Sheet Pan

Jalapeño–Cilantro Stem Marinade

September 19, 2018
9 Ratings
Photo by Bobbi Lin
  • Prep time 10 minutes
  • Makes about 1 cup marinade
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

What You'll Need
  • 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
  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).

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Yoojin Lee
    Yoojin Lee
  • Annada Rathi
    Annada Rathi
  • Eric Kim
    Eric Kim
  • Rochelle
Eric Kim was the Table for One columnist at Food52. He is currently working on his first cookbook, KOREAN AMERICAN, to be published by Clarkson Potter in 2022. His favorite writers are William Faulkner, John Steinbeck, and Ernest Hemingway, but his hero is Nigella Lawson. You can find his bylines at The New York Times, where he works now as a writer. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram at @ericjoonho.

7 Reviews

Rochelle November 5, 2020
Im not sure why this magical condiment doesn't get more fanfare. Whenever I make it I want to run out the front door and offer it up to passersby (masked of course). Last night I tossed it with some chopped kale and cabbage on a sheet tray covered with foil and roasted along with boneless chicken thighs. While the chicken was as good as ever we both agreed the star was the roasted/steamed veg and can't wait to try this out on other veg for a meatless dinner.
Humberto July 18, 2020
Great sauce... added Extra jalapeño, black pepper and spoon of fresh lime juice ...
I you let it rest for a day is Great for marinade or just simply topped on your favorite steak, fish , veggies or poultry ..
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,
In my cilantro chutney (, I use stems liberally too. I just discard the hard, woody bottoms. Paneer, vegetables, tofu will taste superb with your stem marinade too.
Eric K. October 11, 2018
Ugh, delicious. Aren't cilantro stems grand?
kym January 29, 2019
This sounds amazing! I just got a huge bag of jalapenos, do you think this would freeze well?