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Grilled "sour orange" Mexican chicken

Try this chicken with south-of-the-border flavors for your next cookout.

Years ago, while shopping at one of my favorite Latino grocery stores, Tropical Foods in Boston's Roxbury neighborhood, I bought a bottle of something labeled "Naranja Agria", sour orange juice. It was sour, alright -- I found out the hard way -- not a juice for drinking, but a juice to use as a marinade.

Until recently, I'd forgotten all about sour orange. A few days ago, I had some regular orange juice in the refrigerator, and a pile of limes on the countertop, and the combination of the two approximates the flavor of that sour orange juice. It's not a concoction you'd want to drink for breakfast, but it does make a bright, fresh, quick marinade for chicken on the grill. Add a few spices like cumin, Mexican oregano and garlic, to highlight the south-of-the-border taste. The meat can't sit too long in a marinade containing lime juice, or it will begin to "cook" (like seviche). That's the beauty of this recipe, which is fast enough for weeknight dinner, and leftover grilled sour orange chicken is delicious in chicken salads or sandwiches the next day.

After a quick marinade in "sour orange" flavors, this south-of-the-border chicken will appeal to everyone!

Grilled "sour orange" Mexican chicken {gluten-free}

From the pantry you'll need: lime, cumin, Mexican oregano, garlic, chili powder, extra virgin olive oil, chicken breasts.

Serves 6.


6 Tbsp orange juice
6 Tbsp fresh lime juice (from 2 limes)
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp Mexican oregano
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp kosher salt, or more to taste
1/4 tsp fresh black pepper, or more to taste
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts


In a large bowl, whisk together all ingredients except the chicken. Marinate the chicken at room temperature for 30 minutes, turning once or twice during that time.

Heat your grill to high heat (or, you can cook this under the broiler).

Cook the chicken for 5 minutes on one side. Turn, and cook for 3-4 minutes on the second side, depending on the thickness of your chicken.

Serve at room temperature, or refrigerate for up to three days.

[Printer-friendly recipe.]

More grilled chicken:
Chicken bulgogi, from The Perfect Pantry
Not-too-spicy jerk chicken, from The Perfect Pantry
Shawarma-spiced grilled chicken with garlic yogurt, from Skinnytaste
Grilled chicken with balsamic vinegar, from Kalyn's Kitchen

Grilled chicken breasts with Mexican flavors, a fun start to any summer cookout!

Disclosure: The Perfect Pantry earns a few pennies on purchases made through the Amazon.com links in this post. Thank you for supporting this site when you start your shopping here.


I love sour fruit - oranges, cherries, etc. I wonder if this marinade would work with fish? My youngest is home for part of the summer, and he's a pescatarian. I'm running out of fish recipes!

Judy, with fish you have to be very careful about marinades with citrus, so that they don't begin to cook the fish (Have you ever had seviche that's been sitting in lime juice too long? It gets really mushy.) Try a quick marinade of 20 minutes.

Great take on the humble chicken breasts, which I make every week, no exception!

so I am always looking for a new way to bring it to the table - I bet the marinade would go great on chicken thighs, which I happen to have in the fridge staring at me right now....


Sally, I'm also an every-week-chicken kind of person! This simple marinade is a nice change of pace, made from ingredients that are probably already in your pantry.

I love the idea of this, which reminds me of some of the Cuban food I had a few times in MIami. Sounds like a winner!

Kalyn, you are absolutely right, those Cuban flavors are prominent in this chicken recipe. Hope you like it!

amazing article i will mention you in my next post

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