Mojo Chicken

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Juicy mojo chicken is an easy recipe loaded with Cuban-inspired flavor! Take bone-in chicken thighs, soak them in a punchy garlic citrus marinade, and bake until they’re crispy. It’s a tasty chicken dinner for any night of the week.

If you love the zesty flavors of my mojo pork and mojo carne asada recipes, this version made with chicken is right up your alley.

A bowl with chicken thigh served over a bed of rice with a garnish of lime wedges and green herbs.


Drop what you’re doing, and get yourself a package of chicken thighs because Mojo chicken is on the menu! This Cuban-inspired recipe is full of garlicky citrus flavor, and the chicken gets deliciously juicy in the oven. I always use skin-on chicken so that the skins turn into golden and crispy little blankets, locking in all the zest and spice.

This is one of those versatile chicken recipes that you can make any time of the year, whether you bake it in the oven or fire it up on the grill. I’ve found it’s the perfect dish for impressing guests without spending hours in the kitchen. They always ask how I manage to make it so juicy and flavorful. ‘It’s in the mojo,’ I tell them.

Why You’ll Love This Mojo Chicken Recipe

  • Loaded with garlicky citrus flavor. Mojo chicken is the best way to turn a package of supermarket chicken thighs into a home-cooked taste of the Caribbean. All it takes is a handful of ingredients blitzed into a smooth, zesty sauce.
  • There’s very little prep. The mojo marinade comes together quickly in a blender, and then it’s a matter of passing the chicken over to your fridge for marinating duty.
  • Oven-baked. I share my easy baking technique for the best mojo chicken that crisps up in the hot oven, locking in all the flavor and juices. There’s the option to use your air fryer or grill, too!
Ingredients for mojo chicken with text labels overlaying each ingredient.

What Is Mojo Sauce Made Of?

Mojo sauce is a spicy Caribbean herb sauce and marinade with minced parsley, crushed garlic, and olive oil. Cuban-inspired recipes, like the one we’re making here, include extra add-ins, like fresh citrus, which I’ll cover below. Scroll to the recipe card for a full printable list of ingredients.  

  • Oil – Since there’s quite a bit of oil in the marinade, choose a good quality oil with a mild flavor. Olive oil or avocado oil are best.
  • Herbs and Seasonings – This recipe has cumin, dried oregano, salt, and freshly cracked black pepper. I also chuck in a couple of bay leaves for good measure.
  • Citrus – I make my Cuban-style mojo sauce with the zest and juice from fresh oranges and limes. Zest the citrus before you juice it.
  • Garlic – I always say, we measure garlic with our hearts. You can adapt the number of cloves you use to taste, but whatever you do, make sure it’s fresh garlic.
  • Red Onion – Chop up a smallish red onion. You can use another mild onion, like yellow onion or shallot if that’s what you have on hand.

What Chicken Should I Use?

I make my mojo chicken with bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs. You can use boneless, skinless chicken thighs or even chicken breasts if you prefer. Keep in mind that chicken breasts cook faster than thighs. You’ll need to adjust the cooking time so that the chicken doesn’t overcook and become dry. 

How to Make Mojo Chicken

This mojo chicken recipe fits a bucketload of flavor into just a few easy steps. I love it on weeknights because it’s quick, but it’s just as great to make when we have friends over on the weekend. Everyone raves about the flavor!

  1. Start with the garlicky citrus marinade. Add all of the sauce ingredients to a blender, and let that run until smooth.
  2. Marinade the chicken. Next, combine your chicken and sauce in a large freezer bag with the bay leaves. Give that a quick massage and place the chicken into the fridge to marinate.
  3. Roast. After an hour, arrange the marinated chicken on a wire rack set over a baking sheet. Drizzle over the marinade. Finally, bake your mojo chicken in a preheated oven at 425ºF for 35-40 minutes, until it’s cooked through.
Chicken pieces on a baking sheet garnished with lime and orange wedges.

Can I Cook This In the Air Fryer?

You sure can. Once the mojo chicken thighs are marinated as directed, follow the cooking instructions for my crispy air fryer chicken thighs and cook at 400ºF for 8-10 minutes per side. I also love grilling mojo chicken in the summertime. See my grilled chicken thighs recipe for easy grilling instructions.

Recipe Tips

  • Don’t over-marinate. Unlike pork and steak, chicken is a lean meat. As a result, it doesn’t need to marinate for hours. 30 minutes to an hour in the fridge is plenty of time for the chicken to soak up the sauce. Don’t leave it overnight, otherwise the chicken becomes mushy (ick!).
  • Check the chicken for doneness. Use a meat thermometer stuck into the thickest piece of chicken to check that the internal temperature reaches 165°F. 
Photo of mojo chicken thighs piled on a plate and garnished with orange and lime wedges.

Serving Suggestions

I’ll serve this crispy mojo chicken over a bowl of brown rice or jeera rice with extra minced red onions for garnish. Enjoy with a veggie side, like grilled zucchini or salad.

I love mojo chicken and rice with a side of chips dipped in corn salsa, washed down with a cucumber mojito for a Cuban-style lunch or dinner.

Storing and Reheating Leftover Chicken

Refrigerate. Store leftover mojo chicken in an airtight storage container in the fridge for up to 4 days. 

Freeze. You can also freeze this mojo chicken in an airtight container or freezer bag. Press out as much air as possible and freeze for up to 3 months. Defrost the chicken in the fridge before reheating.

Reheat. To reheat, warm the chicken in the oven at 350ºF until hot throughout.

Overhead view of mojo chicken served over a bowl of rice with a lime wedge for garnish, next to a smaller bowl of diced red onions.

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Mojo Chicken

Juicy Cuban-inspired mojo chicken is soaked in a punchy garlic citrus marinade and roasted until crispy. It’s an easy, flavor-packed chicken dinner for any night of the week!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Marinade Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 50 minutes
Servings: 6 servings


  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 3 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon lime zest
  • ¼ cup orange zest
  • 8 cloves garlic
  • 1 small red onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup orange Juice, use freshly squeezed if at all possible
  • ½ cup lime Juice, freshly squeezed
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 4 pounds bone-in skin-on chicken thighs
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  • Make the marinade. In a blender, combine the olive oil, salt, pepper, cumin, oregano, lime zest, orange zest, garlic, onion, orange juice, and lime juice. Blend until smooth.
  • Marinade the chicken. Add the bay leaves and chicken to a large freezer bag and pour the marinade over the top. Seal the bag and massage the marinade into the chicken. Set in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
  • Prep. Preheat the oven to 425°F and set a wire rack over a rimmed baking sheet.
  • Roast. Arrange the chicken on the wire rack, skin-side up. Pour the marinade over the chicken. Roast for 35-40 minutes or until a meat thermometer inserted into the largest piece reads 165°F.


Calories: 424kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 36g | Fat: 26g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 16g | Trans Fat: 0.03g | Cholesterol: 172mg | Sodium: 1329mg | Potassium: 641mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 188IU | Vitamin C: 35mg | Calcium: 69mg | Iron: 3mg

Nutritional info is an estimate and provided as courtesy. Values may vary according to the ingredients and tools used. Please use your preferred nutritional calculator for more detailed info.

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