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This delicious recipe is comprised of marinated chicken (either breast or thighs) that’s topped with a cilantro-lime mango salsa. This mango chicken is easy to throw together and mega flavorful!
With a bright citrus chicken marinade, luscious mango salsa, and a creamy avocado bringing everything together, this mango chicken tastes incredible!
It’s also relatively simple to make and you’ll be amazed with how just few ingredients tossed together can taste this good.
Since this recipe requires relatively few ingredients, the ingredients – and the way you prepare them – matter. While I recommend grilling the chicken in an outdoor grill, a grill pan also works well. And in a pinch I’ve included baking and sautéing instructions. Above all, wait to make this meal until your mango and avocado are at peak ripeness for the best flavor and texture.
How to make mango chicken
- Whisk together the mango chicken marinade ingredients: this marinade is the perfect complement to fresh mango! Reserve some of this marinade to brush over the chicken as it grills.
- Marinate: place the chicken in marinade mixture and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes and up to 6 hours. Why not longer? The acidity from the lime begins to “cook” the chicken.
- Cook: grill, bake, or sauté the chicken until it reaches 165 degrees F. (I like to take the guesswork out by using a digital meat thermometer)
- Cooking times will vary depending on several factors so I always recommend using a thermometer to test your chicken as it cooks. Aim to hit 165 degrees Fahrenheit. (Undercooked = unsafe; Overcooked = dry chicken)
- Baste: as you grill the chicken, brush it occasionally with the reserved marinade mix. This is going to amp up the flavor!
- Mango salsa: while the chicken is cooking, it’s the perfect time to whip together the salsa (and rice if you’re making some).
When it’s a busy weeknight, I’m all about making dinner prep easier! One of the nice things about this recipe is that the prep time is broken up a bit — marinade can be made earlier in the day and salsa/rice later in the day. Below are a few other tips.
Time saving tips for this mango chicken
- Jarred garlic: yes, real garlic is better, but in a marinade you can’t tell too much of a difference. Jarred garlic will make the marinade fast and simple.
- Juicer: this mango chicken recipe requires fresh lime juice, so invest in a juicer or citrus reamer. You don’t need anything special or crazy expensive; this one is pretty cheap and a great investment if you juice a lot of citrus.
- Check out this guide for how to cut a mango. Cutting a mango using the tips from that guide will make prep faster and easier.
This mango chicken is easy it is to adjust it to your personal preference or desired cooking method. Below are some ideas on adjusting this recipe.
Recipe notes & variations
- Healthy mango chicken: as written, this dish is very nutritious! To make it even healthier, serve it over quinoa, brown rice, or another similar whole grain.
- Mango chicken bake: this recipe can be baked instead of grilled. To do so: preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Place chicken on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for approximately 18 minutes, flipping the chicken halfway. Remove from the oven, and loosely cover sheet pan with foil. Let the chicken rest for 5-10 minutes. Serve mango salsa over the baked chicken.
- Sautéed mango chicken: this recipe can be sautéed instead of grilled! To do so: heat 1 to 2 tablespoon(s) oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add chicken breast and cook for 4-6 minutes per side until the chicken is cooked through and the juices run clear. As you sauté the chicken, brush it generously with the reserved marinade. Transfer the chicken to a clean plate, and loosely cover with foil. Let the chicken rest for 5-10 minutes. Serve mango salsa right on top of the chicken.
- Spicy mango chicken: if you’re looking to amp up the spice; add some cayenne pepper (1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon) to the marinade. You can also add some red pepper flakes to the finished dish!
- Mango chicken thighs: you can absolutely switch out boneless skinless thighs for breasts in this recipe.
- Make sure to slice the chicken in half, and/or pound the breasts (this is best accomplished by a meat mallet) into an even thickness before marinating. This allows the chicken to soak up more flavor from the marinade (improves taste), and the even thickness will allow them to cook evenly.
- As the chicken is cooking, brush the reserved marinade on the meat. This will enhance the chicken’s flavor. You can even leave some marinade (untouched by the meat) to drizzle over everything after it’s finished as a sort of dressing.
- Once it’s finished, let the cooked chicken rest, tented with foil, for 5-10 minutes before cutting in. This allows for the juices to redistribute (here’s the science on that :)).
Other recipes you’ll love
- Grilled Chicken Taco Bowls with an avocado-corn salsa
- Pesto Chicken Tortellini (one pot)
- Pineapple Chicken
- Cilantro Lime Chicken
- Pesto Chicken with a white bean-corn salsa
Serve this mango chicken over
Delicious and simple marinated chicken (breast or thighs) with a cilantro-lime mango salsa. This mango chicken is easy to throw together and mega flavorful!
- 1.5 pounds (4 breasts) chicken breasts (or thighs)
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice + 1 teaspoon zest
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
- 2 and 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 and 1/2 cups diced ripe mango (make sure it's ripe for best flavor/sweetness)
- 1 tablespoon diced jalapeno
- 1/3 cup diced red onion
- 1/3 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro, finely chopped (measure in 1/3 cup then chop)
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
- Fine sea salt and freshly cracked pepper
- 1 large ripe avocado, chopped or thinly sliced
- Optional: additional fresh lime wedges
- Trim the chicken breasts of fat and then slice large breasts evenly in half widthwise. Using a meat mallet or the bottom of your fry pan, pound breasts to even thickness (you don't want the meat super flat, just even in thickness). Place the prepared chicken in a large ziplock bag and set aside.
In a small bowl whisk together 1/4 cup olive oil, 1 teaspoon lime zest, 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice, honey, minced garlic, paprika, chili powder, cumin, and salt + pepper (I use about 1/2 of each; add to preference). Once the mixture is well combined, remove 3 tablespoons of the mixture and reserve in the fridge for later.
Add the rest of the marinade in the bag with the chicken. Seal the bag and then knead with your hands to ensure all of the chicken is well coated. Place in the fridge and marinate for at least 30 minutes and no longer than 6 hours (acid from lime begins to "cook" the chicken).
Preheat a grill or grill pan to medium-high heat (about 400 degrees F.) Generously oil the grill (I drench a roll-up paper towel in vegetable oil and, holding it with tongs, rub it over the grill grates. Don't skip this step.)
Remove chicken from marinade and discard any remaining marinade. Grill the chicken turning once halfway through grilling, about 4-6 minutes per side (until the thickest part of the chicken registers 165 degrees F and juices run clear). Baste the chicken with the reserved marinade as you grill and after flipping (if there is any remaining reserved marinade, you can serve it as a "dressing" over finished chicken). Transfer the chicken to a plate and cover with foil. Allow the chicken to rest for a few minutes so the juices can re-distribute. Slice thinly or chop into bite-sized pieces.
While the chicken cooks, prepare the salsa! Dice the mango, dice the jalapeno, dice the red onion, and finely chop the cilantro. Toss everything together in a large bowl with the freshly squeezed lime juice, cumin, and salt and pepper to taste. I add about 1/4 teaspoon of salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper, but add to preference. Gently toss together, taste, and then adjust seasoning if needed. Serve spooned generously over the grilled chicken. Thinly slice or chop the avocado and serve alongside chicken and salsa. Serve with fresh lime wedges and a few squeezes of fresh lime over everything.
- We like to cook up coconut rice or cilantro lime rice to serve the chicken and salsa over. If you'd like those recipes check for the links to those recipes right above this recipe card! 🙂
Note 1: if you like A LOT of salsa, you may want to double the salsa recipe. Note 2: a good, ripe avocado adds a delicious creamy element to this dish. If you don't add avocado and want a creamy element, I'd recommend the jalapeno sauce from this recipe. (<click on "recipe")