Recipe: Lemon Marinated Chicken


When I volunteered abroad in Mexico in January 2015, I stayed in a hostel and participated in occasional cooking classes with our chef (photo below). We made a few different recipes that varied based on the day you sign up for, but I made sure to take advantage and learn as many recipes as I could while I was there haha.

Our chef was showing off how to make a chayita using the tortilla press!

When I made my lemon marinated chicken, I vaguely remembered eating a meat dish that had some citrus, tangy flavor to it, but couldn’t place where I first experienced that on my palate… and then I remembered I had learned how to make poc chuc (a Mayan recipe which roughly translates to roasted or grilled over wood charcoals) back in Merida! When we made it, we had used lemon, orange, and salt to marinade the pork, and we cooked chayitas (using chaya to make fresh tortillas folded into rectangles).

Here I am making my own chayitas before throwing them into the fryer!
Our poc chuc dishes! I seriously wish I made 2 or more portions because it was just that good, trust me! When you test out this recipe, you’ll see what I mean!

I brought back two lemons from NY when I came back to Baltimore, and I needed to figure out what to do with them before they went bad… so my first thought was, let me try marinating meat with it! Little did I know, I was actually replicating a dish I had made about two years ago 🙂 I glanced at this recipe for a general idea of what to do, especially since I wanted to get the oven temperature right, but after that, it was improvisation time, what I do best when it comes to cooking!


  • 1 chicken thigh
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • half a lemon
  • dried oregano and parsley
  • salt and pepper


  1. Chop a lemon in half and drizzle the juice over the top and bottom of the chicken; make sure to sprinkle it under the skin too since you want that delicious tangy flavor to sink into the meat!
  2. Dice the garlic and sprinkle it over the chicken.
  3. Add salt and pepper to taste, and sprinkle oregano and parsley over the top and bottom of the chicken.
  4. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  5. Saran wrap your chicken in the bowl and refrigerate it for about 15-20 minutes (don’t go over 20 minutes because the acid from the lemon will start to “cook” the meat)!
  6. Line a baking tray with aluminum foil and add oil so your chicken won’t burn and get stuck after you bake it!
  7. Place your chicken in the tray and pop it into the oven for about 25-30 minutes, depending how big the piece is.
  8. When time is up, keep the oven on when you take out your chicken, and cut into it to make sure all the pink is gone (no one wants to enjoy their meal and end up with Salmonella poisoning)!!
I wish there was more color to it, but since I didn’t marinate it in any dark-colored sauces, it stayed its natural pale color. Still tastes delicious, though!

I repeated this recipe and used pork chops instead (again, before I realized I had made a similar recipe before haha) and it was simply to die forrrrr~ If you’re feeling adventurous, definitely try this recipe out and use a little bit of orange with your lemon/lime to add some sweetness to your dish. In Merida, we made pumpkin seed dressing, chayitas, and pickled red onions and it was the perfect combination.

Hope you enjoyed reading! If you’re curious about my experience volunteering abroad, you can check it out here, and also if you want to volunteer, definitely check out UBELONG–they are awesome!

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