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Cancun Grilled Chicken Tacos with Citrus Chile Marinade

Sandy Hoopes
5 from 5 votes
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 50 mins
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 4 to 6


  • 4 to 6 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 envelope taco seasoning (or spice mix at bottom of recipe) 1 ounce each
  • 1-2 pinch ground cloves
  • 1-2 pinch allspice (optional)
  • 1 1/4 cups orange juice divided
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice or white or apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 red onion thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 habanero chile seeded and minced (may use jalapeno)
  • salt
  • black pepper
  • 1/2 fresh pineapple cut into rings or chunks
  • 2 dozen fresh corn tortillas
  • Garnish with:
  • guacamole
  • shredded lettuce
  • salsa
  • sour cream optional


  • Rinse chicken breasts and pat dry with a paper towel. Mix the taco seasoning packet with the pinches of allspice and clove. Spread evenly over the chicken on both sides and pat into the chicken. Set aside. OR use Cancun Seasoning Mix at bottom of this recipe to pat into the chicken.
  • In a non-reactive dish (pyrex, plastic, etc), combine the orange juice, olive oil, lime juice, 1/2 sliced onion, minced garlic and minced habanero or jalapeno. Stir to combine and distribute evenly.
  • Place the chicken in the marinade making sure the marinade covers the top of the chicken. Cover the dish with plastic and refrigerate for 2 to 4 hours. Not, too long or the citrus will "cook" the chicken like ceviche.
  • Place remaining sliced onion in the remaining orange juice and allow to soften or "pickle" while the chicken marinates. Drain before serving.
  • Remove the chicken from the marinade and season with salt and pepper on both sides. Grill on a BBQ or grill pan over medium-high heat until done, about 6 to 8 minutes on each side.
  • Grill the pineapple a few minutes on each side until grill marks appear.
  • Remove the chicken from the grill and let rest before slicing crosswise into 1/2 thick strips.
  • Quickly heat the corn tortillas on the grill, a griddle or large skillet.
  • Serve family style with "pickled" onion, grilled pineapple, guacamole, lettuce, salsa and sour cream.
  • Cancun Red Seasoning Mix
    1/3 cup ground annatto
    1/2 teaspoon ground allspice berries
    1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds (optional)
    2 teaspoons whole black pepper
    1/2 teaspoon cumin
    4 whole cloves (optional)
    1 tablespoon Mexican oregano
    12 to 14 cloves garlic, roasted and peeled
    1-1/2 teaspoons salt
    Place all ingredients EXCEPT salt and roasted garlic in a hot, dry skillet and toast until fragrant.
    Add salt and roasted garlic.
    Stir until combined.
    Rub on chicken INSTEAD of taco seasoning packet.