Grilled tequila lime chicken features tender, juicy tequila marinated chicken. It’s a flavorful, easy summer dinner that’s perfect for tacos, burrito bowls or served with your favorite sides!

Grilled tequila lime chicken on a white platter

I’ve been grilling a ton lately and I’m certainly not mad about it. My Grilled BBQ chicken has been on repeat, and we can’t seem to make enough grilled burgers!

This Tequila Lime Chicken is a recipe I turn to when I want to change things up.

It’s not your average grilled chicken breast because it’s got the fresh, bright flavors of tequila and lime, with warm spices to round things out.

There are so many ways to serve it up — the sky is truly the limit!

Sliced tequila lime chicken breast on a white plate

Why you’ll love this recipe:

  • Tequila lime chicken is marinated in a flavorful mixture of tequila, fresh lime juice, olive oil and spices, then it’s grilled to tender, juicy perfection.
  • It’s an easy dinner that’s great for summer gatherings or busy weeknights.
  • It can be prepped ahead of time and left to marinate a day ahead, and may be frozen as well.
  • This recipe is extremely versatile and may be enjoyed with your favorite side dishes, in tacos or atop a salad.

Recipe ingredients

This grilled tequila lime chicken includes just a few ingredients as shown below.

Tequila lime chicken ingredients

Ingredient notes

  • Chicken breasts. You can definitely opt to use skin-on, bone-in chicken for this tequila lime chicken recipe, but I chose to use boneless skinless chicken breasts because it cooks up so quickly. Pro tip: Pound the chicken out to even thickness for evenly cooked chicken!
  • Tequila. I prefer silver tequila for its milder flavor. You can use your favorite, just don’t use the cheapest one you can find as it will affect the final flavor of the dish.
  • Lime juice. Freshly squeezed is best. You’ll need to juice about two large limes to get enough juice for the tequila lime chicken marinade.
  • Spices. I used a combination of garlic powder, smoked paprika and cumin. These can be changed up based on what you have on hand.

How to make this recipe

There are only a few simple steps required to grill juicy, flavorful tequila lime chicken.

Pro tip:  The longer the chicken marinates in the tequila marinade the more tender and flavorful it will be.

See the recipe card below for full instructions.

How to make grilled tequila lime chicken
  1. Whisk the tequila, lime juice, olive oil and spices together until combined.
  2. Pound the chicken to even thickness and marinate for a minimum of 2 hours or overnight.
  3. Grill the chicken for 6-8 minutes until grill marks form, then flip and cook for an additional 6-8 minutes or until an instant read thermometer registers at 160 degrees.
  4. Allow the chicken to rest for 5-10 minutes before serving to allow the juices to redistribute.
Grilled tequila lime chicken on a platter with lime slices and cilantro

FAQs

What does tequila do in a marinade?

The tequila adds flavor, while the the acid in the lime helps tenderize the chicken to make it tender and juicy.

What does tequila chicken taste like?

The tequila lime marinade give this chicken bright, fresh flavor like that of a classic margarita, along with the warm spices of chili powder, smoked paprika and cumin to round things out. The tequila is more of a background flavor…it’s very subtle.

Can this recipe be made in advance?

The chicken may be marinated in advance and even be frozen!  Remove from the fridge, thaw and voila! — you have perfect marinated chicken.

Can another cut of chicken be used?

The tequila lime chicken marinade can also be used on chicken drumsticks, thighs, and so on. Just note that different cuts of chicken will have different cook times than what’s listed in the recipe card below.

Serving suggestions

This grilled tequila chicken can be served a number of ways as follows.

Recipe notes

  • Pro tip:  The longer the chicken marinates in the tequila marinade the more tender and flavorful it will be.
  • Pound the chicken breast out to even thickness prior to marinating to ensure that it cooks evenly.
  • Tequila lime chicken may be marinated in advance and even frozen.  Remove from the fridge, thaw and you have perfect marinated chicken.
  • The chicken may be served as-is with your favorite sides, as tacos or as burrito bowls with cilantro lime rice and black beans.
Fork digging into sliced tequila chicken

More grilling recipes you’ll love:

Did you try this recipe?

If so, be sure to leave a comment and star rating below, and don’t forget to tag @flavorthemoments on Facebook and Instagram!

Grilled tequila lime chicken on a white platter

Grilled Tequila Lime Chicken

Grilled Tequila Lime Chicken features tender, juicy chicken breast in a flavorful tequila lime marinade. It's grilled to perfection for the ultimate summer dinner!
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Ingredients

For the chicken:

  • 1 1/2 lbs. boneless skinless chicken breasts pounded to 1/2" – 3/4" thickness
  • 1/4 cup silver tequila
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice about 2 large limes
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika

Instructions 

  • Place the chicken breasts in a zip top bag, release the air and seal, then pound to 1/2"-3/4" thickness. Season well with salt and pepper.
    1 1/2 lbs. boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • In a small bowl, whisk the tequila, lime juice, olive oil, garlic powder, cumin and smoked paprika until combined.  Pour the marinade over the chicken and massage into the chicken.  Marinate in the refrigerator for a minimum of 2 hours or overnight.  Remove the chicken from the refrigerator 1-2 hours prior to cooking to bring to room temperature.
    1/4 cup silver tequila, 1/4 cup fresh lime juice, 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin, 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • Preheat the grill to medium heat. Grill for 6-8 minutes on the first side until grill marks form, then turn and cook another 6-8 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. 
  • Remove from heat and cover loosely with foil for 5-10 minutes to allow the juices to redistribute before serving.

Notes

  • Pro tip:  The longer the chicken marinates in the tequila marinade the more tender and flavorful it will be.
  • Pound the chicken breast out to even thickness prior to marinating to ensure that it cooks evenly.
  • Tequila lime chicken may be marinated in advance and even frozen.  Remove from the fridge, thaw and you have perfect marinated chicken.
  • The chicken may be served as-is with your favorite sides, as tacos or as burrito bowls with cilantro lime rice and black beans.

Nutrition

Calories: 327kcal, Carbohydrates: 2g, Protein: 36g, Fat: 15g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 9g, Trans Fat: 0.02g, Cholesterol: 109mg, Sodium: 198mg, Potassium: 655mg, Fiber: 0.1g, Sugar: 0.3g, Vitamin A: 122IU, Vitamin C: 7mg, Calcium: 12mg, Iron: 1mg

Nutrition is estimated using a food database and is only intended to be used as a guideline for informational purposes.

Did you try this recipe?Be sure to tag @flavorthemoments with the hashtag #flavorthemoments on Instagram so I can see what you made!

**This recipe was originally published in July 2018. The recipe and photos have been updated, step by step photos have been added, and the text has been modified to include more recipe information.

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