Cilantro Lime Chicken

Cilantro Lime Chicken (skillet or grilled) is seeping with flavor and is a meal in itself or instantly transforms salads, tacos, burritos, wraps, etc into the most epic meal EVER!   

This Cilantro Lime Chicken is wonderfully versatile, healthy and prep ahead so you so you can throw your marinated cilantro lime chicken on the grill or stove the second you are craving dinner.  Just be prepared for a satisfyingly delicious punch of tangy, garlicky, fiestalicious flavor!

How to make Cilantro Lime Chicken Video

Cilantro Lime Chicken

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How to Serve Cilantro Lime Chicken

If you are reading this post, then you are probably a cilantro lover which means you are going to LOVE this Cilantro Lime Chicken!  Serve this fiesta chicken with Cilantro Lime Rice,or Mexican Rice, Corn Salad with Cilantro Lime Dressing or Grilled Corn on the Cob with Chipotle Lime Butter, Southwest Salad with Creamy Avocado Salsa Dressing or Southwest Orzo Salad with Chipotle Honey Lime Vinaigrette and you have a fabulous fiesta meal in your very own home!

Additionally, this Cilantro Lime Chicken makes fabulous chicken for burritos, tacos, burrito bowls, enchiladas, and of course salads!

Cilantro Lime Chicken on the skillet.

Cilantro Lime Chicken Recipe

If know people who can’t stand cilantro, studies show it is actually a genetic predisposition!  All those haters out there (4-14% of the population) who insist cilantro tastes like, soap, dirt or bugs actually have a gene called  OR6A2 that enables them to smell certain unpleasant chemicals, one of which is  E-(2)-Decenal, a primary constituent of cilantro.  The rest of us who can’t detect aldehyde chemicals are left with the pleasant aroma of fresh, zesty, citrusy cilantro.  Sometimes not knowing is better :).

So for the cilantro lovers, this Cilantro Lime Chicken is for you.  It joins the cast of my other Mexican inspired marinades of Chipotle Chicken and Chili Lime Chicken, and this my friends, is a keeper.  Its tangy, garlicky with just the right kick of spice and is healthy and versatile too.   You’ll also want to check out my Cilantro Lime Shrimp Tacos with Mango Salsa that were inspired by this sensational chicken.

Showing how to make Cilantro Lime Chicken marinade.

Can I make Cilantro Lime Chicken Thighs?

You can use chicken breasts or chicken thighs for this Cilantro Lime Chicken – totally your preference.  The dark meat of chicken thighs will always be more tender but with this glorious marinade, chickens breasts also emerge incredibly juicy.

Cilantro Lime Chicken marinading in a bowl.

How to Make Cilantro Lime Chicken

This Cilantro Lime Chicken starts with a marinade bursting with simple, fresh aromatic ingredients.  We add our 1 cup loosely packed cilantro (stems and all), plenty of garlic, lime juice, olive oil and then our fiestalicious seasonings to a food processor and process until chopped fine.  Reserve 2 tablespoons for basting and the rest bathes your chicken for 2 hours up to 10 – the longer the marinating time, the bigger the flavor.

Cilantro Lime Chicken skillet grilled.

You can grill or pan fry this Cilantro Lime Chicken, so is fresh and summery flavor can be devoured year round.

Sliced Cilantro Lime Chicken.

And you are going to want to devour this tangy, savory, garlicky goodness year round especially in this Cilantro Lime Chicken Taco Salad with Baja Catalina Dressing!

Looking for More easy Chicken Marinades?

Cilantro Lime Chicken with dressing being poured over.

Want to try this Cilantro Lime Chicken Marinade?

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©Carlsbad Cravings by CarlsbadCravings.com

Easy, juicy, flavorful Cilantro Lime Chicken seeping with flavor is a meal in itself or instantly transforms salads, tacos, burritos, wraps, etc into the most epic meal EVER! I love having this chicken on hand!

Cilantro Lime Chicken

Cilantro Lime Chicken (skillet or grilled) is seeping with flavor and is a meal in itself or instantly transforms salads, tacos, burritos, wraps, etc into the most epic meal EVER!  This Cilantro Lime Chicken is wonderfully versatile, healthy and prep ahead so you so you can throw your marinated cilantro lime chicken on the grill or stove the second you are craving dinner.  Just be prepared for a satisfyingly delicious punch of tangy, garlicky, fiestalicious flavor!
Servings: 4 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 pound boneless chicken breasts pounded to an even thickness

Cilantro Lime Marinade

  • 1 cup loosely packed cilantro leaves and stems
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tsp EACH chili powder, ground cumin, onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp EACH smoked paprika, salt, pepper, sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)

Instructions

  • Add all marinade ingredients to your food processor. Pulse until finely chopped, scraping down sides several times. Remove and reserve 2 tablespoons for basting (if making salad, you will use 1 tablespoon for basting, 1 tablespoon for dressing).
  • Add the remaining marinade to a shallow dish or large freezer bag. Add chicken and turn to coat. Marinate in the refrigerator 2-10 hours.
  • When ready to cook, remove chicken from fridge and let sit at room temperature 20-30 minutes.

SKILLET DIRECTIONS:

  • Heat one tablespoon olive oil in a large non-stick skillet or grill pan over medium high heat. Once very hot, drain chicken from marinade, pat off excess and add to skillet.
  • Cook undisturbed for 3-4 minutes, or until nicely browned on one side. Turn chicken over, cover, and reduce heat to medium. Cook for approximately 4-6 more minutes (depending on thickness of chicken), or until chicken is cooked through.
  • Remove chicken to cutting board and baste with reserved 2 tablespoons marinade. Garnish with additional lime juice to taste if desired. Let rest 5 minutes before slicing.

GRILL DIRECTIONS:

  • Grease and preheat the grill to medium heat, 375-450°F.
  • Drain chicken from marinade, pat off excess and add to grill. Grill chicken undisturbed for 5-7 minutes per side, or until chicken is cooked through. (An inserted thermometer should read 165 degrees F.)
  • Remove chicken to cutting board and baste with reserved 2 tablespoons marinade. Garnish with additional lime juice to taste if desired. Let rest 5 minutes before slicing.

Video

Notes

Don’t miss the “how to make” recipe video at the top of the post!

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43 Comments

  1. Marisa Franca @ All Our Way says

    The first time I tried cilantro it was — yueuuuuuu! I was not a fan! The second time I tried it — Hey, that’s not too bad. After that it was — oh, no! We’re out of cilantro! Needless to say, I am saving the is recipe because I’ve got to make it. We have chicken at least 3 times a week so I will be making it soon. Have a great day!! xoxo

    • Jen says

      phew! I’m glad you acquired the taste for cilantro 🙂 My husband swears he doesn’t like it but he loves everything I put it in 🙂 We have chicken all the time too and this recipe is a flavorful, easy way to mix it up! I hope you love it as much as us! xo

  2. Kristen says

    Does this recipe work in a slow cooker too?!

    • Jen says

      Hi Kristen! I have never tried this exact recipe in the slow cooker but I think it should work great!

      • Jen Bouton says

        I was wondering about a slow cooker version too (and your Greek Chicken (and all your chicken) marinade(s), for that matter :o> ) For a slow cooker version, could you perhaps double the marinade to have enough liquid? Thanks for sharing your great recipes and glad you are healthy!!

        • Jen says

          Hi Jen, I haven’t tried my chicken marinades in the slow cooker but I’m sure they would work great. You only need about 1/4 cup liquid when slow cooking chicken so I don’t even think you’d need to double to double the marinade – maybe just add a couple tablespoons of water. After you shred the chicken, return it tot the slow cooker on low for 20-30 minutes to soak up all the juices. Good luck!

    • Jen Bouton says

      Have you tried this in the slow cooker and how’d it go? Pls share any comments, thanks :o)

  3. Cheryl says

    DELICIOUS! I just made this using chicken thighs and grilled it on my indoor grill. FANTASTIC!

    • Jen says

      YAY! I’m so happy this Cilantro Lime Chicken was such a hit and it sounds fabulous with chicken thighs!

  4. Denise says

    I wish the nutrition info was included

  5. Maria says

    This looks AMAZING, but I haven’t tried it yet because I’m nervous about leaving the chicken in a citrus marinade… I’ve heard that if you marinate chicken in citrus it can start to “cook”, affect the poultry somehow, have you had this happen??? Thank you!

    • Jen says

      Hi Maria, yes this can happen but I haven’t experienced that with this recipe due to the ratio with other ingredients. If you are using thin chicken then I would marinate for less time. Enjoy!

  6. Nour says

    just made the chicken today and it tasted amazing!!!, thanks for the recipe

  7. Terri thompson says

    My new favorite what is the calorie intake of the cilantro lime chicken please

  8. d4v1d says

    This was simply fabulous. two thoughts – you can save a lot of needless mess (cleanup) by avoiding the food processor and the bag. Chop the cilantro by hand then mix the marinade (faster, less messy). Since I re-use bags, I used a shallow bowl – and made sure to turn while it steeped in this delicious marinade.

    Truly a great recipe, now taped to the inside of my cabinet door for *frequent re-use.*

    • Jen says

      I’m honored this recipe qualified for the coveted inside cabinet door “frequent re-use!” Thanks so much!

  9. Kandra says

    This is by FAR the best grilled chicken I have EVER tasted! It is so juicy and delicious. I’ve just made it for the second time in a week and I can’t get enough. Impossibly perfect !

    • Jen says

      WAHOO! Thanks so much Kanddra! I’m honored this is the “best grilled chicken!” Thanks for making my day!

    • Jen says

      Thank you! I’m so happy you loved it!

  10. Dawn says

    This is a recipe that I definitely want to make. I can’t seem to locate the other”Fiestalicious” spices added to the marinade on the this post. could you direct me to them Thanks!!! & Thanks for such great recipes !

    • Jen says

      Hi Dawn, they are listed in the recipe, enjoy!

      1 tsp EACH chili powder, ground cumin, onion powder
      1/2 tsp EACH smoked paprika, salt, pepper, sugar
      1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)

  11. Lisa says

    The cilantro lime chicken marinade is absolutely amazing! It is quick and easy, but has incredible flavor. We used boneless skinless chicken thighs and chopped up the grilled chicken for tacos. My husband said they were the best tacos he’s ever had!

    • Jen says

      Thank you for taking the time to comment Lisa – you made my day! Your tacos sound divine!!!

  12. Becky Whitcomb says

    Have you (or any other readers/followers) made this in an instant pot? I wonder if I’d follow the same instructions as I do for simply seasoned chicken breasts?

    • Jen says

      Hi Becky, I would imagine so but I haven’t personally tried it. Maybe other readers can help you out.

  13. Bonnie Schmidt says

    No where in this recipe of cilantro chicken taco salad do you say how to make the marinade. We looked 5 times. You mention it once and it’s very vague, does NOT list the spices or the proportions of anything. Please Jen fix this. I’m making it tonight and I will have to guess on the marinade part. So disapointed as you always have the complete recipe. Thank you.

    • Jen says

      Hi Bonnie, it looks like you are commenting on the Cilantro Lime Chicken recipe which includes the full recipe ingredients, measurements and instructions like all my recipes. If you are looking at the Cilantro Lime Chicken Taco Salad, you have to click on the green link in the recipe where it says, “1 recipe Cilantro Lime Chicken” and it will take you directly to the full recipe. Not sure why it’s not showing up for you?

  14. Dalia says

    I’ve made this recipe 3 times in the last two weeks, sharing it with family and friends. Everyone always says the same thing…this Cilantro Lime Chicken Marinade is INCREDIBLE! The recipe is easy, the flavor is amazing and the chicken is so juicy. Anxious to try it in the Cilantro Lime Chicken Taco Salad. Love this site, so many great recipes!

    • Jen says

      Thank you Dalia, I’m so pleased the Cilantro Lime Chicken is a favorite! And I love hearing you’re enjoying my other recipes!

  15. Marci says

    Yummy Yum Yum! A messy burrito stuffed with your Mexican Rice, Cilantro Lime Chicken, salsa, cheese, a dollop of sour cream and homemade guacamole. Hubby said he felt like he was eating a seven layer burrito. I stuffed it a little to full and struggled wrapping it up so it was a bit messy but made with love :). Thank you Jen for your amazing recipes!

    • Jen says

      Mmmmmm – messy burritos mean they’re stuffed with deliciousness – yours sounds amazing! I’m so pleased you’re loving this Cilantro Lime Chicken!

  16. Holly says

    We loved this marinade! I can already tell it’s going to become a staple

    • Jen says

      I love hearing that, thanks so much Holly!

  17. Kathie says

    The Cilantro lime marinade is one of my family’s favorites!!!! Can I make a larger batch and store in refrigerator for a few days up to a week?

    Thanks so much for your many fabulous recipes!

    • Jen says

      Yesss, I love hearing that Kathie, thank you! Cilantro is good for 7-10 days so storing the marinade in the refrigerator for up to a week shouldn’t be a problem.

  18. Josey says

    My go to chicken recipe now. Unless I do something specific this is the chicken recipe to make!

    • Jen says

      Yesss! I’m thrilled it’s a repeat favorite, thanks Josey!

  19. Sunshine Porter says

    Can you use lemon instead of lime

    • Jen says

      Hi Sunshine, I love our name! Lime juice pairs better with these seasonings for the fiesta flair. You can use lemon juice but just expect a different flavor profile.