This spicy chicken marinade could not be easier and is truly the best! It's a go-to for summer get-togethers because it's easy to make a huge batch and people LOVE IT.
Our favorite marinade for grilled chicken! Every time I've made this for people, they have asked for the recipe. Which I think is the number one sign that you have a VERY GOOD dish on your hands.
When I say this is an easy marinade, I am not messing with you. Get all of your ingredients out. Put them in your blender. Blend them together. Marinate chicken. It takes 5 minutes!
- Orange juice - Let me tell you a secret. I know that people like me who write about food are supposed to be touting the superiority of freshly squeezed citrus juice, but I just don't think it's worth the effort here. For marinades or other cooked sauces with lots of strong flavors, I sub orange juice from a jug for fresh-squeezed lemon/lime juice. It is so much quicker and still delivers the same citrus punch/ability to tenderize.
- Honey - Just enough to give this chicken a sweet side. The honey will caramelize slightly as the chicken cooks and give the chicken a slightly sticky coating that is so satisfying.
- A can of chipotles in adobo - Yes, a whole 7 ounce can! This is what this marinade is all about. Spicy, smoky chipotles in adobo. You can find these in your grocery store's Mexican food aisle. If you want to dial down the spice, feel free to use just a couple peppers from a can - you'll still get so much delicious flavor!
- Dijon - You won't know it's there, but you'd know if it wasn't. Dijon mustard gives this chicken even more flavor.
- A head of garlic - Don't even bother peeling it. Garlic peels are everyone's least favorite thing about garlic. (It's science.) Just take a whole head, lob off the root end and discard, and put the cloves in the blender. The papery peels will get burned up during grilling.
Once your marinade is made, pour it over chicken in a large glass container and toss to coat, or combine in a freezer bag.
We like to use boneless, skinless chicken breasts for this, but use whatever chicken you prefer! If pieces are particularly thick, I'll cut them in half prior to marinading to maximize surface area.
You can marinate this chicken for as little as an hour, or up to overnight. Keep in mind that the longer it marinates, the spicer it will get!
You can make this marinade up to 3 days before using. You can also freeze any portion you're not using for later.
Once your chicken is marinading, you'll want to cook it within 18 hours - otherwise the citrus can affect the texture of the chicken.
Be sure to discard any marinade left after cooking your chicken - don't reuse it!
Eat this with
This marinade is so versatile and the chicken is good with so many things! Some of our favorite ways to eat this are:
- Whole pieces with some favorite Mexican side dishes (like these black beans)
- On salads
- On sandwiches
- In tacos/burritos
- In rice bowls
THE BEST Chipotle Chicken Marinade
- 2/3 cup orange juice
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1 (7 ounce) can chipotles in adobo
- 2 tablespoons Dijon
- 1 head garlic, root end removed and discarded (see note)
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 5 - 10 pounds chicken (we use boneless/skinless breasts, but use whatever you like!)
- Place orange juice, olive oil, honey, chipotles in adobo, Dijon, garlic, and salt in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.Pour over chicken and marinade for 1 hour to overnight. Grill until chicken is cooked through.