Vibrant Key West Chicken Recipe

There are plenty of ways you could choose to marinate a piece of chicken, but this recipe for vibrant Key West-style chicken is the truly perfect option. It's easy to whip up and calls for a few inexpensive ingredients that you may already have on hand, which qualifies this recipe as a perfect go-to for busy weeknights when there's less time to cook.

Bursting with zesty flavors of orange and lime, Key West chicken is bright and tangy, yet still a little sweet. Even though it's super flavorful and unique, it's still compatible with a variety of sides like fried rice, cold noodles, or a fresh salad. It can also stand well on its own, simply sliced and served with roasted vegetables. While our recipe is going to be seared on the stovetop and finished in a hot oven, this marinade is perfect for grilling, especially as kebabs. With a juicy marinade like this one, no serving sauce is needed — just cook and serve!

Ingredients for making vibrant Key West chicken

One of the best parts of making this dish is that it really doesn't require much at all to make it happen. Aside from the four chicken breasts for this recipe, you'll need the following pantry staples: honey, soy sauce, paprika, ground cumin, and a dash of salt and black pepper. As far as fresh ingredients, garlic, scallion, parsley, two oranges, and one lime are required. A touch of oil will be added to the marinade, which will make sure our chicken doesn't stick in the pan.

Step 1: Zest the citrus

Zest the oranges and lime into a large bowl.

Step 2: Juice the oranges and lime

Juice the oranges and lime and add to the zest.

Step 3: Mix in the oil, spices and seasonings

Add the garlic, salt, pepper, paprika, honey, canola oil, soy sauce, and parsley to the bowl. Whisk together.

Step 4: Marinate the chicken breasts

Add the chicken breasts to the bowl and turn to coat in the marinade. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, or up to 4 hours.

Step 5: Preheat the oven

Preheat the oven to 400 F.

Step 6: Heat up the skillet

Preheat an oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat for 2 minutes.

Step 7: Sear the chicken breasts

Add the chicken breasts and sear on each side for 2 minutes without moving. Remove and sear remaining breasts.

Step 8: Add the chicken back in the pan with remaining marinade

Return all breasts to the skillet and brush with leftover marinade.

Step 9: Finish cooking in the oven

Bake the chicken for 10-15 minutes, or until a meat thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the breast reads 165 F.

Step 10: Slice the chicken and serve with lime

Slice chicken thinly against the grain and serve hot with lime wedges and scallions.

Can this marinade be used for other proteins?

You may be wondering if this Key West-style marinade can be used for other proteins. The answer is yes! This blend of ingredients works well with basically any protein, like salmon or cod, pork chops or loins, other cuts of chicken, or even tofu. Follow the recipe as instructed, and simply switch out the chicken breasts for whatever else you like. Cook the protein the same way and always use a digital thermometer to for food safety, as cooking times may change when switching meats. For fish, you can just bake it in the oven without searing.

Depending on which protein you choose, you'll want to lessen or extend the marinating time. For salmon or other delicate fish filets, it's best to marinate them in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to 2 hours maximum. Beyond that, the acids in the marinade may change the texture of the fish. While 30 minutes seems like a short time, it's still plenty of time to get the flavor marinated into the fish. Chicken and pork could be marinated for a longer time, anywhere from 4 hours to overnight. 

What should I serve with Key West chicken?

When it's time to serve this vibrant dish, you've got a lot of options for accompaniments. The soy sauce in the marinade will pair excellently with most noodle dishes, fried rice, and mashed potatoes (or cauliflower). A side of roasted root vegetables and sauteed greens would turn this into a complete meal. For more of a lunchtime vibe, pairing it with a fresh salad is definitely the way to go.  If serving at dinner, think warm vegetables, grains, and starches. 

The chicken breasts can even be prepped ahead (up to 3 days) and packed up for work lunches or busy days. To bring us back to the main flavors of the dish, make sure to serve with fresh lime wedges and garnish with sliced scallions. These could be swapped for chopped parsley or chives as well. No matter what's on the plate, this juicy vibrant chicken is sure to be the star.

Vibrant Key West Chicken Recipe
5 from 44 ratings
Bursting with zesty flavors of orange and lime, this Key West chicken recipe features bright and tangy flavors, while still being a little sweet.
Prep Time
10
minutes
Cook Time
20
minutes
Servings
4
Chicken Breasts
chicken sliced on platter
Total time: 30 minutes
Ingredients
  • 4 boneless and skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 oranges
  • 1 lime
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • ¼ cup chopped parsley
  • ¼ cup sliced scallions
  • Lime wedges, for serving
Directions
  1. Zest the oranges and lime into a large bowl.
  2. Juice the oranges and lime and add to the zest.
  3. Add the garlic, salt, pepper, paprika, cumin, honey, canola oil, soy sauce, and parsley to the bowl. Whisk together.
  4. Add the chicken breasts to the bowl and turn to coat in the marinade. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, or up to 4 hours.
  5. Preheat the oven to 400 F.
  6. Preheat an oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat for 2 minutes.
  7. Add the chicken breasts and sear on each side for 2 minutes without moving. Remove and sear remaining breasts.
  8. Return all breasts to the skillet and brush with leftover marinade.
  9. Bake the chicken for 10-15 minutes, or until a meat thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the breast reads 165 F.
  10. Slice chicken thinly against the grain and serve hot with lime wedges and scallions.
Nutrition
Calories per Serving 487
Total Fat 14.5 g
Saturated Fat 2.1 g
Trans Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 198.6 mg
Total Carbohydrates 25.0 g
Dietary Fiber 2.8 g
Total Sugars 19.7 g
Sodium 802.4 mg
Protein 63.2 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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