Our Whole30 Southwest Chicken Marinade is flavorful, easy, and delicious, and can be served so many ways! The marinade only uses four easy ingredients and is quick and budget-friendly. We know it will become a regular in your family’s dinner rotation!
Taco seasoning, fresh lime juice, oil, and salt is all it takes to whip this up! We love using our Homemade Taco Seasoning recipe to keep this accessible and budget-friendly. The amount of taco seasoning in this recipe is equal to one batch of our homemade taco seasoning. Any compatible taco seasoning works just as well – just be sure it has no sneaky sugars or unallowed additives.
Grill, air-fry, or oven-bake!
Whisk ingredients together, add chicken, then allow to marinate for a minimum of 30 minutes. For the most flavorful result, marinate overnight or up to 24 hours. Next, choose what cooking method works best for you – grill, oven, or air fryer!
You can use bone-in chicken thighs or boneless skinless chicken breasts with this Southwest Chicken Marinade. For chicken breasts, we recommend using pounding them into thinner, uniform pieces. Or, cut them in half horizontally for quicker and more even cooking. Alternatively, you can pierce each chicken breast with a fork a few times to help the marinade infuse the chicken even more.
If you are meal prepping, you can throw it into the freezer to pull out on a busy week. Marinated chicken can go straight into the freezer after combining the chicken with the marinade. We use reusable zip-top bags or glass containers with a lid, but a ziplock bag works just as well! (No need to marinate it before freezing, as it will marinate in the freezer and as it thaws.)
Note that frozen chicken must be fully thawed before cooking, so pull it out the night before to ensure it’s ready for prep time. (Chicken should not be left to marinate for over 24 hours, as raw chicken will begin to break down and become mushy).
Whole30 Southwest Chicken Marinade
Whole30 Southwest Chicken Marinade
- 2 tbsp taco seasoning
- 1/4 cup lime juice (about two small limes)
- 1/3 cup avocado or olive oil
- 1-1.5 lbs chicken thighs or breasts
- WHISK together all the ingredients except the chicken in a medium bowl.
- ADD chicken and combined marinade into a zip-top reusable bag or glass container. Seal or cover and marinate in the fridge for at least 30 minutes, up to 24 hours.
- TO GRILL – Preheat the grill to medium-high heat. Brush the grill with oil so the chicken won’t stick. Cook 4-5 minutes on each side until chicken has sear marks and is cooked through, with an internal temperature of 165 °F. Remove from the grill and cover with foil. Let rest for 10 minutes to let juices redistribute before cutting.
- OVEN BAKE – Preheat your oven to 425 °F. Pour the marinade and chicken into a 9×9 pan. Bake uncovered for 20-25 minutes, flipping halfway through. Cook until lightly browned and is no longer pink inside or has reached an internal temperature of 165 °F. Let rest for 10 minutes before cutting into it.
- AIR FRY – Add the chicken to your air fryer basket and air fry at 400 °F for 9-10 minutes, flipping halfway if the chicken is overlapping at all. Cook until lightly browned and is no longer pink inside or has reached an internal temperature of 165 °F. Let rest for 10 minutes before cutting into it.
- TO FREEZE – Marinated chicken can go straight into the freezer after combining the chicken with the marinade in either a sealed reusable zip-top bag or a glass container with a lid. No need to marinate it before freezing, as it will marinate in the freezer. The frozen chicken in the marinade does need to be thawed fully before cooking, so be sure to pull it out the night before you want to cook.
Recipe Creator | Whole Food for 7