family adores all of your chicken recipes and this is especially a favorite. Thanks!!!

  • It is always a hit with family & friends, keep getting request to make it quite often.
    Thanks for the easy to follow recipe

  • Jenn,

    I do not have ancho chili powder and can’t fine any. Would chipotle chile powder work? Do I need to cut the measurement in half because of the heat factor in chipotle? Thanks and loooooove all of your recipes!!

    • Hi Michelle, Yes, that would work and I would definitely cut it in half — good call 🙂

  • Just made this and it was a hit with the entire family. We found the garlic to be slightly overpowering, so will try it again next time with 2 cloves of garlic instead of 4. Other than that, no changes.

  • Is there a non-alcoholic liquid I could sub for the tequila? I’ve learned the hard way that even small amounts trigger my husband’s RA so I don’t want to take that chance. Thanks! PS I loved the bean/corn/avocado/cilantro salad!

    • Hi Tammy, I would just replace the tequila with more olive oil — will still be delish 🙂

  • How long do you suggest grilling each side of the chicken?

    • Hi Gwynne, A few minutes per side should do it (just be sure the grill is nice and hot).

  • Hi Jenn! Just want to say that I made tequillla lime chicken, and served it with your Thai quinoa salad. The taste of all the fresh ingredients is so refreshing. These two recipes are a great combo. I only had 4 hours to marinade chicken, and it was still amazingly tasteful. There are only a few of your recipes that I haven’t made, I look at your site’s recipes everyday!

  • I made this recipe tonight and although the flavor was wonderful the texture of the chicken was quite rubbery. I’m not quite sure what went wrong, I make moist grilled chicken on a regular basis and I’ve never had this issue before. Any insight you could provide would be. appreciated. I’d love to make it again sans the texture. Thanks!

    • Hi Jamie, Sorry your chicken was tough. That wouldn’t caused by the marinade because there is no acid in it. Perhaps the chicken was previously frozen and improperly thawed? Or it could have just been overcooked.

      • Undercooked, not overcooked. A lot of the chicken that goes to market today is rubbery/tough to begin with. That is a side effect of the process used to develop those enormous breasts. To keep them tender, slice them horizontally, pound them to a uniform thickness, and cook them thoroughly. There should be NO pink, and juices should run clear when you cut it. Use an instant thermometer.

        And from the getgo, choose breasts that are soft and pliable when you poke them, right thru the plastic. If they feel like hockey pucks, they’ll be rubbery.

        • — sabrtooth1 on September 3, 2019
        • Reply
  • I love both the bean salad and the tequila lime chicken. Would you be able to freeze the chicken in the marinade so that it is ready for camping?

    • Hi Liz, Yes, that’s fine. Have fun!

  • This looks wonderful and I can’t wait to try it. However, I don’t have a grill. Would it work baked or broiled, or pan sauteed? Or best to bring it to a friend’s house who has one?

    • Hi Kay, I would either broil it or, better yet, bring it to a friend’s house 🙂

  • really very DELICIOUS and tasty. i will try this more and more time. thanks for nice sharing,

  • What is the minimum amount of time the chicken marinate? I’m a mom of 3 boys (soccer game, lax game and chasing down a 3 yr old), and I forgot to marinate ahead of time. Hopefully we can do this for dinner, if not plan B needs to be quickly implemented!

    • Hi Amanda, I’d say 3 for best results, but it will still be good if you don’t have as much time.

  • This is a fabulous recipe as is! Do not change a thing as the flavors are perfectly balanced. I am a caterer and have used this for small dinner parties with a Mexican theme. It pairs well with a fun take on a mexican-style brown rice with a lemon compound butter that I make, but it would work well with any fresh side dish that you would want to serve. The key is to make the side dish “fresh” so that it works well with the clean bright flavors of this chicken!

  • This is fantastic! 🙂
    I prepared for my girl, during the summer, and she loved it! It was a highlight for Summer 2014! It’s now Fall, she shows up with a bottle of Tequila, and of course being a wise man, I understood. So, with 3 tablespoons of Tequila for the chicken breast, and 2 shots for me, it’s gonna be a great Fall Sunday evening! Thanks for a super recipe! Simple, delicious – Most Rewarding! 🙂

  • will the chicken keep for 5or 6 days in a sealed glass bowl

    • Hi Foster, I’d probably only keep it a few days to be safe.

  • Really enjoyed this. The chicken came out really moist, the marinade was not overpowering and added a very nice flavor to the chicken.

  • Holy. Cow. This was AMAZING. I also made the Black Bean Salad with Corn, Red Peppers and Avocado in a Lime-Cilantro Vinaigrette to go along with it. My wife and I agreed- this is, so far, the best meal I have ever made- and back in the day, I cooked in a restaurant for seven years!

  • The corn salad viewed in the Tequila chicken is found where — Love to get your recipe for that too

  • I made this chicken over the weekend and it turned out great!! I did not really measure things out exactly, but it still turned out flavorful. Also, I had no idea that it was better to use lime zest than the lime juice for marinating chicken. I’m really happy with how the chicken turned out, and it was so easy. Thanks!

  • I’m sorry. You only mentioned using both chicken tenderloin AND chicken breasts in the ingredients list. In the directions you only mention chicken breasts.

    Made it with chicken breasts and LOVED it. All your recipes have been so wonderful!

    Thank you

  • In the ingredient list and in the directions You mention using both chicken tenderloins and chicken breasts. Is that correct or is it either/or?


  • Made this the other day and it was soooo good! Thank you for the recipe!

  • Thanks for posting this again, Jen. These are ingredients I almost always have on hand. I’m always looking for new chicken marinades and love your Moroccan chicken recipes. I didn’t know that citrus juice makes chicken leathery! Great to have the tip as well.

  • Hi, do you think this marinade would work well with pork? Believe it or not, my husband is allergic to chicken. 🙂

    • Hi Liz, Yes, I think that it would work well. Please let me know how it turns out!

      • It is fabulous with pork! My husband has a poultry allergy (I know… weird) so we couldn’t do chicken. We have had this marinade with pork tenderloin several times. We just recently had twins and since there just isn’t enough time to drink, we are happy to have another use for all the tequila we used to drink before children sucked the fun out of us. 🙂

  • We just finished this dish for supper. It was delicious. The blend of spices with the honey and Tequila was so flavorful. I made no substitutions. Loved that I could make the marinade in the morning while cleaning the kitchen and then had little to do but grill in the hot evening. I served this with a quinoa, black bean and corn salad. It went very well since the salad had a lime vinaigrette. This will be the next meal I cook for guests.

  • I really enjoy grilling foods and this is one of the best chicken recipes that I have made. I was only able to marinate the chicken for less than an hour and it still had very good flavor. Thanks for providing very flavorful and healthy recipes. I look forward to trying many more of your recipes.

  • I made this chicken this evening & I will definitely be making it again….. Delicious with the Thai Crunch Salad! Thank you, Jennifer!

  • Yummy, Can’t wait to try All The Great Recipes !!!

  • On our way to the grocery store, I decided we were going to make tequila lime chicken. I’ve never made it before and began my web search. I found your site and loved your version. I added cilantro to the marinade and made corn, with green chilies and red pepper. We just fired up the grill and I can’t wait!! A beautiful low calorie dinner….and we get to grill. 😀

  • Decided to make this for a Cinco de Mayo dinner for myself and husband. It was so tender and juicy; great blend of spices and flavors. Thanks for sharing the recipe and tips to make all of us “professionals”!

  • […] using Ancho Chili Powder and Chipotle Chili Powder, yum! Last but not least, the classic – Tequila Lime Chicken.  Jennifer over at Once Upon A Chef marinates her chicken in tequila, lime juice, and a bunch of […]

  • This chicken dish is the perfect companion to the Black Bean Salad . Since you already have all the ingredients at hand, why not go ahead and prepare this too. Add a little corn pudding and you have the perfect Southwestern meal.

  • Hi jenn, I made this chicken and it was delicious. I was just wondering what salad is beside the tequila chicken? It looks yummy!

    • Hi Katrina, That’s not a recipe I have on the site, but the chicken would go great with my black bean, corn and red pepper salad.

  • Can’t wait to give this a try- great for a summer barbecue!

  • Hello, the first time I made this I had to use regular chili powder. They other day i was able to pick up some ancho chile pepper. Is that same as Ancho Chile powder? Thanks

    • Hi Laura, Yes, it’s the same.

  • This was fantastic! We marinated it for about thirty hours as we had a change in plans and it was still great! With the two tsp. of honey, I wasn’t expecting much of a sweetness to it but there was. Can’t wait to make it again! Thanks so much for the recipe!

  • This made a light, elegant meal on a hot, late May evening when we were ready for a grilled meal but not ready to drag out the grill. The chicken cooked up on my indoor grill pan in no time and was moist and delicious. Will definitely make it again.

  • I love this chicken it is really refreshing with the black bean corn salad.

  • Wonderful flavors and so easy for a hot summer evening! Love it!

  • I tried this receipe last night. SO good. It was such an easy marinade and so much more flavor than store bought.

  • Spicy but delicious!

  • Yum-o!!! One of our favories in our meal rotation. Especially in the summer! Love it with the black bean and corn salad. A Must try!!!

  • Is there a substitute you could use for the ancho chili powder?? As I dont have it easily assessible here in Australia. Thanks

    • Hi Julie, If you can’t find it just use regular chili powder…it’s not the same, but definitely next best thing 🙂

  • My family loved this. We made it this past weekend and they are already asking for it again!

  • This was delicious!

  • This is one of the best chicken recipes I’ve ever made. I used the George Foreman and it was juicy, flavorful and delicious! Can’t wait to try it again on my new grill pan!

  • This was delicious! A great recipe… .

  • I love grilled lime chicken and am curious as to how it will taste with Tequila.

  • this is awesome! love the citrus and fresh taste.

  • Made this a few times it is great!

  • Yum! Definitely making this!

  • I enjoyed this recipe last night. Thank you for sharing it with us!

    I noticed on your photos that you often use the more expensive brand(s) of spices. Do you think it’s better to buy these than the large, bargain-bin types of spices? Also, do you ever use the jarred, minced garlic in your recipes, or do you think it’s better to always use fresh? I’ve been lazy and have used the jarred, thinking it may not matter.

    Thanks, Jennifer!

    • Hi Jennifer, On the spices, I don’t think it matters. I’m usually just too lazy to drive to Costco, plus I don’t have a lot of storage space for spices in my kitchen. For the garlic, I definitely prefer fresh to jarred. If you have a garlic press, it makes it a whole lot easier to mince. But that’s in a perfect world…better to use the jarred than none at all 🙂

  • Came to your site through Pinterest and can’t want to try some recipes.

    Could I bake this chicken so that I don’t have to wait to make it until summer?


    • Hi Jennifer, You won’t get the same nice char by baking these, but a grill pan would work great if you have one. Hope that helps!

  • Shoot, so that’s that one supspoes.

  • This is a beautiful picture! I’m making this this weekend and would love some insight into the recipe for the tomato corn salad. Thank you, in advance.

  • I don’t know how you do it, this is unbelievably scrumptious. You always have such full-flavored recipes, and this one hits it out of the park. Even in a NYC apartment, with an IKEA grill pan on the stove, this was probably the best chicken I’ve ever made. I can’t wait to make it again, it was a HUGE hit! Thank you!

  • I made this last weekend, along with a simple salad of grilled corn, red onion, tomato and avocado salad (just tossed w/ a little olive oil, lime zest and juice, cilantro, salt and pepper). The meal was amazing. My husband said it was the best chicken I ever made for him… never mind that it was substantially easier than some of the chicken recipes I have slaved over in the past! I will be adding this to my regular recipe stack. Thanks!

  • I really love south western flavors. Lovely photos, and this would be a great dish any time of the year.

  • We made this over 4th of July weekend with the bean salad and both were fabulous. Thanks for all the great recipes!

  • I just found your blog via pinterest. So far I haven’t come across a recipe that doesn’t look amazing!!! I can’t wait to try some of them.

  • You had me at grilled! and tequila! I am trying this very soon. Thanks for sharing it with us.

  • I just made the Grilled Tequila Lime Chicken for dinner. It is wonderful! I’ve made another recipe for it before and was not impressed but since I love your Perfectly Grilled Chicken Breasts with Lemon, Garlic and Herb Marinade I thought maybe this would be equally as good. It is! I will be making this again and again. Thank you!

  • Yummm… I think this is definitely something my picky boyfriend would eat. (The tequila probably doesn’t hurt!)

  • This look so yummy! Love all those flavors. And that corn salad looks so good too. Perfect summer meal 🙂

  • That looks beautiful… and perfect for an Arizona HOT 4th of July.. supposed to be 114 that day!

  • This looks amazing, love all of the flavors! What a great summer meal, will definitely try this one! Thanks, Chris

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