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.
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)
Substitute for naranja agria (makes 1 cup)
- 2/3 cup orange juice
- 2 tbsp lime juice
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 tbsp grapefruit juice
- 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 juice2 tbsp lime juice2 tbsp lemon juice2 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.
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