Spicy Beer Chicken Marinade

Spicy beer chicken marinade

Last Updated on February 22, 2023 by Kayla

This recipe was inspired by one of my favorite Instagrammers @grillin_with_dad. The marinade is easy to assemble and packed with flavor and spice.

The main ingredient

Chicken Breast vs Chicken Thigh

Nutritionally, the calorie and macronutrient difference between a chicken breast and chicken thigh aren’t as drastic as one might think (see below), so I prefer to use a 50/50 mix for this recipe.

Infographic comparing chicken breast and chicken thigh nutrition information

“Exercise? I thought you said extra thighs.” 🙂

– Yours truly

Preparing the marinade

To start, prep the chicken by cutting off any visible fat. Next, pound out the thickest part of the breast meat with the flat end of a meat mallet (breasts only; no need to do this with the thighs). This will help the chicken cook more evenly on the grill and ensure the ends don’t dry out.

Pro tip: If you are easily grossed out by raw poultry, cover the chicken breast with a large cut of plastic wrap before pounding with a meat mallet. For me, it’s very comforting to know that raw chicken juice isn’t flying around my kitchen!

Tenderizing raw chicken breast with meat mallet

Next, pierce the chicken with a fork. This will help the marinade reach more surface area of the chicken.

Piercing raw chicken breast with a fork

Carefully add the chicken to the marinade. It is very liquidy, so be cautious of splashing. Gently toss the chicken in the marinade with tongs or gloved hands otherwise you might find your hands stained (and stinging!) from the chipotle and jalapeno peppers. You should end up with something that looks like this:

Beer marinated chicken breasts and jalapeno in glass baking dish

Cover and carefully transfer to the refrigerator. Marinate for 2-24 hours, and you are ready for the grill!

Tips for perfect grilled chicken

Whether you choose to use a gas, charcoal, or pellet grill like Traeger, chicken breast and thighs can be cooked to perfection with a few key tips.

1. Get the grill marks

Heat your grill to medium-high heat (about 450 degrees F). Arrange chicken so the pieces are not overlapping. Cook for 5-7 minutes or until the flesh of the chicken looks like it’s halfway cooked through before flipping for the first time. Be patient – this is key!

To get crisp grill marks, be patient and turn the chicken only as needed – maybe a couple of times per side. This is usually enough for those beautiful charred tan lines to set in! To get the cross-cross pattern, rotate the chicken 180 degrees when flipping.

2. Use a thermometer

Ideally, a grilled chicken breast temp should reach 165F. Once removed from the grill though, chicken continues to cook, so I use a digital probe thermometer^, and remove the chicken from the grill between 155-160F. This is crucial for not overcooking!

3. Rest properly

Once removed from the grill, let the juices redistribute by resting the chicken for at least 10 minutes before slicing. This ensures that every bite will be tender and juicy. It’s worth the wait!

The final product

One of my favorite dishes to make for guests is grilled chicken tacos. This meal is fun to assemble and makes great leftovers for mid-day or late-night munchies.

Hand holding a taco with beer marinated grilled chicken and corn salsa

I like to offer a variety of condiments, so each person can personalize their taco. Some of my go-to grilled chicken taco toppings include:

  • Shredded cheese
  • Non-fat Greek yogurt or sour cream
  • Shredded cabbage or coleslaw mix
  • Cilantro Lime Crema from Costco – OMG the best!
  • Jalapeños
  • Cilantro
  • And I always serve this with my easy corn salsa recipe!

Yours truly,

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Sliced chicken with knife on wood cutting board

Spicy Beer Chicken Marinade

Spicy, tender chicken marinated with beer and peppers. Your next gathering will be a hit with this perfect recipe made especially for grilled chicken tacos.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Rest Time 10 minutes
Total Time 32 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 12 servings
Calories 185 kcal


  • 6 oz beer
  • 1 7 oz can chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
  • 2 limes zest & juice
  • 2 Tbsp avocado oil
  • 1 tsp garlic minced
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 jalapeño sliced
  • 4 lbs chicken breasts and/or thighs boneless & skinless


  • In a 9 x 13-inch glass baking dish or large bowl, whisk together beer, chipotle peppers, lime zest & juice, avocado oil, minced garlic, and cumin. Add sliced jalapeño.
  • Prepare chicken by cutting off visible fat and pounding breasts to even out. Pierce chicken with a fork and add to marinade (see above).
  • Using a tongs, toss chicken until coated. Cover baking dish or bowl with plastic wrap and marinate for 2 to 24 hours.
  • When ready to cook, heat grill to medium-high heat. Arrange chicken on grill being sure not to overlap. Cook for approximately 5-7 minutes until chicken has apparent grill marks and looks about 1/2 way cooked though. Flip and cook for an additional 5 minutes or until internal temperature reaches ~155-160F.
  • Remove from heat and rest for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

Nutrition Facts

Nutrition Facts (per 4 oz serving): 185 calories, 6g fat, 2g carbohydrates, 31g protein

One thought on “Spicy Beer Chicken Marinade

  1. I seldom do I find a recipe without added salt. The canned peppers are within my range. I am going to marinate tonight and grill tomorrow!

    My health makes sodium a priority. I wish your nutritional site included sodium.

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