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You’re going to love this cilantro lime chicken recipe! It’s easy, it’s flavorful, and it’s so versatile — you can serve it on its own or tuck it into tortillas, taco salads, or burrito bowls. Whip up the cilantro lime chicken marinade in just a few minutes with simple ingredients. It’s a great main dish for any Mexican meal!
Why You’ll Love This Cilantro Lime Chicken Recipe
- Bright, fresh lime and cilantro flavor
- Juicy chicken with crispy skin
- Made with basic, natural ingredients
- Takes just 5 minutes to prep (but plan ahead so you can marinate the chicken for about an hour)
- Easy, healthy chicken dinner
Ingredients & Substitutions
This section explains how to choose the best ingredients for cilantro lime chicken marinade, what each one does in the recipe, and substitution options. For measurements, see the recipe card below.
This cilantro lime chicken recipe uses bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, which will have the best flavor.
However, you can substitute boneless skinless chicken thighs or boneless skinless chicken breast if you like. The cook time will vary depending on the cut of chicken you use, and boneless will cook faster.
Cilantro Lime Chicken Marinade:
- Avocado Oil – I used avocado oil, but you could also use a light olive oil. You just need something heat-safe with a neutral flavor.
- Fresh Cilantro – A must for cilantro lime chicken marinade! If you’re not a cilantro fan, make one of my other chicken recipes instead. 😉 I don’t recommend using dried cilantro here either, but if you really want to, use 1/3 the amount.
- Lime Juice – Fresh lime juice tastes best, but you can use bottled for convenience. You can also add the lime zest if you’re using fresh limes.
- Garlic – I highly recommend fresh minced garlic, but 1 teaspoon of jarred garlic would also work. Feel free to add a few more garlic cloves if you love garlic! You can also use 1/2 teaspoon (or more) of garlic powder in a pinch, though it doesn’t taste as good as fresh.
- Seasonings – Sea salt, cumin, chili powder, and cayenne pepper. Use more or less of the cayenne, depending on how spicy you want it, or toss in some red pepper flakes for even more heat.
How To Make Cilantro Lime Chicken
This section shows how to make cilantro lime chicken thighs with step-by-step photos and details about the technique, to help you visualize it. For full instructions, including amounts and temperatures, see the recipe card below.
- Mix the cilantro lime chicken marinade. In a small bowl, whisk together the avocado oil, cilantro, lime juice, garlic, sea salt, cumin, chili powder, and cayenne pepper.
- Marinate the chicken. Place the chicken thighs in a large bowl or in a zip lock bag. Pour the marinade over the chicken and move around to coat well. Refrigerate for at least an hour, or up to 8 hours.
- Brown the chicken. Preheat a cast iron grill pan or cast iron skillet on the stove top over medium-high heat. Sear chicken skin side down until browned. Flip over and sear on the other side.
- Bake. Transfer the skillet to the oven. Bake cilantro lime chicken until cooked through.
- Serve. Let the chicken rest for a few minutes before serving, to let the juices settle inside. Garnish with cilantro leaves and lime wedges or slices.
TIP: Check internal temperature for perfect doneness.
Using a meat thermometer is the best way to know your chicken is done perfectly. Aim for 170 degrees F for chicken thighs (which will make them more juicy and tender), or 165 degrees F for chicken breasts.
- Store: Keep leftovers in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
- Reheat: Warm up the chicken in a hot skillet, or in the oven at 350 degrees F. You can microwave it, but the skin will be less crispy.
- Freeze: Cool completely, then transfer to a freezer bag or airtight container. Store in the freezer for up to 3 months. Do not freeze the chicken in cilantro lime marinade, because it will get mushy after 24 hours.
What To Serve With Cilantro Lime Chicken
This cilantro lime chicken recipe goes with all kinds of Mexican dishes! Here are some of my favorites to go with it:
- Rice – Serve with your favorite rice! For lighter options, try cauliflower rice (shown above) or cilantro lime cauliflower rice.
- Slaw – Taco slaw has the same flavors as this cilantro lime chicken, so they go together perfectly.
- Salsa – Top the chicken with a scoop of mango salsa or drizzle with fresh tomato salsa. You can also serve them on the side with your favorite tortilla chips.
- Veggies – Try Mexican street corn for a classic pairing! If you need something fast to pair with lime cilantro chicken, make some simple veggies, like roasted broccoli or sauteed zucchini.
More Easy Chicken Recipes
If you like this recipe, you’ll probably like these other simple ways to make chicken:
Cilantro Lime Chicken Recipe
Cilantro Lime Chicken (Juicy & Easy!)
You'll love this easy cilantro lime chicken recipe, with a flavorful marinade and simple prep! It's a zesty, flavorful chicken dinner.
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Tap on the times in the instructions below to start a kitchen timer while you cook.
In a small bowl, whisk together avocado oil, cilantro, lime juice, garlic, sea salt, cumin, chili powder, and cayenne peper.
Add marinade and chicken thighs to a zip lock bag and marinate in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, up to 8 hours.
Optional step if you have time: Remove the chicken from the refrigerator and allow it to come up to room temperature, about 20 minutes. (This is not required, but will help it cook more evenly.)
Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400 degrees F (204 degrees C).
Transfer the skillet to the oven and cook for an additional 15-20 minutes, until internal temperature reaches 170 degrees F (76 degrees C). Rest for a few minutes before serving.
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Serving size: 1 chicken thigh
Nutrition info includes 1/4 of the marinade, as the rest is discarded.
Nutrition facts are provided as a courtesy. Have questions about calculations or why you got a different result? Please see our nutrition policy.
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