No worries about dry chicken! This Mexican Honey-Lime Grilled Chicken stays moist, tender and full of fabulous Southwest-inspired flavor!
If you enjoy Southwestern flavors, you're going to LOVE this Mexican Honey-Lime Grilled Chicken. It's delicious on its own, but it's also wonderful in quesadillas, sandwiches, wraps, salad or pizzas. So make plenty, as the leftovers will be the inspiration for lots of other meal ideas!
Never too old to learn something new
Don't let them tell you that "you can't teach an old dog new tricks". It just isn't true! I've always been quite partial to chicken breasts, either bone-in or boneless. Every now and then, I purchase a whole chicken and roast it for a special dinner. But thighs or legs? Definitely not. In fact, I never even give them a second glance at the market. Well, that was true until a few months ago. Thankfully, this Mexican Honey-Lime Grilled Chicken is here today because this "dog" did learn a new trick!
Lots of delicious experiments
I decided to give chicken thighs a go, and have been experimenting with lots of different recipes. Enough recipes to have gone through several Costco-size packages of thighs. The results have been wonderful! First, there was the Indonesian-inspired recipe with ginger, lemongrass and soy (if you haven't tried it, it's fabulous!), then a delicious Asian-inspired chicken and now this flavorful Mexican Honey-Lime Grilled Chicken.
I love that you can sauté or sear thighs till they're a beautiful golden brown, (even a bit charred) and the meat doesn't even begin to dry out. And honestly, to my surprise, the flavor of the thighs is mild and delicious.
I think you'll love this south-of-the-border version as much as we do. The recipe can be prepared on the grill or the stovetop, making it perfect for year-round enjoyment.
Before cooking, the chicken is marinated for a stint in a delicious concoction of olive oil, fresh lime juice, honey, cumin, oregano and a bit of fresh ginger. Ginger? Yes, although ginger is much more common in Asian recipes, it's also known to be used in the internationally-inspired cuisine of Mexico.
Just a small portion of the marinade is combined with the raw chicken. The rest is reduced on the stovetop for a few minutes and is transformed into a wonderful basting sauce to brush on the chicken as it cooks.
You're probably way ahead of me on these magical chicken thighs and throw them in your shopping cart quite regularly. But if not, trust me, you've been missing out on something wonderful. I'm here to tell you - you can teach an old dog new tricks!
Café Tips for making this Mexican Honey-Lime Grilled Chicken
- If you're in a hurry, you can marinate the chicken for just 30 minutes with great results, but I've also let it sit much longer in the marinade for an even deeper, richer flavor.
- It's important to allow the chicken to rest for 5 minutes after removing from the grill so the delicious juices can be redistributed and not pour out onto the serving platter.
- This Mexican Honey-Lime Grilled Chicken is fantastic paired with Cilantro Rice (Arroz Verde).
- For a delicious variation, use this Spicy Cilantro Honey-Lime Dressing as a drizzling sauce for this chicken.
- Make a quesadilla with the leftovers. Just slice the chicken thinly then pile into a flour tortilla with a handful of shredded Colby Jack cheese. Pan grill until golden then serve with this Best Ever, Super Easy Salsa. Delish!
- Okay, if you're a died-in-the-wool chicken breast lover, this recipe can be made with breasts. Be sure to pound the breasts to an even thickness and don't marinate them for more than 30 minutes. Use an instant thermometer and take them off the grill when the thickest part of the breast reaches 160˚F.
Mexican Honey-Lime Grilled Chicken - don't worry about this chicken drying out, it stays moist, tender and full of fabulous Southwest-inspired flavor!
- 3 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs (trim off most of the fat)
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoons honey
- ¼ cup fresh lime juice
- 1 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon coriander
- 1 teaspoon dry oregano
- 3 medium cloves garlic finely minced
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
Combine all marinade ingredients in a sauce pan and stir well.
Transfer 3 tablespoons of marinade to a zippered bag and add chicken. Massage bag well to coat all chicken pieces. Marinate for at least 30 minutes and up to 12 hours.
Heat remaining marinade over medium heat till mixture comes to a boil. Continue to cook (watch carefully so that mixture does not overflow pan) until syrupy and reduced to one half original volume, about 1-2 minutes. Set aside to cool.
If cooking on outside grill, preheat grill to medium high. When hot, add chicken and sprinkle lightly with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Cook for about 12-15 minutes, turning frequently and basting with the reduced sauce until golden, slightly charred in places and internal temperature reaches 160˚.
To cook inside, heat oil in a large saute pan till almost smoking. Add chicken and sprinkle lightly with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Cook for about 10 minutes, turning frequently, until golden, slightly charred in places and internal temperature reaches 160˚. Brush frequently with the reduced sauce while cooking. (Don't over-crowd the thighs in the pan or they will simmer instead of sauté. Make in 2 batches if necessary.)
Tent chicken with foil and allow to rest for 5 minutes before serving.