Garlicky, tangy, and herby, Cilantro Lime Chicken Burrito with Mexican Street Corn is full of bright, vibrant flavor. The succulent and juicy grilled chicken is coated in a zesty marinade full of amazing flavors. The refreshing flavors of chopped fresh cilantro, minced garlic, lime zest and juice, brown sugar, and Tajin seasoning combined with olive oil work beautifully together.
Mexican street corn, also known as esquite, adds a creamy element with grilled kernels of corn that pop when you take a bite. Layers of crisp romaine lettuce, thick slabs of fresh avocado, and jalapeno pepper slices are wrapped in a warm tortilla to complete the chicken burrito, a delicious and satisfying meal.
Cilantro Lime Marinade
Flavor-infusing marinades are a cook's tricks of the trade. With the ability to transform and enhance the natural flavor of an ingredient, marinades work wonders on meat and vegetables. However, the benefits go beyond taste.
Acidic liquids such as citrus juice or vinegar weaken protein which helps to tenderize meat. In turn, there is greater moisture retention resulting in succulent and juicy meat.
Immersing chicken in a cilantro lime marinade provides a tangy, zesty, and herby flavor. How much of this flavor is imparted to the chicken is dependent on how long it is marinated. While marinating in lime juice longer will add more flavor, it can also "cook" the chicken which will give it a white appearance. Also, the texture of the meat can undergo changes and become mushy from the highly acidic juice. While you can marinate the chicken overnight, any time longer is not recommended.
Preparing the Cilantro Lime Marinade
- Zest and juice two large limes.
- In a rectangular baking dish, combine the lime juice and zest with minced garlic, chopped cilantro, light brown sugar, and Tajin seasoning.
- Pour the olive oil in a slow, steady stream into the baking dish while whisking.
What is Mexican street corn?
Popping with freshness, this classic Mexican street food also known as elote or esquite is creamy and delicious. Elote is a full ear of corn slathered with creamy mayo, a sprinkle of cotija cheese, a squeeze of lime juice, and a dash of chili powder or Tajin. Esquite has the same ingredients but the kernels are cut off the cob and the corn is served in a cup.
Why This Recipe Works
- Many of the ingredients such as limes, cilantro, and Cotija cheese are repeated in different preparations in the recipe. The resulting flavor is fresh, bright, and herby.
- You determine the spice level - omit the jalapeno pepper slices if they are not to your liking. Add more Tajin seasoning if you prefer food on the spicier side.
- You can use an outdoor grill, a stovetop, or a broiler for all the preparations of the corn and chicken.
- Is grilling a favorite cooking method? Here is another recipe you may enjoy - https://tenpoundcakecompany.com/grilled-chicken-carnitas-tacos/
Ingredients for Chicken Burritos
Limes - You will use both the juice and the zest
Garlic - Five big cloves of garlic add a lot of flavor.
Cilantro - Herby with a fresh flavor, partners well with the lime
Light Brown Sugar - Just a touch of sweetness for a tangy/sweet depth of flavor for the marinade
Extra Virgin Olive Oil - Works with the acid in the lime juice and keeps the chicken from drying out
Fresh Ears of Corn - Juicy and sweet
Mayonnaise - Rich and creamy
Mexican Crema -The tangy flavor cuts through the richness
Cotija Cheese - Finely grated, this cows milk cheese adds a salty flavor
Tajin Seasoning - This seasoning has the flavor of dried chile peppers, dehydrated lime, and salt.
Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts - Easy to marinate and cook
Flour Tortillas - Burrito sized
Romaine Lettuce - Crisp and fresh
Garnishes - Avocado, jalapeno pepper slices, more cilantro, and Cotija cheese.
How to Make Mexican Street Corn
Remove the husks and the silk from the ears of corn. Decide where you are grilling the corn - grill, stovetop, or broiler. I use the flame of a burner on my gas stove. Quick and easy. I can monitor the flame and turn it up or down as needed.
Lay the corn on the grate of the burner, rotating the cob as the kernels start to pop and turn black. You can place the cobs on a sheet tray and place them under a broiler. Have the oven rack as close to the broiler as possible. Rotate the cobs as needed as the kernels are cooked. Once grilled, let the charred corn cool until it is safe to cut the kernels off the cob without burning your hands.
Mix the Street Corn
In a medium-sized bowl, combine the mayonnaise, crema, minced cilantro, lime zest and juice, minced garlic, Tajin seasoning, and kosher salt. Add the grilled corn kernels and the grated cotija cheese to the bowl, mixing everything into a cohesive salad.
Have a taste of the street corn. If you prefer spicier food, add more Tajin seasoning. Check the salt level and adjust the seasoning to your liking.
How to Prepare the Grilled Chicken Burritos
Grilling the Chicken
Grill your chicken using whichever method you prefer - outside on a grill, under a broiler, or using a grill pan on a stovetop. For this recipe, I used a grill pan for convenience.
- Make sure to use cooking spray or vegetable oil to coat the pan or the grill rack.
- Grill the chicken for 5-6 minutes a side. The internal temperature of the chicken should be 165 degrees.
Assembling the Chicken Burritos
- Once the chicken has cooled, cut each breast into ½-inch slices. I cut the flavorful chicken on a bias so that there is more grilled exterior in each slice.
- Have all the ingredients in front of you to assemble the burritos.
- Warming the tortillas before rolling helps to prevent them from ripping or cracking. You can place the tortillas covered by a damp paper towel in a microwave oven for 30 seconds to 1 minute.
- Another method is wrapping the tortillas in aluminum foil and heating them in a 250-degree oven for about 10 minutes.
- To assemble the burrito, place 1 cup of shredded romaine lettuce near the center of the tortilla. Add ½ cup of the Mexican street corn salad on top of the lettuce.
- Add a layer of chicken slices on top of the street corn, fanning them out.
- Now add the garnishes - sliced avocado, jalapeno peppers, cilantro leaves, and grated cotija cheese.
- For a spicier burrito add more of the Tajin seasoning. You can also add a squeeze of fresh lime juice.
Folding the Burrito
- After adding the burrito filling, fold in the sides of the tortilla toward the center.
- Bring the bottom of the tortilla over the ingredients while holding the folded sides.
- Continue to roll encasing the filling, with the seam side down
- Heat a pan over medium heat. Coat the pan with cooking spray.
- Dip your finger in water. Moisten the inside edge of the bottom flap, pressing it down. This helps to act like glue to keep the burrito from unwrapping.
- Place the burrito seam side pan in the pan. Cook for 1-2 minutes until the tortilla is browned. Rotate until all sides have been browned.
- Preheat the pan. Medium-high heat will sear the chicken properly.
- Oil the pan with an oil that has a high smoke point.
- Grill marks add caramelization which adds flavor.
- Let the chicken sear without moving too much so that it will release from the grill.
- Don't overcrowd the pan. The chicken will steam if packed tightly in the pan.
Use boneless, skinless chicken thighs. They contain more fat than breasts which has a little more flavor.
Use sour cream for the Mexican street corn. If you can't purchase crema, sour cream will work perfectly.
Are you allergic to cilantro or does it taste like soap? Try another fresh green leafy herb like flat leaf parsley or dill.
Can't find cotija cheese? Queso fresco is a great substitution.
Is Tajin too spicy for you? You can sprinkle chili powder in the Mexican street corn if you want a milder spice level.
- Black beans
- refried beans
- sliced bell peppers
- green onions
- red onion
Cilantro Lime Chicken Burritos with Mexican Street Corn is a delicious recipe for a party that the whole family will enjoy. Create a burrito bar full of a wide variety of ingredients and assorted toppings so that everyone can create their own delicious burritos. Add a selection of hot sauces ranging in heat. Include a large bowl of tortilla chips with salsa and guacamole.
Don't forget a cooler of ice-cold drinks to soothe the heat of the spicier ingredients!
Cilantro Lime Chicken Burrito with Mexican Street Corn
- 1 grill pan
- 1 set of tongs
- 1 cutting board
- 1 knife
- 1 large rectangular dish for marinating the chicken
- 1 Microplane or box grater
- 1 medium-sized bowl
- 1 medium skillet Nonstick, preferably
Mexican Street Corn
- 5 ears of corn
- ¼ cup mayonnaise
- ½ cup crema or sour cream
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 2 tablespoons minced cilantro
- ½ teaspoon Tajin spice level is up to you
- 1 lime
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ⅓ cup grated cotija cheese
- 2 large limes
- 4 cloves garlic
- ¼ cup cilantro tightly packed
- 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon Tajin seasoning
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (23 ounces/652 grams)
- 4 burrito sized flour tortillas (about 13 inches in diameter)
- 4 cups romaine lettuce shredded
- 1 avocado
- 1 jalapeno cut into thin slices
- ½ cup grated cotija cheese
- 2 lime wedges
- Zest 2 large limes. You should have 2 tablespoon of lime zest.
- Squeeze the juice out of the limes. For this recipe I used 3.2 ounces/90 grams⅓ cup/79ml of lime juice.
- Mince 4 cloves of garlic with is approximately 2 tablespoons.
- Chop ¼ cup/.5 ounce/12 grams of cilantro into a mince. Tender stems can be included. Remove any of the thicker and woodier stems.
- In a rectangular baking pan, whisk the marinade ingredients together with 2 tablespoons of light brown sugar and 1 teaspoon of Tajin seasoning.
- Pour the olive oil in a slow, steady stream into the baking pan while whisking.
- Add the chicken breasts to the pan, flipping them over to completely coat with the marinade.
- This step can be done the night before with the chicken marinating for 8-10 hours. If you are short on time, the chicken can be marinated for just an hour. However, the flavor will not be as pronounced. The longer the marination time, the more the meat will be flavored.
- If you are marinating overnight, cover the dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
Mexican Street Corn (Esquite)
- Remove the husks and silk from 5 ears of corn. Grill the corn until somewhat charred. This can be done on a grill. However, I grill corn with the high flame of a burner on my gas stove, rotating as the corn pops while cooking. You can also place the corn on a sheet pan directly under a broiler. The oven rack needs to be at the highest point to get the corn close to the broiler.
- Let the corn cool until you can handle the cobs without burning your hands.
- Cut the kernels off the cobs. I find it easiest to lay the cob flat on a cutting board and slice the kernels off the side. Rotate the cob as you remove the kernels.
- In a medium-sized bowl, combine the mayonnaise and the crema or sour cream.
- Add 2 tablespoons of minced cilantro and the zest of a half lime to the bowl, stirring to combine.
- Squeeze the juice of a half lime into the bowl, It should be approximately 1 tablespoon.
- Add the minced garlic, ½ teaspoon of kosher salt, and ½ teaspoon of Tajin seasoning to the bowl.
- Stir the corn kernels and the cotija cheese into the bowl. Taste some of the corn. Add more Tajin seasoning if you like more spice. Adjust the salt level to your liking.
Grilling the Chicken
- The chicken can be cooked outside on a grill or at the stove using a grill pan.
- Once hot, use cooking spray or vegetable oil to coat the pan or grill rack.
- Grill the chicken for 5-6 minutes a side. The chicken should be cooked until the interior temperature of the chicken is 165°. Set the chicken to the side to cool while you assemble the reaming ingredients.
Assembling the Chicken Burritos
- Once the chicken has cooled, cut each breast into ½-inch slices. I cut the chicken on the bias so that there is more of the grilled exterior in each slice.
- Have all the ingredients in front of you to assemble the burritos - burrito sized tortillas, shredded romaine lettuce, grated cotija cheese, sliced avocado, thinly sliced jalapeno peppers and the Mexican street corn.
- I also include cilantro leaves pulled off the stem.
- Warming the tortillas before rolling helps to prevent them from ripping or cracking. You can place tortillas covered by a damp paper towel in a microwave oven for 30 seconds to 1 minute. The number of tortillas dictates the length of time in the microwave oven. Another method is wrapping the tortillas in aluminum foil and heating them in a 250-degree oven for about minutes. Use the tortillas one at a time, leaving the others wrapped in the foil in the oven.
- To assemble the burrito, place 1 cup of shredded romaine lettuce near the center of the tortilla. Add ½ cup of the Mexican street corn on top of the lettuce.
- Add a layer of chicken slices on top of the street corn, fanning them out.
- Now add the garnishes - sliced avocado, jalapeno peppers, and the cilantro leaves. If you prefer spicer food, you can sprinkle the Tajin seasoning onto the garnishes. You can also squeeze a touch of lime onto the burrito fillings.
- Add the grated cotija cheese on top of the garnishes, approximately 2 tablespoons.
- Once all the fillings have been layered, fold in the sides of the tortilla toward the center. Bring the bottom of the tortilla over the ingredients, while holding the folded sides.
- Continuing to roll encasing the filling, with the seam side down.
- Heat a skillet over medium heat. Coat the pan with cooking spray.
- Dip your finger in some water. Moisten the inside edge of the bottom flap, pressing it down. This helps to act like glue to keep the burrito from unwrapping.
- Place the rolled burrito seam side down in the skillet. Cook for 1-2 minutes until the tortilla is browned. Rotate until all sides have been browned.
- Serve with guacamole and salsa.
SubstitutionsUse boneless, skinless chicken thighs. They contain more fat than breasts which has a little more flavor. Use sour cream for the Mexican street corn. If you can't purchase crema, sour cream will work perfectly. Are you allergic to cilantro or does it taste like soap? Try another fresh green leafy herb like flat leaf parsley or dill. Can't find cotija cheese? Queso fresco is a great substitution. Is Tajin too spicy for you? You can sprinkle chili powder in the Mexican street corn if you want a milder spice level.