How Do I Choose the Best Lime Chicken Marinade?

Cynde Gregory
Cynde Gregory
Jalapeno peppers are often used to make a lime chicken marinade.
Jalapeno peppers are often used to make a lime chicken marinade.

Good cooks have known for a long time that the bright, tart taste of lemon livens up a wide range of chicken dishes. Great cooks also know that lime, lemon’s near twin, offers its own flavor shimmers to chicken as well as to other types of poultry. The best lime chicken marinade helps tenderize the meat while infusing it with lime’s bright bite.

Choosing the best lime marinade is largely a matter of taste. Premixed marinades are available in most grocery stores, although complex ones that are made without preservatives might require a trip to a specialty market. In addition to lime, other flavor elements to look for include cilantro, hot chili peppers, basil, or other herbs. Honey and garlic are also frequently used as ingredients.

Basil can be a good addition to chicken marinades.
Basil can be a good addition to chicken marinades.

Of course, marinades in general are easy to throw together and allow a great deal of successful experimentation. Some cooks purchase a few marinade combinations to determine which their families prefer and then strike out on their own or with the help of a recipe to create something new. While lime chicken marinade might be too complex for the palates of many children, adding a dollop of honey is often all it takes to smooth out the flavors and mellow them with a bit of sweet so that even picky little eaters can be coaxed into a delicious taste.

If the chef is working with skinless chicken breast, it's best to coat the meat in oil before cooking it.
If the chef is working with skinless chicken breast, it's best to coat the meat in oil before cooking it.

Adult diners are particularly fond of adding tequila to the lime chicken marinade to add depth. In addition, the tequila also helps with the tenderizing process. A little garlic and perhaps a dash of heat delivered by adding some jalapeno pepper is all it takes, along with a soak of several hours. This marinade is perfect for lazy summer grilling.

Lime is sturdy enough to stand up to beer’s strong flavors and even enhance them. A little honey sweetens the beer bite, and cilantro is the perfect herbal foil. If the cook is working with skinless chicken breasts, it’s a good idea to add a little oil to coat the meat and protect it from the grill’s heat.

Adding honey to lime chicken marinade can make it sweeter for picky eaters.
Adding honey to lime chicken marinade can make it sweeter for picky eaters.

Adding a little peanut butter to a basic lime chicken marinade will result in an entirely different taste. Fans of ginger will enjoy tasting its zing in this marinade. An Asian lime chicken variation can be constructed by adding a few shakes of soy or teriyaki sauce.

The curious cook will quickly discover that creating an excellent lime chicken marinade is simply a matter of experimenting. Adding other citrus notes with orange or lemon zest or a splash of pineapple juice is one way to go. Trying out different combinations of herbs can also produce excellent results.

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    • Jalapeno peppers are often used to make a lime chicken marinade.
      By: epantha
      Jalapeno peppers are often used to make a lime chicken marinade.
    • Basil can be a good addition to chicken marinades.
      By: Barbara Pheby
      Basil can be a good addition to chicken marinades.
    • If the chef is working with skinless chicken breast, it's best to coat the meat in oil before cooking it.
      By: Christian Jung
      If the chef is working with skinless chicken breast, it's best to coat the meat in oil before cooking it.
    • Adding honey to lime chicken marinade can make it sweeter for picky eaters.
      By: Elzbieta Sekowska
      Adding honey to lime chicken marinade can make it sweeter for picky eaters.
    • Adding tequila to lime chicken marinade gives the sauce an additional kick.
      By: tarasov_vl
      Adding tequila to lime chicken marinade gives the sauce an additional kick.