This Sheet Pan Mojo Chicken is the perfect weeknight meal. It is marinated in a garlic, citrus marinade and is a meal prep dream! This sheet pan chicken recipe is low-carb, paleo and Whole30. Mojo chicken is tender, juicy and always a hit with the family!
Make extra and use it for meal prep during the week.
We all just absolutely love the mouthwatering flavors of this mojo chicken! The mojo marinade is zesty and so bright. I just made it again last night and the flavors while it’s roasting are incredible! My son was raving, “Mommy, this is the best chicken ever! I love your Cuban chicken!”
This Sheet Pan Mojo Chicken is infused with a flavorful mojo marinade. This Cuban roasted chicken is called pollo asado or mojo chicken and it is no-fuss which makes a perfect weeknight meal. It all starts with the simple and super flavorful marinade that is made with citrus, garlic and spices. The chicken marinates in the mojo and when you’re ready to cook it, it is oven roasted until golden brown and tender!
Even if you make chicken breasts with this marinade they will not dry out! It will be so juicy and tender you’ll end up finishing every last drop of the marinade…it’s that good! This Mojo Sheet Pan Chicken is my new crush!
This has been my favorite sheet pan summer dish. As I write this, I have another bag waiting in the fridge to be cooked up today! I have been in love with mojo for a really long time. Living really close to Miami for such a long time, we are quite spoiled with the best Cuban places and Cuban friends that used to own Cuban restaurants.
So think about how many birthday parties we have enjoyed over the years with incredible (and authentic) Cuban pork, rice and beans. The plantains and the yuca. The Cuban guava pastries and the BEST Cuban coffee (even for sale at a kiosk at our grocery store). Seriously, Cuban food and South Florida go hand in hand.
I started cooking with a mojo marinade when I first started to live on my own. It’s a Cuban marinade and it’s just perfect for chicken, meats and even fish. My mom taught me how to make her marinade and it was something she explained is so easy to put together and all you need is a plastic zipped lock bag (or an airtight storage container).
This Sheet Pan Cuban Mojo Chicken is:
- FULL of incredible Cuban flavors
- Ready in one hour
What is a Mojo Marinade (aka Cuban Marinade)?
It isn’t easy to find sour oranges in the States, so a combo of limes and oranges is used instead. I sometimes add fresh cilantro to the marinade or I sprinkle it on the chicken after it’s cooked. It’s up to you if you want to use cilantro or not. You could also sprinkle a little chopped Italian parsley on top when it’s ready to serve.
A mojo is a marinade that comes together with:
- olive oil
- citrus (traditionally sour oranges)
- garlic (a lot!)
Once you get your marinade together and your chicken, you put it all together in the zipped lock bag. It’s really easy with the bag because you can squish the marinade all around the chicken pieces and take it out of the fridge and turn it around. Sheet pan recipes are so easy to put together and could be ready in just one hour.
Where did mojo marinade originate?
The mojo originated in the Canary islands, where the mojo sauce could be red, green or orange. You most likely are familiar with the mojo that comes from Cuba (and the Caribbean). Cuba has incredible sour oranges. Not so easy to find in the States (unless you’re growing your own). You could make mojo subbing oranges and lime juice for the super hard to find sour oranges.
The other really essential component of a mojo is the garlic. There is LOTS of garlic. So this is not for the faint of heart. There is also dried oregano. I happen to have bags in my freezer of my Calabrian mother-in-law’s homemade dried oregano from last summer in Italy. Once you put together the marinade, the chicken rests in it overnight or even the morning of. If you have only an hour, that is also a perfect amount of time to get the flavors incorporated with the chicken.
This Mojo Sheet Pan Chicken is truly the easiest weeknight dinner idea. Did I mention it is just delicious?
Are chicken Thighs or Chicken Breasts best for Cuban mojo chicken?
We prefer chicken thighs and legs for this recipe. You could use chicken breasts (cut them in half to marinade) just keeping in mind that they would be done in about 18-20 minutes.
How do I know that the chicken is fully cooked? What is Roasted Chicken Internal Temperature?
I like thighs and drumsticks baked to 185F internal temperature. If it’s less than 185F, it does not taste fully cooked for my tastes and the meat isn’t falling off the bones. If you’re making breasts, the safe internal temperature is 165F. The safest way to know when they chicken is ready is to check with an instant-read thermometer.
IF you are making a whole chicken, you could calculate 15 minutes of cooking time per pound of chicken. Truly, the safest way to know when it is ready is properly checking with an instant-read thermometer.
Is mojo chicken freezer friendly?
Yes, this is a freezer friendly chicken recipe. You could make it on Sunday if you’re doing meal prep for the coming week. Once the chicken has completely cooled down, remove the meat from the bone and shred it. This makes it much easier to reheat it and serve.
Portions of the shredded chicken go in zipped lock freezer bags or air-tight containers. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge when ready to eat.
What can you serve with this sheet pan mojo chicken recipe?
There are plenty of sides that go great with this very tasty chicken dish.
If you are keeping this completely low-carb, paleo, Whole30 and keto, serve it with roasted broccoli, salad, or cauliflower rice. It is also wonderful with roasted potatoes or plantains. If you are NOT paleo/low-carb or in a Whole30 cycle, enjoy it the traditional Cuban way is with rice and black beans, fried plantains (maduros, tostones!!), a side of yuca (in mojo!!), Cuban bread (of course!).
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Some final sheet pan mojo chicken recipe tips:
- The chicken will be more flavorful the longer you are able to marinate it. I try for at least 4 hours. Six hours is even better and overnight is the ideal amount of time. I have even made it with marinating it for 30 minutes-1 hour and it was still fantastic.
- There are store bought marinades (I have aisles of Latino products at my grocery store as we are near Miami), but the flavor is not the same as making your own with fresh ingredients. The homemade marinade makes the flavor truly authentic.
- The mojo marinade could be used to marinate pork, turkey, lamb, chicken breasts and even veggies if you are vegetarian or vegan.
- If you prefer to grill the chicken, go ahead and grill instead of roasting it on the sheet pan.
- If you can find zipped freezer bags on sale, buy a box or two. I found buy one get one free the other day. It’s really the optimal way to marinate the chicken. I like to take the chicken out of the fridge a couple times while it’s marinating and turn it around in the closed bag and massage it to get the marinate all over the chicken.
Some other chicken recipes we love:
- Sheet Pan Chicken Cacciatore
- Sheet Pan Honey Balsamic Chicken with Broccolini
- Tangerine Garlic Chicken
- Baked Pineapple Chicken
Originally posted August 2020 and updated for content on August 2021.
Sheet Pan Mojo Chicken
- 1/4 cup or about 6- 8 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 tablespoon fresh or dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro lightly packed
- 1/4 lemon juice
- 1/4 cup lime juice freshly squeezed
- 1/2 cup plus 1 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil divided
- 1/2 cup orange juice freshly squeezed
- 2 pounds bone-in skin-on chicken pieces (I used a mix of thighs and drumsticks, be sure to trim excess skin off thighs)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 small yellow or white onion peeled and sliced
- Orange and lime slices for garnish optional
- MOJO MARINADE:
- In a large mortar with pestle (you could pulse it in a food processor or chop the garlic up by hand), add the garlic, salt, oregano, cumin, cilantro, lemon and lime juice. Use the pestle to twist the garlic until it is smashed.
- In medium bowl, add the crushed garlic mixture with the 1/2 cup olive oil and orange juice. Use a fork to mix it all up.
- Drizzle the remaining tablespoon of olive oil on the chicken.
- Sprinkle salt and pepper on the chicken pieces.
- Transfer the chicken pieces to a zipped lock bag or air-tight container.
- Add the marinade to the bag or container with the chicken pieces.
- If you have the chicken in a zipped lock bag, seal it and massage the chicken with the marinade to completely coat.
- If it’s in a container, use your hands to massage it all over the chicken (use disposable gloves if you have on hand).
- Place the bag or container in the fridge and marinate for at least three hours. Even better, marinate overnight. Realistically, if you have 30 minutes-1 hour, and that is fine too!
- ROAST CHICKEN:
- Preheat oven to 425F. On a foil paper lined baking sheet, add the chicken pieces (skin side down) and the marinade. Place the onion slices, orange and lime around the chicken.
- Transfer baking sheet to the oven and cook for 30 minutes.
- Spoon the marinade all over the chicken and turn over chicken pieces to skin side up.
- Lower temperature to 375F. Bake until the chicken is completely cooked through and the skin is nice and crispy; about another 30-45 minutes. Total cook time is about 1 hour-1 hour and 15 minutes. Let chicken rest 10 minutes tented with foil paper before serving.
*If you’re making chicken breasts: The safe internal temperature for chicken breasts is 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
*If you’re making a chicken thighs and legs (like I did), you should check by inserting an instant-read thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh and temperature should read 185F.