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Nigella Lawson’s Tequila and Lime Chicken

Best-selling author, TV personality and food enthusiast, Nigella Lawson, shares a recipe from her latest cookbook – ‘Simply Nigella’.

Excerpted from ‘Simply Nigella’

Someone once said to me on Twitter that Mother Hens must use me as a warning to frighten their chicks when they were misbehaving. There’s no denying it, I do cook an awful lot of chicken. But you cannot have too many chicken recipes in my book and this is, after all, my book.

This is relatively new to my repertoire but firmly established for all that. True, the tequila doesn't exactly convey flavor, or not so that you could name it but it sure brings fire - augmented by the red pepper flakes - and tenderizes the chicken beautifully.



  • 1 medium chicken (approximately 1.4 kilograms), preferably organic, cut into 8 pieces
  • 5 tablespoons tequila blanco
  • Zest and juice of 2 limes, preferably unwaxed
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, plus more to sprinkle on at the end
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt flakes and kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons regular olive oil

For serving:

  • Chopped fresh cilantro
  • Lime wedges


  1. First, put the jointed chicken pieces into a resealable bag.
  2. Mix together the tequila, zest and juice of the limes, the red pepper flakes, salt, and olive oil and then tip this into the resealable bag with the chicken. Seal or tie tightly (letting out the air first) and place it (in a dish) in the refrigerator to marinate for six hours, or up to two days, or leave outside the refrigerator, but in a cool place, for 40 minutes if you're short of time.
  3. Preheat the oven to 450°F. If the chicken is in the refrigerator, take it out and remove the chicken pieces from the bag, reserving the marinade. Sit the chicken pieces on a smallish, shallow roasting pan for about 30 minutes to allow them to come to room temperature. It's important that the chicken pieces sit on the pan without a lot of room to spare, or else the marinade will immediately evaporate in the hot oven. When you are ready to put it into the oven, pour half of the marinade over the chicken pieces and transfer to the hot oven for 25 minutes.
  4. Take the chicken out of the oven, pour the other half of the reserved marinade over it, then put the chicken back in for another 25-30 minutes. Check it is cooked through before removing from the oven.
  5. Put the chicken pieces on a serving plate. Then add a little boiling water to the pan to help get every last bit of flavor-sticky juice out, and pour it over the chicken on its plate. Scatter with chopped cilantro and - if you like it hot - some more crushed red pepper flakes, and serve with some lime wedges alongside.

Make ahead note: The chicken can be marinated up to two days ahead. Store in refrigerator until needed.

Store note: Transfer leftover cooked chicken to a container, then cool, cover, and refrigerate within two hours. Will keep in refrigerator for up to three days.

Freeze note: The chicken can be frozen in its marinade - as long as the meat has not been previously frozen - for up to three months. Thaw overnight in refrigerator before using. Leftover cooked and cooled chicken can also be frozen, in airtight containers or resealable bags, for up to two months. Thaw overnight in refrigerator before using.


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