Mojo marinade for chicken is one of our favorite easy grill recipes in summer. This Cuban mojo marinade recipe blends fresh herbs with a few pantry ingredients for a flavorful and easy way to grill chicken.
Continuing our experiment with marinades for the grill this summer, I've been on the hunt for new things to do with our chicken. First, we tried this amazing lemon dijon marinade. It was such a hit, but then I stumbled across a Cuban mojo marinade that was intended for a huge cut of pork that looked to DIE for and was curious if I could make it work for poultry.
Yep, and Yep.
While I made this chicken marinade on a busy weeknight with just a simple side of couscous and a heaping mountain of fresh watermelon, I'm looking forward to trying our hand at a chicken version of Cuban sandwiches with fresh crusty bread sometime soon.
What is Cuban mojo marinade?
A mojo marinade is a blend of juicy citrus fruits mixed with fresh herbs (usually cilantro and mint) and seasonings including garlic, cumin, and oregano. Despite all the fruit, the final dish doesn't taste sweet and fruity, but more savory and bright.
If your kids love tacos, this would be an excellent chicken marinade to add into your mix. The final flavor pairs really well with traditional taco toppings like sour cream, cilantro, and chopped tomatoes.
Cuban mojo marinade is perfect for cooking with kids:
I'm lucky to have my little handy helpers home this summer. The Peanut especially enjoyed helping me pull this one together. She ran the Cuisinart like a boss and loved shaking up the final mix in a mason jar.
As we were adding the ingredients, she noticed that many of them cross over with taco seasonings (cumin and garlic) and the fresh salsa we made last week (cilantro and lime juice). The Peanut was surprised to see us pouring orange juice into the mix and grabbing fresh mint from our herb garden. That is seriously one of the best parts about cooking with your kids--they start to pick up on this kind of thing and it makes them curious to taste the new recipes!
How much marinade do you need for your chicken?
Our initial test of the mojo marinade created too much liquid so I've scaled it way back for the 1.5 pounds of chicken thighs we used. With all the sugar from the fruit juices be very careful not to overcook the meat. The sweet marinade burns quickly (as I sadly discovered.) I was able to salvage dinner, but the chicken was overdone. We can't wait to try this recipe again because the mojo marinade itself had our whole house smell amazing.
What can I make with Cuban mojo marinade?
The mojo marinade is great on grilled chicken or with pork. You can use the marinaded meat in any of these dishes:
- Eat your marinaded pork or chicken on its own with our favorite Mexican rice side dish.
- Use the pork or chicken to make a Cuban sandwich and serve it with salty potato or plantain chips.
- Shred the meat and make Cuban quesadillas.
- Or make a Cuban sandwich inspired salad with this recipe.
I hope you enjoy this for your grilling season rotation!
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- ⅓ cup fresh orange juice (I used an orange + mango blend but plain is fine too.)
- ¼ cup fresh lime juice
- ½ cup cilantro, finely chopped
- 2 tbsp lightly packed mint leaves, finely chopped
- 4 garlic cloves
- 1 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1 teaspoons ground cumin
- Kosher salt and pepper
- 1.5 - 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs
In a food processor add the orange juice, lime juice, cilantro, mint, and smashed cloves of garlic. Pulse until everything is chopped finely but not fully pureed. If you don't have a processor, you can chop everything by hand.
Combine the juice and herb blend with the olive oil, oregano, cumin, and salt and pepper. We just shook it up in a mason jar.
Use to marinate the chicken overnight or for at least several hours. Cook as desired, but watch for burning because of the fruit juices.