Cuban “Mojo” Chicken

Biting into mojo roasted chicken is like tasting a bright sunny day. The flavors of orange and lime – both the juice and zest – dominate, infusing flavor into the chicken and swirling into an irresistible sauce. This is a meal for a day when you crave more flavor in your life. Why eat the same old plain roasted chicken when you can eat mojo chicken instead?

The sauce makes itself while the chicken roasts, the citrus juice and chicken drippings swirling into a rich, slightly sweet, and savory sauce spiked with plenty of garlic. The chicken is surrounded by onion and lots of colorful bell peppers, making it a one-pot meal.

Roasting a whole chicken in this Cuban-inspired marinade is a great way to go, but you could just as easily use the marinade for chicken pieces or a whole pork roast.

Servings: 4

Time in the Kitchen: 1 hour to marinate, plus 1 1/2 hours to prep and cook



  • 1 whole chicken
  • 1 orange, zest and juice
  • 2 limes, zest and juice
  • 10 garlic cloves
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt (7 ml)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin (5 ml)
  • 4 tablespoons coconut or olive oil, divided (60 ml)
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 pounds baby bell peppers, quartered, (900 g) or 3 large bell peppers, sliced
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth (120 ml)
  • Fresh oregano or cilantro for garnish


To make marinade, combine orange zest and juice, lime zest and juice, garlic, salt, cumin and 2 tablespoons (30 ml) of oil in a blender. Blend until garlic cloves are finely chopped.

Truss the chicken (tie the legs together). Put the chicken in a large Ziploc bag and pour the marinade over it. Seal the bag and marinate the chicken at room temperature for 30 minutes to an hour, turning the bag several times to coat all parts of the chicken.

Preheat oven to 450 °F (232 °C).

In a large Dutch oven or other ovenproof pot, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons (30 ml) of oil on the stove. Add the onion and sauté until soft and lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the peppers, sauté a minute or two more, and then add the broth.


Put the chicken in the Dutch oven, breasts down. Pour the marinade into the pot as well.


Roast in the oven, uncovered, for 15 minutes. Turn the chicken over and turn the heat down to 400 °F (204 °C). Continue to roast, breast side up, 35 to 45 minutes more until the chicken is browned on top and a thermometer inserted in a thigh reads 165 °F (74 °C).

Let the chicken rest and cool for at least 10 minutes before slicing into it.

Garnish with fresh oregano or cilantro.


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18 thoughts on “Cuban “Mojo” Chicken”

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  1. Ah wow!! This looks great, my taste buds are being dominated by the picture and I haven’t even tried it yet.

    I wonder if a beginner chef like me can make this just as well as it looks in the picture lol.

    I’ll print this out as I’ll want to try making this soon!

  2. Great ideas for a chicken dinner. However, I would lower the heat. In my oven, very high temperatures tend to dry chicken out, particularly the breast meat. I usually start a roast chicken at 425 for 15 minutes, then drop the temp to 375. For an additional layer of flavor, try stuffing the cavity with half of a quartered lemon (washed, of course) and a small head of garlic cut in half crosswise. You don’t need to remove the papery skin from the garlic since it will be discarded after the chicken is done.

  3. That sounds fairly close to good Cuban cooking, but I would add a couple of addendums:
    1. Up the Cumin. We LOVE cumin in our dishes. Try 1 Tbsp
    2. Try substituting Sour Orange (if you can find it) for the sweet orange. In the traditional Cuban cooking I’ve done or seen done, we tend to shy away from the sweet citrus and try to go with more of the sour stuff (lime, sour orange) that adds more of a savory than a sweet note to foods.

  4. Looks so good! I love roasting chickens in the fall/winter and new recipes are always welcome 🙂

  5. Thanks Worker Bee for spoiling my SamsClub roasted bird i had planned for today.

    But no, I still may fix it: add some stuff to it and re-cook in microwave.adding the sour orange suggestion …

    Lesson learned today:
    Wait for the MDA recipes, and then go shopping for food

  6. is that a chicken? what kind of breed do you have there in the u.s.? it is either obese or a little dog…

  7. Made this tonight. Paired it with some rice (not exactly primal, I know). It was delicious. Now using the bones to make stock; what a perfect meal!

  8. I made this in a crockpot over the weekend – I marinated it over night on Sat, then popped it in the crockpot with the veggies on the bottom. Didn’t even have to add liquid, it made it’s own broth. Cooked it on low for 7 hours, and it was fall off the bone tender. Spoon the broth over before serving – DEE-LISH.

  9. This was fantastic!! I wasn’t too keen on all that juicing and zesting, but it was worth every second. Gonna stuff the leftovers into some homemade corn tortillas and use the carcass for broth. Make. This.

  10. Thank you so much for this recipe, this chicken is fabulous! I have cooked it for the fam multiple times now and everyone always raves. I mixed it up a little tonight to great effect, I added 2 lemons (zest and juice) to the marinade, extra cumin, and — I think the kicker — substituted hard cider for the chicken stock (I just didn’t have any stock). It was even better than ever, brighter and a bit more sour, but the sauce left in the bottom was amazing.

  11. I love simple easy and TASTY recipes and all the tweaks folks are posting! Can’t wait to try.

  12. Made this for last night’s dinner and it was a big hit 🙂
    Didn’t have a whole chicken so used 4 very large chicken breasts instead (we’re talking chicken-zilla here!). Marinated overnight in the fridge, then sauted the onions / peppers in my sarten (big deep-sided Spanish wok) on the hob. Added the chicken stock and then the chicken breasts and marinade from the fridge.
    Browned off the chicken lightly (about 4 mins each side) then transferred to a roasting tin and placed in the oven at 200C (390F) for half an hour, turned half way through and re-covered with the onion pepper mix.
    Came out beautiful!! The onions/peppers caramelised down to a thick sauce and the chicken breasts were so moist and juicy.
    The tweaks I made: I only had 6 garlic cloves, so used that. I do think that 10 cloves would have been too much, as when I added the 6 and only the 1 tsp cumin it was garlic overloaded, so I upped the Cumin to 1 tablespoon (on Eric’s advice above -thankyou for that Eric, really balanced out the dish and stopped it being overpowered by the garlic)
    I also added 1 tsp of grated ginger puree to the marinade, just to give it a bit more zing.
    Served up with Cauli-rice (made with chopped leek and veg stock) and steamed broccoli, savoy cabbage and carrots. All plates were cleaned, even my Dad’s!