If you are looking for an authentic mojo marinade for chicken or pork, my recipe gives you all the flavors of the Caribbean with none of the preservatives you will find in store-bought mojo. And now, a little history on how I discovered mojo marinade! Little did I know when I first moved to Florida onto Flamingo Drive, in my little rental house that had grapefruit and sour orange trees in the backyard that I would one day be making the very marinade that uses those sour oranges, Mojo Marinade. When I first moved from Atlanta to Miami, having citrus trees in my backyard was a novelty, and someone told me that people used the sour oranges for making marinade, but I hadn’t yet been exposed to Mojo marinade and those dots didn’t connect until a few years later when I moved to Miami and got exposed to all facets of Cuban food, including Mojo Marinade.


mojo marinade recipe

Why Mojo Marinade is Awesome

Mojo is a marinade with a citrus base of sour orange, garlic, oregano and cumin. It goes amazing well on just about any protein, but I like it best on chicken and pork. Believe it or not, I do sometimes cook inside and this Mojo Pork Recipe made in the crockpot is a good one for feeding a crowd easily and economically. 

What does Mojo Marinade Taste Like?

Mojo is a vibrant citrus marinade that has notes of garlic, oregano and cumin. It is a mild marinade that doesn’t overpower your protein, and the citrus works well as a tenderizer. It is not spicy, like Cuban dishes, you will not typically find spicy dishes in their cuisine. I find Cuban food to be mostly flavored by garlic more than any other ingredients in my experience. 

Ingredients for Mojo Marinade

  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)

plus, chicken thighs to make this recipe:

  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs


mojo marinade

How to Make this Mojo Marinade for Chicken or Pork

To make the Grilled Mojo Chicken Thighs, start by combining fresh orange juice, lime juice, olive oil, minced garlic, chopped cilantro, ground cumin, dried oregano, salt, black pepper, smoked paprika, and optional cayenne pepper to create the Mojo marinade. Place the boneless, skinless chicken thighs in a resealable bag or a dish and pour the marinade over them, ensuring each piece is well coated. Allow the chicken to marinate in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours, but preferably overnight for the best flavor. When ready to cook, preheat the grill to medium-high heat and grill the chicken thighs for about 6-8 minutes per side until they are cooked through and reach an internal temperature of 165°F (75°C). Once done, remove the chicken from the grill and let it rest for a few minutes before serving. 

What’s the Best Way to Grill Chicken?

If you don’t have a thermometer, run, don’t walk, to get one. Because guessing should never be an option when cooking protein. That’s why, when you go to a friends house and they burn the taste out of their grilled chicken because they want to make sure the chicken is beyond a doubt cooked. Who wants to eat burned grilled chicken? Who wants to eat burned anything?

When people ask me what my number one tool is for the grill I always say get a meat thermometer, and I usually recommend the Thermapen, a 3 minute instant read thermometer, which is different than a smart thermometer which guides you through cooking as you leave the thermometer in during the cooking process. I recently launched a limited edition GRILLGIRL instant read thermometer that gives 3 second temperature readings, is water resistant, magnetic so it can be stored on your fridge, and is only $29! Get one before they’re gone! 


mojo marinade

Mojo Marinade is Great for All Proteins: Chicken, Pork, Seafood and Even Beef

This MOJO MARINADE recipe is good for any protein, not just chicken thighs. But, if you know me, you know that chicken thighs are my recommended cut of chicken for many reasons. Chicken thighs cook more evenly than breasts, are dark meat so they don’t dry out, and plus they are economical and cook faster on the grill. That’s why chicken thighs are my go-to weeknight protein and anytime protein, I like to grill up a big batch on Monday nights and then use the leftovers to make tacos on Taco Tuesday and to thrown on salads the rest of the week. If you give this a try, don’t forget to tag me on instagram so I can see you in action!

What to Pair with Mojo Chicken?

If I’m feeding a crowd, this pairs perfectly with black beans and coconut rice (recipe here). But, if its just me and my husband, I will do chicken with a salad and sliced avocado and keep it low carb, keto, paleo and whole 30 approved (and gluten free!). 

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mojo chicken recipe

Grilled Mojo Chicken Thighs

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  • Author: Robyn
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 2 lbs grilled chicken 1x
  • Diet: Gluten Free


Mojo Criollo is a popular garlic-citrus marinade and dipping sauce commonly found in Cuban and Latin cooking. Original recipes call for sour orange, which has been replaced by a combo of orange and lime juice in this recipe. This dish is super economical and tasty, as chicken thighs are inexpensive and great for feeding a crowd, while Mojo Criollo marinade is universally likeable.




  • 2 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs

For the Marinade:

  • 1 cup sour orange juice OR 1/2 orange juice and ½ cup lime juice
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp fresh oregano
  • 1 garlic head, outer skin removed
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp fresh ground pepper



  1. Combine marinade ingredients in an immersion or stick blender and process until they are chopped and uniform in consistency.
  2. Marinate chicken in the fridge, in a sealed container, for 30 minutes.
  3. Preheat your grill for medium high heat, about 400 degrees. 

Hot Tip: Always be sure to oil your grill grates so your protein doesn’t stick. You can do this by dipping a paper towel into a bit of oil with a pair of grilling tongs, and applying the paper towel to the grates while they’re still cool.


  1. Grill the chicken, flipping halfway through, until it has reached 165 degrees internal temperature. This should take 10 minutes or less.
  2. Remove the chicken from the grill and tent it under foil for 10 minutes before serving.
  3. Serve immediately with your favorite sides.


Hot Tip: 

Mojo Criollo is great on all kinds of poultry and pork and the marinade also works well as a base for slaw or a dipping sauce for plantain chips (paleo friendly). Look for “naranja agria” at Hispanic grocery stores to find Sour Orange Juice.

  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10-15 minutes
  • Category: grilled chicken, Cuban Mojo Marinade, Cuban Cooking
  • Method: Grill
  • Cuisine: Cuban, Latin, Cuban American



The Best Mojo Marinade Recipe for Juicy and Flavorful Chicken
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