Light Tasting Citrus Chicken to Make Ahead


Any make ahead dish gets my attention because who has time just before dinner to get everything together? Plus, the light citrus flavor is satisfying.

Chicken is always a good start for a satisfying meal.  It offers a variety of textures and flavors just by virtue of the different cuts of meat if you will.  The citrus marinade I used for this recipe adds a combination of orange and the traditional Mexican lime flavor to the juices and is quite tasty.  You can marinate the chicken for an hour at room temperature if you are rushed, but overnight in the refrigerator will really help the marinade to soak in.

I like making this recipe the day before and marinating overnight.  It not only helps the flavor to soak through, but it takes some of the burden of preparation off of the day of the meal!


Ingredients List:

  • 1 chicken cut up
  • 1 Tbsp. mild chili powder
  • 1 Tbsp. paprika
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • Juice and rind of 1 orange
  • Juice of 3 lime
  • Sugar
  • 8 – 10 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 2-3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
    ½ cup beer, tequila or pineapple juice
  • Salt and pepper



1. Clean the chicken and place in a nonmetal bowl.  Make sure to wash your hands and any utensils or surfaces that touched the raw chicken as well.


2. Make the marinade by mixing the rest of the ingredients together.  Use the salt and pepper to add flavor to your taste.


3. Pour the marinade over the chicken and stir things up a bit to make sure all pieces are coated.  As I mentioned earlier, the chicken can marinate at room temperature for an hour or it can go in the refrigerator over night.


4. I made two whole chickens so I cooked them in shifts, the larger breasts first.  Place them on a broiler pan with foil and pierce through so the juices will drain and put under the broiler for 20-25 minutes, turning half way through.

My experience with this was that the chicken burned very fast and didn’t get cooked in the center, so I moved my oven rack down and when the breasts were as dark as I thought I could take, I removed them and put them in the microwave for a minute or two to finish cooking the insides.


In the meantime, I put the smaller pieces in to broil and they cooked up quite nicely.

To serve you may garnish the chicken with cilantro and add lime wedges to add extra lime juice to taste!

This recipe is from a Mexican cookbook I have had for years called “Cookshelf Mexican” and the recipes are by Marlena Spieler.  I didn’t taste the chicken since I am a vegetarian, but my family and friends thought it was flavorful.  They didn’t seem to taste the lime so I think the addition of the wedges would help enhance the citrus flavor.  If you try this, let me know how you it worked out for you and we’ll make adjustments if needed!!


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