This Sheet Pan Cuban Mojo Chicken is the juiciest and most flavorful chicken and is a meal prep dream!
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Make dinner this week a cinch with this Juicy Cuban Mojo Chicken. Chicken thighs or breasts quickly marinate in a citrus and herb marinade before baking on a sheet pan.
You'll have enough chicken to last you a few dinners, making this dish one of my favorite meal prep recipes! Below I'll share my favorite ways to enjoy this chicken throughout the week and will supply all the tips to make this a no-fail recipe for you!
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Do you ever look at the week ahead and wonder "what in the world am I going to feed my family for all these meals this week?!"
Yeah, me too! It can get so overwhelming -- and especially in this time of quarantine when we're all home for all meals. Aside from ordering out, I've learned I have to get creative about making enough food for us while not being back slaving at the stove for every meal!
So last week it hit me-- now's the time to focus on getting my meal prep game in place! To create habits and recipes I can draw on now and in the future when life gets back to normal and we need to meal prep to keep up with and fueled for our busy lives.
One of my biggest meal prep takeaways is to make large batches of food we can then work into various meals throughout the week.
For example -- a large batch of barbecue chicken I can then serve with beans, on a rice bowl, in tacos, or on a salad later in the week. Or, a big tray of roasted vegetables I can add to any meal in the following days without having to reheat the oven.
I've been doing this for about two weeks now, and let me tell you-- it's been a game-changer! I can't recommend highly enough.
At first, I felt ridiculous-- cooking up huge sheets of chicken or full pressure cookers of shredded meat -- but then, on a following day when I was walking to the fridge to figure out what to eat for lunch, I felt a huge wash of relief when I realized that lunch was already taken care of for me!
Whaaa?! Who is this person who's finally getting ahead of the game?! It feels victorious, folks!
And you, too, can get ahead of the game with me with this Sheet Pan Cuban Mojo Chicken! After a whisking together a quick dried herb and citrus marinade, we'll let the chicken (white and/or dark meat-- whichever you prefer!) soak in for 10 minutes, before baking it in a hot oven.
Then, we'll have enough chicken for a few days, and victory will be ours! Below, I'll offer many ideas for how to serve it throughout the week, as well as helpful tips and pro-tips on how to make delightfully juicy & tender chicken every time!
So come along with me and we can say "goodbye" to dinner dread and "hello" to a week of yummy & stress-free meals ahead!
This Sheet Pan Cuban Mojo Chicken is...
- Perfectly Spiced
- Processed Sugar Free
- Meal prep dream worthy
- Ready in under an hour
- Full of mouth-watering Cuban flavors!
You pretty much can't lose by making this delicious Mojo chicken!
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What is mojo seasoning or mojo chicken?
Mojo seasoning is a classic Cuban seasoning mix. It classically has a sour orange juice base, olive oil, garlic, cumin, oregano, and salt.
It can be hard to find the sour oranges in the United States, so we get a similar flavor by using a mixture of lime and orange juices.
What ingredients are in this mojo chicken?
Boneless & Skinless Chicken Breasts or Thighs-- either cut of meat is just fine so use whichever you prefer! I do prefer chicken thighs because they have a deeper and richer flavor, but the chicken breast is great in this dish, too.
Olive Oil - adds a richness to the marinade and also keeps the chicken nice and juicy.
Lime - we'll be using the zest and the juice from the fruit.
Orange - we'll also use the zest and juice from the orange. You can also use prepacked orange juice (see notes below) if you'd rather, too.
Distilled White Vinegar - just two tablespoons of distilled white vinegar adds some brightness to the marinade.
Cumin & Dried Oregano - these classic Cuban seasonings complete the marinade. They're herbal but not overwhelmingly so.
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What substitutions or adaptations can you make for this recipe?
Garlic - if you don't have fresh garlic, you can use the pre-packaged or jarred garlic but the fresh variety does add a fresher, more sweet flavor to this dish.
Distilled White Vinegar - white wine vinegar or rice wine vinegar also work well in this recipe.
Lime juice - bottled lime juice works as well as fresh juice!
Orange juice - bottled orange juice also works in place of the fresh juice in this recipe.
Olive oil - is a classic ingredient in Cuban Mojo chicken, but avocado oil would also work in place of it.
How do you make sheet pan Cuban Chicken?
You can make this sheet pan chicken in a few easy steps!
Step 1: Whisk the marinade ingredients together.
Step 2: Add the chicken to the marinade and toss it until covered. Let the chicken marinade for 10-30 minutes in the refrigerator.
Step 3: While the chicken marinates, preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit and oil a large rimmed baking sheet with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Cut an onion into thin half moon pieces and scatter over the oil.
Step 4: Remove the chicken from the marinade (reserving the marinade) and place the pieces over the onion at least 1-2 inches apart. Spoon any remaining marinade over the chicken.
Step 5: Bake the chicken for 27-30 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through and reaches 165 degrees and the garlic is turning golden brown. Remove from the oven and serve hot!
Are chicken breasts or chicken thighs best for mojo chicken?
I personally prefer chicken thighs for Mojo chicken because they are so juicy and have a richer flavor, but you can also use chicken breasts with great results. The marinade will tenderize the chicken breast; you just won't get that deeper flavor of the thigh meat.
How do you easily juice a lime?
Have you ever had a lime that was hard to juice? Either the rind was too firm or the pulp was a bit stiff?
How do you zest a lime or orange?
To most easily zest a lime or orange you will want a Microplane zester.
Lightly rub the lime or orange back and fort over the Microplane, rotating the fruit once you have the outside of the citrus skim zested off.
Pro-tip: don't zest off any of the pith underneath the skin. The pith is bitter and doesn't have the fresh citrus flavor.
How do you zest citrus without a Microplane zester?
Though a Microplane zester is the easiest for zesting, you don't need one to make this dish!
To zest without one, just peel the zest off the citrus with a veggie peeler and then finely mince the skin with a knife.
How do you easily peel garlic?
Make peeling garlic a breeze by following the illustrated steps below!
Step 1: Separate the bulb of garlic into cloves.
Step 2: Cut off the base of each clove.
Step 3: Laying the side of a chef's knife on the clove, press down on the blade with the palm of your hand to smash the garlic clove.
Step 4: Remove the garlic skin from the clove-- it should come off easily!
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How can you serve this chicken for meal prep?
There are so many ways you can serve this chicken for meal prep! Here are my favorite ways
- With Cuban black beans & rice - classic and delicious!
- In a burrito - slice up the chicken and roll it up in a flour tortilla with beans, cheese, and any of your other favorite burrito fillings
- On a salad - top leafy greens with sliced chicken pieces, corn, tomatoes, avocado and a cumin lime vinaigrette (recipe below)
- In tacos - fill small corn or flour tortillas with sliced chicken, beans, mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced cabbage, and a squeeze of lime
- In quesadillas - I got this idea from my friend, Norine. Just shred up that chicken and tuck it in the chicken with the cheese before toasting the quesadilla on the stovetop!
Either prepare and store your meals for the week as soon as the chicken is out of the oven or assemble your different meals as you go.
Just assemble your meals ahead of time on the weeks you need to have them ready ahead of time or on the go. Assemble them last minute on the weeks or days you'll be at home and have the time to put them together before you eat.
To make a quick lime cumin vinaigrette: combine 1/4 cup olive oil, 2 tablespoons lime juice, a pinch salt, and 1/4 teaspoon dried cumin and whisk!
What can you serve with mojo chicken?
All of these side dishes go perfectly with Mojo chicken:
- Steamed rice and black beans
- Roasted sweet potatoes
- Roasted Broccoli
- Salad with cilantro-lime vinaigrette (see my recipe above)
- Lager beer -- Dos Equis or Longboard Island are two of my favorites
- White wine - Vinho Verde or sauvignon blace are delicious
How long does this chicken last?
This chicken lasts in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 4-5 days.
Can you freeze this Mojo chicken?
Yes, you can freeze this Mojo chicken. You can even freeze it on a rice bowl or in a burrito. Just reheat the chicken on low heat or in the oven so it doesn't overcook or get chewy int he microwave.
What tools do you need to make this chicken?
- Large rimmed baking sheet
- Microplane or zester
- Large mixing bowl
- Measuring cups & spoons
- Cutting board
- Chef knife
- Heat safe spatula
- Meat thermometer
Other healthy and easy dinner recipes:
- Mexican Chicken Marinade
- Sheet Pan Apricot Chicken and Potatoes
- Taco Tater Tot Casserole
- Chicken and Vegetable Stir Fry with Sweet Soy Sauce
- Pressure Cooker Pineapple Chicken and Rice
- Spicy Glazed Bourbon Salmon
- Italian Beef Ragu
- Instant Pot Turkey Chili
- Chimichurri Steak Pasta
Other tasty Cuban-inspired recipes:
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If you're using chicken breasts, cut them in half before you marinate them.
- 1 tablespoon + 1/4 cup olive oil, DIVIDED
- 2 tablespoons distilled vinegar
- 1/4 cup (or about 6-8 cloves) minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 lime -- zested and juiced (or about 2 tablespoons lime juice)
- 1 orange -- zested and juiced (or about 1/4 cup orange juice)
- 1 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- Pinch - 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (depending on your preference)
- 2 1/2 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs or breasts (breasts cut in half length-wise)
- 1/2 yellow or white onion, sliced into thin half moons
- In a large bowl, whisk together the remaining 1/4 cup olive oil, vinegar, garlic, salt, orange and lime zest and juices, cumin, oregano, pepper, and cayenne.
- Add the chicken to the marinade and toss until all the chicken is covered. Let the chicken marinate in the fridge for 10-30 minutes.
- While the chicken marinates: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and oil a large rimmed cookie sheet with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Scatter the onions on the oiled pan.
- Remove the chicken from the marinade (reserving the marinade) and place the pieces on top of the onions 1-2 inches apart. Spoon the remaining marinade over the chicken.
- Bake the chicken for 27-30 minutes, or until the chicken pieces are cooked through (or 165 degrees Fahrenheit) &, the garlic is turning golden brown,
- Remove the sheet pan from the oven and place the plan on a wire cooling rack. Serve hot!
- This chicken lasts covered in the refrigerator for 4-5 days. You can also freeze it in a freezer-safe container for 1-2 months.
- You can use pre-minced or jarred garlic, but I recommend fresh garlic for the best flavor.
- You can marinate the chicken for 10-30 minutes, but discourage marinating any longer because the acidic marinade will start to over-marinate or "cook" the chicken.
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Amount Per Serving Calories 175Total Fat 9gSaturated Fat 2gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 6gCholesterol 115mgSodium 344mgCarbohydrates 2gFiber 1gSugar 1gProtein 23g
This nutrition breakdown is just an estimate of the nutritional value of this recipe and cannot be taken as facts. The owners of Mae's Menu are not nutritionists or dieticians and therefore cannot be held accountable for this nutrition estimate. Please contact your nutritionist or medical professional for a nutritional breakdown of this food. Furthermore, this food is not intended to prevent, diagnose, cure, or treat any disease.