Jalapeño–Cilantro Stem Marinade

September 19, 2018

Test Kitchen-Approved

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

Food52 Review: Featured in: 2 Quick & Easy Chicken Thigh Recipes Our Senior Editor Swears By.The Editors

Makes: about 1 cup marinade
Prep time: 10 min


  • 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).

More Great Recipes:
Marinade|South American|Cilantro|Jalapeño|Sheet Pan|Dinner

Reviews (4) Questions (0)

4 Reviews

Yoojin L. October 14, 2018
Made this but added some lime juice to bake cod and shrimp! So delicious with a nice kick :)
Peter T. October 11, 2018
Can your jalapeños be substituted with ordinary chillies? Tnxs.
Annada R. October 1, 2018
Hi Eric,<br />In my cilantro chutney (https://food52.com/blog/21975-this-herby-spicy-creamy-indian-condiment-will-soon-be-your-favorite), I use stems liberally too. I just discard the hard, woody bottoms. Paneer, vegetables, tofu will taste superb with your stem marinade too.
Author Comment
Eric K. October 11, 2018
Ugh, delicious. Aren't cilantro stems grand?