Mojo Criollo (Cuban Mojo Marinade)

Mojo criollo is a Cuban marinade that is citrusy, garlicky, and very easy to make! You can use this marinade for beef, poultry, pork, or even seafood. It can also be doubled as a sauce if you cook it.

This is my favorite version of citrus/garlic marinades. The citrus element from sour oranges gives this marinade a unique taste that reminds me so much of my grandfather’s cooking. 

You can use this marinade for any protein, but it’s most commonly used for chicken or pork dishes. It is especially great for Lechon Asado, one of my favorite Cuban dishes and my favorite preparation of pork shoulder! I will post a recipe for that soon.



  • Sour orange– also known as bitter orange or seville orange, these can be very hard to find. If your local market has them, get them! If you can’t find them, you can use a citrus blend of orange, lime, lemon, and grapefruit.

  • Olive oil

  • Garlic

  • Onion

  • Spices- salt, black peppercorn, cumin, oregano, garlic powder, and onion powder.

How to make it

Here are step-by-step instructions with pictures. You can find a printable recipe card at the end of this post as well.

*This recipe make enough marinade for about 3 pounds of meat. 

1. Squeeze 1 cup of sour orange juice (aka bitter orange or seville orange). If you can’t find sour oranges, you can use this mixture:

2/3 cup orange juice

2 tbsp lime juice

2 tbsp lemon juice

2 tbsp grapefruit juice

2. Add 1/2 cup of olive oil and set aside.

3. Combine the following ingredients in a mortar and pestle and grind into a paste:

10 cloves garlic

1 tbsp salt

2 tsp black peppercorns

2 tsp cumin

2 tsp oregano

1 tsp garlic pwder

1 tsp onion powder

4. Add the minced onion and press to release juices

5. Add the sour orange juice and olive oil and mix thoroughly. 

*This blog post has affiliate links to products that I recommend. I am not sponsored by these brands, but I do make a small commission from purchases made through these links.

Mojo Criollo (Cuban Mojo Marinade)

5 from 1 vote


Substitute for naranja agria (makes 1 cup)

  • 2/3 cup orange juice
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp grapefruit juice

Mojo Criollo

  • 1 cup naranja agria (sour orange juice)
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 10 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 small onion minced
  • 1 tbsp coarse salt
  • 2 tsp black pepper corns
  • 2 tsp oregano
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder


  • Squeeze 1 cup of sour/bitter orange juice, or use this substitute citrus blend:
    2/3 cup orange juice
    2 tbsp lime juice
    2 tbsp lemon juice
    2 tbsp grapefruit juice
  • Combine the garlic and spices in a mortar and pestle to make a seasoned garlic paste
  • Add the minced onions and press to release juices.
  • Add the sour/bitter orange juice and 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil. Mix well to emulsify and use to marinade chicken, pork, beef, or seafood. You can also store the in the fridge for up to 2 weeks and use as needed.


Note: mojo marinade is not exactly the same as mojo sauce. To make mojo sauce, cook the mojo marinade and add any herbs you prefer- cilantro & parsley are pretty common. 
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Mirtha Janet Andrews

    5 stars
    Loved it

Leave a Reply

Recipe Rating

Latest Recipes

Korean Corn Dog (Gamja Hotdog)

Korean corn dogs are hot dogs, cheese, rice cakes, or fish cakes fried in a batter on a stick and dressed with sugar, ketchup, mustard, and/or mayo. They are a sweet

Stella Navarro-Kim

Recipe Developer

Hi, I'm Stella! I come from a multicultural background, and cooking has been one of the best ways for me to stay connected to my heritage. If you love to cook or want to learn, you've come to the right place! I share mostly Korean, Mexican, and Cuban recipes that have been passed down from my family. Let's cook!

Stella Navarro-Kim

My personal favorites

Never miss a recipe!

Sign up to receive new recipes directly to your inbox 

Most popular recipes