Tender, juicy, and flavorful, this Baja Chicken is easy to make on the stovetop or the grill. No lengthy marinade required! Serve it as a main dish alongside your favorite salad or salsa, or use it in tacos, wraps, or bowls.

45 degree angle view of a chicken breast cooked with a Baja style marinade with grill marks.

Baja-style chicken can mean a lot of things to different people. This version is so tender and flavorful that it holds my heart and makes me feel I need no other. It’s got a very mild heat and all the irresistible flavor of lime, chili, and cumin.

This recipe for Baja chicken checks lots of boxes. It’s:

  • Quick and easy. No lengthy marinating time needed.
  • Guaranteed to be tender. Mixing a little Greek yogurt into the marinade is a shortcut to perfectly juicy chicken each and every time.
  • Full of flavor.
  • Super versatile.

I began making this chicken exclusively for a taco filling — and Baja chicken tacos are still one of my favorite quick and easy dinners — but as I’ve realized how good it is as a standalone main dish, I figured it deserved a dedicated spotlight of its own.

Of course it’s good in tacos, wraps, or burrito bowls, but we also love the chicken breasts served alongside a black bean salsa, Mexican three bean salad, or a simple green salad with tortilla strips for a Tex-Mex flair.

Ingredients & Substitutions

Here are a few notes and shopping tips about the ingredients you’ll need to make this, as well as possible substitutions. Find full amounts in the print-friendly recipe card below.

  • Chicken breasts. I most often use thin-sliced boneless skinless chicken breasts because they cook very quickly, but you can easily use thick-cut chicken breasts or chicken thighs — boneless or bone-in — for this recipe too. They will just need to cook longer.
  • Plain Greek yogurt. Either full-fat or reduced-fat work well.
  • Extra virgin olive oil.
  • Lime juice. Fresh if at all possible.
  • Spices: chili powder, garlic powder, cumin, kosher salt, and black pepper.
  • Extra lime wedges and fresh cilantro leaves. For a beautiful and flavorful garnish.

Of course the citrus and spices work together to infuse the chicken with flavor. You might do a double take on the use of Greek yogurt, but it is a delightfully effective ingredient for poultry marinades. Just a couple tablespoons makes the whole mixture thick and creamy, and keeps your cooked meat incredibly juicy. No dry chicken here!

What else can you add to Baja chicken?

Some recipes for Baja-style chicken also include orange juice or zest, fresh garlic, diced jalapeño peppers, tomatoes, onions, or a bit of ancho or chipotle chili powder. Any of these can be added to the marinade for another layer of flavor.

How To Make Baja Chicken

This could not possibly be more simple. You will find full instructions with exact ingredients and times in the print-friendly recipe card below.

  1. Whisk together the marinade.
  2. Nestle chicken in marinade, being sure it’s fully coated.
  3. Cook chicken as desired — grill, pan-fry, even bake it. No wrong way.

Pro Tip: You can achieve perfect grill marks on your stovetop by using a simple cast iron grill pan. It’s affordable and we use it often!

How long to marinate Baja chicken?

For good flavor, you can marinate this chicken for as little as 5-10 minutes at room temperature, or cover tightly and chill in the refrigerator for up to 8 hours.

Longer than that and the lime juice may begin to compromise the chicken’s texture. You do not need to marinate this Baja chicken overnight.

Overhead view of three chicken breasts marinated in a Baja style resting on a plate garnished with lime wedges and fresh cilantro.

Recipe FAQs and Expert Tips

What is Baja cuisine?

Baja cuisine is a fusion of flavors inspired by the fresh foods most readily available in Mexico’s Baja Peninsula and the cities of Tijuana and San Diego across the US-Mexico border. This cooking is frequently thought of as fresh, flavorful, and presenting sophisticated flavor combinations in a casual way. Seafood is a frequent star of Baja cuisine — think the ever-popular Baja fish tacos! — but the flavors translate extremely well to other proteins.

Do you wash chicken before cooking?

No: do not wash raw chicken prior to placing it in a marinade or cooking it. Washing will only increase the odds of spreading bacteria around your sink and other parts of the kitchen.

What is the recommended internal temperature for chicken breasts?

Chicken is safe and ready to eat when it has reached 165° F, per official USDA guidelines. A simple instant-read meat thermometer makes it easy to watch for that benchmark and pull the chicken off right away. No guesswork and no over-cooked, dry chicken!

Serving Suggestions

My favorite approach is to make a large batch of this and serve it the first night for dinner alongside my black bean salsa and tortilla chips. Dice the remainder of the chicken into bite-sized pieces and add to lunch salads throughout the week, or plan another meal of tacos or burrito bowls in a couple of days.

My favorite pairings with Baja chicken in tacos or bowls? Shredded red or green cabbage, fire-roasted corn, green leaf lettuce, pico de gallo, a little Cotija, and a shortcut Baja sauce of Greek yogurt with a little adobo sauce mixed in. Perfection.

Storage & Reheating

  • Storage: Leftover Baja chicken keeps very well for 3-4 days. Store in any airtight container in the refrigerator. (These are our favorite meal prep boxes!)
  • Warming: Reheat at 50% power in the microwave to ensure the chicken doesn’t dry out. Be especially cautious with microwave cook times if you have already cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces, as they will dry out more quickly.

Related Recipes

In the market for more quick and easy ways to use chicken? Try my lemon chicken pasta, crockpot shredded chicken tacos, Greek-marinated chicken, or Italian dressing chicken next.

Rounding out your Tex-Mex-inspired feast? Don’t miss this 5-minute blender salsa, chipotle street corn dip, homemade guacamole, and the most delicious Mexican chocolate cake for dessert. Want to elevate everything and impress your family? Make your own flour tortillas!

If you try this easy Baja Chicken, don’t forget to rate the recipe and leave a comment below. I love hearing how recipes turn out in your kitchen, and it helps other readers, too.

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5 from 2 votes

Baja Chicken

Tender, juicy, and flavorful, this Baja chicken is easy to make on the stovetop or the grill. No lengthy marinade required!

Ingredients

  • 2 Tablespoons plain Greek yogurt 
  • 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • juice of 1 lime
  • pinch kosher salt
  • 1 lb. thin-sliced chicken breasts
  • lime wedges and fresh cilantro for garnish

Instructions

  • In a medium bowl, combine the Greek yogurt, olive oil, chili powder, garlic powder, cumin, lime juice, and salt to make the marinade. Whisk until evenly combined. Add the chicken breasts and flip so that each side is coated. Set aside to rest for 5-10 minutes, or cover and place in the fridge for up to 8 hours.
  • When ready, grill or sauté the chicken for 3-4 minutes on each side in a skillet lightly coated with olive oil over medium-high heat, until lightly browned and cooked through. Discard the marinade.
  • Serve as a main, or in tacos, burritos, wraps, or bowls.

Notes

  1. Greek yogurt: Either full-fat or reduced-fat Greek yogurt will work, just be sure it is unflavored.
  2. Variations: Add a small amount of orange juice or zest, fresh garlic, diced jalapeño peppers, or a bit of ancho or chipotle chili powder to the marinade for another layer of flavor.
  3. Storage: Leftovers keep very well for 3-4 days. Store in any airtight container in the refrigerator.
  4. Warming: Reheat at 50% power in the microwave to ensure the chicken doesn’t dry out. Be especially cautious with microwave cook times if you have already cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces, as they will dry out more quickly.

Nutrition Estimate

Calories: 227 kcal, Carbohydrates: 2 g, Protein: 27 g, Fat: 11 g, Saturated Fat: 1 g, Cholesterol: 74 mg, Sodium: 932 mg, Potassium: 484 mg, Sugar: 1 g, Vitamin A: 330 IU, Vitamin C: 1.7 mg, Calcium: 50 mg, Iron: 0.9 mg
Did you make this recipe?Leave a review below, then snap a quick picture and tag @nourishandfete on Instagram so I can see it!