Tequila Lime Grilled Chicken

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Prep Time
25 mins
Cook Time
12 mins
Total Time
37 mins
Calories
347

Juicy grilled chicken breasts are infused with a mouthwatering blend of tangy, smoky, sweet and lightly spicy flavors. This Tequila Lime Chicken is hands down one of our favorite dinner ideas!

We love to serve this chicken on top of Cilantro Lime Rice, topped with my Easy Homemade Guacamole and of course my Ultimate Skinny Margarita to wash it all down.

Meet Your New Favorite Grilled Chicken Recipe

I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve been asked how to cook flavorful chicken. Every time this question comes my way, my response is the same – it’s all about the marinade! Even when chicken spends just a few minutes in a sumptuous medley of seasonings, it comes out more delightful.

Now imagine what will happen when the chicken soaks for longer! Not only does the marinade infuse your chicken with flavor, but it also makes it way more tender and juicy. The drool-worthy marinade in this recipe gets the job done in 20 minutes.

Tequila lime chicken – also known as margarita chicken – may be the most flavorful chicken of all. It’s loaded with zesty, sweet and smoky goodness, plus a touch of heat. Once it starts searing to perfection, everyone’s gonna line up by the grill! This recipe is definitely tied with my spice rub grilled chicken for our favorite summer grilling idea.

Tequila lime grilled chicken on a plate with chopped parsley sprinkled on top

What You’ll Need

It’s time to stop stressing over bland chicken! Round up these ingredients and flip the script.

  • Chicken Breasts: I use boneless, skinless breasts for this recipe. Feel free to use what you like, but keep in mind that bone-in chicken takes longer to cook.
  • Tequila: Don’t forget that the alcohol in the marinade will cause a flare-up when you first put the chicken on the grill. Take precautions!
  • Fresh Lime Juice: Try popping your lime into the microwave for 15-20 seconds before you squeeze it – this breaks open the juice capsules to give you more bang for your buck.
  • Fresh Lime Zest: Remember to zest the lime before you squeeze it.
  • Garlic Powder
  • Cumin
  • Honey
  • Smoked Paprika
  • Ancho Chili Powder: This kind of chili powder has a mild heat, so it’s generally safe for people who aren’t used to spicy food.
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt & Pepper: To taste.
A bottle of tequila, a halved lime, garlic powder and the rest of the grilled chicken ingredients on a kitchen countertop

How to Make Tequila Lime Grilled Chicken

Feeling hungry yet? Here’s all you have to do:

Make Marinade: Add all of the marinade ingredients (everything but the chicken) to a small bowl. Whisk until everything is combined.

Tequila being poured into a large glass bowl full of seasonings

Marinate Chicken: Transfer the chicken breasts to a large Ziploc bag or a container with an airtight lid. Pour the marinade over the chicken and seal the bag/container. Let the chicken marinate for at least 20 minutes.

Raw chicken breasts inside of a Ziploc bag with the marinade

Heat Grill: Preheat the grill to medium heat.

Cook Chicken: Place the marinated chicken onto the heated grill. WARNING: there’s tequila in the marinade so it’s going to flare up as soon as you put it on the grill. Grill each side.

Let Rest: Remove your tequila lime chicken from the grill and let it rest before you slice it. Garnish the chicken with cilantro and lime wedges if desired.

A plate of grilled chicken breasts on a marble counter with a dishtowel and a small dish of salt

Tips for the Best Results

You need a little bit more than a stellar marinade to make perfect grilled chicken. Hear me out!

  • Grill Responsibly: I know I’ve said it twice already, but it’s super important to note that alcohol causes flare-ups. Whenever you’re cooking with a marinade that contains it, be extra careful to avoid burning yourself. I strongly suggest using tongs to place your chicken onto the grill (and to flip it and remove it!).
  • Don’t Go Overboard: You may be tempted to marinate your chicken for an extended period of time in the hopes of achieving even more flavor. Since there’s lime juice in the marinade, this is not a good idea. After a while, the acidity of the citrus juice will start to make the chicken rubbery rather than tender. Avoid marinating it for longer than 3 hours.
  • Let the Chicken Rest: Don’t cut into your tequila lime grilled chicken until it’s had a change to sit for at least 5 minutes. This helps ensure juiciness in every bite.
  • How Do I Know When My Chicken is Done? Good question! I like to use an instant read meat thermometer to check the doneness of my chicken. Once it registers at 165°F, it’s good to go. You could even remove it from the grill at 164°F as the chicken will continue to cook for a moment.
A grilled chicken breast on a plate with lime slices and chopped fresh herbs

Serving Suggestions

Whether you’re attending a barbecue or cooking for your family at home, every entree could use a side dish to complement it. You can’t go wrong with the following examples.

A plate of tequila lime chicken on a marble countertop

How to Store and Reheat Leftovers

After it has cooled completely, leftover chicken should be refrigerated in an airtight container. Enjoy it within 2-3 days. Reheat the chicken over medium-low or medium heat until it reaches 165°F, about 5-6 minutes per side.

Can I Freeze Grilled Chicken Breasts?

Easily! Wrap each cooled chicken breast in plastic wrap and freeze them in a heavy-duty storage bag for up to 4 months. Thaw them out in the fridge overnight before you reheat them.

More Flavorful Grilling Recipes

Looking for more ways to make use of your grill this summer? I hear you loud and clear.

Print
A grilled chicken breast cut into ten slices on a plate with two whole chicken breasts

Tequila Lime Grilled Chicken

  • Author: Krista
  • prep_time Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • cook_time Cook Time: 12 minutes
  • total_time Total Time: 37 minutes
  • yield Yield: 4
  • category Category: Dinner
  • method Method: Grill
  • cuisine Cuisine: American

Description

Juicy grilled chicken breasts are infused with a mouthwatering blend of tangy, smoky, sweet and lightly spicy flavors. Tequila Lime Chicken is Southwestern cuisine at its finest!

Scale

Ingredients

  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/4 cup tequila
  • juice of 1 lime (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 2 tablespoons lime zest
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon ancho chili powder
  • 1/4 cup of olive oil
  • salt & pepper to season

Instructions

  1. Make Marinade: To a small bowl add tequila, lime juice, lime zest, garlic powder, cumin, honey, smoked paprika, ancho chili powder, salt, pepper and olive oil. Whisk to combine.
  2. Marinate Chicken: To a large ziplock bag add chicken breasts. Pour marinade over the chicken breast and seal. Let chicken marinate for at least 20 minutes
  3. Heat grill to medium heat, about 350-375°F.
  4. Place marinated chicken on the grill. WARNING: there is tequila in the marinade so it is going to flare up as soon as you put it on the grill.
  5. Grill each side for approximately 4-6 minutes.
  6. Remove from grill and let rest for 5 minutes before slicing. Garnish with cilantro and lime wedges.

Notes

  • To Store & Reheat: Refrigerate cooled chicken in an airtight container and enjoy it within 2-3 days. Reheat it over medium-low or medium heat until it reaches 165°F, about 5-6 minutes per side.
  • To Freeze: Wrap each cooled chicken breast in plastic wrap, then freeze them in a heavy-duty storage bag for up to 4 months. Thaw them out in the fridge before reheating.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 chicken breast
  • Calories: 347
  • Sugar: 2 g
  • Sodium: 116 mg
  • Fat: 15 g
  • Saturated Fat: 2 g
  • Carbohydrates: 4 g
  • Fiber: 1 g
  • Protein: 40 g
  • Cholesterol: 99 mg

Keywords: lime marinated chicken, chicken breast marinade, how to grill chicken

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Hey There

Krista
Hi! I'm the recipe developer and food photographer behind all these easy healthy recipes! I love food, Jesus, morning lattes, and am obsessed with fantasy football!

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24 Responses
  1. Julie @ This Gal Cooks

    Hi Krista!
    Thanks so much for participating in the Spiked! Challegne! Just a reminder, in order to be eligible to win, you must include the Spiked! button in your post.

    Have a great day!

    1. Krista

      oh… totally forgot. Thanks for the reminder. I’ve been out sick the past day and a half, stomach flu.. booo!

  2. Deb@CookingOnTheFrontBurner

    The chicken looks so good and I’m ready for some grilling after a long winter! I also like quick and easy recipes to try!

    1. Krista

      Thanks Deb! Glad the weather around your part of town is finally warming up. I gotta say… I definitely don’t miss those long winters I use to have in Wisconsin. 🙂 Hope you enjoy the recipe!

    1. Krista

      Thanks Diane, it is perfect as we start coming into those “grilling months”. {my favorite time of year} 🙂 Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving a sweet comment.

  3. Jelli

    This chicken looks fantastic. I love south-of-the-border inspired food, especially with lime and chipotle (don’t even get me started on how much I miss Chipotle the burrito chain since I moved from the US). Glad you and your husband can enjoy culinary fun together. Mine likes to cook, but prefers not to follow recipes. Thankfully, his meals are generally tasty but hard to replicate. Thank you for stopping by my blog today!

    1. Krista

      Thanks, I love south of the border food too. Its a good thing I ended up in Texas because they have a Tex-Mex restaurant on every corner. Major bummer on the Chipotle thing. I’m sure its one of the first stops you make when you come back to visit the US. 🙂 My husband likes to cook but he more so likes to eat haha… what man doesnt. 🙂 Sometimes he’ll even sit and watch the foodnetwork with me… now thats love! Glad I got a chance to see your blog and cant wait for the updates!

  4. Meredith @ unOriginalMom

    Oooo this looks delicious! Definitely gonna go on my list-of-things-to-make-hubby-grill 🙂 I like “Real Men Cook” too – and I love how you include helpful hints and photos to describe things they may not know how to do. My hubby doesn’t mind cooking, and he can follow a recipe pretty well, but asks me silly little questions on EVERY step just to make sure he doesn’t screw something up. But I think I could just have him read this post and he’d be good to go…and I could go put my feet up and relax while he grills!

    1. Krista

      haha… so funny you said that. I was having my husband read the recipe before I posted it. And he said what does “emulsify” mean and what does “minced” me. It was at that point I realized… hmm… I should probably tell the men what that means. 🙂 BOys!!! Can’t live with them and can’t live without them! Hope you and your hubbie enjoy the recipe. 🙂

  5. Cindy Eikenberg

    Krista, this chicken looks absolutely scrumptious! I love Real Men Cook, because my hubby is actually a pretty good cook! 🙂 (Not as good as me…lol, but good!) Thanks for sharing this recipe and have a wonderful weekend!! Pinning!!

    1. Krista

      Thanks Cindy.. Yeah.. thats 2 for “real men cook” looks like i’m changing the name. Sounds like our husbands are similar… and know there place in the kitchen hehe… hope you have a great weekend. As always thanks for stopping by! 🙂

  6. Gloria @ Simply Gloria

    I love “Real Men Cook”. What I see a lot over in my neck of the woods, and more so in this generation…is the WOMEN don’t know how to cook. It really blows my mind. I was brought up to already know how to cook and change (cloth) diapers when I was only 5! Justin and I are always in the kitchen together. Does Mike love/know how to cook?
    What a fun twist on chicken!

    1. Krista

      I KNOW!!! It’s crazy to me… I use to love going into the kitchen to help mom. Definitely going to make sure that my kids do that as they are going up, its how I learned to cook. 🙂 Yes, Mike definitely knows how to cook and well! I just need to stay out of the kitchen when he is doing it because I’m a control freak and watch him like a hawk to make sure he’s doing it the “right way”. Hope you have a great weekend GLoria! 🙂

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