Key West Chicken Marinade

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A homemade recipe of a famous Key West Chicken Marinade. This grilled chicken has a cilantro lime marinade that is slightly sweet and tangy.

Table of Contents
  1. About this Key West Chicken Marinade Recipe:
  2. Key West Chicken Marinade Ingredients
  3. What chicken is best for this marinade?
  4. How to Make Key West Chicken
  5. What goes good with Key West Chicken?
  6. Key West Chicken Marinade Recipe
  7. Other Chicken Dinner Recipes

I came across a chicken recipe on Allrecipes.com that got rave reviews. It was called Key West chicken and had flavors of lime, garlic, zesty soy sauce and honey. I decided to try it out since it is the time of year for great summer grilling recipe.

In trying it, we tweaked the recipe slightly to have more flavor. Fresh herbs such as thyme and cilantro, cumin and a jalapeño pepper for kick. This is an easy chicken marinade loaded with flavor. The Key West grilled chicken is great on its own, but also delicious on a salad topped with fresh fruit salsa.

grilled chicken on a plate with fresh herbs

About this Key West Chicken Marinade Recipe:

  • Flavor: The soy sauce, vinegar, honey and lime make this chicken sweet & tangy. You’ll love the added spice from the jalapeño pepper.
  • Texture: The vinegar and lime juice tenderize this chicken. And as long as you don’t overcook it, the chicken will be tender and juicy. Perfectly sliceable.

Key West Chicken Marinade Ingredients

The list for this fabulous marinade may seem long, but it is super easy to mix up and it is such a great blend of flavors.

You’ll need:

  • Soy sauce. Use coconut aminos to have this be gluten free.
  • Olive oil. Or vegetable oil.
  • Honey
  • Lime
  • Red wine vinegar
  • Orange
  • Garlic
  • Jalapeño
  • Fresh thyme and fresh cilantro
  • Cumin seed
  • Dried oregano
  • Salt and pepper

For the fullest flavor, use the ingredients as they are stated. Make sure the thyme and cilantro are fresh and that you are using fresh pressed garlic and fresh limes juice and oranges.

What chicken is best for this marinade?

Boneless, skinless chicken breasts are our favorite choice for this recipe. However, you could use chicken thighs or chicken tenderloins and it would be great, too.

Chicken breasts are often very large when you buy them at the grocery store. If that is how yours are, slice them in half lengthwise. The chicken breast halves will be easier to pound thin.

How to Make Key West Chicken

  • Combine soy sauce, oil, honey, lime juice, red wine vinegar, orange juice, crushed garlic, chopped jalapeño, thyme, cilantro, and cumin seed in a food processor or blender. Purée.
sauce ingredients in a mini food processor
  • Place chicken breast between 2 sheets of plastic wrap. Lightly pound meat with a meat mallet until it is even thickness. This will tenderize the meat and make it easier to cook.
pounding a chicken breast to even thickness in plastic wrap
  • Add chicken to a casserole dish and pour marinade over the chicken. Marinate for 1 hour in the refrigerator.
chicken marinating in lime garlic sauce
  • Preheat the grill to a high heat, about 450º Fahrenheit.
  • Remove the marinated chicken. Do not pat dry. Season chicken with oregano, salt, and pepper.
  • Place chicken directly onto the grill grates. Cook for 4-5 minutes per side. The internal temperature of the chicken should read 165ºF.
chicken on a grill

We LOVE our Thermoworks ThermaPen meat thermometer to quickly test chicken temperatures. This probe thermometer is AMAZING.  Get it here.

What goes good with Key West Chicken?

This chicken is excellent served with cilantro lime rice and a fruit salsa such as mango salsa or pineapple salsa. Load up a bowl with rice, top with chicken and then salsa on the top.

Looking for veggies to have with it? Our favorite sides are a fresh salad, roasted broccoli or asparagus.

overhead view of 2 grilled chicken breasts
overhead view of 2 grilled chicken breasts

Key West Chicken Marinade

4.65 from 17 votes
A copycat recipe of the famous Key West Chicken. This grilled chicken has a cilantro lime marinade that is slightly sweet and tangy.
Servings 4
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Marinate Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 25 minutes

Ingredients
 

For the chicken marinade:

  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 lime juiced
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 orange juiced
  • 8 cloves garlic crushed
  • 1 jalapeño seeded and chopped
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme
  • 1 tablespoon fresh cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seed
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts

Optional Toppings:

Instructions
 

  • Combine soy sauce, oil, honey, lime juice, red wine vinegar, orange juice, crushed garlic, chopped jalapeño, thyme, cilantro, and cumin seed in a food processor or blender. Purée.
  • Place chicken breast between 2 sheets of plastic wrap. Lightly pound meat with a meat mallet until it is even thickness. This will tenderize the meat and make it easier to cook.
  • Add chicken to a casserole dish or other shallow container and pour marinade over the chicken. Marinate for 1 hour in the refrigerator. (You can also marinate the chicken in a Ziplock bag.)
  • Preheat the grill to 450º Fahrenheit.
  • Remove chicken from the marinade. Do not pat dry. Season chicken with oregano, salt, and pepper. Discard marinade that is left over.
  • Place chicken directly onto the grill grates. Cook for 4-5 minutes per side. The internal temperature of the chicken should read 165ºF.
  • Garnish with chopped cilantro, then serve with cilantro lime rice, lime wedges and mango salsa.
  • Store any leftovers in the refrigerator in an airtight container.

Notes

This chicken makes great kebabs, too! Simply use wooden skewers or bamboo sticks to skewer the chicken in bite size pieces.
Refer to the article above for more tips and tricks.
The calories shown are based on the recipe making 4 servings, with 1 serving being 1 chicken breast. Since different brands of ingredients have different nutritional information, the calories shown are just an estimate. **We are not dietitians and recommend you seek a nutritionist for exact nutritional information. The information in the nutrition box are calculated through a program and there is room for error. If you need an accurate count, I recommend running the ingredients through your favorite nutrition calculator.**

Nutrition

Calories: 183kcal | Carbohydrates: 13g | Protein: 25g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 72mg | Sodium: 967mg | Potassium: 561mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 216IU | Vitamin C: 31mg | Calcium: 47mg | Iron: 1mg
Course Main Dish
Cuisine American
Calories 183
Keyword chicken marinade, easy grilled chicken recipe

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About Julie Clark

I'm Julie Clark, CEO and recipe developer of Tastes of Lizzy T. With my B.A. in Education and over 30 years of cooking and baking, I want to teach YOU the best of our family recipes.

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