Cilantro Lime Marinade for Grilling Steak or Chicken Fajitas

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This Cilantro Lime Marinade will become a household favorite for grilling shrimp, steak, or chicken fajitas. It also serves as an excellent all-around marinade for roasting any meats or vegetables in the oven.

The bright, citrus flavors of lime and orange keep the warmer Latin-inspired flavors from overwhelming your fajitas.

It takes only minutes to make this cilantro lime marinade for steak fajitas or many other dishes. And unlike some Latin recipes that require a special trip to a Latin Foods market, you can find these items at your local grocery store.

The Caribbean Island Roots of Cilantro Lime Marinade

Cilantro Lime Marinade is Caribbean-inspired, and it is very popular in the island-adjacent nations.

The ingredient that sets this marinade apart from many other recipes is an ingredient many people don’t think to use. An orange!

We might associate oranges with Florida and California. But Americans don’t hold that market exclusively! Many skilled home cooks around the Caribbean island countries, the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico, and Central America grow citrus trees. Of course, these offerings include oranges, limes, lemons, and grapefruit.

In that region, the warm breezes and long, sunny days provide optimal growing conditions for citrus fruits.

In fact, economic reports explain how citrus fruits make up a considerable export for countries in the Caribbean region.

So the residents take advantage of their beautiful climate and use these fruits when they plan their menus. This Cilantro Lime marinade is a prime example.

I learned this recipe when I traveled throughout the Yucatan area of Mexico. Not only did I hone my Spanish language skills, but I picked up some delicious cooking tips. Yum!

Quick Video on How to Make Cilantro Lime Marinade

In this video, Deborah uses a mini food processor. Hers is a hand-powered processor, or, you can choose an electric mini food processor, like the one we have.

How to Use Cilantro Lime Marinade in Your Cooking

You can do so much more than make fajitas, you can also use it in other creative ways:

  • CREAM CHEESE SPREAD: Add 1/4 cup of marinade to a brick of softened cream cheese. Pulse it in the food processor until blended. Reshape the cream cheese, dust chili powder across the top, and serve it as a Caribbean-flavored cracker spread.
  • CREAMY SALAD DRESSING: Combine two tablespoons of the marinade with 1/4 cup of non-fat Greek Yogurt to make a refreshing and unique salad dressing.
  • VEGGIE DIP: Cut up your favorite vegetables: broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, celery, sweet bell peppers, and cherry tomatoes to make a citrus-fresh veggie dip. Mix a few tablespoons of cilantro lime marinade with 1/4 cup of sour cream.
  • CARIBBEAN SMOKED PORK: Before you toss a whole pork butt or pork roast onto the smoker, give it a 24-hour marinade. The freshness of the oranges and lime in the marinade counterbalances the smoky flavors. You will find it refreshing. This flavor combination is very typical in the islands, where pork is a favorite protein.
  • BEER CAN CHICKEN: Many home cooks swear that beer can chicken is the best way to turn out a moist bite of chicken. Before you place the chicken over the beer can, rub this mixture over the chicken. You can also inject the bird with cilantro lime marinade for extra flavor.
  • ADD FLAVOR TO CHICKEN WINGS: Follow our recipe for smoked chicken wings. Coat the finished wings in cilantro lime marinade for a unique wing flavor. If you don’t have a smoker, try grilled or air fryer chicken wings.
cilantro lime marinade

Cilantro Lime Marinade

Deborah Tayloe
Cilantro Lime Marinade packs a citrusy-fresh punch of lime and orange flavors along with mild heat. So delicious!
Prep Time 3 minutes
Total Time 3 minutes
Cuisine American


  • Juice of one orange
  • Juice of two limes
  • 1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Heaping tablespoons of cilantro
  • 1 Tablespoon of Goya Adobo Seasoning with Cumin
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon of garlic powder


  • Put the juices of the orange and limes, extra virgin olive oil, and the cilantro in a food processor. Pulse several times to break the cilantro down into a finer size, so that it distributes more evenly through the marinade.
  • Add in the adobo seasoning, cayenne, and garlic powder and pulse one more time.


You can also choose fresh cilantro instead of dried. I used dried in this batch, as fresh cilantro is out of season at the moment. Fresh will deliver even more substantial flavor.


Serving: 6servings
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Variations in this Caribbean Marinade

Of course, you can get creative when you make cilantro lime marinade. Here are a few variations you can try:

  • Swap out the limes or orange for lemon.
  • Add a pinch of chili powder or smoked paprika for a smokier flavor
  • Dash in a few drops of hot sauce

Feel free dive into the Caribbean-inspired marinade for a taste of the islands and you’ll enjoy a virtual getaway.

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