5.0 from 6 votes

Jalapeño Chicken Marinade 

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This pickled jalapeño chicken marinade is super easy to make and incredibly delicious! With just two ingredients – chicken and a can of pickled jalapeños. You can whip up a hassle-free meal that’s bursting with flavor, thanks to a blend of spices and a perfect browning.

Pan-seared jalapeño chicken

This pickled jalapeño marinade yields incredibly tender and juicy chicken. Don’t be fooled by the jalapeño heat – it may seem unexpected, but it adds just the right amount of kick to create a perfectly balanced flavor.

Spicy Level

The overall spicy level can vary depending on the brand of pickled jalapeños you choose. When I’m at the store, I know which ones tend to pack a spicier punch.

Be wary of the ones made with serranos, which are spicier than jalapeños. Unless you’re looking for an extra kick, stick with jalapeños for the perfect heat.

Canned jalapeños

Despite the jalapeños, the dish itself shouldn’t be too spicy, as most of the heat is contained in the peppers’ seeds and veins, which remain intact. I’d rate this recipe as medium hot. 

Note that the longer you marinate, the slightly spicier it may become, but overall, it remains a medium heat level.

Pickled Jalapeños: An Alternative Approach

Another great option is to use the brine only for marinating the chicken, while keeping the pickled jalapeños separate to avoid cross-contamination.

This means keeping the jalapeños away from the raw chicken and its marinade, to prevent any potential contamination risk.

Ingredients

  • Chicken thighs are great for marinating, and they have a higher fat content than white meat, resulting in a juicy and tender end result. 
  • Pickled jalapeños are infused in a tangy, salty, and sweet brine with a fresh, grassy flavor and mild heat, making them an ideal marinade. 
  • Seasonings bring everything together, adding a personal touch. Feel free to tailor them to your taste, even though I’ve shared my favorite blend – it’s all about making it your own!
Spices

How to Make this Jalapeño Chicken Marinade 

Marinate the chicken in a large, non-reactive container with the entire can of pickled jalapeños (including the liquid). Cover the container and refrigerate for 4-12 hours.

Set aside the desired amount of jalapeños for later use. Discard the remaining pickled juice and any unwanted peppers.

Remove the chicken from the marinade, allowing any excess to drip off. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels to remove excess moisture. 

In a large bowl, combine the chicken, paprika, ancho chile powder, ground onion, ground garlic, black pepper, cumin, and salt. Mix until the chicken is evenly coated with the spice blend.

Let the seasoned chicken sit at room temperature for 15 minutes before cooking to prevent cold chicken from cooking unevenly.

Cooking Time

Heat a large non-stick pan over medium heat and drizzle with 1 TBSP of oil. Add the chicken and cook until both sides are browned and the internal temperature reaches 165°F.

Repeat in batches if necessary to prevent overcrowding. Once cooked, remove the chicken from the pan and let it rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Cook the jalapeños in the same pan in small batches of 4-5 at a time over medium heat. This will help minimize the release of pungent fumes.

Cook the peppers until they reach an internal temperature of 165°F. If possible, consider cooking the jalapeños outside on a grill to eliminate the risk of fumes spreading indoors.

Serve with a side of creamy coleslaw, refried beans, or savory Mexican rice for a well-rounded meal.

However, my personal preference is to dice the chicken and serve it in tacos, topped with a generous helping of coleslaw.

Recipe Video Tutorial 

Below is my easy to follow video tutorial on how to make this Jalapeño Chicken Marinade.

It will give you an additional in-depth knowledge and the visuals of the step-by-step process to enhance your understanding.

If you enjoyed the video, subscribe to my YouTube channel and click the bell icon to receive notifications whenever we post a brand new video.

Cooking Method

This chicken recipe is quick to prepare, ideal for grilling, baking, or pan-frying. If you opt for pan-frying, consider using a screen splatter guard to make the process even easier.

Jalapeño Tips 

Set aside a few jalapeños for later use – they’re ideal for searing like chiles toreados, which are charred and blistered to bring out their rich, smoky flavor. Discard any remaining jalapeños that you won’t need.

If you decide to keep the peppers, make sure to cook them to an internal temperature of 165°F to ensure food safety, as they were exposed to raw chicken.

Cook the reserved jalapeños in batches, as they can quickly release strong fumes that may become overpowering. Cook 4-5 at a time, ideally outside, or even better, grill them for added smoky tones.

Pan-seared chicken marinated with jalapeño juice and spices.

Chicken Cut Options

You can use various chicken cuts, including bone-in, skin-on chicken, breast, wings, and legs. Just remember to cook them to an internal temperature of 165°F for a juicy and tender result.

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Serving Suggestions 

Pan-seared chicken marinated with jalapeño juice and spices along with coleslaw.

I prefer using a non-stick pan for effortless browning without the mess. It’s also very comfortable to handle.

Pair it with a screen splatter guard for less mess – a win-win combination!

Having a set of glass bowls is a kitchen essential, as they’re non-reactive and versatile, making it easy to mix and prepare a variety of dishes.

Which brings me to the importance of owning a cook’s whisk, which ensures thorough mixing and blending of ingredients.

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Storage 

Cooked chicken can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 3 months.

More Chicken Recipes 

Short Video

Short Video Tutorial – Jalapeño Chicken Marinade.

FAQ : Your Question Answered

Q: How do I know if my chicken is fully cooked?

A: Use an instant-read thermometer to ensure the chicken has reached a safe internal temperature of 165°F.

Q: Do I need to cook jalapeños that were marinated with raw chicken before eating them?

A: Yes, it’s essential to cook the jalapeños to an internal temperature of 165°F to prevent foodborne illness, as they were exposed to raw chicken during the marinating process. Any jalapeños that are not cooked must not be eaten.

Jalapeño Chicken Marinade 

Recipe by Villa Cocina
5.0 from 6 votes
Course: MainCuisine: MexicanDifficulty: Easy
Servings

8

servings
Prep time

5

minutes
Cooking time

20

minutes
MarinatingTime

4-12

hours
Total time

25

minutes

Chicken marinated in pickled jalapeños is a mouthwatering and effortless dish! With just a can of pickled jalapeños, chicken, and a few spices, you can create a flavor explosion. I highly recommend pairing it with creamy Coleslaw, the perfect condiment to layer in tacos or serve as a side.

Ingredients

  • 8 ea 8 chicken thighs, boneless, skinless

  • 26 oz (can) 26 pickled jalapeños

  • Seasonings
  • 2 tsp 2 smoked paprika

  • 1 tsp 1 ancho chile, ground

  • 2 tsp 2 onion, ground

  • 1 tsp 1 garlic, ground

  • 1/4 tsp 1/4 cumin, ground

  • 1/2 tsp 1/2 black pepper, ground

  • 1 1/4 tsp 1 1/4 kosher salt or to liking

  • Oil for cooking

Directions

  • Marinate the chicken in a large, non-reactive container with the entire can of pickled jalapeños (including the liquid). Cover the container and refrigerate for 4-12 hours.
  • Set aside the desired amount of jalapeños for later use. Discard the remaining pickled juice and any unwanted peppers. Remove the chicken from the marinade, allowing any excess to drip off. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels to remove excess moisture. 
  • In a large bowl, combine the chicken, paprika, ancho chile powder, ground onion, ground garlic, black pepper, cumin, and salt. Mix until the chicken is evenly coated with the spice blend. Let the seasoned chicken sit at room temperature for 15 minutes before cooking to prevent cold chicken from cooking unevenly.
  • Heat a large non-stick pan over medium heat and drizzle with 1 TBSP of oil. Add the chicken and cook until both sides are browned and the internal temperature reaches 165°F. Repeat in batches if necessary to prevent overcrowding. Once cooked, remove the chicken from the pan and let it rest for 5 minutes before serving.
  • Cook the jalapeños in the same pan in small batches of 4-5 at a time over medium heat. This will help minimize the release of pungent fumes. Cook the peppers until they reach an internal temperature of 165°F. If possible, consider cooking the jalapeños outside on a grill to eliminate the risk of fumes spreading indoors.
  • Serve with a side of creamy coleslaw, refried beans, or savory Mexican rice for a well-rounded meal. However, my personal preference is to dice the chicken and serve it in tacos, topped with a generous helping of coleslaw.

Equipment

Recipe Video

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