Cuban Mojo Marinade for Pork, Chicken, Steak, Shrimp

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Mojo marinade is an amazing citrus infused garlic and herb marinade that takes every protein to the next level! Enjoy this recipe on pork, chicken, steak, seafood, or even vegetables!

Mojo Marinade

With only a few minutes of prep time, you’ll be so happy to let this fresh homemade orange garlic herb marinade do all the heavy lifting for you with your meat. It’s perfect on any protein, and is also great as a dipping sauce.

An image of mojo sauce ingredients in small containers with the ingredients labeled.

What is Mojo Sauce

Mojo sauce is a citrus infused garlic and herb marinade that’s popular in many Caribbean countries. It’s very versatile and can be used as a marinade for protein, a glaze for vegetables, or as a dipping sauce. It’s also very commonly paired with yucca and tostones.

Mojo marinade ingredients in a bowl before mixing.

How to Make Mojo Marinade

There are two ways to make this.

If you have a food processor, you can add the garlic, onion, and herbs to a food processor and pulse it until the ingredients are evenly diced. Then add that and the remaining ingredients to a bowl and mix everything together.

Alternatively, you can mash the garlic into a paste, leave the rest of the ingredients roughly chopped, and mix everything together in a bowl. It depends on the texture you prefer.

Garlic mashed into paste in a mortar and pestle.

How to Store and Freeze Mojo Marinade

You can store mojo marinade in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week. If you need to store it for longer than that, you can freeze it in an airtight container for up to 3 months.

An image showing the ingredients for mojo marinade laid out in small containers.

How to Pronounce Mojo

Mojo is pronounced “mo – ho” (with the “j” taking an “h” sound).

A close up image of mojo marinade.

Optional Flavor Substitutions

Mojo marinade varies widely from country to country, though the Cuban mojo is probably the most popular variety in the United States.

Depending on the country, mojo may or may not include cilantro, oil, or jalapeno. Even though traditional Cuban mojo doesn’t typically include cilantro, I prefer the punch of flavor it adds. If you don’t like cilantro, you could omit it or even replace it with parsley. I also recommend including the oil because it helps to keep the meat tender and lock in the moisture.

If you like a bit of spice, you can remove the seeds and membrane from a jalapeno (that’s where the majority of the heat is), and add some roughly chopped jalapeno in. You could also add in some red pepper flakes instead.

Add in extra garlic! The garlic is key in mojo, and if you love garlic, feel free to add in extra.

Mojo sauce is made with bitter orange juice, which is made from Seville oranges. Since many people don’t have access to this ingredient, this recipe is written with that in mind. You can replicate the flavor of the bitter orange juice by adding in lemon and lime juice to the freshly squeezed orange juice. 

If you like the cilantro lime flavor profile, you may also love my very popular Cilantro Lime Sauce!

Yield: 1/2 cup

Mojo Marinade

Mojo marinade in a bowl mixed with a spoon.

Mojo marinade is an amazing citrus infused garlic and herb marinade that takes every protein to the next level! Enjoy this recipe on pork, chicken, steak, seafood, or even vegetables!

Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 medium cloves garlic (mashed into a paste)
  • ½ teaspoon orange zest
  • ½ teaspoon lime zest
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons diced yellow onion
  • 3 Tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1 Tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • Ground black pepper (to taste)

Instructions

  1. Mash the garlic into a paste using a mortar and pestle (or press the garlic with a garlic press).
  2. Mix together the garlic, orange zest, lime zest, olive oil, orange juice, lime juice, cilantro, oregano, cumin, salt, and pepper in a medium container.
  3. Pour the marinade over the meat. Marinate for at least 20 minutes, but no more than 12 hours.

Notes

Marinate chicken and seafood for no more than 2 hours, most other meat for no more than 12 hours, and only tough cuts of meat for up to 24 hours. You don’t want to marinate more delicate meats (like chicken and fish) for too long because the acid content will break down the protein too much.

This makes approximately ½ cup of marinade (enough marinade for 2 chicken breasts). You can double (or even quadruple) this recipe if you’re cooking for a crowd or if you want to make more for meal prep.

Mojo sauce is traditionally made with sour orange juice. This recipe is designed assuming you don’t have access to that ingredient. If you do have access to it, use it instead of the freshly squeezed orange juice and freshly squeezed lime juice. If you don’t have access to it and want a more sour flavor profile, add in 1 ½ Tablespoons of lemon juice.

Since dried herbs are stronger than fresh herbs, you’ll only need to use 1 teaspoon of oregano if you use dried oregano.

Nutrition Information:

Serving Size:

recipe

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 286Total Fat: 27.3gSaturated Fat: 3.8gTrans Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 1174.3mgCarbohydrates: 11gFiber: 1.1gSugar: 5.1gProtein: 1.2g

Nutrition information isn’t always accurate.

DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE?

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A Pinterest pin image containing an image of mojo marinade, an image of mojo marinade ingredients, and title text between them.

Try making this mojo marinade the next time you’re preparing chicken, pork, or steak. You’ll love the flavor it adds!

Mojo marinade in a bowl mixed with a spoon.

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