Baked Mojo Chicken Thighs feature a delicious Cuban Mojo marinade, resulting in a citrusy glazed, tender chicken with incredible flavor and texture. The next time you have a hankering for a chicken dinner, whip up these Cuban chicken thighs along with your favorite sides and toppings like rice, beans, plantains, avocado, fresh cilantro, etc.

Chicken thighs in a casserole dish, sprinkled with green onions, red onions and lime slices.

Have you tried Cuban Mojo Chicken?

After trying it at a Cuban restaurant a number of years ago, it has since been one of my favorite ways of preparing chicken. 

Chicken is marinated to perfection for maximum flavor in a delicious Cuban mojo marinade then baked or grilled to juicy tender delight.

Serve it up with Cilantro Lime Rice, fried plantains, black beans, avocado salad, and fresh tomatoes.

While you can absolutely use chicken breasts for this recipe, I personally prefer the flavor and texture of the dark meat of chicken thighs. Choose any cut of chicken you love!

The recipe is super simple and easy to prepare! Perfect for weekly meal prep yet fancy enough to serve guests.

If you’re new to Cuban food, no sweat. Here is everything you need to know about this Cuban Mojo Chicken recipe.

What is Mojo Chicken?

Mojo Chicken originates from the Cuban Canary Islands. Mojo is a citrus marinade used throughout Cuban cooking to marinate various meats. 

Mojo marinade is a simple mixture of olive oil, a mix of citrus juice (typically fresh orange juice and fresh lime juice), garlic cloves, a little brown sugar, and cumin. That’s it for the Cuban marinade! 

This combination of flavors is used as a sauce, marinade, and dip in Cuban cuisine, making for citrusy flavorful dishes like grilled chicken.

Now that we’ve covered the origin of this delicious Cuban favorite, let’s discuss the fresh ingredients for my take on Baked Cuban Mojo Chicken Thighs.

Black roasting pan of Cuban chicken sprinkled with onions and lime slices.

Ingredients For Baked Cuban Mojo Chicken Thighs:

Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs: Boneless chicken thighs are so delicious when marinated Cuban cuisine style in mojo sauce.

Any cut of chicken works here, including boneless skinless chicken breasts, chicken quarters, bone-in chicken thighs, and more.

You can even use mojo marinade to marinate pork tenderloin or fish.

Mojo Marinade Ingredients: Orange juice, lime zest and lime juice, honey, fresh garlic cloves, avocado oil (or olive oil), onion powder, ground cumin, black pepper, and sea salt.

You can use fresh squeezed orange juice from fresh oranges such as navel oranges, sour oranges or Seville oranges or you can use store-bought orange juice (which is what I do).

There are plenty of ways you can customize this recipe based on your preferences and what you have on hand. Here are some options.

Recipe Adaptations:

  • Use lemon zest and lemon juice instead of lime juice and lime zest. Any combination of fresh citrus such as orange juice and orange zest, lemon juice, or lime juice works for the mojo marinade recipe.
  • Replace the onion powder with ¼ cup chopped white onion or yellow onion.
  • Add in some fresh ginger (minced or grated) if you love more ginger flavor.
  • Use honey, brown sugar, or coconut sugar instead of pure maple syrup if you’d like.
  • Swap out the avocado oil for olive oil if it’s what you typically use in your cooking.
  • Make a delicious Cuban mojo sauce by replicating the marinade but use 1/2 cup of avocado oil (or olive oil). This sauce can be used to add citrusy flavor to all sorts of dishes, and can be drizzled over the cooked chicken dish for extra flavor. 

Now that we’ve covered the basic ingredients list, let’s make this delicious Cuban chicken recipe!

How to Make Cuban Mojo Chicken Thighs:

Add the ingredients for the mojo marinade to a small blender or a food processor and blend until everything is well combined (orange juice, lime zest, lime juice, avocado oil, pure maple syrup, garlic, onion powder, ground ginger, ground cumin, and sea salt).

Ingredients for mojo marinade in a blender.
Ingredients for chicken marinade blended up in a blender.

Transfer the raw boneless skinless chicken thighs to a large zip lock bag and pour in all of the marinade. Tightly seal the bag and move everything around until all of the chicken pieces are covered in mojo marinade.

raw chicken thighs with mojo marinade in a zip lock bag.

Refrigerate for at least 1 hour for the best results, and up to 24 hours.

When you’re ready to bake the chicken, preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.

Transfer the marinated chicken to a large casserole dish or baking dish, including all of the marinade. Arrange the chicken in a single layer. It’s fine if the chicken thighs touch each other, but try to keep them from overlapping.

Casserole dish full of chicken and marinade, ready to be baked.

Bake on the center rack of the preheated oven for 20 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

To verify the temperature, insert a meat thermometer (also known as a digital thermometer or instant-read thermometer) into the thickest part of the largest thigh and wait until the number stop moving to get an accurate read.

Note: if you’re making skin-on chicken thighs or boneless skinless chicken breasts, adjust the bake time accordingly. Chicken breasts, for instance, can be baked at 350 for 20 to 30 minutes. 

For a caramelized glazed chicken, baste the chicken with the juices (you can do so by spooning the juices over the cooked chicken thighs) and place them back into the oven under the high broil setting.

Spoon pouring juices over baked chicken thighs.

Broil for 5 to 10 minutes, or until the chicken is golden brown and crispy.

Note that chicken thighs tend to have the best texture when the internal temperature is closer to 200 degrees F, so don’t worry if the temperature far exceeds 165.

For chicken breasts, however, try to bake as close to 165 as possible to achieve juicy chicken.

Let chicken rest at least 10 minutes before serving.

Sliced chicken thighs on a cutting board.

Serve Cuban mojo chicken with your choice of side dishes. I like taking a similar approach to my Grilled Mojo Chicken Bowls by making a big bowl of Cuban food with steamed rice, pan fried plantains, kidney beans or Cuban black beans, avocado, and tomatoes.

Store leftover mojo chicken in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

You can reheat the chicken in the following days using the microwave, air fryer, or oven. 

If you prefer making grilled chicken, see the instructions below for grilling instructions.

Grilled Mojo Chicken:

Preheat the grill to medium-high heat and use a wire brush to remove any food particles off the grill grates from your last barbecue. Brush the grill grate with cooking oil. 

Place the marinated chicken thighs onto the hot grill and cook 2 to 3 minutes, or until grill marks appear. Flip and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes.

Continue cooking and flipping every 1 to 2 minutes until chicken is cooked through and has reached an internal temperature of 165 degrees F.

The exact cooking time of the chicken depends on whether or not it is at room temperature before hitting the grill and also the size and cut of chicken.

Chicken breasts that are 1 inch thick take about 10 to 12 minutes total to grill. Chicken tenders require about 6 to 8 minutes total. Use a meat thermometer to verify the chicken is cooked through.

You can also prepare this recipe in the air fryer by following the instructions in my Crispy Air Fryer Asian Chicken Thighs recipe. 

Mojo chicken thighs fresh out of the oven in a large baking dish.

And that’s everything you need to know to prepare this easy Cuban chicken recipe! 

Be sure to give the chicken plenty of marination time for the best flavor. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

Mojo chicken thighs fresh out of the oven in a large baking dish.

Cuban Mojo Chicken Thighs

4.42 from 46 votes
Cuban Mojo Chicken is full of sweet, savory, delicious citrusy flavor! Serve this versatile chicken dinner with your choice of sides like rice, beans, avocado, tomatoes, and more!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Additional Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings: 10 Servings

Ingredients

  • 3 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs*
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon lime zest or lemon zest
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lime juice or lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup avocado oil or olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons pure maple syrup
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger optional
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt to taste
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper

Instructions

  • Add the ingredients for the mojo marinade to a small blender or a food processor and blend until everything is well combined (orange juice, lime zest, lime juice, avocado oil, pure maple syrup, garlic, onion powder, ground ginger, ground cumin, and sea salt).
  • Transfer the raw boneless skinless chicken thighs to a large zip lock bag and pour in all of the marinade. Tightly seal the bag and move everything around until all of the chicken pieces are covered in mojo marinade. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour for the best results, and up to 24 hours.
  • When you’re ready to bake the chicken, preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Transfer the marinated chicken to a large casserole dish or baking dish, including all of the marinade. Arrange the chicken in a single layer. It’s fine if the chicken thighs touch each other, but try to keep them from overlapping.
  • Bake on the center rack of the preheated oven for 20 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit. To verify the temperature, insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the largest thigh and wait until the number stop moving to get an accurate read. Note: if you’re making skin-on chicken thighs or boneless skinless chicken breasts, adjust the bake time accordingly. Chicken breasts, for instance, can be baked at 350 for 20 to 30 minutes.
  • For a caramelized glazed chicken, baste the chicken with the juices (you can do so by spooning the juices over the cooked chicken thighs) and place them back into the oven under the high broil setting.
  • Broil for 5 to 8 minutes, or until the chicken is golden brown and crispy. Note that chicken thighs tend to have the best texture when the internal temperature is closer to 200 degrees F, so don’t worry if the temperature far exceeds 165. For chicken breasts, however, try to bake as close to 165 as possible to achieve juicy chicken.
  • Let chicken rest at least 10 minutes before serving.
  • Serve Cuban mojo chicken with your choice of side dishes such as steamed rice, black beans, avocado, fresh tomatoes and fried plantains.

Video

Notes

*3 lbs of chicken thighs is equivalent to about 8 to 12 chicken thighs. You can halve the recipe and use approximately 1.5 lbs of chicken thighs (4-6 thighs). If you do so, also halve the mojo marinade ingredients.

Nutrition

Serving: 1Thigh (of 10) · Calories: 224kcal · Carbohydrates: 5g · Protein: 27g · Fat: 10g · Saturated Fat: 2g · Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g · Cholesterol: 126mg · Sodium: 243mg · Sugar: 4g
Author: Julia
Course: Main Dishes
Cuisine: Cuban
Keyword: Cuban Chicken, Cuban cuisine, cuban food, Cuban mojo chicken, Cuban mojo marinade, Cuban mojo sauce, Cuban recipes, healthy chicken recipes, Mojo chicken thighs
Did You Make This Recipe?I want to see it! Tag @the.roasted.root on social media!

This post contains affiliate links, which means I make a small commission off items you purchase at no additional cost to you.

Julia Mueller
Meet the Author

Julia Mueller

Julia Mueller is a recipe developer, cookbook author, and founder of The Roasted Root. She has authored three bestselling cookbooks, – Paleo Power Powers, Delicious Probiotic Drinks, and The Quintessential Kale Cookbook. Her recipes have been featured in several national publications such as BuzzFeed, Self, Tasty, Country Living, Brit.co, etc.

Read More

Need Help With Dinner?

View More Dinner Ideas

Join The Discussion

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating




This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Questions and Reviews

    1. @Beth, You can find sugar free maple syrup at your local grocer. I buy it for my husband. Brands vary and read labels to make sure it’s sugar free.

    2. Hi Beth! You can omit the pure maple syrup or replace it with sugar-free maple syrup or 1-2 tablespoons of sugar-free granulated sweetener 🙂 Hope you enjoy!

  1. Delicious! Served this at the soup kitchen today with a bean medley simmered in crushed tomatoes. We had a box of perfectly ripe avocadoes to serve alongside. A hit and we served 105!

    1. Oh wow, that’s so incredible to hear! I’ve never made a batch that big and it warms my heart it was served at a soup kitchen. Thank you so much for letting me know!! xoxo

  2. I love this recipe. I’m always looking for new ones to try out as I hate falling into a culinary rut. I tried it out on my family a while back and it was an absolutely hit. It’s perfect for the hotter months in the south. Its definitely made it’s way into my recipe box

    1. Thanks so much for catching that, Ashley! I’m in the process of converting all of my recipes to a new plugin and in the process some of the information hasn’t translated over. I fixed the recipe and appreciate you letting me know! xo

  3. I am searching for recipes for a catamaran trip. Do you think I could marinate the chicken and freeze for travel, uncooked? Thanks!

    1. Hi Tisha! You can absolutely freeze marinated chicken! The one thing to be aware of is the chicken doesn’t actually marinate while it is frozen, so I would recommend marinating it for a few hours in the refrigerator before freezing it. This way the chicken will turn out nice and flavorful. Have a wonderful trip!