Cilantro Lime Chicken- Cilantro lime chicken is bursting with flavor and makes a quick and simple evening meal! With only a few ingredients – lime, cilantro, garlic, cumin, chili powder, and honey – you can transform plain chicken thighs (or breasts) into an astonishingly tasty and simple main meal. But when it comes to the finest garlicky cilantro lime taste with a hint of sticky sweetness, these chicken thighs are hard to top. They’re rapidly seared in a pan to get that golden, perfectly crispy exterior, then cooked in the oven for the juiciest chicken you’ve ever had. This Chicken is juicy on the inside and crispy on the exterior after being marinated then broiled, roasted, or grilled! This simple dish requires minimal preparation and few ingredients, yet it’s packed with flavor. The perfect combination is zesty lime with plenty of garlic and, of course, fresh cilantro.
Why Do We Enjoy Cilantro Lime Chicken?
This Mexican-inspired chicken is the PERFECT summer grilling dish. The chicken marinade is made using basic ingredients and takes less than 5 minutes to create. Grilling chicken breasts or thighs is one of our favorite methods to prepare them since it seals in all of the juices and taste, much like grilling a steak!
The flavor combination of tangy lime, cilantro, garlic, and a touch of honey is unmistakable. It’ll win over your family and receive wonderful reviews.
Recipe For Cilantro-Lime Chicken:
A scrumptious chicken dish that I return to again and again! It’s very simple to make yet always packs a punch in terms of flavor! Furthermore, it just takes a few fresh ingredients, and preparation couldn’t be simpler.
Not to mention that everyone enjoys it! Who can say no to those nicely toasted edges?
It’s also adaptable. You can serve this cilantro-lime chicken in tacos, fajita-style with grilled bell peppers, in a burrito bowl, or on a tostada piled high with the works.
Serve it with rice if you want to keep it simple, and it will still be delicious. Fresh citrus is the finest way to liven up chicken, and this dish is proof of that.
It’s grilling season, so let’s have some fun! To those who are celebrating, have a happy Cinco de Mayo!
- Chicken thighs: I like to use boneless skinless thighs here, but bone-in, skin-on thighs would also work if grilled (increase grill time of course). If you like, boneless skinless chicken breasts work well here as well.
- Before slicing and juicing limes, make sure to zest them. I’ve done this a few times, and zesting entire limes is always considerably simpler.
- Use regular refined olive oil rather than extra-virgin olive oil.
- You’ll need around 1 bunch fresh cilantro for this dish.
- Garlic: For this dish, fresh garlic is preferred over garlic powder. This adds another layer of delicious taste.
- Honey: Only a little amount is used, not to sweeten the chicken; you won’t even notice it. Rather, it is used to promote browning. Skip this if you’re pan frying chicken on the stovetop.
- Cumin: This spice complements cilantro and lime so beautifully. It gives the dish a mild earthy taste.
- Salt and pepper: I’ve included the proportions I prefer in the recipe, but feel free to modify to taste.
How To Make Cilantro Lime Chicken?
There are two major stages to this recipe: marinade the chicken and cook when ready to eat. This is what you do:
- Prepare the marinade. In a mixing dish, combine all of the marinade ingredients, or puree them in a food processor.
- Prepare the chicken by marinating it. In a glass dish or bowl, place your chicken thighs. Turn the chicken to coat with the marinade. Refrigerate the chicken for 30 to 60 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove the marinated chicken from the fridge and place it on the counter until the oven is ready.
- Brown the chicken in a skillet. In an ovenproof skillet, heat the oil and brown the chicken thighs skin-side down until golden.
- Cook the chicken in the oven. Bake the chicken thighs in the pan for 15-20 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through.
Cilantro Lime Chicken Marinade:
To create the marinade, combine the following ingredients in the following order:
- Whisk together lime zest, lime juice, olive oil, cilantro, garlic, honey, cumin, and salt & pepper to taste in a mixing bowl.
- Place the chicken in a gallon-sized resealable bag and pour the marinade over it. Seal the bag and massage the marinade all over the chicken.
- Allow to marinate for 1 hour in the refrigerator.
Tips And Tricks:
- Allow to marinate for as long as possible. The longer the chicken marinates in the marinade, the more flavor it absorbs. If possible, flip the chicken a couple of times while it rests in the fridge to ensure that the marinade coats it evenly.
- Make use of an Ovenproof Skillet. You’ll start the chicken in a hot pan, skin-side down, to brown the skin, and then finish it in the oven. Use a cast iron or stainless steel skillet that can withstand oven heat. If you don’t have an ovenproof skillet, skip the stovetop stage and bake the chicken in the oven on a rack put over a sheet pan.
- Cook the chicken thighs without overcooking them. Most people overcook chicken because they remove it from the oven when it reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit. However, once removed from the oven, the chicken continues to cook. So, take the chicken out at 160°F, and after 5 minutes of resting, you’ll notice that the internal temperature has risen to 165°F. Resting also causes the fluids within the chicken to redistribute.
Should I Have Chicken Thighs Or Chicken Breasts?
In this recipe, I used bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, but you may use skinless and boneless chicken breasts if you prefer. Depending on the size and thickness of your chicken breasts, the cooking time will vary somewhat. Chicken should always be cooked to an internal temperature of 165°F.
Can I Make This With Chicken Breast?
Yes, boneless, skinless chicken breast may be used. Chicken breasts, on the other hand, are a little more fussy, so you’ll need to take an extra step. Because chicken breasts dry out quicker, pound them out to a uniform thickness of no more than 3/4′′ thick before cooking. This ensures that the chicken cooks all the way through without drying out.
Can I Use Chicken Bone-In?
I don’t recommend bone-in chicken for this quick skillet approach since it takes longer to cook thoroughly.
Is It Possible To Cook The Cilantro Lime Chicken On A Grill?
Yes. Marinate the chicken as normal, then grill until each side is nicely browned and cooked through. The open flame will enhance the taste of the chicken.
Can I Cook The Cilantro Lime Chicken Ahead Of Time?
We don’t recommend marinating for more than 2 hours due to the amount of lime in the marinade.
After grilling the chicken, keep any leftover cooked chicken in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
How Long Should You Marinate Chicken?
With such an acidic marinade, I don’t recommend marinating the chicken for more than 8 hours for thighs or 4 hours for chicken breasts, since it can begin to change the texture of the chicken. Because this marinade is extremely tasty, 1 hour is more than enough.
Cowboy Caviar is my favorite side dish for Cilantro Lime Chicken, but it also works well with Quick Seasoned Black Beans and Taco Rice, Cumin Lime Coleslaw, or Warm Corn and Avocado Salad. You could also cut the chicken and fill tacos with it, or slice it and top your favorite salad with it!
Leftovers Storage And Reheating:
- To preserve, place any leftover chicken in a sealed container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days or in the freezer for up to two months.
- Reheat the chicken in the microwave for 2 to 3 minutes. To crisp up the skin, place the chicken in the broiler for a few minutes. Just keep an eye on it to make sure it doesn’t burn.
MORE DELICIOIUS RECIPES HERE:
- 3 tbsp. olive oil
- 1/4 cup lime juice, freshly squeezed
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 1 teaspoon flakes red chili
- 4 minced garlic cloves
- 2 teaspoon brown sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon cumin powder
- 6 bone-in skin-on (or off)
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- To serve, fresh cilantro leaves
- Serve with lime slices or wedges.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit (220 degrees Celsius).
Whisk together 2 tablespoons olive oil, lime juice, cilantro, chili flakes, garlic, sugar, and cumin in a medium-sized shallow bowl. Toss the chicken thighs in the marinade to coat evenly. Refrigerate the thighs for 15 minutes, covered.
In a nonstick pan or cast iron skillet, heat the remaining one tablespoon of oil over medium-high heat. Sear the chicken for 4 minutes on each side, skin-side down, until golden and crispy (chicken will not be fully cooked).
Bake until the chicken is cooked through in a preheated oven (about 15-20 minutes).
Garnish with fresh cilantro leaves and wedges or slices of lime.
Drizzle with pan juices and serve over steamed rice or cauliflower rice.
If you want, you may pulse the marinade a few times in a blender.
Allow at least 30 minutes for the chicken to marinade.
The flavor of bottled lime might be harsh in this recipe, so use fresh lime instead.
Because of the quantity of citrus in this dish, don't marinade it for more than 2 hours.
You may use this marinade to cook bone-in chicken breasts or chicken thighs.
Optional extras: To give a little spice, add 1 teaspoon chili powder and/or 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper to the marinade.
Nutrition InformationServing Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 75Total Fat 7gSaturated Fat 1gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 6gCholesterol 0mgSodium 55mgCarbohydrates 4gFiber 0gSugar 2gProtein 0g