Chipotle Chicken Marinade

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Smoky chipotles, garlic, and honey are combined in this Chipotle Chicken Marinade. This simple marinade is packed with an awesome smoky southwestern flavor.

Chipotle Marinade for Chicken

Chipotle Chicken Marinade

My friend Tricia shared a Chipotle Chicken Salad the other day (almost ten years ago now!) and the chicken marinade sounded so good, that I couldn’t resist trying it that very same night.

I had chicken in the refrigerator and everything else I needed for the recipe was in the pantry. Well, the chipotle marinade was a huge hit and I’ve been making this recipe for over ten years now!

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The Chipotle Chicken is awesome on the Southwest Chicken Salad and it’s also terrific with Cilantro Lime Rice or this Creamy Pasta Salad.

Chipotle Marinade

It takes less than 5 minutes to make up this marinade and get the chicken marinating in it!

First, you’ll combine the oil, honey, garlic, chipotle peppers, cumin, salt, and pepper in the blender. Puree for just a moment to combine.

Next, you’ll pour the marinade over the chicken and refrigerate the chicken for a few hours or overnight. That’s all there is to it!

You can also combine the marinade and chicken in a freezer-safe zip-close bag and freeze it that way. Just thaw when you’re ready to cook the chicken. (I almost always have some marinated chicken stashed in the freezer this way.)

Chipotle Marinade

Chipotles in Adobo Sauce

Did you know that chipotle peppers are simply smoked or dried jalapeno peppers? Adobo is a Spanish sauce made from stewing the chipotles with tomatoes and a handful of other spices.

Canned chipotles in adobo are an easy way to add a lot of great smoky flavor to Mexican food. There are easy to find in most grocery stores and I love the convenience!

That said, I don’t always use the full can of peppers, so I have a great method to share for freezing them. Check out the chipotle pepper storage tips if you’re like me and hate to waste the rest of the leftover peppers.

Chipotle peppers provide a good amount of heat. If you aren’t a huge fan of spicy foods, reduce the number of peppers in this recipe to 2-3 peppers and enjoy the smoky southwestern flavor without quite so much heat.

For what it’s worth, my non-spice-loving son really enjoys this chicken. I made this last week to reshoot the photos and all of my boys have already asked when we could have this again.

Chipotle Chicken Recipe

If you’re looking for a few more recipes to use up those chipotle peppers (or if you’re like me and just plain love using chipotle peppers when cooking) try the Creamy Chipotle Pasta with mildly spicy angel hair pasta tossed with vegetables in a very light cream sauce. This recipe makes my tastebuds so very happy.

Chipotle Mushrooms can be served as an appetizer or a side dish, these mushrooms truly deserved the title “meaty.” The bites of mushroom are so flavorful and the smoke from the chiles balances them so well, this is one of the most memorable mushroom dishes you can make.

Spicy bites of this Chipotle Chicken are mixed with seriously flavorful rice to create this churched-up version of Chipotle Arroz con Pollo.

Chipotle Lime Salmon is marinated in smoky chipotle and tart citrus and quickly broiled for an easy weeknight dinner. The chipotle flavor is present, without any real heat. The lime keeps it fresh and light.

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Chipotle Marinade

Chipotle Chicken Marinade

4.72 from 14 votes
Smoky chipotles, garlic, and honey are combined in this Chipotle Marinade. This simple marinade is packed with awesome smoky southwestern flavor.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 6 servings


  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 4 large cloves garlic
  • 4-5 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce* I put frozen peppers directly into the blender
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 lbs chicken breasts, thighs, drumsticks, bone-in or boneless


  • Place all ingredients, except chicken, into the blender or small food processor and puree for a few moments. Pour the marinade over chicken in an airtight container or large ziploc bag and shake to coat each of the pieces.
  • Place in the refrigerator and turn the chicken (or flip the bag) a couple times over the next few hours. I let mine marinate for about 6 hours.
  • When you are ready to cook the chicken, remove from the refrigerator about 30 minutes prior to cooking. Enjoy!


These peppers provide a good amount of heat. If you aren’t a huge fan of spicy foods, reduce this to 2-3 peppers and enjoy the smoky southwestern flavor without nearly so much heat.


Calories: 305kcal · Carbohydrates: 7g · Protein: 14g · Fat: 25g · Saturated Fat: 5g · Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g · Monounsaturated Fat: 15g · Trans Fat: 1g · Cholesterol: 54mg · Sodium: 246mg · Potassium: 154mg · Fiber: 1g · Sugar: 6g · Vitamin A: 105IU · Vitamin C: 2mg · Calcium: 15mg · Iron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @barefeetkitchen or tag #barefeetkitchen!

{originally published 6/1/12 – recipe notes and photos updated 5/30/22}

Chipotle Marinade for Chicken

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Mary Younkin

Mary Younkin

Hi, I’m Mary. I’m the author, cook, photographer, and travel lover behind the scenes here at Barefeet In The Kitchen. I'm also the author of three cookbooks dedicated to making cooking from scratch as simple as possible.

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  1. theenemytoad says

    My husband made this and it was AWESOME! What a great find at the start of grilling season : )5 stars

  2. Jen Ryan says

    This was just the simple recipe I was looking for! I originally was looking for a bean and chipotle recipe so I used your recipe and divided the marinade between the chicken and some cannellini beans. The beans are so delicious! Will cook the chicken later. Thank you for a great recipe!5 stars

  3. Nykki says

    Wow, so delicious! We love to get Chipotle chicken from the local market, but they were all out. Good thing they were, because this recipe was so much better, and so simple! The only thing I did different was add a little lime juice. Thanks for the great recipe! I will never buy the pre-marinaded stuff again.5 stars

  4. gerald says

    If you follow recipe directions one sentence at a time, in order, do not read the first one literally. I’m sure this goes without saying for most readers. LOL

  5. John Werth says

    Looking forward to this but do not understand if I am to include the adobo (tomato) sauce from the Chipotle y Adobo. 7 oz can has about 5.5 chipotles with half the can being left with Adobo. How many tablespoons, teaspoons, or all is really the question. Thank you!!!5 stars

    • Kathy Avakian says

      I didn’t want to waste the sauce because it was homemade and delicious too so I included most of the sauce as well as the peppers into the blender and it turned out really good!4 stars

  6. Anne Williams says

    Is it possible to substitute something in place of the Chipotle peppers?
    So there’s spiciness but not so much?
    I know you said I could not put as many in the marinade, but would like your thoughts on a substitution…I was thinking sprinkle of cayenne pepper, or another spice?
    It sounds amazing.

  7. Carol S Jones says

    I’m getting ready to try this recipe and am wondering if it would be good with a fairly small bone-in pork roast instead of chicken. I love the flavor of chipotle and would consider trying it on pork, steak, shrimp and even fish. Have you used this marinade on anything other than chicken and if so, was it good? I’ll be sure to give you a rating once I’ve tried it on my chicken thighs. Thanks and God bless!

    • Mary Younkin says

      Hi, Carol! I have not tried this marinade with meats other than chicken before, but I’m sure the result would be delicious with a pork roast too. Happy cooking!

    • Kathy Avakian says

      I have a similar recipe for Peruvian chicken that’s marinated in a thick spicy sauce instead of chipotle it’s basically same but using aji Amarillo pepper. I cooked the chicken using those directions which is:
      Heat the oven to 450 • degrees
      Remove chicken from marinade and shake off excess. Arrange skin side up on rimmed baking sheet and lightly drizzle with olive oil.
      Roast until skin is golden and chicken is cooked through 35-40 minutes.
      I also added a squirt of lemon juice to the marinade.
      I also used skin on bone in thighs.4 stars

  8. PDC says

    Made this last night and it was great. I had leftover Chipolets in adobo, in the freezer. I used 6 peppers in the recipe and marinated the chicken for about 36 hrs. I then grilled the chicken. The flavor was great, but there was no heat. I’ve gone back over the recipe to make sure I didn’t miss anything. I didn’t. I wonder if the peppers were old. Anyway thankyou for the recipe, next time I’ll hold some back for dipping.5 stars

    • Mary Younkin says

      I’ve never run into that myself. Chipotles are typically fairly spicy, though their smokiness often dominates the flavor. If they were in the freezer for quite a while that might have contributed to less heat.