Sheet Pan

Jalapeño–Cilantro Stem Marinade

September 19, 2018
9 Ratings
Photo by Bobbi Lin
Author Notes

The inspiration for this spicy, zesty marinade comes from my Aunt Julia, who immigrated from South Korea to Uruguay in the '80s. She always made chicken wings using a jalapeño-cilantro mixture similar to this one. I love how clean it tastes, how it really lets you appreciate the full, fresh flavor of jalapeños. Plus, it dyes everything a glorious green. It's good as a wing marinade, but even better on chicken thighs (which I've been known to turn into tacos). —Eric Kim

Test Kitchen Notes

Featured in: 2 Quick & Easy Chicken Thigh Recipes Our Senior Editor Swears By. —The Editors

  • Prep time 10 minutes
  • Makes about 1 cup marinade
  • 4 large jalapeños, 1 whole, 3 deseeded
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 cup cilantro stems
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
In This Recipe
  1. In a food processor or blender, blitz the jalapeños, garlic, cilantro stems, olive oil, salt, sugar, and pepper. That's it!
  2. Now what?: You can keep this in an airtight jar in the fridge for up to a week and zhush up anything from chicken to steak, even salmon and shrimp. I think it tastes best as a chicken marinade, especially boneless, skinless thighs and wings. Just toss it with a couple pounds of either and leave to marinate in the fridge for 4 hours or overnight. Drain the chicken in a colander to get rid of excess marinade, then lay on a sheet pan and roast at 400° F for 20 to 25 minutes for thighs (and a little longer for wings).

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Eric Kim is the Table for One columnist at Food52. Formerly the managing editor at Food Network and a PhD candidate in literature at Columbia University, he is currently working on his first cookbook, to be published by Clarkson Potter in Spring 2022. His favorite writers are William Faulkner, John Steinbeck, and Ernest Hemingway, but his hero is Nigella Lawson. You can find his bylines at Saveur, Bon Appétit, and The New York Times and follow him on Twitter @ericjoonho. Born and raised in Georgia, Eric lives in a tiny shoebox in Manhattan with his dog, Quentin "Q" Compson.