Mojo chicken is marinated in blend of citrus and spices, then grilled to perfection and paired with sweet, tangy pineapple salsa. Just add rice and beans for a Cuban-inspired dinner!
Grilling season is here, which means it’s a great time to take your grilling game to the next level. While grilled chicken breasts slathered with barbecue sauce are always good, there are so many more options when it comes to grilled chicken recipes.
This mojo chicken recipe is full of bold Caribbean flavors, and the grilled chicken breasts turn out juicy and tender because they’re marinated before they go on the grill. The combination of lime and orange juice in the marinade gives it just the right balance of sweet and tart, while shallot and garlic bring the savory flavor and jalapeño adds a spicy kick.
While the chicken is cooking, toss together a quick pineapple salsa for spooning over the chicken breasts and you have the perfect main dish for summer.
What You’ll Need
Scroll down to the recipe card below this post for ingredient quantities and full instructions.
For the grilled Cuban chicken:
- Boneless skinless chicken breasts – You can substitute chicken thighs if you’d like. Simply adjust the cooking temperature to medium-low, and the cook time to 15 to 20 minutes.
- Limes – Depending on the size and juiciness of your limes you may need 1 or 2. To select the juiciest limes, look for smooth thin skin that feels plump.
- Dried oregano
- Ground cumin
- Jalapeño – Add as much or as little as you like, according to your taste preferences.
- Olive oil
For the pineapple salsa:
- Pineapple – Fresh is best, but frozen will work in a pinch.
- Red bell pepper
- Red onion
- Cilantro – If you’re not a fan of cilantro, mint or basil will work here.
- Lime juice
How to Make Mojo Chicken With Pineapple Salsa
Make sure you account for the marinating time when planning for this recipe! You’ll need to let the chicken marinate for at least an hour.
Prep the citrus. Zest the lime and orange, then juice them. You should have 1/4 cup of lime juice and 1/3 cup of orange juice.
Make the marinade. Place the zest, juice, oregano, cumin, salt, garlic, shallot, jalapeño, cilantro, and oil in a blender or food processor and blend until the mixture is smooth.
Marinate the chicken. Place the chicken in a dish. Pour the marinade over the chicken and let it marinate for 1 hour, or up to overnight.
Make the salsa. Toss all of the salsa ingredients in a medium bowl; chill the salsa until you’re ready to use it.
Cook and serve. Grill the chicken over medium heat, turning every 5 to 6 minutes until the chicken is just cooked through and registers 165°F on a thermometer. Let the chicken rest for 10 minutes before slicing, then serve with the pineapple salsa.
Tips for Success
Here are some of my best tips for perfect grilled mojo chicken:
- Don’t have a grill? No problem! You can cook the chicken in a grill pan or skillet on the stove over medium heat. Just be sure to use a little oil in the pan so the chicken doesn’t stick.
- No blender or food processor? You can finely chop the shallot, cilantro, jalapeño, and minced garlic, then mix with the remaining ingredients.
- Adjusting the heat. The heat level of this marinade is pretty mild, but you can make it milder by removing all of the seeds and membranes from the jalapeño. Make it hotter by leaving the seeds and membrane in.
- Making the salsa sweeter. If your fresh pineapple is under ripe or not very sweet, you can grill it to help bring out the sugars and caramelize the outside. You can even grill the lime halves before you juice them to lend a smoky flavor to the salsa.
Here’s how to make this Cuban chicken a meal:
- Serve it with rice and black beans.
- Or, pair it with baked sweet potatoes or plantains.
- Use it as a protein for your next burrito bowl.
- Wrap it in a tortilla with your favorite burrito fillings, or use it to make tacos.
How to Store and Reheat Leftovers
Leftover mojo chicken will keep in the fridge for up to 3 days. Reheat it in the microwave or oven until it’s warmed through. The salsa will also keep for up to 3 days in the refrigerator.
Can This Recipe Be Frozen?
You can also freeze mojo chicken. Let it cool completely, then place it in a freezer-safe container or bag and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge, then reheat as desired.
Mojo Chicken With Pineapple Salsa
For the chicken:
- 1–1 ½ pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, trimmed
- 2 limes
- 2 oranges
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 8 cloves fresh garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
- 1 small shallot, peeled and roughly chopped
- 1 small jalapeno, seeded and roughly chopped
- ¼ cup cilantro, roughly chopped
- ½ cup olive oil
For the pineapple salsa:
- 2 cups pineapple, small dice
- ½ cup red pepper, small dice
- ¼ cup red onion, small dice
- ¼ cup cilantro, chopped
- 1 small jalapeno, seeded and finely diced
- 2 Tablespoons fresh lime juice
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Remove the zest from 1 lime and 1 orange. Juice lime and oranges. This should yield about ¼ cup lime juice and ⅓ cup orange juice.
- Add zest, juice, oregano, cumin, salt, garlic, shallot, jalapeno, cilantro and oil in a blender or food processor and blend until combined. Pour over chicken and let marinate for 1 hour, or up to overnight.
- For the salsa: Mix all ingredients in a medium bowl and set aside.
- Grill chicken over medium heat turning every 5-6 minutes until chicken is just cooked through and registers 165°F on a thermometer, about 10-15 minutes; 15 – 20 if thick. Rest chicken for 10 minutes before slicing, then serve topped with the pineapple salsa.
- Boneless, skinless chicken thighs are easily substituted by adjusting cooking temp to medium low, and cook time to 15-20 minutes.
- Look for chicken breasts that are smaller, and pink in color. Large, pale chicken breast with a wood grain appearance will have an unpleasant rubbery texture.
- If your chicken breasts are large you can also make them into cutlets by slicing in half horizontally. Or they can be pounded out with a mallet or heavy skillet to an even thickness for more even cooking. Additionally, chicken breasts can be finished in a 350℉ oven until thickest part of the chicken reaches 165℉, or juices run clear.
- Red onion can be tamed by soaking it in ice water for a few minutes to remove some of the sharpness.
- Leftover chicken and salsa can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition information can vary for a variety of reasons. For the most precise nutritional data use your preferred nutrition calculator based on the actual ingredients you used in the recipe.