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 (5) Questions (0)

5 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,
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?
kym January 29, 2019
This sounds amazing! I just got a huge bag of jalapenos, do you think this would freeze well?